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Steven Culp Talks About "The Emperor's Club"

at "The Emperor's Club's" Premiere

November 20, 2002

Kevin Kline, Emile Hirsch, Embeth Davidtz, Edward Herrmann, and Steven Culp joined their fellow "The Emperor's Club" cast and crew members and celebrity guests for a special benefit premiere of "The Emperor's Club" on November 20, 2002 in Beverly Hills.

The special screening raised funds for the Los Angeles Mentoring Partnership (LAMP), which promotes the expansion of quality mentoring for children and youth through advocacy, recruitment and training.

Photo ©Rebecca Murray

Interview by Rebecca Murray

Did you watch Paul Dano, the actor who plays your character at a younger age?

You know, I did watch dailies of him and stole from him shamelessly. There were one or two things that I tried to pick up without making it seem too mannered, and then a lot of the rest of the stuff is building up the life after that. There's a whole thing about being in the war - it's amazing. I did actually an amazing amount of research, probably more than I needed to do but when you walk into the room in one of these kinds of roles, you have to have a full life operating inside of you so that you can just show up. That's what I really worked to achieve. I haven't seen the movie yet so I hope it worked.

You play a small yet pivotal role in this movie. What attracted you to this particular character?

When I read the script there were a number of roles open. I met with Michael [Hoffman], our director, and we talked about a couple of different roles. Weeks and weeks later they offered me this one. When I heard I hadn't got the role that Joel Gretsch is doing, I thought, "God, I hope it's this other one" just because it's one of those roles that carries a lot of weight, even though it doesn't say a whole lot.

Your character has a very emotionally charged scene with Kevin Kline. Can you talk about filming that scene?

That was actually a scary scene to do, that scene you are talking about. It was one that was very exciting to shoot because we sort of discovered it as we shot it. There's only so much that you can do until you actually show up and you're dealing with the other person. And then, luckily, Michael had the time to sort of feel how it should be. But I remember I was really excited after we finished. I thought, "Man, I think that's going to look real good."

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