HOLLYWOOD — Variety‘s screening series continued with Monday’s unspooling of scribe-turned-helmer Billy Ray’s “Shattered Glass” at the Egyptian Theatre.
Pic depicts the real-life rise and fall of Stephen Glass, the ignominious New Republic journo who brazenly fabricated over two dozen stories for the revered publication. In the pic, Glass (Hayden Christensen) finds himself at odds with his editor, Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard).
Film historian Pete Hammond led a Q &A with Christensen and Sarsgaard after the screening.
Christensen never met with the real Glass, but used that to his advantage in creating his perf.
“All I had were articles and photographs, and general characteristics and sensibilities,” thesp said. “It was very freeing in a lot ways, to never have to put a mirror up and say ‘am I getting this right?'”
Christensen lamented the difficulties of portraying a compulsive liar. “Going to work every day and lying through your teeth starts to weigh on you, and makes you very insecure, which is right in character, but it starts to affect you after a while.”
Despite a late arrival, Sarsgaard provided plenty of interesting insights on the film, the challenges of portraying a real person, and acting in general. Unlike Christensen, he met several times with the real-life Lane, who even visited the set.
“When you’re playing someone who’s a real person, but is not in the public eye, it is not that important to look like them or sound like them or any of that kind of stuff,” Sarsgaard revealed. “What he (Lane) did explain to me was what he thought then, which was really the most important thing to me.”
The similarity between a journo who fabricates news stories and a thesp pretending to be someone else on film wasn’t lost on the “Glass” guys.
“What a perfect part for an actor because we consider ourselves frauds” claimed Sarsgaard.
“We always feel like we’re getting away with something,” adds Christensen.
“Shattered Glass” begins its limited bow on Friday, October 31st.