Steven Spielberg describes Mark Rylance in one word: “extraordinary.” Following his Oscar-winning portrayal of a stoic Russian operative in Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” Rylance stars as the titular titan in the director’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The BFG,” playing out of competition in Cannes. Next up for the actor: Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” — then two more Spielberg projects.
What has been the biggest change in your professional life in the past year?
I am recognized in the street; I’m not so anonymous anymore. Partly because of “Bridge of Spies,” but mainly because of the way the film business markets its products by elevating its actors via competitions.
How is your relationship with Spielberg?
Because his imagination is so intoxicated by actors, he’s found it difficult before to hire an actor he’s just had in one film for another film. I am apparently one of the first actors that he has employed on two consecutive films.
What aspects of the BFG’s character drew you to the role?
I was a little bit like Sophie (the orphan in “The BFG”) when I was a young person. I was very much enamored of my grandparents and older people generally, and of ‘odd’ people — the people who were, so to speak, on the edge of town.
What else about the story resonated with you?
I love all the stuff about dreams, and the idea of dreams existing, not being self-generated by the psyche, but the psyche being a receptive part of our consciousness that receives dreams from the greater collective consciousness.
How did you find the motion-capture process on “The BFG”?
It was surprising to me that I missed the camera. I missed that whole tight knot of people — the focus puller, the operator and so on — the group of people who are around the camera, and indeed the kind of dark proscenium of the movie camera somewhere on the set.
What you didn’t know about Rylance
AGE: 56 FROM: Milwaukee FAVORITE KIDS’ STORY: “Sparky’s Magic Piano” (it talks) PLAYLIST: “Glenn Gould Plays Bach,” the Sex Pistols’ “Never Mind the Bollocks” FAVORITE TYPE OF FOOD: Indian