Throughout his career, Kyle MacLachlan has starred in a number of ambitious and compelling projects, with Capone being the latest example of him enlisting in an unconventional endeavor. Having previously collaborated with director David Lynch on a number of occasions, MacLachlan's roles often allow him to play more straightforward characters who find themselves mixed up with some truly eccentric personalities, with Capone being no exception. For the movie, filmmaker Josh Trank tapped Tom Hardy to play the titular character, but rather than be a glamorization of the gangster lifestyle, we see the former mob boss in a downward spiral, with MacLachlan playing a doctor intent on caring for the figure.
In the film, which is available now on VOD through Vertical Entertainment, "Once a ruthless businessman and bootlegger who ruled Chicago with an iron fist, Alfonse Capone was the most infamous and feared gangster of American lore. At the age of 47, following nearly a decade of imprisonment, dementia rots Alfonse’s mind and his past becomes present. Harrowing memories of his violent and brutal origins melt into his waking life. As he spends his final year surrounded by family with the FBI lying in wait, this ailing patriarch struggles to place the memory of the location of millions of dollars he hid away on his property."
ComicBook.com recently caught up with MacLachlan to discuss his interest in the project, collaborating with David Lynch, and life in quarantine.
ComicBook.com: I'm a big Twin Peaks fans so I really appreciate getting the chance to talk about your new film. My wife and I got married last year at the waterfall from the show's opening credits and we served cherry pie and coffee.
Kyle MacLachlan: Oh my god. That's amazing.
And I came up with our theme, "Fire Wed with Me," which is one of the only decisions I can take credit for.
That is pretty good! You did well on that, I think. Well congratulations. And a beautiful part of the world, my gosh.
Absolutely. How have you been surviving life in quarantine? Has your routine change drastically?
I've been incredibly busy. And I can't even tell you what or how or why. We're in L.A. My son has a "Zoom School," for lack of a better word. And because his school is in New York, he starts really early, so we're up at like 6:15. We get him situated in front of his class and I make breakfast for him. And then it's really pretty typical. Kind of a quick workout in the morning and then I'm on the phone, maybe you know, I have a wine company, Pursued by Bear, so I've been working on that and talking to the various people and actually doing Zoom calls and doing virtual tastings. I've been doing a couple of weeks of those. And then just preparing the meals. I'm the cook in the house, so you got to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner and get everything prepped and ready to go. Being in L.A., I have a little outdoor space here. I've got a little garden. So my son and I, after he's done with school, we get out and we work in the garden a little bit and we shoot a few hoops and get ready for dinner. It's not very glamorous. One of the great things about this situation, not that there's really any great things, but it's been the amount of time that I've been able to spend with my son and my family. We're really close. And so I'm happy about that.
I think anyone whose life isn't entirely upended by the quarantine is really appreciative of their situation and doesn't take it for granted.
I completely agree. I miss going to work, of course. I'm anxious to get back to it. Carol's Second Act was not renewed for a second season. So I'm going to miss the cast, of course. The cast members, they become like a family. But I'm also excited about the next things to come. So we'll see.
Speaking of adjusting to quarantine and social distancing, there's news that the Lucky Devil Lounge strip club is coping by starting a drive-through strip club in Portland. Since you starred as Mr. Mayor in Portlandia, it seemed like an idea your character would have thought of.
It's the gift that keeps on giving, Portland. Mr. Mayor would have been 100% behind that, as long as everyone obeyed the speed limit, it would be okay.
Jumping over to Capone, Tom Hardy is a mad man in this in the best possible way and your role is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. What was it that got you so excited about getting involved in the project?
Well, you kind of summed it up when you said two words: Tom Hardy. I just think he's such an amazing performer, a great actor. And working with him was a pleasure. It was nice to learn that, not only do I really admire him as an actor, but he's a great person, a great guy. We got along very well. And to watch his commitment to the character was inspirational. I think from the hours that he spent in the makeup getting the character just right, his attention to detail, his specificity about his approach, you really saw someone who cared passionately about creating this character, depicting the situation of those last few months of his life and what he was going through. But also being just a fun guy on the set. He was really loose and cracking jokes and hanging out and having fun. And very generous with his time with everyone, so that was really nice. So Tom was really a big reason that I was interested to join.
And plus Josh, as a director, I really liked his movie Chronicle. I thought it was such a different take on this superhero idea. What are these gifts that these people, these imaginary gifts that people have and how do they affect people? Like, what would really be the result of this? And how would it change people? And I thought that was such a different way [to tell that story].
I said, "Hey, he's going to have an interesting point of view on this story that was already in the script there." This is an unusual period of time to want to look at, to go take a looking glass into someone's life, the Capone character. And let's not forget that we shot near New Orleans and I'd never filmed down there before. So, I thought that could be kind of fun too.
The way Josh and the director of photography Peter Deming shot down there makes it look like there's magic in the air and that adds to the film's surreal nature.
Well I knew Peter from [Season Three of] Twin Peaks, yeah. So it was kind of a reunion in a way with Peter and I. And I think he's not only incredibly talented, he's a super, super nice guy. And it was nice when I first got there. It's always nice to see a friendly face. And Peter was there and we went out and had a drink and everything. It was just nice to catch up. I feel very comfortable in front of his camera and I know he's creating something really interesting and magical.
