How did you enjoy your recent visit to China?
Johnny Depp: It was amazing. It really was an amazing experience on a cultural level. Just constant information and something new everywhere you look. Always something interesting, something different. I found a real warmth in the people. The people were very sweet and welcoming, too. It was quite a turnout.
Your character becomes both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster. Did Frankenstein inspire you when you were playing Dr. Will Caster?
Johnny Depp: It didn’t. I wish I had. It would have been brilliant to say, so I probably will say that for the rest of the day. But, no, I didn’t give it any thought at all. But in about an hour and a half, it will have been the whole basis for my character. Thanks for that.
Wally Pfister: I think the comparisons were there and were made. What I was doing in making the film was that I would throw ideas to Jack to see whether, as you’re crafting the screenplay, whether this was something you had in mind.
Jack Paglen: Frankenstein as an archetype? Yeah, it absolutely was there. We were very aware of that, and there are many stories like that. I looked at and re-read all of them.
This is your first screenplay.
Jack Paglen: It is my first screenplay.
How does this feel right now?
Jack Paglen: Unbelievably cool (laughs).
And Wally, this is your directorial debut. How does that feel?
Wally Pfister: Unbelievably cool (laughs). It’s thrilling.
Did you think of Will Caster as a good or a bad guy?
Johnny Depp: When we were doing the film, we were all very closely mapping everything out. We wanted to make sure everything came together in the right order. Especially for Will, in terms of that map, it should be a little vague. Is he losing it? Is it like any of us? I mean, you could make an analogy to a security guard guy who three weeks prior to, he was mowing lawns for a living, the second he puts on a uniform and a badge, boing, he’s like, a man. I’d imagine the majority of us all have felt the wrath of the overzealous security guard guy.
Is there something lying dormant in the man that’s waiting to be pumped up with that kind of power? I don’t know. Does it reveal him? Don’t know. Does it change him? Don’t know. Does any bad person think they’re doing bad things? Historically, they all thought they had a pretty decent cause. A few were off by quite a lot, and they were dumb. I think Will is dedicated to the cause and maybe the power. When you realize you’re essentially God, there ain’t nothing on earth more powerful than you, you can do anything you want. You can transfer every cent from the Bank of England into an account in Syria. You can do anything you want. Will was just so focused on the cause. It’s sort of like (Argentine revolutionary) Che Guevara. You get into it, too far into it, maybe.
You’re starting a movie in a couple weeks called Black Mask ,in which you play the gangster Whitey Bulger. What’s the appeal in doing that role?
Johnny Depp: I find it difficult to call him “Whitey.” In Black Mass I play James “Whitey” Bulger. The reason to play it is obvious to me. (He’s a) fascinating character. I don’t think it’s like anything I’ve done before on that level. So I’m very excited to slide into that skin for a little bit.
Kate, what is your take on technology?
Kate Mara: Well, I’ve been without my phone for the past three hours and I’m sitting here thinking about it right now. I didn’t think I was that reliant on technology, so I can understand a little bit where Bree’s ideas come from in RIFT. I think a lot of other people rely a little bit too much on technology, but I’ve always been somewhere in between.