I’m still not convinces that Theo Taplitz >isn’t< a well-preserved 40-year-old masquerading as an adolescent. Still too young to vote, he’s already made two short films that are whimsical, yet solid (click here for links), and given a performance in Ira Sachs’ LITTLE MEN that is wise beyond his years.
We started my interview with Sachs and Taplitz on April 29, 2016, with my asking about the angst of Sachs revisting what it’s like to be 13, the age of Taplitz’ character, Jake, and whether or not being the father for 4-year-old twins informed the film, as in working out his own apprehension of what may be in store for him in less than a decade.
We went on to talk about Taplitz’s audition, and his astute analysis of the scene used (seriously, he’s at least 40), as well as Sachs opining about the importance of casting, how to achieve the simulacrum of spontaneity, and drawing a comparison between good acting and good interviewing.
After a consideration of what is and isn’t subtextual in the friendship between Jake, and his best friend, Tony, played by Michael Barbieri, we finished up with Sachs discussing how money reveals character, and why Taplitz first wanted to pick up a video camera and make his own films.
LITTLE MEN is a film about friendship, letting go, and the loss of innocence. That last will be experience by Jake, a thirteen-year-old with dreams of being an artist who moves with this family from Manhattan to Brooklyn when his father inherits an apartment and a storefront there. The store’s tenant, Leonor, and Jake’s parents become embroiled in a lease dispute, but not before Jake and Leonor’s son, Tony, become fast and firm friends for whom issues of money, class, and culture don’t apply. When the parents reach in impasse, and the dispute turns bitter, the young men attempt to take control of a situation over which, ultimately, they have no power. The film co-stars Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina Garcia, Alfred Molina, Talia Balsam, Clare Foley, and Michael Barbieri as Tony. Sachs directed from a film that he co-wrote with Mauricio Zacharias and his previous work includes LOVE IS STRANGE and KEEP THE LIGHTS ON. Taplitz began his career as creature #2 in a school production of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. He wrote, directed, and stars in the short film TAP TAP TAP and CEREAL KILLER, which can be seen on Vimeo, and this is his feature film debut