Jamie was interviewed for Philippine Daily Inquirer. The movie premiered there on the first week of September. He talks about his character, Adam, how was it like working with Chloë Grace Moretz and RJ Cutler, what bands inspired him for the role of Adam, and more.
Tell us about your character, Adam, and the journey he takes with Mia in the film.
Adam is in high school. He’s in a rock band and he notices Mia playing her cello after class is finished. I think he sees himself in her and her interest in music. What attracted him more than physically was just her level of interest in her instrument and her music. They develop a relationship and then, obviously, this awful crash happens where she goes into a coma. This happens right after they’ve had a massive blow-up, so it’s him comprehending the fact that he might lose her without getting to say “sorry.”
You also play guitar and sing in the film.
I’m not that great. I can just play some basic chords and that’s it. If I was playing guitar by myself, especially an electric guitar, I think I’d definitely be found out. But I can play some basic things and get by. And I’ve watched a bunch of front men. It was just taking little bits from guys that I liked.
What bands did you check?
Julian Casablancas from The Strokes. When I start to conduct the audience, I wanted to just bring loads of energy just to get the crowd excited. And that was so much fun. It was great. They brought these extras in and they just loved it. Eventually, they started singing the songs back, and I can’t even imagine what that must feel like for a band.
A friend of mine is in a band at the moment, and I went to a gig about three weeks ago. It was the first time I was seeing young kids singing the lyrics back at them, and I could see it in his face, like: “Oh my God, they’re singing every single word.” I can’t imagine what that must have felt like for him. So for me to have that in a split second was kind of cool.
You’re from the UK, but your American accent is so good. Is this something that you developed in acting school, or did you just wing it?
I’ve been winging it, basically. (Laughs) Don’t tell anyone. I remember a period in my life where I was watching a lot of movies, and I just picked it up. I didn’t really have any lessons. It’s just something that, over time and through practice, it just kind of felt right, really, so I was pretty lucky.
What is R.J. Cutler like to work with as a director, and what was his process with the actors?
I think the fact that he comes from a documentary filmmaking place, he brought that human element to everything that he did. And I think as actors you can only respond to that brilliantly, because we’re all trying to convey the same thing. We’re trying to tell a story that’s truthful and that people will relate to. And I think having a background in documentary filmmaking is great, because that’s the kinds of stories that they’re used to telling.
He gave you an iPod with a playlist on it for your character. Can you talk about that?
He gave me a little iPod Shuffle with a bunch of music, like The Smiths, The Ramones, any kind of rock band you can imagine. But then I had my own bunch of stuff that I would listen to, some more contemporary stuff that I was interested in and that I thought was appropriate, like The 1975. I listened to them all the time. They were a group around at the moment that a lot of people like. And I’d watch a lot of gigs as well. On YouTube, I’d watch a bunch of shows just to get an idea of how people respond to crowds and that was great. It was cool being a rock star for a little bit.
Such a great interview!!! You can read it in full and find more about Jamie and his thoughts on the movie here.