Sunday, January 16, 2022

How the role of a grubby former porn star helped fuel this actor’s career

Joshua Three is not known for excellent cell phone reception. But 47-year-old Simon Rex, who moved to a desert city after his eclectic career as a comedian, rapper, MTV VJ and model slowed, was in a particularly susceptible mood when he received the biggest call of his life.

“I was just sitting there, looking at my ceiling fan, wondering what would happen next in my life, what would happen next in my career, what would happen next with the planet … and then my friend called me unexpectedly. “

A friend wanted to connect Rex with Sean Baker, an adventurer and critically acclaimed director of The Mandarin and the Florida Project. Baker conceived a new project, Red Rocket, that would film quickly and safely in the midst of a pandemic, and he thought Rex was perfect for the lead role.

Speaking via Zoom at the Middleburg, Virginia Film Festival, Rex recalls an unusual listening experience.

“So Baker is calling me and sending me a paragraph. I am I called on the phone, read the paragraph in the kitchen and sent it to him. And he is such that you just got the lead role in my new film. I need you to be in Texas in three days. “

Baker rented a car for Rex so he could drive to Texas without being quarantined for a week.

“I just jumped right into it. There was no time to think what I actually like. I think it served this film. “

Rex is as addictive as Mikey Saber, a washed-out porn star who returns to the Texas Gulf Coast after falling to the bottom. After sneaking onto his estranged wife’s couch and taking a job as a petty drug dealer, Saber tries to improvise to get back into business with the help of his new teenage sweetheart (Suzanne Sleep).

Simon Rex in the movie Red Rocket.

(A24)

With a boyish charm and ruthless self-interest, Saber cultivates an atmosphere of threat and manipulation, never completely losing the public’s sympathy. Appearing in virtually every scene in the film, Rex takes a challenging tightrope walk.

Drawing on anti-hero influences such as Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver and Danny McBride in Eastbound and Down, Rex realized he needed to make Saber charming enough to root for her.

“If you just read the script, there is nothing decent or good about this character.

“So I just made him boyish, somewhat charming, funny and cute as much as I could considering the dialogues. [Baker] let me improvise a little, and I just kind of like to make it stupid. Maybe he’s like a little kid who doesn’t know what he’s doing, you know? “

But even while starring in the most intense role in his career, Rex waited for the bottom to fall. “I didn’t call my agent to tell them I got the job until the last day of filming,” he says. “Because I didn’t think we were going to survive COVID, it was very chaotic and it was all just surreal. And then on the last day of filming, I called my agents and said, “I just starred in a Sean Baker movie.” They were like, “And what are you talking about?”

Now, after a career largely defined by pranks and wacky jokes, Rex has a chance to win outside awards.

“I had an amazing experience in show business,” he says. “I’ve been at the top of the mountain, at the bottom of the mountain, from studio films to network TV shows and MTV. I had success and then nothing happened. But this is different. I have never been into anything that commands critical respect when receiving these awards at festivals. Until now, I have never seen people look at me like a real actor. “

New doors are opening for him in Hollywood, according to Rex, despite the fact that Red Rocket has barely been seen when it launched in early December. “There are people who ask me to meet, and if you had told me a year ago, I would have laughed. I mean, I barely made it to the audition. “

Rex says he moved to the desert as a kind of surrender, telling himself that he will be fine whether the phone rings or not. So, if there is a lesson to be learned from his recent successes, it is nothing short of “Don’t give up on your dream.”

And crucially, he doesn’t think the previous incarnation of Simon Rex would have had the talent and depth to play Red Rocket.

“At one time, I think I just wanted to do comedy because it’s easy to hide behind being a comedian and just joke,” he says. “When you’re 20, there isn’t a lot of history, struggles, and life experiences. Now that I’m in my 40s, I just have more opportunities to live. So I think this is the perfect time to be more dramatic. You get older and life is no longer just a joke. You know, life humiliates you. “

Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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