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Black Sheep interviews Max Minghella

The cast of George Clooney’s THE IDES OF MARCH is practically mammoth. Aside from Clooney himself, you have Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood. If you go one more name down the list though, you’ll come by one Max Minghella, and once you see the film, you’ll know why his name deserves to be included amongst all these others.

Minghella with Hoffman, Tomei and Gosling

“It’s an amazing privilege to work with people like that,” the 26-year-old, London native tells me in his charming accent. “It was such a useful experience in terms of education.” Personal benefits aside though, Minghella, who was part of another impressive cast last year in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, hopes the film’s pedigree does not hurt its chances of being seen. “There are so many prestigious actors, I hope it doesn’t turn people or get them to not root for the movie because I think it has a really strong heart.” So why the elaborate casting then? “I don’t think its cast for the sake of casting. It happens to have an extraordinary cast but they’re all the right people for the parts.”

In The Social Network

Minghella, the son of the late filmmaker, Anthony Minghella, was “obsessed” with Beau Willimon’s “Farrugut North”, the play this film is based on (“I saw it a lot”). He is happy that Clooney has done such a fine job directing. “All of the things I loved in the play are retained but George has managed to stretch it out on a much bigger canvas,” he states with some relief. And what of Clooney as a director? “He’s very clear. He’s a very pragmatic filmmaker, which makes you feel very safe as an actor. You feel like you have a real boss who knows where he needs to be and knows where he needs to take us.” Incidentally, Minghella and Clooney have worked together before; he played Clooney’s son in Syriana.

Minghella and Gosling

“I never thought I was going to be an actor but I always knew I would be in film,” Minghella tells me when I ask if this is always where he saw his life headed. You might suspect that Minghella’s interest in filmmaking came from his Oscar-winning father, but in fact it was his mother who peaked his interest at a very young age. Carolyn Choa is a choreographer now but when Minghella was still a baby, she worked for the British Board of Film Classification, the British equivalent of the MPAA. “When I was a baby, she’d have to watch like five or six movies a day, and she’d tell me the plot summaries for each of these movies as my bedtime stories. So my imagination as a person is totally intwined with film as a medium. I wouldn’t know how to do anything else.”

So while Minghella’s name may not be above the title, he is honoured to have been a part of THE IDES OF MARCH. “I’ve never had this kind of fairy tale experience before of really wanting something, feeling like you’re the right person for it, and then it working out so simply. That’s never been my story before.”

And with that, a new story begins.

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