Since obviously Capone is inspired by the real person, did you dig much into the reality of the characters to craft your performance or did you build your character through collaborating with Josh?
Mostly script and collaboration. There was a doctor that did care for Capone, but I don't know a whole lot about his motivations. Whether he was altruistic or whether he was there thinking he might be able to benefit in some way from this, from taking care of him. So we said, "Well, what works in the movie?" And I think the idea of walking the line between those two ideas, that he's there, is he self-serving? Or is he actually there because he does care about this guy and what he's going through? And he wants to try to make these last few months as painless for him as possible? And then that was kind of fun.
Especially when he's proposing certain things that are somewhat radical. The idea of [replacing a cigar with a carrot] for smoking and things like that. Diapers and things like that. Is he really trying to humiliate the character? Or is he really trying to do what he thinks is best for the character Tom played? And I think that little suspicion between Capone and this guy was also kind of fun. Kind of like, who's really holding the cards here? I liked that.
With this film depicting the tragedy of the character's physical and mental deterioration, as well as a film like Martin Scorsese's The Irishman depicting the fallout from a life of crime, do you think we've come to a point where the time of the romantic gangster film is over?
Interesting. I don't know. I feel maybe there is more space for a little bit of allowing these characters to have some remorse, possibly. In some ways, I thought that the story was a little bit like the theme of A Christmas Carol. That the character is revisited by his past and is shown what he did and hopefully learns from this. But whether that's true, I don't really know. I thought he sort of had a potential for being a little bit in that [redemption] arena. I don't know. I've not seen it. To be clear, I haven't seen it yet. So I don't know how Josh chose to balance the film, the story. So I'm not sure yet.
The finished film does end up feeling a bit like Barton Fink meets A Christmas Carol.
We'll put that on a poster. You got the log line, I think.
Capone can't come out in theaters because of the pandemic, but David Lynch recently detailed how he thinks TV and streaming services allow for more ambitious storytelling than what needs to meet major studio standards. What are your thoughts, as a performer, on the world of streaming vs. theatrical releases?
One of the things about going to films, which obviously we can't do and I miss that, like everybody misses that, but when you finish a film, so much time goes on and then there's always, "Oh, the premiere is coming." And the premiere is a celebration and it's an acknowledgment of what we've all done together. And it's also a coming together of the cast and a looking at each other and saying, "Hey, we all participated in this, in creating this film," and I miss that aspect of it.
It's nice, it's like the bookends. From the beginning, when you first meet them, until the end. "Hey, we've done this, finished, here's our premiere, here's our celebration of what we've created." And then the movie goes off and does its thing. So that's part of the fun that I miss about going to the movies, of having a premiere or something. But I totally agree with David. I think that the potential for the number of eyes to see this is much greater with streaming.
I think as people's televisions improve and sound systems improve, and experiences are better, there's something to be said for that. I still think there's value in going into a place with a group of people and sitting down in the dark and watching a film, which we obviously can't do now. And who knows if we will ever be able to do that again. That's sort of sad to think about.
It's definitely weird to wonder if it will be three months, six months, a year before we can get back to going to the movies again.
I think there has to be vaccine, I guess, and then I can't imagine that people are not going to want to ... we'll figure out a way to be close together again. But I don't know how, or when, or what.
I'm a big Twin Peaks fans and I think the way the story was wrapped up in the third season was great, but since you are also a fan of the series, as a viewer, are you happy with the story being totally over or would you like it to continue somehow?
I loved it. I think, first and foremost, that this is the Twin Peaks that David Lynch wanted to make and that makes me incredibly happy for him. That's just a resolution that I think was a great, unexpected gift, because I don't think any of us ever anticipated Twin Peaks would be back. It was said in the past, but I think the fans and the drumbeat of the fans and their recognition of what Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer says, "See you in 25 years." It's like, "Okay, we'll put up or shut up." I think David and Mark [Frost] found a way to come up with this story that made them both happy. And you got to thank David Nevins at Showtime for putting it out there and for saying, "Yes, we're going to make this."
And I would play Cooper every day if David would allow it. He's such a great character. And yeah, I am a fan of the show. And I am a big fan of the character.
So it sounds like there's no "Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks performer" and "Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks fan," they're just one and the same?
Yep. All rolled up into one.
You starred in David's Dune back in 1984 and he has made it clear that he had such a bad experience with that project that he has no interest in Denis Villeneuve's upcoming Dune, so I wondered if you felt the same way?
I am looking forward to seeing it. I think Denis is such a wonderful filmmaker. He's put together a really cool cast. I've [loved the books since] I first read them back in, I think I was 15, so like 1972-73. And I remain a fan, particularly of the first book. I think it's one of my favorites, if not my favorite book ever. I would read it every year. So I come at it from a different perspective than David, of course, and I think that the book is so rich and the relationships are so interesting and there are so many ways to interpret it. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does.
Well thanks again for taking the time to talk about Capone and all these other projects.
It's really nice to talk with you, too. Thank you. Well, let's talk again on the next one.
Sounds good. Let's say I'll see you again in 25 years?
Very good. Well, maybe not that long.
Alright, you twisted my arm, we'll make it a regular thing.
Capone is available now on VOD through Vertical Entertainment.