Your new movie Silence
& Darkness - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
Itís been a while since we shot the film, but to the best of my
recollection, itís about a newspaper tycoon whose dying word
ďRosebudĒ has the world scrambling to decipher its meaningÖ
Um, not to give anything away, but our film is really
about two young sisters (Mina Walker & Joan Glackin), one deaf, one blind, who are attempting to
decipher their own family mystery about what really happened to
their deceased mother and why their physician father seems to have an
inexplicable agenda of his own. Anything less cryptic would spoil a
viewerís enjoyment. The role I play, that of the father/doctor, is as
dedicated a loving parent as he is to the science of his profession.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how
much Jordan Lage can we find in him? And given your character isn't
exactly "father of the month", to what extent could you even
identify with him?
Aside from what Barak [Barak
Barkan interview - click here] provided in the script alone that I could
identify with to play the role - his curiosity, dedication,
professionalism, ethos, traits of which I think I possess to varying
degrees -, the primary thing I had in common with him is that I have a
daughter myself who was 12 at the time of shooting, and to whom I was
and still am devoted selflessly. The scenes where I could draw upon that
aspect of my personal relationship to her - singing Under My Skin,
educating the girls about disease, etc. - were the ones that resonated
the most with me. As I said, he has an ethos, odd as it is, but itís
essentially a dedication to principle, which I felt I could tap into,
though his principles diverge somewhat from my own.
How did you get involved with the
project in the first place?
My involvement in the film came about from Mina
Walker & Joan Glackinís
recommendation of me to Barak. They had been writing students of mine a
year previously at New York University and graciously suggested my name
to Barak as a possibility for the role.
What can you tell us about
& Darkness's director Barak Barkan [Barak
Barkan interview - click here], and what was your
Barak and I got along pretty well, I thought. It was basically,
ďOK, weíre gonna do this unsettling thing today,Ē and I would ask
ďWell, Barak, whatís my motivation?Ē And heíd say ďThe
millions youíll make in deferred payments when this becomes a cult
film in two decadesĒ and Iíd say, ďOK, make the checks out to my
daughter.Ē When we got bored of talking about motivation, cinephiles
that we are, weíd talk about movies we loved. I recall he was partial
to Russ Meyer films; I tried unsuccessfully to school him in Fellini,
Renoir, Ozu, and Dreyer. Heíd never heard of them. Iíd say, ďWhat
did your $400k in tuition get you at NYU?Ē
Do talk about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere!
The on-set atmosphere, most of which took place at the Barkan family
compound in Warren, VT, was generally collegial. I was the old,
experienced fart among the youngsters, so naturally they hung on my every
word and begged me to tell them stories about working with Don Ameche,
Sidney Pollack, and Charles Durning. After hours of anecdotes and
answering questions, Iíd retire for the night, leaving them to drop
acid and try to identify the constellations. Personal time was spent
going for long walks on the dirt roads of Vermont, endlessly going over
the song Under My Skin, both singing it (as best I could) and
signing it. I had a great ASL coach who worked with me on the film -
Monique Holt - to whom I am indebted for her patience and skill in
translating my dialogue into sign language, so I could communicate to
Any future projects you'd like to
Future projectsÖ Iím currently shooting a recurring role in
HBOís Succession, their 3rd season which we just began filming at the
end of 2020. And Iíve got another independent film coming out this
year at some point, Rushed, in which I play a corrupt, asshole senator.
Heís a Republican. Coincidence?
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
What got me into acting was my mother and aunt taking me to theater
and movies as a kid, so blame them. Seminal films that made me go
ďThatís what I want to doĒ were watching Mark Lester and Jack
Wild in Oliver! when I was 5 or 6, and then a few years later, seeing
Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure and The French
that, there was no going back. I went to New York University to study
acting and wound up in a class for two years taught by David Mamet and
his pal William H. Macy. Whatever talent can be said that I possess
should be attributed to them.
can you tell us about your film and TV work prior to Silence
I always only wanted to make movies. Studying acting
for the stage was my way in, so I thought, and itís a medium I happily
lingered in for much longer than my bank account could tolerate.
Fortunately, Iíve been able to toggle back and forth between theater
and film & television slightly lucratively for the past couple of
decades, but I like to think my low key style lends itself more so to
the minutiae-exposing subtleties of the camera. I prefer the less is
more approach to acting, taking my cue from actors such as Trevor Howard
and Anthony Hopkins, two artists whose jockstraps I could never even
hope to imagine carrying.
