Filmmaker and actor Albert Brooks hadn't been on the big screen in six years when he returned to tangle with Ryan Gosling's character in the slick neo-noir thriller “Drive.” His performance as the charming but sinister mobster Bernie Rose was worth the wait: Brooks was nominated for a Golden Globe for supporting actor (though he was passed over by the SAG Awards on Wednesday — and don't think he didn't notice). Brooks chatted with 24 Frames from his home in Los Angeles about his nomination, his character and why Globes host Ricky Gervais might want to keep his distance.
How did you find out about your nomination?
I got the good news on Twitter. I tweet, so I woke up and went on Twitter and saw a lot of people say, “Way!” Twitter tells you a lot of things. I expect to hear about the end of the world through Twitter.
What was your initial reaction?
Well, I was happy. It’s better than being left out.
Were you surprised that a character as dark as Bernie was embraced?
The thing is, I think the film worked. I’ve done a lot of roles in other people’s movies that I was proud of but somehow the movie doesn’t lift off the ground. And if the movie doesn’t lift off the ground, then nothing sort of lifts with it. So I was really happy that “Drive” worked so well and that I could play that kind of a character. I think the movie had to be really interesting, and I think [director] Nicolas [Winding Refn] did a great job of that.
Did you enjoy playing Bernie?
The actual physical stabbings I wouldn’t really describe as fun. Because you’re doing it sometimes for six or seven hours to get it to look right. And you’re covered in blood, and you have to work yourself up into at least a frame of mind where you’re going to even do that kind of physical activity, and it sort of leaves you feeling weird at the end of the day. Some of the talking parts, the attitude that guy had, I enjoyed that — where he wasn’t taking [anything] from anybody. But stabbing people is not so much fun. At least not more than once.
Are you looking forward to the ceremony?
I’ve never been to the Golden Globes, actually, in my whole life. I figure you go and it’s like a party; at least you get to eat there, right? … I’m easy. Just tell me what time, and I’ll show up.
Any thoughts on host Ricky Gervais?
I thought he was pretty funny last year, so we’ll see where he goes.
Are you prepared if he throws some jokes your way?
Does he do that?
A little bit, yeah.
Oh, I’ll stab him right in the eye. [laughs] I’ll show him.
He’s been warned now. Any parting thoughts?
I just tweeted … I said, “Thanks to the Golden Globes. If you had a health plan, I’d leave SAG altogether.”
— Oliver Gettell
Photo: Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose in “Drive” Credit: Richard Foreman / FilmDistrict.