The legendary actor, Max von Sydow, is thrilled to receive a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the mysterious The Renter in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” This is the second Oscar nomination for the 82 year-old actor. He previously received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his role of Lassefar in 1987’s “Pelle the Conqueror.”
In “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” von Sydow’s character is truly one of the most memorable aspects of the 9/11-themed movie. In this interview, the actor talks about his nomination, the movie, and answers the question – what makes him tick?
Q: First of all, it’s such a pleasure talking to you, an icon and a cinema legend, so thank you so much.
A: Thank you Manny.
Q: Congratulations on “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” not only is it one of the Best Picture nominees, you also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination. How does it feel receiving a second Oscar nomination?
A: Oh I think it was wonderful. My wife saw it on the internet one afternoon and told me. We had a glass of champagne together.
Q: 9/11 will forever shape America and the world. Was this the attraction for you in making the movie?
A: It was very inspiring. I think it’s a wonderful story, I was really moved by it when I read it. My wife and I we always work together, we always read the scripts together. And we were so moved by the story of “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” and I knew immediately that I wanted to do the movie and my character of The Renter.
Q: You’re absolutely right, The Renter is one of the most memorable characters in the movie, what attracted you to that role?
A: Well he’s a remarkable man I think, and also, he has secrets which make him more exciting and more interesting. He has not had a very easy life, he’s had shocking experiences, and ends up looking for something from his background and finds this boy who allows him to tag along in his search for something that his father has left for him to explore and to develop. These two very odd couple together make for a very positive story, a very inspiring story too. To me, the film, of course, it deals with catastrophe, it deals with a lot of pain, but it’s also a story about hope, about love.
Q: And the people’s will to survive.
Q: The character of The Renter is like the movie “The Artist,” it’s silent but brilliant. How did you prepare for the role?
A: Well I prepared like how I always do, reading the script many times and finding out what this character wants to do with this life and why does he appear in the story. When I know what my character wants to do and how he relates to other characters that’s when the emotions, the feelings come in. And of course, Stephen Daldry is a wonderful director, very inspiring. And I have done a lot of theater in my earlier life and Daldry has done a lot of theater too. And I think we have an understanding immediately on what we want to do with this character. It was a pleasure, really a lot of fun to do. And of course the boy, Thomas Horn is brilliant; he’s a very intelligent young man.
Q: You have a lot of followers here in Palm Springs, have you ever visited the Coachella valley?
A: I have been there once a long, long time ago. It must have been in the late 60s. I went there after a film opening in New York. It must have been very hectic because I went to Palm Springs to find solace.
Q: You’re due for another visit soon.
A: Okay (laughs), let me see what I can do about it.
Q: From “The Seventh Seal” to “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” you are a true cinematic legend. What makes Max Von Sydow tick?
A: Life should be beautiful for everybody but unfortunately, life is not fair to everyone. But it is a matter of making life as good as you can for yourself and for those close to you. And if everyone wants to do that, it will be a lot easier to live on this Earth. But when it comes to my profession, good offers make me tick.
Q: Once again, congratulations on your Oscar nomination, certainly something to be thankful for right?
A: Well, I have a very good life I must say, a good acting life. And I have a lot of fun and am very grateful. I’ve been lucky enough to have good opportunities because that is really what it’s all about.
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis, and John Goodman is currently playing in theaters.
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