This chronicler is dying to explain the premise of 'Separation' (AppleTV+from Friday the 18th), a techno-thriller created by Dan Erickson and directed by ben stiller, but that would mean ruining the first few minutes capable of generating the most sacred confusion. We'll leave it to you that Lumon Industries has found a curious way to help its employees separate their personal and professional lives. One of his men, Mark (adam scott), he finds himself face to face with a mysterious plot that forces him to rethink everything. Even the dogmatic Irving (John Turturro), a faithful subject of the company, also ends up asking himself questions. And we do them to Turturro.
What attracted you to this series in the first place?
I liked the concept, that mix of work thriller and black comedy… You can tell that Dan Erickson wrote it from a very specific place. How to deal with a job you don't like? What can you do with your head? He took that to an unusual place. The scripts seemed interesting to me.
Have you ever found yourself in need of some radical procedure to separate your life and work?
We all deal with it in some way, right? In my work, when I was young, I used to travel a lot and do a lot of things. Later, my wife became pregnant, she had our first child… And it was difficult to communicate at that time; you didn't have Zoom. You communicated by phone or even fax. I used to write stories or draw pictures that I then faxed to my son Amadeo. It was difficult to be separated from your loved ones for long periods of time. Sometimes I've turned things down because I've been working too hard and not wanting my family to fall apart. The series talks about very normal topics, only taken to the extreme.
Did you find it curious that Apple produced a series about a company with a minimalist style and a disturbing back room? Even the use of Helvetica refers to Apple.
I don't know why they were interested in the series, but of course, they have supported the project throughout. Right now they are producing all kinds of things. Interestingly, when you work with these big companies, you barely talk to anyone who comes from there. Sometimes a representative shows up and says "hello".
This is his first time collaborating with Ben Stiller. What is it like working under him?
As a director he pays a lot of attention to detail. He likes to encourage people to try many different versions. He always wanted to know, especially in this unique world, which version of each moment might be the most appropriate. He cared a lot about everything and worked hard. He is a smart and talented guy. Aoife McArdle took over from him for three episodes where Christopher Walken and I did a lot of things together.
This is not his first project with Walken, far from it. In fact, he has even directed her in some movies. ['Illuminata', 'Romance & cigarettes', 'The Jesus rolls'].
I was the one who suggested Chris for the role of Burt. We always have a great time shooting. It was interesting because there ends up being a lot of warmth between our characters, much to Irving's surprise.
His friend Chris is not lavish on television. Did he come to enjoy the process?
Well, sometimes the days got a bit longer. And all the COVID-19 protocols made things a bit complicated, especially for the older ones. But when it was just doing our scenes, we had a good time together. Chris is a pleasure to work with. He is like a jazz musician. He tries all kinds of things and everything seems spontaneous.
Sometimes I've turned things down because I've been working too hard and not wanting my family to fall apart.
As someone who has essentially worked in film, how do you deal with the fact that almost all interesting adult stories are now being made into series? Is it an equally satisfying experience for you?
I had a great time doing 'The night of'. I did 'The Name of the Rose'. I've done a couple of pretty long jobs. And, well, sometimes it's nice to have a long story arc. Some stories are better if they are drawn out. And at the same time, I miss making powerful two-hour films, in which you may not need to adapt a whole book but a small part. Now I am going to adapt Philip Roth's novel 'The Sabbath Theatre' for a play. We can't do the whole book; we have to decide which part interests us and do a two-hour play.
Speaking of Philip Roth, how was the experience of making 'The Plot Against America' arm in arm with David Simon?
I love Philip Roth. I worked with him many years ago for something theatrical that didn't come out. And I like what David does. That said, to be fair, 'The Plot Against America' is not my favorite Roth.
And which one is it?
I like 'The Sabbath Theater' much better, for example. I love 'Patrimonio: A True Story', 'The Human Stain', 'American Pastoral', 'I Married a Communist'… But I liked being in that world and I think [Lionel Bengelsdorf, el rabino ultraísta del republicano Lindbergh] He is a fascinating character in the book. Simon and his team are great writers, but Roth's words are something else. I think Simon would say the same thing.