LRM EXCLUSIVE: Interview With The Invisible Man Himself, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

invisible man

Greetings, folks! @Indy_Filmmaker here! Ready to bring you some exclusive goodness. This time, in the hot-seat, is Mr. Oliver Jackson-Cohen, the Invisible Man himself in The Invisible Man! What does it take to play a character that is mostly… invisible for a good chunk of the film? What does it take to play a murdering sociopath? What Universal Monster should Blumhouse tackle next? I got to sit down with Jackson-Cohen and talk about all of this stuff, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!

And don’t forget, The Invisible Man hits theaters this weekend!

LRM: You’re obviously a very important character in the film. You’re the titular character, but it’s kind of this weird thing where you’re invisible.

Oliver Jackson-Cohen: But yet I’m not in it.

LRM: So my thing is, were you present for those invisible scenes or doing mocap or whatever?

Jackson-Cohen: Yeah. We’ve tried to kind of not say how we did it, how a lot of that stuff was done, but I was very much there for a lot of it. And [director Leigh Whannell] was brilliant and [Elizabeth Moss] as well. We discussed so much. If there was a stunt, all of it was approached from a character’s point of view. So it was, would he do this? Would he if it was something that I couldn’t do. It was very, very character-driven, the whole kind of shooting process.

LRM: You could definitely tell. You mentioned character, was there anything with this character that you related to kind of-

Jackson-Cohen: No. That would be psychotic.

LRM: How do you—or do you—find, in your preparation for the role, sympathy in the character?

Jackson-Cohen: I think the hard thing is, is that you can’t as an actor that’s the kind of oldest kind of trick in the book, but you can’t put judgment on your character. And so that sometimes is quite hard, but you have to find a rationale for why they are behaving the way that they are. And that involved, for me, I’m quite diligent in the way that I work. I have to figure out the back story I have to figure out where did he grow up? Even if it, as you say, he’s invisible. But for me, I find that stuff very important. Because I think it informs every single part of a human being’s behavior. And so I was quite diligent about that work. And Lizzie and I spent an awful lot of time with Lee talking about the dynamics and talking about the relationships and talking about the cycle of abuse and the behavior that she experiences. And so we had to be very, very specific. But in the way into Adrian for me, felt I had to… All it needs, I think for me personally, is I need to find one tiny thing, and it’s a start, and then I can jump in. And so I had looked at how he becomes who he becomes, and I just made a decision about something that happened in his childhood and was like “That. That’s my way in.”

LRM: Interesting. So, obviously, we talked about the departure from the original Invisible Man, but did you watch that film or try to stay away from that influence?

Jackson-Cohen: I’ve definitely seen the film. I saw it years ago. I felt that because it was such a departure, I didn’t need to revisit it for this particular project. But I mean— it’s just such a brilliant … I mean, still astounding how they managed to do that. So I respect the movie for what it is. But I didn’t feel the need to necessarily revisit any of it for this.

LRM: That makes sense. What do you think will surprise audiences the most about this version of The Invisible Man?

Jackson-Cohen: I think the fact that it is such an original re-imagining and the fact that it’s so grounded as a story. There is no boogeyman. There is no monster. He’s a real-life person that is hell-bent on destroying someone’s life. And I think that that makes it infinitely more terrifying. And so hopefully that’s what people kind of resonate with. I think that there is something scarier than than a monster. That it is scarier if it’s a real person.

LRM:  What was your favorite thing about the making of The Invisible Man?

Jackson-Cohen: It was working with Lizzie and Lee. [Lizzie] is just so brilliant. I have never laughed that much in my life on a set. She’s so witty, and she’s talented and all of that. We all know that. But I was so amazed at how much fun we had on the shoot. And working with Lee, he was so collaborative, and he’s again, is a very, very talented filmmaker. And so the whole shoot I genuinely felt so lucky to be a part of.

