Bryan Cranston, Armie Hammer, Robert Pattinson, Diane Kruger, Margot Robbie and Octavia Spencer sat down before a studio audience for The Hollywood Reporter’s inaugural movie star summit about their craft, the cons of social media and how one ended up with a severed human foot.
After two decades of awards-season roundtables gathering Hollywood’s top creative talents for frank, funny and memorable conversations, THR this year decided to throw out the rule book for the final star-studded sit-down of 2017: Instead of splitting up male and female actors (as almost all honors do, from the industry-establishment Oscars to the indie-minded Spirit Awards), the Dec. 7 discussion at West Hollywood’s Quixote Studios was a co-ed affair. And instead of taking place in a clinically silent, closed studio environment, it was conducted before a live audience of Hollywood insiders who took in the proceedings with laughs (especially at 61-year-old Last Flag Flying star Bryan Cranston’s impish one-liners), sighs (at the cautiously hopeful comments about sexual harassment in Hollywood from In the Fade’s Diane Kruger, 41, and The Shape of Water’s Octavia Spencer, 47) and a few gasps (mostly to do with I, Tonya’s Margot Robbie, 27, and a severed foot — read on). These stars, together with Call Me by Your Name’s Armie Hammer, 31, and Good Time’s Robert Pattinson, 31, didn’t let the 200 people watching cramp their conversational style — they’re actors, after all — as they animated one of the most competitive awards seasons in memory with a lively back-and-forth about the craft that unites them and the kind of artists, leaders and mentors they want to be.
This is the first time THR has mixed male and female actors on the same roundtable. So what is an issue that you have always wanted to discuss with actors of the opposite sex?
BRYAN CRANSTON Have you worked with someone you’ve despised?
OCTAVIA SPENCER I have. But I was only on the set for one day so … (Laughter.)
ARMIE HAMMER ’Cause you got fired?
SPENCER When a person looks past you and doesn’t address you and they close the door in your face, it’s like, “I hate you with all of my heart.” And, you know, that person is a miserable person. Years later I met that person again.
DIANE KRUGER Did you tell him?
SPENCER No. They literally walked up to me as if they had been kind, and I’m like, “No.”
MARGOT ROBBIE I normally avoid conflict at all costs. I haven’t worked with an actor whom I’ve despised, but I have worked with someone on the production side who — I didn’t appreciate the way they spoke about me in front of groups. It took me a couple of months, but I plucked up the courage and pulled him aside and said, “You’re discrediting what I do when you speak to me like that.” He was really great about it.
CRANSTON “And you’re fired.”
ROBBIE And I never worked again.
ROBERT PATTINSON It’s a weird thing because as soon as you have to be asserting yourself to a director, it kind of breaks the fourth wall. It’s not supposed to be you when you walk on to set. So I always try and avoid [conflict], and hopefully they’ll just see what they’re doing is wrong. (Pauses.) It never, ever, ever works. (Laughter.) It just gets worse and worse. But it completely throws me off if I have to say, “Hey, this is my process.” It’s like, I don’t know what my process is, there just needs to be some kind of understanding that you’re trying to do something good, you’re not just messing around.
CRANSTON You know, it’s not imperative that you get along with your co-stars; it’s like your in-laws — it just makes things easier. And so you make an effort to get to know them and to know how they work, because every actor works differently.
HAMMER The longer I do this, the more I find that’s just as pivotal a part of doing your job as having your lines down, knowing your character. Because you can have your process, but if you can’t fit your process into the organic process that is the project, then it doesn’t do you any good. You have to figure out how to do what you want to do while also not fucking up somebody else’s process.
Full interview: hollywoodreporter.com