To conclude ( 🙁 ) our round of fansite set interviews, we are sharing Tony Goldwyn’s who plays papa Prior (Andrew) in Divergent! We LOVED talking to Andrew, he was very insightful on his character and the whole Abnegation sector of the movie.
Read the full interview below and also make sure to visit all the participating fansites from this visit:
Q: I kind of want to call you Mr. President.
A: Yeah. Now you have to call me Andrew.
Q: What do you think of this cast?
A: It’s just fantastic, incredible. I get to work with some of my favorite actors. I’m glad to be a part of it.
Q: Is it exciting to work with Neil [Burger, director]?
A: Yes. I really admire his work in the past. I loved his two other films, and so far he’s just been great. He’s a really talented director. And a great match for this material, I think.
Q: Do you relate to Andrew in any way?
A: Yeah. Yeah, I think that I kind of really admire … I sort of see him as very, you know, disciplined with Abnegation being kind of almost like a zen kind of approach to life, you know? That’s kind of the approach we’re taking to Andrew and the family and Abnegation as opposed to a more sort of oppressed, uptight, cold interpretation of what Abnegation is all about. ‘Cause as Tris says in the book she struggles with all of the beautiful things about their way of life and so we’re kind of going in that direction so it makes it so much more difficult and painful a choice for her to defect.
Q: So simple and zen-like … Simplification …
A: Yeah, and then there’s austerity in that, but it’s very, there’s a lot of compassion and gentleness to it, a lot of beauty, a lot of simple beauty to it.
Q: What’s your chemistry like with Ashley Judd? I think you guys have to worked together before, right?
A: We’ve known each other for years! Yeah, I love Ashley. It’s so great to work with her again. Her very first movie – I think she had one line – was a movie I was in. She got her SAG card, and I remember meeting her, she had one scene, and then we worked together in ‘Kiss the Girls,’ and then I directed her in a movie called ‘Someone Like You.’ She was the lead, so I think that’s it. But we’ve been friends for years. It’s great.
Q: So if you’ve directed her you’re a fan …
A: I am a fan!
Q: So, how does the ‘Divergent’ fanbase … Obviously, you’re active on Twitter, and we see all your ‘Scandal’ tweets … how does it compare? Are we affecting you the same amount as the ‘Scandal’ fans or do we still have some work to do?
A: Not quite yet. That’s a high bar. But I must say, as soon as I was cast I started getting multiple tweets every day from ‘Divergent’ fansites and fans, which is exciting. ‘Cause I’ve just this year come to appreciate the power of Twitter and social networking, which I was terrified of before. I’ve really come to appreciate how incredible it is, so I expect over the next year, as this process gets closer to release, for things to grow on the ‘Divergent’ side.
Q: Ansel [Elgort] just said that he loved filming a kitchen scene with Shailene [Woodley] …
A: … Yeah, it was great …
Q: Is that a favorite scene of yours also?
A: Yeah. Often doing action movies – like this is in many ways an action movie –you spend a lot of time running and saying a couple of words and going back to do it all over again. It’s very technical. And Ansel’s been doing a bunch of that. So, we did this couple of days where we were just in our house with each other being a family together and having real scenes with real emotional content. And the scene we do is the night before the Choosing Ceremony which is a difficult time for the family, and Ansel did say, he was like ‘Oh, is this what it’s like to do a real scene?’ So, it was fun, and it was nice to be together because we really are, it’s very good casting, the group of us. There was a good chemistry. Ashley and Shailene look like they’re related, so it’s a good pairing.
Q: What would your fear landscape look like if you had one?
A: Oh, that’s a great question.
Q: Thank you.
A: I’m scared to delve into that. That’s a scary question. I think it would have to do with losing my children, ironically, hurting my family myself … well, something to do with heights, probably. And, yeah, maybe to do with inflicting pain on other people. I do belong in Abnegation, don’t I?
Q: Ha! And what’d you think of the costuming and the set so far?
