Interview: Jason Schwartzman

By RYAN STEWART  |  September 15, 2009

When I left the meeting with Jonathan, I had a whole list of books to read. So I started to read them then, even before there was a possibility of me being in the show. But then once I got the show, I read as much Chandler as I could, and Dashiell Hammett and David Goodis and stuff. And watching all the movies. My Netflix queue was insane. Anything with the word "noir" in it, I was watching.

Did you incorporate anything specific into your performance?
One thing that we tried to do is not become an imitation or mock it. If you start to walk in like [adopts Bogart inflection], "Listen here, buddy," it looks like you're making fun of it or fucking with it. So we tried to keep it natural. The fun thing about it was finding the right balance. We would start off the takes doing them in the most simple, non-noir kind of way, and then each take escalating it and upping the ante, until there was a point where it was a full-out sketch. Really, my biggest influence on the whole thing was Jean-Pierre Léaud. He was in all of the Truffaut films and all of the Antoine Doinel films. He's the one who made me be like, "That is the coolest character." I'm sure they're just his moves as a man, but his moves as a private detective are just incredible. They're just so unique and beautiful. So there were some times when I would do an homage to Léaud. Especially when I was tailing people. I would follow them in a way that anyone who's seen the movies would know that I was doing a shout-out.

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