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Monday, December 2, 2013

Michael C. Hall: "I Can't Deny That I Have an Appetite For Morally Grey, Unsympathetic Characters''

via The Sydney Morning Herald: Does Michael C. Hall seem a little preoccupied with death? His 2001 role as an undertaker in the hit series Six Feet Under was followed by his critically acclaimed 2006 title role as a serial killer in the TV drama Dexter.

Now it continues with the indie drama film Kill Your Darlings, in which he plays the murdered gay lover of an early member of the legendary Beat generation.

Hall laughs in response to this impressive list of death-related work and jokes, ''actually, for my next project, I'm playing Bozo the Clown!''

Looking relaxed, the bearded 42-year-old is sitting in a Toronto hotel suite the morning after his new film has been enthusiastically received at the film festival.

''I can't deny that I have an appetite for these maybe more complex, morally grey, inherently unsympathetic stories or characters,'' he says. ''But yeah, I'd also love to have the opportunity to play someone who is not uniquely afflicted or uniquely capable, someone who is a regular person to whom something miraculous happens.'' Read more after the jump!


That won't happen in his new film, set in 1944 at New York's Columbia University, where three icons of American literary and cultural revolution become involved in a real-life drama of murder and obsession.

Before Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) became leaders of the San Francisco Beat generation of the 1950s, they were students here, along with fellow writer Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Within months of the group declaring their ''new vision'' for art and literature, Carr has stabbed and killed his former lover, David Kammerer (Hall), and Ginsberg's life is forever changed.

Hall is protective of his real-life character, whose graphic murder is played out in the film.

''He was often characterised as a monster or a predator, or sinister, but I think he was a human being who was afflicted in his own way,'' he says. ''And there was a purity about what he felt, in spite of its arguable inappropriateness, so the chance to humanise or to a degree sympathise the character was part of the appeal.''

After growing up in North Carolina, Hall attended graduate school at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and had an impressive theatre career for many years before his TV fame. With Dexter recently wrapping its eight-season run, Hall admits to having mixed feelings about moving on.

''There's some sadness, some wistfulness and some pride that we did it as long as we did,'' he says, ''but I also feel some relief not to be carrying around the continued obligation to simulate this murderousness!''

Hall says he was a ''huge fan'' of the Beat poets as a young man. ''The first thing I read was Kerouac's On the Road, then Ginsberg's HOWL and Burroughs' Naked Lunch, and I'm also a fan of Gregory Corso and Herbert Huncke,'' he adds.

The actor proudly admits he met Allen Ginsberg in the early 1990s through a friend who worked for him.

''I was at a party at his home that he was throwing for his poetry students from Brooklyn College and I sat down with him and he asked me what I did,'' he recalls.

''I told him I was an actor and that I was in a production of Henry V and he asked me to recite some of my lines and I was very shy and nervous and recited them in a sort of monotone and he said, 'do you always deliver your lines in such a monotone voice?' It was good to see he could still be brutally honest!''

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