This enabled Mann to fully devote himself to his work, much of which consisted of the time-consuming practice of gathering seemingly insignificant descriptions and minute observations of the world around him.
Quite in keeping with the psychologically mature realism of the Russian writer Tolstoy, whose works he had come to admire, Mann refused to follow what he considered the exaggerated pathos and flights of fancy of the expressionists of his day.
Emma Thompson, who I worked with on , is so wise about the industry and how to find yourself as an artist and not get lost in all the bullshit. HB: Are there any actors or directors you're dying to work with?
"She had to go read with these other guys for the same part."There's something endearingly juvenile about Mann's bushy-tailed enthusiasm for acting, which (along with his boyish good looks) is perhaps why he's become a go-to for the role of high school underdog heartthrob.
Most recently, he starred in the unlikely-yet-true '80s-set flick , as a dopey freshman who tries to impress his rich classmates by becoming a drug trafficker. It's one of those parts that everyone's waiting to fall into their lap—you read something, and it just sounds like your voice, like it's written for you. I'd never really been able to show that much of myself in my character.
I grew up a lot on that set, and I think I have more empathy now.
You see yourself in a character sometimes, the good and the bad, and it forces you to reflect on your own life. It was a big experience for both of us, as actors and as people, and we went through a lot together.
Especially Mann's refusal to use his art as a medium for liberal political thought led to a growing alienation between him and his brother Heinrich, a well-known novelist himself.
At the beginning of World War I, when Thomas Mann justified Germany's expanding militarism by referring to it as "the right of ascending power," the break between the brothers became complete.But the match wasn't as obvious to director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who called Mann back for seven auditions and came just short of telling him to forget about it before handing him the lead."Olivia said she felt like she was cheating on me," Mann laughs.HB: What did you learn about yourself as an actor on that film?TM: It opened me up emotionally, as an actor and as a human.I'm not saying acting should be therapy, but it was definitely a cathartic experience creating something I'm truly proud of that hopefully people will watch for a long time. TM: We had dinner a couple of times throughout the audition process and kind of decided the roles were ours before our director [Alfonso Gomez-Rejon] had. We were already hanging out and discussing the parts, hoping that we'd get them together. HB: Do you often feel that level of confidence in auditions? I think we're going to be friends for a long, long time.