Minghella shed some light on what it was like to work with Clooney, why he was gunning for the part, and how not feeling “so smart” persuaded him into taking some time off to attend college.
Minghella says he wanted to be a part in March after becoming “obsessed with the play — the play before it was a movie. I saw the play twice in New York, and then I saw it twice in LA and I heard they were doing a movie of it. And I wasn’t sent the script or anything, but I just heard it was happening and it was actually going ahead, because there had been various articulations of the movie that had never been green-lit. So I said okay, the movie is happening, and I got a copy of the script and I remembered that there was a small part in the play and I wasn’t sure if they had carried it over. They had, and so I thought okay, maybe I’ll have a go at this, and I just took one of those speeches and I did it over and over and over again.”
He called his preparation for the audition the “most psychotic” he’s ever “been about preparing for a read,” luckily “it paid off.” His work with actor and director Clooney was also an experience, with Clooney able to bridge the gap of where Minghella wanted his character to go. “I find his notes as a director particularly applicable. Often I was trying, I’d have an idea of what I wanted it to be, and then I’d try to get there and wasn’t sure how successful I was at getting to that place. He’s very good at helping you get there. Very good at giving you the one thing that’s going to help you solve it all, and I think that probably comes from having an actor’s mind, he actually gets it.”
A student of Columbia University, the twenty-six year old son of film director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), took some time off from his craft after dropping out of high school to start acting. “I started working quite a lot, very quickly,” he said. “So I was in high school one day and suddenly I moved to LA on my own and nine months had passed, and in this hotel room, and I didn’t really have a lot. I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t really feel that smart. And I still don’t. But I felt kind of worried about it. I felt like I don’t know if I’m done yet, what am I going to be talking about? There’s nothing for me to talk about with anybody, my experiences are so limited. … It sounded kind of fun to me, to go to college, especially as a British person, to go to an American college because it is this glamorous idea, and stupid stuff like girls, and just dumb shit like green campuses, it sounded like fun and I really wanted to do that. So half of it for good reasons, half of it for bad reasons.”