RELATED – The Invisible Man Trailer Shows Physical And Mental Abuse At Its Worst

LRM:  That’s awesome. You talk about fun on set and everything. Is there anything scary on set that happened? I know that’s kind of the cliche question, but-

Jackson-Cohen: Do you know what? It’s so weird. I did a horror show last year for Netflix, and no part of that was scary to shoot. And it’s the same thing with this. But it’s kind of great as an actor because you then get to watch an entirely different experience when you watch the final product. So I saw this movie the other day. I saw an earlier cut of it, and I saw the final cut the other day, and I genuinely was so invested in the movie. Because it’s such a different experience from shooting it, all of it’s built in and edit. All of it’s pieced together in that way.

LRM: Well, you’re no stranger to horror with Hill House, and obviously you were in Dracula. Blumhouse is going to make all these universal monster movies now, what do you think they should make next?

Jackson-Cohen: I think they should make Jekyll and Hyde next. Because Lee has set the tone and I think he set the bar really, really high with what he’s achieved with this. I think that similarly to what they’ve done with Joker, you could really explore something quite fascinating with Jekyll and Hyde. If you based it and you ground it in reality, it can be really, really disturbing.

LRM: I like it. So would you want the Jekyll-

Jackson-Cohen: One hundred percent. Yeah. I’m going to go and sit in Universal and Blumhouse’s offices and say I want to play all of them. Just all of them.

LRM: Oh, they should let you play all of them. So this is another cliche question, but I think it’s a fun question. If you did get the power of invisibility, what would be the first thing that you did?

Jackson-Cohen: Rob a bank. What would you do?

LRM: I probably rob a bank too.

Jackson-Cohen: Yeah. Let’s get two [invisibility] suits, and we can do it.

LRM: Was there anything that you loved about your playing your character? I know he’s evil and everything else, but is there anything fun about playing the ultimate bad guy?

Jackson-Cohen: I don’t know if it was fun. It was a bit strange. There’s a scene in the movie between Lizzie and some of the takes are 12 minute takes or something, and we would finish the scene, and you just feel like such a piece of shit. It’s just so awful. I don’t know how much fun that is to inflict that much pain on someone. I don’t know how much it is.

STOP. This next bit is a BIG spoiler for The Invisible Man, so consider yourself warned.

—SPOILER ALERT—

Still here? Ok, let’s continue!

LRM: So there is kind of a spoiler, I’ll put a spoiler warning in the article, but there is this point in the film where you cut your own throat. What was it like to actually cut your own throat?

Jackson-Cohen: I did it for real. They brought me back from the dead just for this.

LRM: Did you have to wear a whole thing?

Jackson-Cohen: Yeah. It’s a whole neck cast that they do. And it’s very thin. And then it gets to about here. And then they have tubes that go all the way down. So then they have these horrible flap that’s open, and then you sit in place, and then they glue it back together and then you have to. It was hard. We did it twice. And the first time we did it, I had to have a rubber knife. And they said, just put it against your throat and then drag it. And so I pushed too hard, and the knife bent because it’s a rubber knife. So I ruined that shot. And then the second time we did it, I got it. It’s quite technical, but it’s horrible.

And the other thing is that I feel that I die an awful lot on screen. I feel like I’m always dying on screen. And it really, really, really fucks with your head. Like it really does. A lot of Hill house, you’re doing these horrific scenes about abuse. And you’re like it’s upsetting and disturbing, but you’re good. But the minute you asked me to die, something in my brain cannot understand what’s happening. And so you go really quiet and really quite fragile for about a day afterward. It’s the strangest experience.

LRM: My wife’s cried like a baby when you died in Hill House.

Jackson-Cohen: Oh, bless your wife.

LRM: She was very upset. I was upset too.

Jackson-Cohen: I loved Luke Crane. He’s a gem of a boy– poor man.

LRM: Well, thank you very much.

Jackson-Cohen: Thank you. Great to meet you, man.

Well, there you have it, folks. I personally loved the direction they took this reboot of the beloved Universal Classic, even though it’s quite the departure. I foresee this film being very controversial, but I also feel the Universal Monsters will fit right in at Blumhouse moving forward. Definitely check this flick out when The Invisible Man theaters this weekend!

As always, we love to hear from you, so sound off your opinions below, and stay tuned for more exclusives down the road. 

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SOURCE: LRM Online Exclusive

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