Perhaps taking Method preparation to an extreme, Bernthal decided he wasn’t going to speak during production of the movie, which was shot in remote parts of Ireland, far away from towns or any real amenities. Silent during rehearsals and filming, the actor also stayed quiet during cast meals and at the lodging he shared with his co-stars. “It was isolating, and I felt awkward about it in the beginning,” he tells ET at the Smyth, a downtown boutique hotel where stars often huddle for interviews during the festival.
“The one thing I realized immediately, when you take a vow
of silence and stop speaking, you have to divorce yourself from your wants and
your needs,” Bernthal continues, explaining that he would question the need for
something as simple as a glass of water. Instead, he found himself diving
deeper into his character.
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The only issue was creating a way to communicate with the
director -- and making sure he was hitting his marks on camera. “I realized a
couple of weeks into [filming] that this was probably hurting more than it was
helping and I started talking a lot,” Bernthal says, joking, “Most of the cast
as a whole decided they liked me a lot better when I was silent.”
Ultimately, Bernthal found the film an interesting exercise
in coming up with a language for his character largely seen through his
reactions, and a challenge to figure out a way of communicating to the audience
in a way that they would understand his character. “That presents a real
challenge, which I love,” he says. “I’m always looking to challenge myself with
something that scares me or seems hard.”