Jonathan Pryce Interview: The Wife

Game of Thrones guest star Jonathan Pryce joins Christian Slater and the legendary Glenn Close in The Wife.  The film is based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer, directed by Björn Runge, with a screenplay by Jane Anderson.  It tells the story of Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) reflecting on her life during a trip to Stockholm.  Her husband, Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), is going to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature and the couple is travelling to Stockholm for the presentation.  Pryce also gave an update on the journey of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote to U.S. theaters.

Screen Rant: Amazing job on the film.  I absolutely love it. For our audience, tell us a little bit about the relationship between Joe and Jane.

Jonathan Pryce: Joe and Joan.

Screen Rant: Joe and Joan.  Did I say Jane?

Jonathan Pryce: Well, there is a relationship I have with Jane, but we don’t see that in the film. It’s odd to talk about this film. Difficult to talk about this film, because everything you say is a kind of spoiler alert for what’s going on in the film. Because they’re… it’s an examination of a long marriage.

People who have been together, since college through to being 70-year-olds. And it’s a dissection of a long relationship, a loving relationship can be. The highs and the lows and whatever.  And the good times and the bad times. And see all those things being resolved during the film. And the cost of film is based on a secret. And I think initially, that was what I felt would be the difficulty with the film.  Was maintaining this secret and maintaining the film’s credibility. And, I think we do it.

Screen Rant: You touched on the complexity.  This film has to deal a lot with the complexities of marriage along with sexism in the workplace.  What do you want audiences to take away from that?

Jonathan Pryce: Well, I want the audience to take away from the film the same thing I feel about any work I’m involved in, is they take away their own viewpoint.  And you don’t oversell. It’s not an issue film. But the issue that is explored here is kind of coincidental to the issues that are being explored in society today. And like any good film, any social or political issue, is relevant to that time. And it’s relevant 18 months later and 18 years later.

Screen Rant: Right. Something that I noticed in this film too, everything seemed so organic. And I know that your director, who had come from the world of a stage plays. Can you talk to me about some of how the rehearsals went? Because everything, just the movement seemed organic. The dialogue, everything just seemed really organic.

Jonathan Pryce: Yeah. Well, you’ve got two actors who have been doing it for 40 years and who listened to each other. In the past I’ve felt people’s performances, they’re performing for the camera and not being honest and truthful to the person they’re acting with. And I was so unaware of the camera, as was Glenn. So, it was about being together and trusting that beyond and off, the camera man would find all these moments. And that’s what’s so gratifying when you see the film.  And you see your own work. You think he’s got the moments that, wait, yes, where you’re saying something. But also, the moments where you’re not speaking, especially Glenn. Catches all her reactions and all her comments where she’s saying nothing but thinking it.

Screen Rant: Sure. And that bleeds through right through to the audience. Switching gears for a second, I know that you’re working with Terry Gilliam on Don Quixote. Can you give us an update on that?

Jonathan Pryce: Well it was a closing film at Cannes. Received incredibly well. 20-minute standing ovations. And it’s released in France, and it’s released in Spain, and lots of other European territories.  And now working on a deal for America, so it will get here.

It’s a big crazy film. And I had one of the best times in my life working on it. How could you not, playing Don Quixote? And so, I got to ride a horse, I got to joust, I got to sword fight, I got to sing, I got to dance. And this is not a spoiler alert. I got to die. Because it is called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

MORE: Glenn Close Interview for The Wife

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