For me, honestly, film & TV were media where I could earn enough to
make ends meet. At this point in my life, that is an impossibility if I
were just to do theater. Film & television have the extra incentive
of residuals, which can help to boost a yearís total income, unless
youíve worked for
HBO. My theater roles have been more artistically
rewarding, but only a fraction of audiences have seen me in a David
Mamet play - of which Iíve done many - compared to junk like
HBOís Oz or Huluís The Path. Prouder accomplishments among TV and film stuff
are Mametís films, Huluís The Looming Tower,
HBOís Boardwalk Empire, the various LAw
& Order permutations, and CBSís
Having worked both on feature
films and TV series, how do these sets compare, and which do you prefer,
Film sets are easier than television sets, less stressful. There isnít
the time crunch that you have on episodic, unless itís a bare-bones
indie. Barakís film was not stressful at all. It was rather
family-like, with a skeleton crew, and Barakís mom Nathalie cooking
for us. We even celebrated Passover dinner together one night. A lovely
Besides appearing in front of the camera,
you've also done your fair share of theater work - so what can you tell us
about that aspect of your career?
I did a bajillion plays with a theater company I helped to found at the
end of my NYU days, the Atlantic Theater Company. Weíre in our 36th
year of existence this year. I did roles and plays with my company I
never would have had the chance to do elsewhere. For that I am grateful.
It sucks though that thereís no filmed record of the best of those
productions. Cíest la vie, as the Albanians say. Iím proudest of the
opportunities Iíve had to perform in David Mametís plays. Iíve
performed in close to 30 of his plays, on stage and on the radio, in
multiple productions such as American Buffalo and Glengarry
It literally does not get any better.
One other thing about my theater work. Though I may have made it sound
like the lover Iíve spurned, as it is with so many young loves, itís
where I have the fondest memories and where I had the most rewarding
experiences. Nothing Iíve done in film & television compares to
the thrill of the best roles Iíve been lucky enough to have performed
on stage. I suspect at this stage in my career thatís unlikely to
change. But if an enterprising film director has other thoughts, my
representation is Entertainment Lab in New York & LA.
How would you describe
yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters
My guiding principle as an actor was to always be as truthful as
possible, as veristic as possible, within the parameters of the style of
a piece. Are you asleep yet? Iíll continue while you nap. What always
attracted me to a performer was their sense of truth. If they made me
forget they were acting, I was in thrall to them, and I strove to
emulate that quality with varying degrees of success. To do that -
Iíll be brief here, I hope - I figure out what the hell it is exactly
Iím doing in a scene, making the dialogue, as tortuously contrived as
it sometimes could be, sound as natural as possible, and committing to
it in as dynamically a way as I could without making the audience think
ďOh, stop with the overacting!Ē Thatís it in a nutshell. Itís
what I always found most appealing in actors I liked. Those whoíve
been touchstones for me
Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
The abovementioned Msrs. Howard & Hopkins,
Geraldine Page, Dunaway, Hackman, De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman, Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Redford, Plummer,
Brando (sometimes), Giulietta Masina, Celia Johnson, Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Judy Davis,
Jane Fonda, Denzel, Olivier, later Charles Laughton, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi [Zhang Ziyi bio - click
Chow Yun Fat.
I have a lot of favorite movies, but hereís the top whatever: Chinatown,
The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The 400 Blows,
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Brief Encounter (Lean), La
Strada, The Bicycle
The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, Casablanca,
Black Sunday (Frankenheimerís), Marathon Man, Mean
Streets, Raging Bull, Lawrence of Arabia, Jean de
Florette/Manon of the Spring,
Days of Heaven, The New World, Close Encounters of the Third
Kind, Midnight Cowboy, The French Connection.
... and of course, films you really
I donít really deplore any films. Or maybe I just donít think about
ones that I do. Too much goes into the making of a film that Iím loath to
badmouth any knowing what it takes to get something up on the screen.
Oh all right. The superhero movies. Iíve zero interest in them.
Your website, social media, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
You can find out whatever you might want to know about my professional
credits at jordanlage.com.
Any other of my social media sites are a complete waste of your time.
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Oh, I love to travel. If Barak wants to make another movie in Vermont,
or say Israel, Iím happy to play somebodyís grandfather.
for the interview!