Five Favorite Films

Jason Clarke's Five Favorite Films

The star of this week's Pet Sematary geeks out over Richard E. Grant and the endless quotability of Unforgiven and Talladega Nights.

by | April 4, 2019 | Comments

Stephane Cardinale-Corbis /Getty Images
(Photo by Stephane Cardinale-Corbis /Getty Images)

Jason Clarke isn’t quite a household name – yet. He is, however, poised to make the leap from talented character actor to leading man. After stellar performances in Certified Fresh favorites Mudbound, Zero Dark Thirty, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Clarke has become an integral piece of some of the most critically acclaimed properties of the past few years. Last year the Aussie actor was nigh unrecognizable as he perfectly embodied the late Ted Kennedy in Chappaquiddick, and while his earlier turn as John Conner in Terminator: Genisys didn’t relaunch the Terminator franchise, his post-Genisys choices have marked him as one of the most dynamic actors working today.

The chameleon-like actor seems untethered to genre or archetype, which makes him difficult to typecast. This week, he returns to theaters as the patriarch of the Creed family in a new adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic horror novel Pet Sematary. Dr. Louis Creed (Clarke) moves his family to a quiet town in Maine, where he finds out the neighborhood “Pet Sematary” is actually the last place you’d want to bury the family pet. Premiering at SXSW to positive reviews, the latest version still sits fresh at 80%. We chatted with Clarke just after the SXSW premiere about his horror favorites, why he’s kinda obsessed with Richard E. Grant, and his Five Favorite Films.

Withnail and I (1987) 94%

It was seminal, you know? It’s still a cult film for actors. It’s just about two out-of-work actors in England. I keep that on my iPad; I’ll go back and watch that at any point or scene. And there’s a performance by Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) — I think it’s one of the greatest comedic performances I’ve seen in my life. Such a wonderful film. It just reaffirms to me that I’m part of an ongoing world of actors. It’s funny, but it’s also beautiful in the end. When Grant does the Hamlet speech… It’s about success, failure, moving on, friendship, loss, and just life. It’s brilliant.

Have you ever talked to Richard E. Grant (Withnail) about it?

Yes. Of course. The first time I met Richard, I literally went grey. That dude is deep in my psyche. I did film The Aftermath which is about to come out, and I was doing English dialect work with Joan Washington. I knocked on her door and this guy comes out saying “Jason,” and I turned around like, “Oh my god. It’s you.” [laughs] I called him “you.” He was there because Joan and Richard are married. He was at home gardening. And was gardening in blue suede shoes. [laughs]

Unforgiven (1992) 96%

I mean, it’s like a massive, big epic, that is all from Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Clint Eastwood. And that ending is incredible, and it starts with Gene Hackman going, “Death’s got nothing to do with it.” It’s just brilliant. “Fat man, get out of the way.” “Who owns this s–t hole?” I mean, it’s wonderful. And highly quotable.

The Godfather, Part II (1974) 97%

I just love The Godfather. It’s so good. When he takes out Freddy is my favorite part. On the boat, the stone falls so deep in the ocean. It’s like “Luke, I am your father.” It drops so deep. It perfectly tells us what Micheal is, and what he’s become. And everything that Freddy’s done, it just resonates even going back to The Godfather and how Freddy, the child, [was] a sick child.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) 71%

I’m not going to take this one too seriously. I love Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. “Little baby Jesus” and “You brought this on yourself, grandpa.” Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, “Shake and Bake.” I love Will, I love John C. Reilly, but them two… they just work so well together. They are both at their best, with freedom of, like, “We don’t know if this will work, but we’re doing it.” There is no right or wrong here, and if you want to put that stamp on it, you can. [That’s] the magic of what acting can be, and what cinema and storytelling can be, and they seem to have it. In Talladega Nights, it’s all on the table, all the cards.

Blade Runner (1982) 90%

Blade Runner, man. It’s filled with endless possibilities. It allows you to think, it allows you to move, it allows you to have different interpretations. As well as that score and that world, that visual thing. I just love it. Through it, we get one of the great scenes at the end, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion…. Those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.” Every time I watch it, it moves me. It really moves and excites me, as well.

Jacqueline Coley for Rotten Tomatoes: You have been quietly doing some amazing work recently. We loved Mudbound, and then there was First Man. But the one we loved that not as many people saw was Chappaquiddick. It was incredible and quite a transformation for you. 

Jason Clarke: Oh yeah, Chappaquiddick. Thank you. It got a bit lost, but at the same point, it made $18 million in the U.S. It was one of the highest grossing independent films of that year. People saw it. People didn’t talk about it, because it’s pretty difficult to talk about for a lot of the media in the current environment. It will stand the test of time.

RT: Moving to Pet Sematary — are you a scary movie person? A horror person?

Clarke: To be honest, not hugely so, although some of my favorite movies are. You know, I wouldn’t term them as horror, like The Hunt. That film terrorized me. It’s very creepy watching. It’s extraordinary but not “horror.”

