Film Review/Interview: Actor David Hyde Pierce on his new film The Perfect Host
David Hyde Pierce plays the consummate host. His character, Warwick Wilson can whip up a dinner party for a small gathering of friends effortlessly. Table presentation is key, in addition to great food and wine. He prepares duck timed for serving at 8:30. Then a knock at the door changes everything. A criminal (Clayne Crawford) needs a place to hide as he’s just robbed a bank. He pretends to be Warwick’s niece’s friend whose been mugged and lost his luggage and needs to borrow the phone. What the does not know is that Warwick himself is dangerous. Warwick is a prominent detective.
As the movie unfolds you see how these two characters lives unfold and we get a glimpse as to how deceiving appearances can be. Directed by Australian director and co- writer Nick Tommy, it’s a slippery psychological thriller that exposes true human nature and reveals the lengths people will go to satisfy their needs.
Do you cook?
Do you have dinner parties like your character Warwick in the movie?
No. You would think so but no.
The film was shot in 17 days how did you prepare?
I made sure I knew the script and called a friend who explained to me how indie films work and he said be sure you know the script really. well. Unlike a big budget film where you shoot a scene a day with an independent film you shoot 5 scenes a day. So you have to know the material ahead of time.
Your character is a detective and psychotic. Without giving the plot twists away, How did you also make him slightly charming and almost likeable?
Because I found reasons as to why he did the things he did and there was real need there. He just expresses himself differently. But his needs are not that much different than ours. For example the need to have friends. and not just sitting home alone with your things.
Helen Reddy (I am Woman) plays one of your friends that you imagine is attending one of your dinner parties at your fabulous LA home in the movie?
The director and she share the same manager. I recall Helen Reddy when she was actively performing in her career as this sexpot now she is a bit of an earth mother. She had a cameo and she was great. She has a nurturing with a really warm personality.
Why did you take a chance with a first time director?
I had been drinking. No it was that I really liked the script and obviously this is a character and incredible role for any actor to play.
The script provided you with what to get you signed up to play the lead?
If there is humour in the script I am always interested, especially if it is not heavy handed to the audience.
This started out as a short first then became a feature and grabbed you straight away?
Yes The script was really funny twisted, twisty and kept me interested.
Did you study a lot about multiple personality disorders?
Yes in his voice (then no in another voice). No actually I read a bit on hallucinating and delusions. But as an actor in general I could make an analogy that we are always playing different roles. Most of us have different elements of various people in our personalities. Every day we read about people in power of positions doing things that seem odd.
So you did no real preparation other than rehearsal before you started shooting?
No it was all on the page. Because it was so well written and of the course being so complex I had to keeping reading and re reading the script to find the motivation to his dark side. It was a great group we all trusted each other. There were no arguments we just did the work.
What is your next project?
I am going to direct my first independent film.
What’s it about?
It a musical comedy called It Should Have Been You.
Do you think you will do some theater again soon?
Yes a play called Close Up Space. It’s a new play and will be at the Manhattan Theater Club
The Perfect Host opens in theaters July 1.