What was your model of the Harvard class system before going into this project?
As somebody with a 1260 SAT score, Harvard remained the tower on the hill for me.
I'm glad you use the old SAT score. That new scale is really annoying.
I also don't like it because – I like to write plays, I act in movies and plays – and the 1600 score used to be a really easy signifier, and now you have to qualify it in current movies. It's not easy for storytelling – like when cell phones became popular. It's very hard to dramatize text-messaging in movies – it used to be the phone and the answering machine, and the answering machine is so scary, and it used to derive so much tension, but now you don't have that.
I wonder if there's the equivalent of Gordon Gekko's giant cell phone in this movie, that will stick out 10 years from now.
Exactly. The movie takes place in 2003, so we're still using flip-phones. These guys are at the forefront of technology, and yet they're still using technology that, by today's standards, is arcane.
I really wish we were allowed to film more at Harvard because we really started to get in the spirit, even in the two and a half weeks that we were here, we started to get in the spirit of this – of the life here. So it's – one of the things that I thought about when I was thinking about playing Mark was that he's in an environment where every kid who was the best student at their high school has come and so the kind of drive he has and the ambition he has may have been rare in elementary school and high school, but is commonplace in this environment, and therefore it kind of raises the stakes for him creating – it just creates an additional pressure for him to do something significant. So when, in the movie, he appears very driven and very ambitious, part of that comes from being in an environment where everyone is driven and everybody is ambitious.
I want to know how it feels to portray someone who is not only a billionaire but is alive. Does it make you nervous in any way? I think that, for better or worse, he'll be associated with you. You can go on to do another great role, but he'll be saddled with you.
I've been thinking of it in the opposite way – that he's going to create a million other things and I'll forever be associated with just playing that role. I suppose it can go either way, depending on what we continue to do. I didn't feel the pressure that some other people on the movie felt because I'm in the unique position of having to defend him every day and understand him and sympathize with him. I felt a great affection for the character. I understand that there are a variety of reactions to the character, because he does some things that are hurtful to the other characters. But from my point of view, everything he does is justified.