BWW Interviews: Matt Bomer and Marisa Coughlan Talk New Movie, Space Station 76
With South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas starting its film portion of the festival, there were many opportunities for filmmakers to premiere their latest movies. One such movie is called Space Station 76 and stars several well-known actors including Matt Bomer (Ted) and Marisa Coughlan (Misty).
SPACE STATION 76 is a comedic drama about a group of people (and several robots) living on a space station in a 1970's-version of the future. When a new Assistant Captain arrives, she inadvertently ignites tensions among the crew, prompting them to confront their darkest secrets. Barely contained lust, jealousy, and anger all bubble to the surface, becoming just as dangerous as the asteroid that's heading right for them.
In a recent interview, Matt and Marisa sat down and answered some questions about this new quirky movie while in Austin, Texas
Do you like to watch yourselves on screen?
MARISA: It would be hilarious to say, "I love it, there's nothing better than a Marisa Coughlan performance."
MATT: You always hope that you are involved in the story that you can sort of remove your ego from the equation and sort of see the story objectively. But it's difficult, you know. Certain jobs maybe it's easier than others.
MARISA: This one is a little bit easier because it's its own world. It's not a random episode of a TV show. We're on a spaceship; we're in the 70's kind of world. So you do get to escape into it a little bit. But I typically find it difficult to watch myself.
MATT: Yeah, it's pretty hard.
Tell us a little more about the movie.
MATT: What I responded to for this movie was the whole idea suburban duality having grown up in the suburbs myself and space is this sort of gave it the sense of alienation but having that idea that if we just live on the right space station, if we do the right thing, our lives will be perfect and we won't have any problems and then it's like one of those great John Cheever short stories near that time period where everyone's shadow starts to slowly bubble to the surface and you see their inner demons come to life. Having grown up in the suburbs myself I respond to that. I play Ted who is married to Misty and is a mechanic and he very much wants to fix things. He's one of those people where no good deed goes unpunished. He wants to do the right thing, is really trying to create the right life for his wife and it's just circumstances not going his way.
And you're kind of bitter, aren't you?
MARISA: I am. What I liked about it with the character is you don't necessarily totally get what's going on with my character right away. I seem like a nice wife and a nice mom and then it doesn't take long for "Oh no, she's a horrible human being. She is awful."
MATT: In Misty's defense I think Ted made a lot of promises to her that I think. Having come from earth which is not a very desirable place to live at this point, he probably had to work his way up in the ranks . I think he promised Misty a lot of things that just did not work.
MARISA: This is true, this is true.
MATT:I mean how else could I be with someone this hot? I promise her false things.
And the little girl Kylie Rogers was phenomenal.
MARISA: She's working more than anyone I know. She's not here because she's working. She literally works non-stop.
MATT: She's from my home town in Spring Texas. She was the most consummate professional I've ever worked with. She was just a fun little girl skipping down the hall and then the cameras would roll and she would nail it on the first take.
MARISA: And it was like crying and sobbing. She would turn it on and be done and be happy go lucky 30 seconds. She's phenomenally talented.
Do you guys like to do press like this?
MARISA: It's fun because we shot the movie a while ago. It's nice to have a little reunion and see all your peeps. It's nice because you do get to go to dinner and all hang out. Both of us have small children. I'll take a weekend away.
MATT: I didn't get to sleep until 7 o'clock this morning.
What is one of the worst auditions you ever had?
MATT: I had an experience where I was testing for a high profile job and the casting director's cell phone went off. It was a big emotional scene. You always want to stay in the pocket of what you're doing but I didn't know what to do at the time. I was like, do I address the situation, do I ask to start over, do I stop? That was pretty interesting.
MARISA: I had one where I was testing; I was up for the first Anchorman. My agent called and she said to go in. "It was between you and one other person. You're really, really close. They're looking for a Christina Applegate type." I was like, "Great, I'll be there. Do you know who the other girl is?" And she said, "Yeah, it's Christina Applegate." It's not looking good for me, I gotta be honest. It did not look too promising. When I used to go in for commercials...those are bad. Pretend the Skittles are falling from the sky and you're dancing and a rainbow god lands on your head.
What live theater have you done?
MATT: I did a one night only thing on Broadway a couple of years ago, 8. It was a play about Proposition 8. The last run of a play I did was in Williamstown a few years ago. And I did something at the Lincoln Center. It was a benefit for a friend. I would love to do a play but it's gonna have to wait until this show is done. I would like to do a play again in the next couple of years. There are plays that I would like to do. That's what comes to mind what I would like to do 8 times a week onstage.
Do you have any advice to actors getting started?
MARISA: It depends where they are but my experience tenacity is half the battle. There were so many points where I was like I can't do this. It was too exhausting. It's just a lot and then suddenly something happens and your career changes and it's so much fun and wonderful. I look back on those moments and I'm so glad I didn't give up. I see a lot of people who have walked away. It's an exercise in hanging on through a lot of ups and downs and you really have to be thick skinned. A friend of mine said your worst day in show business is better than most people's best days when in terms of their jobs. We do a lot of amazing things but we pay the price for them. I like the ups and downs in a lot of ways. You gotta be prepared for that.
MATT: I echo all those things. And also at the same time try to remember why you wanted to do it in the first place. As an artist what kind of story do you want to tell so that when opportunities do present themselves you want to be fortunate enough to get in on a specific project is to remember who you are as an artist and what made you tell stories in the first place.
MARISA: Along those lines I have better advice than the other advice. I started writing; I've been doing it for the past 5 years. I'm so mad. I had the inclination to do it 10 years, no more than that, and honestly I told myself, "Oh, you're probably not a writer." Then I finally started 5 years ago and now I've had more success doing that and creating things. It's been amazing and empowered me in so many ways. Like he was saying the things that drew me into this business is not necessarily being a cog in a wheel and telling someone else's story, it's telling a story that are native to you. So every actor I meet I'm telling to start writing now.
MATT: Or producing.
MARISA: You can do anything. Put stuff on YouTube. You can create your own media which you couldn't do not so long ago.
Is that your backup plan?
MARISA: I don't know if it's my backup plan or my main plan to be honest.
MATT: It's your co-plan.
Did you have a backup plan?
MATT: No, I didn't have a backup plan. I got my degree in college and it was a Bachelor's in Fine Arts. I've sold pilots that I written and so I guess I wrote as well and always tried to stay creative in some right. I think it was one time in my career where I was having a dark night of the soul because I wanted to tell stories that affected me when I wasn't necessarily given that opportunity. Then when I started to create my own opportunities things did turn around for me.
Are you going to have some fun while you are here?
MATT: We're pretty packed in with work.
MARISA: There's this and then we're going to the screening and we have 2 parties tonight.
MATT: There's going to be some great bands here tonight. I'm excited about that. I'm excited to see Caveman.
MARISA: Then we do more press tomorrow and then we fly home.
MATT: I am getting in some good dining. I got to go to Uchi last night which was great. My sister and I are going to go get some Tex Mex tomorrow.
Space Station 76 was written by Jack Plotnick, Jennifer Cox, Sam Pancake, Kali Rocha and Michael Stoyanov and produced by Edward Parks, Rachel Ward, Dan Burks, Joel Michaely and Katherine Ann McGregor. Niraj Bhatia and Frank Mele serve as executive producers.
Look for more information at spacestation76.com and where you can see this comedy/drama. It's worth a look.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kathy Strain