AVC: Both Tom Hardy’s Forrest Bondurant and Guy Pearce’s Charlie Rakes take on a kind of mythic status as the film progresses. Did they jump out of the book for you in that way; did you see an opportunity to do something particular with those two characters?
NC: Forrest is a great character in the book, and somehow [Hardy’s] interpretation of that was easy. He took it somewhere else completely. His references to the character were, at the time, mystifying. He came in saying, “I want to play Forrest Bondurant like I’m an old lesbian.” Another time he said, “I’m going to play Forrest Bondurant based on the old lady in the cartoon “Tweetie Pie.” Do you know that? Do you know Sylvester and Tweety?
NC: Okay, you know the old lady who looks after them?
AVC: I do.
NC: Okay. That’s who he was basing his character on. So these references were initially very exciting, but also mystifying. In a way, what he did with Forrest, I really understand where he’s coming from. It was very much a weirdly female kind of character who looked after the brood, very much threatened by this other woman that came into the story, Maggie [played by Jessica Chastain]. And that all made a lot of sense, but he did an amazing job on that character, and that’s why he is fit to be such a great actor, I think. As for Guy Pearce, we asked him early on if he would be the villain in the film, and he said he would. He read the script and said he would as long as we made the villain more memorable. At the time, Rakes, the character Rakes, was very much like the character in the book. He was a nasty country cop. We made him a city cop, gave him his disturbed sexuality and all the rest of it. We spent a lot of time on the phone talking about what this character would be like. So he had a lot of input to that character. At some point, he sent a photograph of himself with that hairstyle and his eyebrows shaved off [to] my cell phone and said, “How about I look like this?” And I’m like, “Okay, that’s cool.”