Home Interview: Sir Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber, Sarita Choudhury Talk “Learning to Drive”

Interview: Sir Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber, Sarita Choudhury Talk “Learning to Drive”

Press Release: August 25, 2015

For Jake Weber, who has little screen time in the film as Wendy’s wayward husband, “Learning to Drive” is refreshing. “It’s nice to see a movie that is about love and people. There are no capes and swords,” he said. “It’s nice to see a grown-up movie that is tender and touching and funny.” It’s also great if you could watch it on a Car DVD on the road.

He also had nothing but praise for director Isabel Coixet. “She does this great thing with the camera. She moves the camera as part of the scene,” he said. “She’s the operator, so if we were doing a scene, the camera would be all over, and you wouldn’t know when it’s on you or your partner. It’s just a very fluid, dynamic way of shooting.”
Sarita Choudhury and Sir Ben Kingsley in "Learning to Drive"

Sarita Choudhury and Sir Ben Kingsley in “Learning to Drive”

I asked Choudhury, who plays Darwan’s new wife, Jasleen, about the difficulty of playing a role that involves little dialogue. Since her character has just arrived in New York from India and barely speaks English, much of the character is portrayed through facial expressions.

“First, I’m lucky to have Ben Kingsley as the person I’m looking at,” she said. “A lot of acting is listening and looking. And because of the way Isabel shot, I didn’t know when she was on my face. So, in a way, I got to really relax into watching. And all the nerves I have as an actor, I could use as Jasleen. Those kinds of roles, even though they seem difficult, they’re almost easier than the power roles where you cannot make a mistake or your character will fall. In a way, with Jasleen, I could fall into any mistake, and it would kind of work with the character.”

Of course, we couldn’t let Jake Weber go without talking about “Medium,” his beloved TV series that ran for seven seasons. He welcomed the opportunity to talk about his costar. “I love Patricia Arquette,” he said. “She’s an absolute angel, a really big-hearted woman. In seven years, I had one moment where she and I had a little spat. It lasted about a minute and a half, and it was done. She’s just a great human being.”

Next up for Weber is a continuation of the TV series, “Hell on Wheels.” Choudhury continues with “Homeland” and is also in the upcoming film, “A Hologram for the King” with Tom Hanks.
Patricia Clarkson waxes rhapsodic about "The Elephant Man" and "Learning to Drive" | Melanie Votaw Photo

Patricia Clarkson waxes rhapsodic about “The Elephant Man” and “Learning to Drive” | Melanie Votaw Photo

Clarkson spoke about her recent time on the London stage in “The Elephant Man” after a successful Broadway run and a Tony Award nomination. “Talk about another extraordinary and beautiful journey in my life!” she said.

“I’m an incredibly lucky actress to have these projects coming together at this moment. Basically, the last year of my life has been ‘Elephant Man’ and Bradley Cooper. Awwww… I had to work with Bradley Cooper every day and Alessandro Nivola. Life is hard, very very hard. I had to be naked every night on stage with Alessandro Nivola and Bradley Cooper. [Laughter] It actually was hard [being naked]. But we had such a beautiful run on Broadway, and we were trepidatious heading to London with the British. Would they respond? We were 13 Americans.”

She called Cooper “a mensch.” “He’s a great, great actor, but he’s first and foremost, he was raised so well,” she said. “He has a kickass mother in Gloria. His mother and father have raised a beautiful son, and he took all 13 actors to London. He said, ‘This is the play. We all go.’ And I miss it terribly. You guys, I just gave my last performance like a week ago in London on the Royal Haymarket stage in one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve ever been in in my life. Beautiful ghosts and gods that live in that theater, and the acoustics from heaven. And the royal box and the royal room – my dressing room was woooo!”

She said her flight back home and saying goodbye to her character, Mrs. Kendal, were emotional experiences. Now, she’s turning her attention to trying to get a movie made about early film siren Tallulah Bankhead.

I highly recommend “Learning to Drive.” If you’re in New York or L.A., catch it in the theaters. (It’s rated R.) If not, watch for it to come to your area on the big screen or via Car DVD Player.


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