At the movies

Talking to ‘Stoker’ star Matthew Goode


Matthew Goode is an actor by profession, but he’s also a cinephile — and a big fan of Korean director Chan-wook Park.

“I love his style and sensibilities; he’s a proper auteur,” says Goode. He co-stars with Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska in Park’s new film Stoker, which opens Friday.

The chance to work with Park on his first English-language film attracted Goode — who saw Park’s infamous Oldboy on a date, grotesque octopus-eating scene and all — to Stoker, a mannered, mesmerizing thriller about India, a watchful young woman (Wasikowska) who forms an unusual bond with her mysterious Uncle Charlie (Goode) after her father’s funeral. Kidman plays India’s unhappy widowed mother.

“One of the great things about the script is that you don’t show your cards immediately, but it’s not a whodunit. We realize early on there’s something about this guy, but he’s sort of charming, too. ... The movie is a coming-of-age drama for Mia’s character, but I saw Charlie as being the boy who never grew up,” says Goode, who has starred in such films as A Single Man, Watchmen, Match Point and an update of Evelyn Waugh’s classic Brideshead Revisited (“The elephant in the room was Jeremy Irons,” he confesses of the latter).

Working with such a visual director might daunt some actors. But not Goode.

“He’s such a considerate filmmaker,” he says of Park. “His preparation is second to none. It never felt like the camera came first. It’s a visually exciting film, but he’s respectful toward actors.”

The film was storyboarded, of course, so the actors did have some idea of the rich, magnetic style the final cut would bear.

“We had a sense of the soul of the movie, of what it was going to look like,” Goode says. And yet they still gasped over the finished version. In one transition, India drags a brush slowly through her mother’s hair, which seamlessly melds into a shot of grasses waving in a field.

“Nicole said, ‘I had no idea that was going to happen, but I wondered why that scene took so long to shoot,’ ” Goode says. “So it’s still a surprise when you’re watching the film. One of the great compliments of his process is that you can still feel natural in front of the camera.”

Goode isn’t sure what audiences will make of Stoker, which is definitely not an ordinary slam-bang thriller.

“It’s polarizing to the Adderall generation,” he says. “People are spoon-fed. They’re used to the quick cutting, and it’s slow-paced, character driven; it’s my kind of film! But the audience has to work.”

Whether viewers love the film or not, Goode, who also starred in the World War I television drama Birdsong with Eddie Redmayne of Les Misérables, says he’ll “keep plugging away” at acting, wherever the future might lead.

“I have to say I did really enjoy doing a war film with a lot of boys; you could go out after work,” he jokes. “Nobody cares if you get drunk as long as you know your lines the next day.”

Connie Ogle

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • La vida local

    Marlon Wayans couldn’t let it rest: he’s back for ‘A Haunted House 2’

    Last time we spoke to Marlon Wayans, he was promoting A Haunted House back in January 2013.

  • Celebrity birthdays on April 17

    Actress Olivia Hussey is 63. Singer-guitarist Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks is 59. Actor Sean Bean is 55. Actor Joel Murray is 52. Actress Lela Rochon is 50. Actress Leslie Bega is 47. Actress Kimberly Elise is 47. Singer Liz Phair is 47. Rapper-actor Redman is 44. Actress Jennifer Garner is 42. Singer Victoria Beckham of the Spice Girls is 40. Actress Rooney Mara is 29.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Rob Kardashian in treatment

    Rob Kardashian has bigger issues than trying to lose weight. According to Star, the reality brother, 27, is being treated for depression at The Meadows trauma and addiction treatment center in Arizona. Poisons of choice are apparently marijuana, alcohol and prescription cough syrup.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category