Despite starring in a major blockbuster like X-Men: Apocalypse, Tye Sheridan still excels at playing rich characters in smaller, independent movies, such as Mud and Joe, films he can really deep dive into. Now out in theaters, Detour is his latest indie effort, and it’s a crime thriller well worth a watch.
Sheridan portrays a young law student named Harper in the film, who blindly and drunkenly enters into a pact with Johnny (Emory Cohen), a dangerous thug who offers to kill Harper’s stepfather after Harper tells him he thinks the man’s responsible for the accident that sent his mother into a coma.
When Johnny shows up at Harper’s door the next day, he demands they drive to Las Vegas, where Harper’s stepdad will be. Also along for the ride is Cherry (Bel Powley), Johnny’s reluctant associate, but as the trio head into the desert, things don’t go as planned – and they all find themselves at a treacherous crossroads.
At the recent press day for Detour, we sat down with Sheridan to talk about the film, how he connected with his co-stars Cohen and Powley, and what it was like shooting the film in South Africa.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
Detour had a real ’70s gritty feel, like The Getaway. Was that the intent?
Tye Sheridan: Yeah, that’s what [Christopher Smith] was going for. There were several films he was referencing while shooting. He was really into that era, and into Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, and all those guys. It was something he’d continually talk about when making this film. He kept telling me, “Tye, you’re a young Paul Newman!” I said, “Chris, you think what you want, but I think other people might take something else away.” We knew it was a kind of a homage to that style of filmmaking.
What was your reaction when you first read the script?
Sheridan: I loved it. At the time, I was reading some pretty cool things coming across my plate and then I read this and it just blew me away. And I said, “this is one of the best scripts I’ve read and I really want to be a part of this one. I want to make this film.” We quickly set up a phone call with Chris and he was like, “oh, I love that film!” and I said, “That’s one of my favorites!” We just realized that many of the filmmakers and films he loves, I do, too. It’s cool when you can connect with someone like that.
So, who are some of the directors you really respect?
Sheridan: I really adore Paul Thomas Anderson, and Darren Aronofsky. I wish I could work with them, I hope so.
How did you relate to your character, Harper?
Sheridan: The movie is about misconception; it’s about guilt. It’s also about love and what you do when you believe someone is unjust. I think those are all things I think any human can relate to. You just find experiences or things that you’ve felt in your personal life. Maybe not as drastic as it is in this movie, but you can relate to as a character.
In this case, it was right there on the page and I understood his inner emotion and what he was feeling internally. And having conversations with Chris, I think we knew what we were getting into. We had a good idea of what we wanted to do. When you have a character like that, that’s so rich, it’s really fun to work with, especially when it just pops right off the page like it did in this script.
Emory Cohen and Bel Powley also quite good in this. The three of you made a formidable team.
Sheridan: They’re incredible, I think they’re so great. We all got pretty close while shooting. I had a week, six days a week, of shooting, so it was pretty intense. The first six days was just me inside the house. At the point when we were shooting, I don’t think we even had Emory on board yet. He came in just that week, and we were over the moon about it that we got someone as good as he was.
We had been talking about him for awhile, so when he was in, it was triumphant. I met him and talked to him and thought he was a really nice guy. Then we did this scene together, the one in which he comes to my doorstep, and basically tells me we’re going to Vegas, like, no question. I remember opening up the door, and his intense stare, he just scared the shit out of me. Really. He scared me. I didn’t think it was going to have that much effect. He’s really this warm, sweet guy, very endearing, on the surface, but can be a real asshole when he wants to.
What about working with Bel?
Sheridan: Bel’s the type of person who’s so confident but not overly confident. She doesn’t have an ego, but everything she does is so great. And she brought so much to this story. I think sometimes, when a man is writing a woman, you can’t possibly understand exactly what a woman thinks because you’re not a woman. You can write it the best you can, but you always hope you’re going to get someone who has their own interpretation of the role, their own views, and will further the role. And Bel did. She just made this character her own and brought so much to it.
Anything crazy happen with the three of you off camera?
Sheridan: We spent a lot time time just sitting in a car in South Africa. We did go to this really crazy desert town called Barrydale, where everyone got really sick. We were there for about a week or two. It was like five hours north of Cape Town. We were shot the diner scene in Barrydale. They had a local bar with one pool table, and we’d all play pool after shooting. It was really fun.
Did anyone recognize you?
Sheridan: No, no one ever recognizes me. And why would they? Honestly, I could count on one hand the amount of times people recognized me since X-Men came out. I think right now, it works to my advantage.
What was it like shooting in South Africa?
Sheridan: So cool. It’s supposed to take place in the desert between L.A. and Las Vegas, but because Chris had shot another movie in South Africa, so we did ours there. It was a crazy idea, but we were like yeah, let’s do it. He knew some of the locations and the terrain and knew we could get away with it.
Two weeks before we went out to South Africa, he’d send me all these pictures of highways in South Africa. He’d go, “Do they have yellow lines on the outside of the road? American roads don’t have that, what do you think? How can we fix it? Can we shoot around it?” It was hilarious because he was getting cold feet, but once we were there, we realized we were able to cheat it.
It sounds like you were also a big part of the pre-production of the film. Is that something you like doing?
Sheridan: That’s how I typically like to work. It’s easier for me as an actor if I understand every aspect of the film. Not that I’m a control freak or anything, but honestly, before I step into frame for the shot, I look at the monitors, so I can understand where I am in the frame. Technically, that helps me so much as an actor. I know how far right, how far left, what I can and can’t get away with.
Not only that, but also understanding the world as well. Getting with Chris and making sure we are getting as close as we can to his visions. That it’s the same voice from both of us. Trying to figure out the right approach is always great for me. Preparation and casting, that’s like 80 percent of your work.
You were great as the young Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse. Do you know much about next X-Men movie? I think it’s called Supernova?
Sheridan: Oh really? I didn’t even know there was a title. I’m not really one to troll the Internet about this kind of stuff. I just sit around waiting for the phone call… I am a fan of the franchise and so to have the opportunity to be a part of it was really cool for me.
But no real word on what’s happening next?
Sheridan: I haven’t heard. I know that the way these films work, typically they stay on the same pattern. They’ll make one one summer and then the next, it comes out. Then they’ll make another. I think that’s how these bigger franchises typically work. So, it would make sense that we would do another and hopefully I’m in it.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Tye very much for his time. Be sure to check out Detour, as it’s now in theaters everywhere!
Source: We Got This Covered