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“You’re not an artist without a sense of your tradition...„ on that list, and so I think these roles naturally gravitate towards Edward just as much as he gravitates towards them, just because of who he is. SE—Let’s see. What else? Oh yes. There are Jews in Oklahoma? Damn, I grew up in Texas... it’s sort of rhetorical... TBN—Well, yes there are, and that’s part of what the movie examines. And you know, I consider the community in which I grew up a strangely exotic one. I think by virtue of its exoticism, there was very little anti-semitism that I encountered when I was growing up. I actually encountered more anti-semitism when I moved east because people were more familiar with Jews, so I found it easier to scapegoat them and make generalizations. SE—Where I grew up, in San Antonio, Texas, further west and further south, I didn’t know any black people that weren’t in the military.There was one black guy in my high school and everybody thought he was really cool and wanted to hang out with him. But 200 miles east in Houston, where there were just more black folks, it was a completely different situation. I think that is kind of a Southwest thing. Do you think the isolation of a community of people brings that community closer together? Because there’s definitely a strong culture in the Southwest, do they assimilate more or less?

TBN—Well, I’d met Edward because I’d wanted him to do this other project of mine called Seasons of Dust, which you know well because you’re going to play a part... SE—[The script’s] sitting right here on my desk right where I left it… TBN—… And although he decided not to do that film, I felt that he was so gracious and interesting in the way he declined my offer that when I sat down to write Leaves of Grass, I had Edward in mind. I just don’t think there’s another actor who could’ve played both of these roles so well. There’s an argument to be made that Edward would be the first choice for either of the roles. Yet, I was able to get him to play both because they’re identical twins, which is of course the whole game of the movie. Edward and I are also pretty similar in that we strive to have control of our lives in an industry which offers you very little of that and ultimately, that’s also the struggle that the Bill character is going through in the movie.

TBN—There was a degree of healthy insularity in the Jewish community in Tulsa, but that was always stretched out by, again in a very healthy way, a true pride in the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa. So you have an extravagantly philanthropic Jewish community in Tulsa – it really reaches out across cultures, skin colors, and creeds to engage with other communities in a very healthy and giving way. I think any of us who grew up in that part of the country, as Jews, feel extremely lucky, but I would say I feel very lucky to have grown up in the Southwest, no matter what my religion is, wouldn’t you agree? SE—Absolutely. It’s still a huge part of who I am. There are parts of it I still hang on to. I still wear boots… TBN—I think you and I probably have between us the largest number of clothing articles from the George Strait Wrangler collection. SE—That’s absolutely true. A lot of ropers between our closets, no doubt about it. There is definitely a love/hate relationship between Texas and Oklahoma, even outside of football, but I always had the impression that Tulsa was a unique environment in itself. TBN—I like to call Tulsa, “The Paris of Oklahoma.”

SE—I definitely see duality in several of Edward’s performances. TBN—Any complex character is going to have duality. I think that Edward specializes in really complicated characters and quite frankly for roles like this, or a role like the one in Fight Club and in Primal Fear, you need really smart actors. Edward is just a really smart actor. In fact, I would submit that when you think smart actor, he’s always going to be

the lab magazine ————— issue 02

SE—Absolutely. I completely get that. By the way I’ve just heard a little bit of a record by Leon Russell and Elton John that’s being made in LA. TBN—Oh my God. SE—Stunning. It’s absolutely stunning.

The Lab Magazine - Issue 02  

Featuring: Rashida Jones interviewed by Jack Black, Tim Blake Nelson interviewed by Steve Earle, Nicholas Stoller interviewed by Rose Byrne,...

The Lab Magazine - Issue 02  

Featuring: Rashida Jones interviewed by Jack Black, Tim Blake Nelson interviewed by Steve Earle, Nicholas Stoller interviewed by Rose Byrne,...

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