James Spader has made quite a career out of playing villains, notably in Less Than Zero and Pretty in Pink, but no experience has been quite like playing the nefarious Mr. Carbon Black in Shorts. Spader spoke to MoviesOnline about the shoot, calling it "a whirlwind".
When they called me up and sent me the script. I thought, "Well, I don't know how the hell I'm going to do this 'cause I'm shooting Boston Legal and we're on hiatus and I need to take a break." They called up and they said, "It's going to take us about 5 days to shoot you" and I was just "Okay." I went down there, I think as much for anything else, just to see how the hell they could possibly do that and they did. I think they shot me out in 5 or maybe 6 days. It was a function of Robert. Robert Rodriguez has such a tremendous confidence in terms of how he puts the film together.
In order to shoot the movie as quickly as they did, Spader took Rodriguez's advice on how to play his "over-the-top" villain.
I just sort of gave it up to Robert and whatever he wanted. If he wanted me to say it louder and scream it louder with eyes wider and bigger and flail my arms around even broader, then so be it, because he's got it in his head what this is going to look like. And, it's impossible on the set to tell yourself, to have any idea what the hell it's going to look like because so much of it is created behind the scenes.
Shorts follows the adventures of an 11-year-old boy who finds a rock that grants wishes. What would Spader wish for in he had the rock?
Well, I mean, there's the most immediate which is to wish for a few more wishes. That was always the first wish for me [as a kid] and that always seemed rather intuitive. You start out strong by wishing for more wishes, and then, instead of expanding on that, it then immediately distills and gets reduced to walkie-talkies and mini-bikes or something else depending on the day.