ReelzChannel sat down recently with Ed Harris -- director, co-writer, co-producer, and star of Appaloosa -- to talk about bringing this Western novel by Robert B. Parker to the big screen.
ReelzChannel: Did being part of the Toronto Film Festival, getting that instant reaction from the audience, help erase your fears a bit?
Harris: Yeah, I was hoping that people would get the chance to see the film. Being at the festival will certainly help. And just over the past few weeks, we got some trailers out there and some TV spots. And we got some fairly early notices, many of which have been very positive. I think it's given the distribution folks and marketing people a little energy. It seems to be a pretty good feeling at the moment, so we'll see what happens.
RC: When you read this book, did you feel like you were born to play this guy?
Harris: I don't know if I thought I was born to play Richard Cole, or not. I sure liked his character and I really liked the two guys together. That's really why I wanted to make the film -- to see if I could capture this relationship.
RC: They don't communicate a lot, but at the same time, they know each other so well. Is that the same with you and Viggo?
Harris: Yeah, I think so. We just did the one picture together -- I really just worked on A History of Violence for a couple of weeks. But we have a lot of respect for each other and appreciate where each other is coming from -- not just as actors, but as people. That's a big part of it right there, just to work with somebody that you know and trust.
RC: What if Viggo had said he didn't want to do this character?
Harris: I don't know what I would have done. I really wanted Viggo to do it. I just thought he'd be great, and he is. I'm really glad he had the time to do it 'cause he's a busy, busy man, especially back then, he was really busy.
RC: Doing a period piece -- was it a bigger challenge for you as the director or as an actor?
Harris: In terms of the whole world that it takes place in, it was actually [harder as a director]. You do all your research, you read, you look at photos. Waldemar Kalinowski, the production designer, is really great, very thorough. To me, it's about being specific, whether it's what you're wearing, how your .45 is. Hats are a big thing for everybody. The look of the town -- part of the town is kind of run down but part of it's being kept up.... All these people that are really good at what they do, contributing to this thing. It's really a big huge collaborative effort. It's very rewarding and fulfilling to be, more or less, in charge of it and hoping it all turns out. It was really exciting.