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[Interview] Caleb Landry Jones On ‘Antiviral’ And… Other Stuff

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IFC’s Antiviral, Brandon Cronenberg’s directorial debut that Mr. Disgusting loved out of the TIFF last September (review here), will be opening on VOD and in limited theaters this Friday, April 12th. With the release date looming, I figured I’d share my interview with the film’s star, Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class). We start talking about the film, but things take some interesting detours.

In the film, “Syd March (Caleb Landry) is an employee at The Lucas Clinic – a company that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to fans who wish to fulfil their obsessive desire for real intimacy with their idols. As well as working for them, Syd also supplements his income by smuggling viruses out of the clinic in his own body in order to sell them on the black market. Constantly ill and losing his edge, Syd becomes careless and infects himself with an unusual virus carried by superstar Hannah Geist (Gadon).

Head inside for the interview. It was a long divergent conversation that I couldn’t totally understand, but I have transcribed it to the best of my ability. Even if you can’t make sense of this interview, he turns in a remarkable performance in the film.

When you’re approaching a character like this, who could teeter on parody – how do you find the center?

I suppose if we talk about style, I’d been watching movies at the time, I forget the names – I apologize. Just too many damn things. 9 1/2 Weeks, I think. Is that the one about the abortion?

I’m not sure.

The two ladies? The two women? They have to get an abortion illegally and live through the process of doing it. It’s in a time period, but I’m not sure about the name of it. Then there’s one, Objective? I’m not sure about the name but I think that’s what it’s called. It’s realism, if that makes sense.

These films, there was a lot of time progressing – as time does in real life. If that makes sense.

When you read the script for this film, did it strike you as an accurate extrapolation of where we’re headed with celebrity culture?

Well, I’m from Texas. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 19 and I’d done two films before that. I’d also done a little bit of television. And when I came down here I wasn’t expecting anything I suppose in terms of what you’re talking about. Celebrity. I never thought about it. I only thought about the work if that makes sense.

The mentality people had towards certain situations, I had all sorts of friends. And I had to think about how to proceed and it made a big impact on me. So it was extremely close to what I encountered when I got out here.

What was it like working with Brandon Cronenberg?

It was a dream come true. As is every film and television show I’ve been a part of. They’ve all been dreams come true, I’ve been lucky to be in every single one of them. I was given an opportunity to do something I had never done before. An opportunity no one else had given me. It was fantastic.

What’s coming up next for you?

Queen and Country we’re shooting that soon. John Boorman is directing, he did Hope And Glory. I’m excited beyond belief, and yet terrified. I’m terrified of everything I’ve ever done, which I’m finding to be a necessity.

  • eagleye25

    This film was a real treat. I doubt it could have worked without Jones’ performance.

  • undertaker78

    I will say that this was disturbing, in a gross kind of way, but Antiviral was extremely boring and would not recommend this to anyone. Certain aspects were laughably unrealistic and had a schlock feel to it. Jones did unbelievable for the circumstances and pretty much held anything and everything worthwhile together.