The Knockturnal was on the red carpet for the World Premiere of GOLD presented by TWC-Dimension with Popular Mechanics, The Palm Court & Wild Turkey Bourbon.
Guests from the film included director Stephen Gaghan, writers Patrick Massett and John Zinman, producers Michael Nozik and Teddy Schwarzman, and executive producers Paul Haggis, Ben Stillman and Bob Weinstein. Cast included Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll and Joshua Harto.
GOLD, inspired by actual events, is the epic tale of one man’s pursuit of the American dream and everything he’ll do to keep it from falling apart. Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, a man raised in the mining business and desperate for a lucky break. He teams up with a mythic geologist and sets off on an amazing journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia. When they make the largest gold find in history, Kenny realizes his dream was only the beginning of the adventure, battling corrupt politicians, Wall Street tycoons and law enforcement, all of whom want to take it from him.
Tell us about your character.
Corey Stoll: I think my character is a shark and he’s all about trying to be as efficient as possible.
You have some scenes with Matthew that are priceless, especially where he’s getting very explosive. What was that like to film?
Corey Stoll: It was great. The more your scene partner brings, the less you have to invent. He’s an incredible scene partner. He’s bringing such a specific and un-ignorable, unique energy.
You play a Wall Street shark. What was key for getting into that role? Did you pattern yourself against someone?
Corey Stoll: I think just it’s all about being completely selfish and self-involved.
Can you speak a little bit about collaborating with Stephen on this?
Corey Stoll: He’s really such a great director. I’m such a big fan of his and it was a big reason for wanting to do the project. He’s so smart and he has an energy like a little kid. He’s so excited to be on set every day and to play with every new actor who came on set. Yeah, I can’t speak highly enough of him.
This was inspired by true events. Can you speak about immersing yourself in the world?
Corey Stoll: No, this role was really about reacting to the energy that Matthew was bringing and just surviving.
What did you love about the script?
Stephen Gaghan: These writers, Massett and Zinman, had created this great script. It had been on the black list. It reminded me of Treasure of Sierra Madre. It was swinging for the fences. It was a man against himself, man against nature kind of story, a guy who goes up in the mountains to seek his fortune, goes in the jungle to seek his fortune. It’s not very far from that to draw some parallels with the movie business. When you’re trying to write and direct a movie, you have a vision, you have a dream. You commit it to paper, you create it, and then you have to go out and make it. It’s very difficult, and most of the time, movies don’t happen. Most of the time, the door gets shut in your face. Most of the time, you hit the frustrated … we’re almost there, it almost happened. Oh, it fell apart at the last second. I’ve been in the movie business a long time and I’m no stranger to that stuff so I tapped into all that.
Can you talk about Matthew’s look? It’s pretty unique. How did you come up with that?
Stephen Gaghan: Matthew had a lot of insight, how he wanted this guy to look. He was basing it on people he knew growing up, people in the oil business like his father who sold materials in the oil business, his brother Rooster who did the same thing. He came with a lot of insight about how the man would be, how he would talk, how he would walk, how he would dress. I was the beneficiary of that. I added my own thoughts to it, but it was a collaboration.
Speak about shooting on location. You went to Asia.
Stephen Gaghan: Yeah, we went to Thailand. It was the greatest experience of my life, having my family with me, my children, and Matthew’s kids and Teddy’s and all of us running around together in these really out of the way, two hours up in a jungle with the 30-foot snakes and the 14-inch spiders. We had floods, we had avalanches, we had everything you can imagine. We wanted that. I wanted it. I wanted the monsoon in the movie. I wanted a real monsoon. I wanted a real jungle. I was lucky. My producers were able to give it to me. I think it really plays a role. It’s like another character in the movie and I think we got it.
Absolutely. What was it like directing a tiger?
Stephen Gaghan: It’s very interesting about tigers. Tigers are not actors. Tigers are not your friend and they’re not pets. They’re motivated by one thing and one thing only, which is food. A tiger eats about 26 pounds of meat in a day. There’s meat, there’s a long stick with the meat on it and when that meat runs out, the tiger’s day is done because he’s no longer going to be motivated. You can’t motivate him and you can’t control him so I learned a lot about tigers.
Speak about working with Edgar?
Stephen Gaghan: Edgar is a genius. If you have ever seen the movie Carlos, you know that he’s one of the best actors alive. I think he has an innate, old school, movie star quality. That’s really what I wanted to tap into. I knew him personally long before we did the movie and I liked him. I felt like as Matthew was large, Edgar would have this mystique and one would chase the other and they would be very dynamic together. If you see the movie, I hope it turned out to be true.
They do have good chemistry. Can you speak about collaborating with Bryce?
Stephen Gaghan: Oh, man, Bryce is the best. She’s the nicest person I’ve ever met. Everyone says about Ron Howard, he’s the nicest person anyone’s ever met. Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She’s a great actress. She’s able to, with looks, generate … literally, one look across a bar, generate an entire history between these characters. That’s a real gift, real artistry. Just one of the coolest people you’ll ever hang out with. Her husband is a great guy. Again, I just feel like I made friends. I sort of have a crush on her husband, I think he’s so cool, but anyway …
How did you find your way into the character?