RT: We just had the premiere here at SXSW. What was it like, seeing it last night? Because the audiences here are legendary for their reactions.

Clarke: It was insane. Really. It struck me as how rarely I go to a cinema now and watch a movie with a group of people. I’m always watching them by myself, with my wife, maybe with a couple of people, or with my child. To watch something with a thousand people was wonderful. You remember that’s what cinema is about. For an actor, it’s almost like the theater. You’re sitting in the same air. I was able to see people’s reactions. I could feel the love and enjoyment. I couldn’t help but think, “I need more of this.” Like, my God, I might need to do a play again. It’s the connection to the people, because acting [on film sets], you lose that.

RT: Do you think that is particularly because horror is such a reactive genre?

Clarke: You know, it’s cinema, it’s a director’s medium, and whatever anyone says, you know it’s their vision, particularly with horror. The audience watches it to feel it. And last night, I felt it, you know, but that’s not in every horror flick. I think horror’s not enough for this film. It’s not enough to say when it’s Stephen King.

Pet Sematary opens on April 5.

Tag Cloud

Ellie Kemper DC streaming service GoT MTV children's TV spider-man Trivia witnail Disney streaming service TBS See It Skip It OWN Spectrum Originals Election doctor who Countdown Nominations Shudder Dark Horse Comics El Rey Chernobyl richard e. Grant Cartoon Network social media hist PaleyFest Photos IFC Films TLC theme song aliens sports animated Tumblr facebook Reality TNT Anna Paquin LGBT Elton John YouTube Red ABC Certified Fresh golden globes VH1 strong female leads Western Superheroe Captain marvel political drama docudrama Disney CW Seed Tomatazos WGN Mary Tyler Moore medical drama zombie Superheroes Musicals cinemax Writers Guild of America discovery Sundance Now award winner Family DirecTV cooking Britbox SundanceTV The Witch robots festivals A&E green book book biography Disney Channel YA Hulu The Arrangement Freeform adaptation Comedy finale spy thriller Brie Larson Schedule streaming 2016 Valentine's Day DC Comics Awards Tour romance Epix true crime Comedy Central President Reality Competition psychological thriller Film Festival what to watch TV Nat Geo Columbia Pictures Pixar American Society of Cinematographers Awards ITV Rocky elevated horror Syfy Warner Bros. CBS All Access dceu ratings Crackle RT21 GIFs Trophy Talk space historical drama cops Animation Drama cats E! supernatural mockumentary WarnerMedia toy story ABC Family FX Ghostbusters DGA Watching Series MCU game show anthology Mudbound Food Network nature USA Comic Book 2019 Shondaland spinoff Sci-Fi Fantasy Opinion Creative Arts Emmys dragons travel CMT Film crime Masterpiece Red Carpet Polls and Games Set visit 007 dc Martial Arts USA Network Amazon Prime FXX Rocketman Paramount Paramount Network FOX 2018 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Grammys Amazon Star Trek justice league SXSW series binge National Geographic Tarantino Lionsgate Extras Teen Cosplay Universal Mary Poppins Returns serial killer Chilling Adventures of Sabrina movies SDCC Super Bowl science fiction Adult Swim TIFF Song of Ice and Fire Acorn TV 20th Century Fox Cannes unscripted ESPN Women's History Month Stephen King Quiz sequel cults crossover Comics on TV diversity TCM comic Video Games Vudu Emmys TCA 2017 Music Premiere Dates zero dark thirty Biopics Podcast Kids & Family crime drama Country Action BET dramedy Winners MSNBC Mary poppins Holidays technology Pet Sematary blaxploitation casting Summer mutant cars NBC Starz The CW Apple Sneak Peek adventure Bravo Year in Review Spike harry potter Fall TV ghosts Thanksgiving Toys based on movie Rom-Com HBO Star Wars anime period drama CNN Infographic Pop miniseries TV Land Lucasfilm Amazon Prime Video Rock X-Men San Diego Comic-Con talk show Walt Disney Pictures 24 frames BBC Oscars History transformers Esquire tv talk sitcom IFC Character Guide VICE Mindy Kaling Calendar thriller natural history Fox News Spring TV Interview war New York Comic Con DC Universe politics quibi 45 Black Mirror CBS APB Horror vampires BBC America Winter TV Ovation Heroines PBS 21st Century Fox teaser E3 Marvel police drama zombies 2017 crime thriller Musical composers GLAAD 2015 NYCC singing competition Netflix LGBTQ Logo TCA Trailer Box Office revenge First Look boxoffice HBO Max Emmy Nominations TruTV Lifetime Best and Worst Pirates disaster Marathons RT History Mystery Nickelodeon kids psycho AMC Sundance Sony Pictures Binge Guide Showtime Christmas television comiccon jamie lee curtis Pride Month YouTube Premium