Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke Talks Character Research

jason-clarke-zero-dark-thirtyAfter starring with Jessica Chastain in 2011’s Texas Killing Fields and this year’s Lawless, actor Jason Clarke teamed up with the leading lady again this year for Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about his role as an interrogator, he explains how he approached the role.

When asked how he learned about the so-called “advanced interrogation techniques” he used in the film, he points out, “You can read a lot of these on the Internet.  You’d be surprised what’s on there … The techniques and the devices they use are factual, and they’re there and they’re not that complicated. I’ve had a couple of big nights out. I know what it’s like to not sleep for 28 or 48 hours. But what I was interested in was creating a relationship.”

He then points out that since the main role of an interrogator is to get information, his approach to the tasks were not unlike that of a therapist.  He says, “A good interrogator was always able to keep the conversation going, keep it open.  Because that’s what you’re after. To allow someone, even like a therapist, to unburden them. To make sure that I’m here for you because it’s what we both want.”

In fact, he became a sort-of information gatherer himself in his downtime during the production.  “I like to find things to do. That’s part of my character research, too.  I’ll go to the local bathhouse and tell them I’m a student hanging out, meet some people, take someone out for some falafel. What’s going on in the country? What’s the word on the ground? That’s what these CIA dudes do; they got to move in there, they’ve got to take a job that’s a pretend job, but make sure that it’s ‘real.’ And just blend in.”

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