Edgar Ramirez: Stephen Gaghan, fine writing, it was all there, the mystery and the enigma. He’s a very reserved character and that was … there’s an epic element to this character, also some sort of poetry to him. Also the fact that regardless of all the science and all the technology that goes behind gold mining, him being the geologist, it is a very instinctive activity. In the end, there is no way to know for sure that you’re going to find gold or that you’re going to find any metal or any stone in a specific place. You assess it and you think that you might. There are certain indicators that suggest that gold might be there but it is always a hunch. It is kind of poetic in my opinion that you just get a bunch of people, workers, machines, and a lot of people investing money on your hunches, just your hunch. I think that the gold must be around here, and you just throw a stick on the ground and say, you’re going to drill here, almost like Moses. There is like a prophetic aspect to it, and then it’s not there.
The story takes place in Indonesia, right?
Edgar Ramirez: The movie is set in Indonesia, the story, but we shot in Thailand.
What was that like working with Matthew?
Edgar Ramirez: It was fantastic. It was beautiful. It was great. He’s such a fun guy. He’s fun and he’s lovely and open and generous. I had the time of my life working with him. We became very good friends.
Do you have a story to tell?
Edgar Ramirez: So many. So many. I know. Every day was an adventure because the river … We were shooting in the middle of the monsoon season and then the water raised five, six, ten, thirteen feet, and we lost locations. We lost sets. Our schedule was so messed up that there were moments that we had to sleep in our trailers in the middle of the jungle just to make the hours, just to make it up to the schedule. I listened to all the sounds of the jungle and drinking wine. It’s how I imagine movies were made in the ’70s, just being there in the mud and in the wilderness.
Can you share what you admire about Mathew?
Edgar Ramirez: His freedom. He’s a free spirit and I think that that has informed his acting very much. I think that he’s a very free person. He doesn’t get hung up in any drama. He leaves the drama for his characters and he leads a very free life and that is very inspiring.
How did you like wearing elf ears for Bright?
Edgar Ramirez: Once they’re stuck to your real ears, you don’t feel them so it’s fine. It’s a good transformation. I feel like a rock star as an elf.
How did you get involved?
Bryce: I had basically only three weeks of shooting and they called and sent the script and said, would you be interested in doing this? I was so ready to dive into something where I felt it was going to be an acting environment where I could just shake it out and have fun and be experimental and have this immersive experience. This was amazing. Witnessing his performance was honestly a privilege.
I love your character because she is sort of the moral compass of this.
Bryce: Yeah, it’s nice to be the sensible person. I guess not always. It’s nice to have misbehaviors as well. I think that the story of this movie is based on a true story and it’s just so crazy and the twists and turns are so insane. It’s almost like you would never believe that something like that could happen so I think having a character like mine to be a counterpart to him grounds the story as a whole because otherwise you’re like, oh my gosh, this is wild.
Have you started shooting Jurassic Park yet?
What’s the prep work like?
Bryce: Prep work is obviously all the normal stuff that you do to get ready for a movie with the character and scenes and all of that. This is an action film so it’s super physical so a lot of running.
A new director.
Bryce: A new director. Yeah. I’ll be getting out to the set pretty soon with Chris and we’ll get in it. I’m very excited.
The director told me you came up with the look of your character. Can you tell me how that came about, what inspired you?
Matthew: In preparation, I started getting into who Kenny Wells was and all of the sudden, I looked up in the mirror one day and noticed that I had put on about 18 pounds. I was like, well, okay, that’s right. This is who Kenny Wells is, a consumer of life, food, drink, smoke, everything. Then I looked back on my life and the Kenny Wellses I had met through my dad. They were all large, physically almost larger than life. I always say, Kenny’s not fat, Kenny’s full. He’s a full man, when I say consuming life. They all were kind of heavy but they were kind of burly and strong. They weren’t people that looked in the proverbial mirror. Most of them didn’t live past 60 years old either. Some of them died of heart attacks early because of their life styles.
How about the hair?
Matthew: That was inspired by a couple of Kenny Wellses I knew.
Additional guests included Camila Alves, John Mellencamp, Salman Rushdie, Dean Winters, John Varvatos, Cynthia Rowley, Tony winner Lena Hall, Tonya Lewis Lee, Valerie Simpson, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland, Lost), Dan Abrams, Chaske Spencer, Alexandra Agoston, Sandra Brant, Minnie Mortimer, Christine Schwarzman, Diana Picasso, Garrett Neff, Ashley Haas, Alex Lundqvist, Jon Kortajarena, Atlanta de Cadenet-Taylor, Lorraine Schwartz, Simon Kirke, Will Kopelman, Daniel Benedict, Drew Nieporent, Antoine Verglas, Tali Lennox, Stu Zicherman, and David Zinczenko. Following the screening, guests gathered at The Plaza Hotel, Palm Court to celebrate Stephen, Matthew, Edgar, Bryce, Corey, Josh and the film. GOLD will open nationwide on January 27, 2017.