Frank Langella: “There are, for some reason, more parts available to me in these years than I ever thought would be”

I saw Robot and Frank back in July and it’s still among my favorite films of 2012 (check out my review here!)  That is entirely because of Frank Langella, who turns in yet another wonderful performance as an a former jewel thief in the near future whose son gets him a robot companion to assist him as he suffers from memory loss.  In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Langella talks about how he feels about still getting great roles at his age and how he managed to act against the “robot.”

Langella confesses that he feels blessed that he continues to get such high-quality work at his age.  He says, “It’s a very rewarding feeling. For the most part, I’ve really tried to choose things that would cause me to grow as an actor. I’m 74, and there are, for some reason, more parts available to me in these years than I ever thought would be. I’ve been very lucky. Also, I like first-time directors; I don’t think I’d work as much if I didn’t.”  Robot and Frank is the first film directed by Jake Schreier, and Langella points out that he enjoys working with first-time directors because, “Their enthusiasm is infectious.”

Though the robot’s voice was eventually provided by Peter Sarsgaard in post-production, Langella had to respond to the someone else on set reading out the robot’s lines.  One would expect that would make acting against an inconsistent voice difficult, but Langella explains that he just had to set himself on one consistent voice in his mind.  He says, “I didn’t find it difficult, because the robot was a robot — it wasn’t as if I would need a particular line reading. With a human actor in front of you, they can go one direction or the other, and you should adjust yourself to that. In my mind, the robot was always going to have a particular point of view. So I could play opposite what I believed it was saying.”

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