Since his breakthrough role as a nebbish teen in Dazed and Confused, Adam Goldberg has worked steadily in both television and movies, including memorable turns in Saving Private Ryan and A Beautiful Mind. Goldberg can currently be seen in theaters opposite Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise, Broken Flowers) in the relationship comedy 2 Days in Paris. Meanwhile, he's been hilariously slimy on the small screen as Entourage's wannabe movie producer Nick Rubenstein. The Los Angeles native gave TVGuide.com a bit of background on his Parisian production, as well as some insight on playing a Hollywood low-life.
TVGuide.com: How did you get involved with Julie Delpy and why do you think she saw you as a good fit for Jack in 2 Days in Paris?
Adam Goldberg: I've known Julie for years. We were in a relationship years ago, which was born out of a work experience. I was doing a pilot for ABC called True Love and it was about a dysfunctional couple. The idea was a four-camera show that would sort of be like Dharma & Greg. It's funny because the relationship dynamic in that is sort of like the one in [2 Days in Paris]. Some years later, long after we split up, she brought this project up as a concept. At first we thought it was going to be a cowriting/co-improvisation process, but it basically morphed into her writing, then coming to me to discuss it, then her going and writing, and having some more discussions. That's pretty much what you see.
TVGuide.com: At first Jack comes across as sarcastic and self-consumed, but he grows more endearing as the film goes on. Was it important to make sure that audiences could sympathize with both characters in the relationship?
Goldberg: Sure. At a certain point, you've got to let that stuff go, but something we talked about at great length months before filming was that the characters had to have layers, and there wouldn't be a good-guy/bad-guy dynamic. We felt strongly that the situation should never be that one person is definitely right and one is definitely wrong.
TVGuide.com: It walks a thin line between feeling improvised and tightly structured.
Goldberg: The story was very structured. Certain scenes are completely as-written with only slight adjustments to put the words into my own language. But other scenes are off-the-cuff. There's a scene at a fast-food restaurant, where the script just says, "He has trouble ordering a hamburger." That ended up being entirely improvised on film. So it really was an amalgam of both approaches.
TVGuide.com: Does participating in a relationship study like this give you a better understanding of your own relationships?
Goldberg: There's absolutely no question. It doesn't happen as much when you're shooting, but when we were developing the script, I would reflect on my experiences. I'm not saying there's scene after scene that I suggested, but there are certain things that I wanted to discuss and grapple with in the film.
TVGuide.com: It's a very personal project for Julie, not only because she wrote and directed it, but also because she cast her own parents as her character's parents and set the film in her hometown. Did that make for a pretty different experience than what you're used to?
Goldberg: It's funny — it started out in her office and in my living room, but once we got to Paris, it was a different, Method-like experience. The dynamic becomes very illustrated in how it's contextualized, because I am actually there in her hometown working with her parents. But I have actually always gotten along with her father. The least biographical part is that he alienates me in the film. In fact, he and I were the bad kids on the set. At times, Julie had some trouble controlling us.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of bad behavior, have you had as much fun playing Entourage's Nick Rubenstein as it looks?
Goldberg: Yes and no. It's a fun part to play, but that's a situation where I'm not improvising a lot. It's like Acting 101, but it's a lot of timing that you've really got to focus on. Everyone assumes you're having fun, but I tend to get distracted and I really have to focus and think about who Nick is. I actually have a tough time relating to that guy, so it's something I have to work at.
TVGuide.com: But you play drug users so well.
Goldberg: I have played more than my share of coke- and speed-addled characters.
TVGuide.com: Is it just that you have a talent for dictating rapidly?
Goldberg: It's a possibility that I seem to have that ability to the people handing out parts.
TVGuide.com: As someone who spent his twenties in Hollywood, how realistic is Entourage?
Goldberg: I think it's fairly realistic, but to be honest that world is so alien to me. I'm from Los Angeles, but I didn't grow up in a Hollywood atmosphere. My parents weren't in the business. So once I started acting, I was still going to the same bar I went to the week before. My friends and I definitely hung out in groups and had the same fraternal thing that they have in Entourage, but in terms of the more shallow aspects of Hollywood and the parties, I've stuck my toe in the water, but as I get older that becomes more and more foreign to me.
TVGuide.com: Will we be seeing any more of Nick, perhaps when "Medellin" goes to Cannes?
Goldberg: That would be the episode [the season finale, airing Sunday at 10 pm/ET]. You see Nick at his most disgusting. The company he's keeping isn't entirely savory. When you see it, you'll know what my day at work was like.
TVGuide.com: Hmmm. I guess I definitely have to watch it now.
Goldberg: It was bizarre and very distracting doing that episode. You'll definitely see what I mean.
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