×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Wildlife’ and ‘Vice’s’ Bill Camp on Why Actors Need to Have Full Lives Outside of Work

You might not know it, but you’ve likely seen Bill Camp in your favorite show. The actor is known for his understated but powerful roles in FX’s “Damages,” HBO’s “The Night Of,” and Hulu’s 9/11 drama “The Looming Tower.” He appears in Paul Dano’s recently released directorial debut “Wildlife,” and plays Gerald Ford in Adam McKay’s upcoming political dramedy, “Vice.”

How do you play a character, as in “Wildlife,” who at first glance seems unpleasant?

When I play any character, I try to find something that makes him accessible to everybody who’s watching, because every role is a little bit of me too. There’s a beautiful part of the book [by Richard Ford], and it’s in the movie, where he talks about flying his plane and describing what it’s like to be up there alone — that there’s an understanding of the universality of the world. He talks about being up there with the birds, the geese, and feeling the privilege of being there. It was a good window onto him.

How much research goes into a portrayal of real people?

I would try to meet whoever it was. It’s so much of an energy thing that you get from the person; that informs me when I meet them. I just finished a film in South America where I was playing a real guy. I got to hang out with him for a couple of days. It was great because it informs [my acting] and made me realize, “Oh, my instincts were right here,” just based on what I knew of this individual.

Is a dramedy like “Vice” more challenging than purely dramatic roles?

I had to come to the understanding that this was not a biopic where everything had to be super-super-accurate. What Adam does, which I really admire and I really believe in, is ask: “What are the ideas that are occurring to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and how do they work off each other? What motivates them?” It was a depiction of a time in our political history that’s going to be very exciting, and possibly depressing at times, for people to look back on.

You’ve been a mechanic and a cook; do these jobs influence your acting?

Everything that I do in my life, and living my life, outside of when I’m on a set or when I’m in a rehearsal, it just feeds that. I have the greatest job in the world, because I show up to do my job, but I’m really just sort of living my life as I go. I think it’s crucial for actors to have full lives outside of acting. If I’m fully identifying myself as an actor, I know from my own experience it’s just boring and horrible. It’s isolating.

Things You Didn’t Know About Bill Camp

Age: 54 Hometown: Groton, Mass. Married to: Actress Elizabeth Marvel (they met at Juilliard) Favorite Book: “Tree of Smoke,” by Denis Johnson Organizations He’s Passionate About: Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union Character He’s Played That He’d Most Like To Have A Beer With: Job

More Film

  • Steve Bannon appears in The Brink

    Sundance Film Review: Stephen K. Bannon in 'The Brink'

    Stephen K. Bannon drinks Kombucha (who knew?), the fermented tea beverage for health fanatics that tastes like…well, if they ever invented a soft drink called Germs, that’s what Kombucha tastes like. In “The Brink,” Alison Klayman’s fly-on-the-wall, rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-a-white-nationalist documentary, Bannon explains that he likes Kombucha because it gives him a lift; he drinks it for [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Cinematographers Praise Academy Reversal: 'We Thank You for Your Show of Respect'

    Cinematographers who fought the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations have praised the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for reversing the exclusions. “We thank you for your show of respect for the hard-working members of the film community, whose dedication and exceptional talents deserve the public recognition this reversal now allows them to enjoy,” [...]

  • Peter Parker and Miles Morales in

    'Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse' Colored Outside the Lines

    The well-worn superhero genre and one of its best-known icons are unlikely vehicles for creating a visually fresh animated feature. But Sony Pictures Animation’s work on the Oscar-nominated animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” shows throwing out the rule book and letting everyone play in the creative sandbox can pay off big. “I think we [...]

  • Denis Villeneuve

    Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' Gets November 2020 Release Date

    Warner Bros. has scheduled Legendary’s science-fiction tentpole “Dune” for a Nov. 20, 2020, release in 3D and Imax. “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa is in negotiations to join the “Dune” reboot with Timothee Chalamet, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya. Production is expected to launch in the spring [...]

  • James Bond Spectre

    Bond 25 Moved Back Two Months to April 2020

    James Bond will arrive two months later than planned as MGM moved back the release date on the untitled Bond 25 movie from Feb. 14 to April 8, 2020 — a Wednesday before the start of Easter weekend. It’s the second delay for Bond 25. MGM and Eon originally announced in 2017 that the film [...]

  • Fast and Furious 8

    'Fast and Furious 9' Release Date Pushed Back Six Weeks

    Universal Pictures has shifted “Fast and Furious 9” back six weeks from April 10 to May 22, 2020 — the start of the Memorial Day weekend. It’s the second backwards shift for the title. In 2017, Universal moved the film back a year from April 19, 2019, to April 10, 2020. Both dates fall on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content