Billy Crudup: “I am unable to remain calm in difficult situations”



-Without revealing too much to our readers, how would you describe the Cory Ellison arc in this second season?

-Go from being a person in search of a position of incredible power to being the person who holds that position. On the other hand, his involvement in ‘The morning show’ and his relationship with the people on the show become more important to him. That kind of intimacy is something Cory doesn’t expect and, I think, neither does the viewer.

-He seems to have a great time playing this reptilian man. Or is getting into their skin more terrifying than fun, really?

-I had an interesting conversation with someone about the difference between excitement and anxiety. Or better, about how similar they are. If we think that the result of something will be positive, we call it enthusiasm. And if we think it will be bad, we call it anxiety. But the feeling that beats in your body is the same. Cory knows that everything will always work out for him, so enjoy the excitement. I, Billy, the actor who plays Cory, suffer from anxiety [se ríe]… Of trying to articulate such an outlandish character.

-Was it based on any fictional or real reference to build this larger-than-life creature?

-Yes, I stole some characteristics from certain people. For example, a certain old friend from college. He’s a really smart guy. Sometimes he gets busy talking about the nature of this and the nature of that, and when he comes to a conclusion that is interesting to him, he laughs nervously. I think he likes to see how well his own brain works. I kept that for the character. On the other hand, I have sometimes seen people get into combative situations with full authority and without worrying about the consequences. It could be, I don’t know, a high stakes game of poker, or something worse. Those kinds of people fascinate me. I am unable to remain calm in difficult situations.

-So you didn’t thoroughly review ‘Network’, Sydney Lumet’s fierce news classic?

“Actually, no, but now that you say it, you should have.”

-Everyone is talking about ‘Ted Lasso’ and how, supposedly, we need kindness more than ever, but at the same time there is a lot of desire for ‘Succession’ and ‘The morning show’, series with despicable characters. Why do we love having rich, ruthless people in our lives so much?

-The dramatic art has been present in civilization for quite some time. And it is especially necessary in times when the world becomes confusing and intimidating. This moment is so on several levels, all of which seem to be evolving daily in unexpected directions. Being able to take a hiatus from all of this and immerse yourself in something exotic always helps. For many people, series like ‘Succession’, ‘The morning show’ or even ‘Game of Thrones’ are exotic because they are not used to seeing the daily lives of people in unthinkable positions of power. That is absorbent, very absorbent. Absorbing enough to distract you from the endless flow of the internet.

-‘The morning show ‘may be, as it says, a parenthesis for many people, but it is a series based on hot topics that affect not only the upper class. Were you interested in exploring any of them in particular?

-When I read the pilot script, I was surprised and loved by the attack being made on the stagnation of power in the entertainment industry, and more specifically, the world of news. Taking the structures of society for granted can have dire consequences. The more classes of people who end up outside the important positions, the less versatile our culture will be. I have lived in New York for thirty years and I know how important collective versatility is. Create a better, more dynamic society in which anyone has the opportunity to prosper.

-What can you tell us about ‘Hello tomorrow!’, Your next series for Apple TV +?

-I interpret another seller. Cory, after all, is a salesman. When we meet him in the first season, we don’t really know what he sells, exactly. But it sounds like it’s selling hope for a better future. And ‘Hello, tomorrow!’ takes place in the future, one that looks like America in the 1940s and 1950s. The problems are identical to the current ones: technology invading everything, robot cleaners that don’t work too well, automatic cars that fail… I play the head of a team that sells timeshares on the moon. The question is a bit if those timeshares are ready to be sold. I’m another person selling hope, only door-to-door across America rather than from a large skyscraper on the coast.

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