"Don’t look into his eyes because he’s just looking where he’s going to fucking bite you.”
-Ben Mendelsohn (on his character "Pope" in ANIMAL KINGDOM)
The first words spoken to Ben prior to our interview was, "It's very surreal sitting in front of you. Two days ago I watched you spike heroine into a girl's arm and suffocate her and now I'm five feet in front of you having a conversation." He laughed, as any man with a pinch of humor would, and then said "that's fucking great." Ben plays the villain "Pope" in David Michôd's ANIMAL KINGDOM. He's not just your average bad guy you'll see in a DIE HARD flick, he's the guy that'll scare the piss out of you just by looking at you (I was five feet in front of that above stare). At the end of the film, you will hate this man. With that, you can imagine the level of difficulty it was holding composure while speaking to him.
That uneasy composure vanished within a few seconds after he started speaking. Like David, he's just happy to be here. In our interview we spoke about how he got into the intensity of his character. I don't want to write anything about that conversation here because I want you to just watch and listen. And here me roar, this man will get a heavy number of nominations for his performance, of that I have zero doubt in my mind.
[Note: This was originally published on GordonandtheWhale.com on August 13th, 2010.]