A: Really beautiful. I was so impressed with the design. The Abnegation room, for example, I was a little concerned, as I sort of mentioned before … because I felt that the Abnegation could be interpreted in a negative way to be cold and just repressed and negative and kind of the fact that the self-denial had no aesthetic value. And what they’ve done – Carlo [Poggioli] our costume designer, the production designer and Neil – it’s very, very simple but very beautiful, I think. Our environment, our home where we live is like, you feel like you’re going into a zen meditation space. You know, it’s very simple and austere but it’s beautiful and it does have a very elegant aesthetic to it, even though it’s very simple … it’s very serene. And the clothes, you’ll see that Shai and Ashley look beautiful in what they’re wearing but it’s very muted tones that are tones of greys …
Q: … and flowy …
A: Yeah! It’s flowy and not uptight, you know? Not denying sensuality or humanity but kind of warm. I don’t know. You kind of want to be in that space, on a kind of higher spiritual level, I think.
Q: We saw the Abnegation house, it was like a spa day.
A: Yeah it’s like a spa! Oh, and we did this scene, the dinner scene, where there was one little light, one small light illuminating the place. It was very simple, but we spent a whole day acting, and it was a great place to act because it was very chill.
Q: Now, obviously, he’s Abnegation born and he’s a leader figure there, but towards the end he kind of steps up there and he knows how to handle a gun. Where do you think all that comes from?
A: To be honest with you, I haven’t yet fully discussed that with Neil. My feeling is that I don’t know that he does. My feeling is that it’s a woeful act of self-sacrifice. I think he’s not …
Q: So you think he carries that same …
A: I think taking that gun … He’s very different than Natalie, who was Dauntless. I think he would know how to use a gun in the way that someone who doesn’t know how to use a gun uses a gun. You know, he goes for it but … he sacrifices himself in order to save his children and also hopefully the world. To draw fire, that’s the whole point. It would be, I think – and I’m certain Neil will agree with me – that it would be a terrible mistake to suddenly have him be Indiana Jones. ‘Cause then it’s just confusing, like wait what? With Marcus, it’s different because we don’t what Marcus’ deal is exactly, but for Andrew it’s purely, you know, I happen to know how to fire a gun but it would be a very difficult thing for me to pick up a gun and start shooting at people. And so I think it’s more like that.
Q: Did you read the book or are you just going off script?
A: Oh, I loved the book.
Q: At the beginning of the book, Andrew feels like Caleb and Tris betrayed the family by switching factions. Do you believe that they betrayed them?
A: I think about that a lot, and I think it’s more complicated than that. I think what Andrew feels is they don’t understand what they’ve done. I think that Andrew believes in a very deep way that their way of life is what’s going to make Beatrice and Caleb most fulfilled as human beings. They’ll be able to live the best life in the way that they’ve been raised and the way that they are, and he fully appreciates the allure of otherness, you know, the other factions. Because as beautiful as Abnegation is, there’s a lot of discipline involved, and Andrew also knows, I believe, Natalie’s background and knows what’s in Beatrice’s nature. ‘Cause he knows her. So I think it’s his worst fear come true, you know? And Caleb I think must be a total shock to him, total shock that he goes to Erudite. So, I think Andrew’s the type of person who in one sense understands and appreciates where they’re coming from but at the same time, yes, he feels betrayed. More than that, much more than the betrayal, is the sense of the worst loss ever. I mean, you talk about a fear landscape would be to lose one’s children, so I think the fact of losing your children by them choosing, I think on a human being level there’s this terrible sense of betrayal and loss and grief and horror. And I think there’s one other level to it. They’re on the precipice of revolution, and I think he knows it. And the fact that Beatrice and Caleb don’t understand that, aren’t mature enough to understand it, and the fact that he and Natalie have sheltered them from that knowledge for the most part until pretty recently, the fact that they defected from his family is catastrophic from a public relations standpoint. So, on all levels it’s the worst thing that could possibly happen ‘cause there now of course Jeanine is going to use that against Andrew in the same way that she used Marcus’ son’s betrayal against him – Andrew doesn’t really know what went down there.
Q: So, on ‘Scandal’ you’re a president, and now you’re a powerful …
A: Yeah, that’s interesting, you’re right!
Q: Do you find that funny?
A: I do, I do. I’m pretty grateful, it’s nice.
Q: You must exude powerfulness.
A: Well, a lot of times when one part of your nature gets out there in the zeitgeist, people go ‘oh yeah’ and see you that way. For years I was a villain because the first big thing I did was ‘Ghost.’ All of a sudden people saw me in that way. Like ‘oh, he’s the bad guy.’ Which is not what I’m really like at all. So, but it’s nice. It’s interesting to explore.