Peter Sarsgaard gets emotional at 'Lovelace' premiere
05:00 AM, Jan 25, 2013
PARK CITY, Utah A strange thing happened to Peter Sarsgaard during the world premiere of the biopic Lovelace at the Sundance Film Festival this week.
The actor choked up while discussing the dark world inhabited by his character, Chuck Traynor, the coercive husband of Linda Boreman, who would become porn star Linda Lovelace and later an anti-porn crusader.
“I was trying to explain that the movie was a difficult role for me to do since I have children,” says Sarsgaard. “The minute you say that in front of a group of people, I feel that very strongly. So that’s what happens. I thought of everything I sacrificed to have this experience.”
Sarsgaard, 41, who has two children with actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, says he did not enjoy entering the role of Traynor, whose relationship with Boreman is portrayed as leading to extensive physical and mental abuse.
While the world premiere led to rave reviews for him and Amanda Seyfried (who plays Boreman/Lovelace), he “just profoundly did not want to do the role. I kept dragging my feet. It took weeks to decide. And then it was tough the entire way. It was like every day I was going on the set, looking on the call sheet and I was doing something awful.”
The movie starts out as a poignant and often humorous story, with Traynor courting the young, sheltered Boreman in the early 1970s. Sarsgaard’s performance had the Sundance audience laughing with his ’70s hairstyle, language and apparel including red bikini briefs (“not my style”).
But the second half goes very dark as Traynor forces his wife into the porn business and prostitution and engages in physical abuse. (In real life the couple divorced, and both died in 2002).
“I actually think I’m funny in the movie for a portion of it,” says Sarsgaard. “And then it comes back and hits them.”
For weeks after the shoot, he was still affected.
“It took me a while to warm up again,” says Sarsgaard. “Not in a noticeable way. But people close to you notice. I’m someone who gets deep into his work.”
Sarsgaard has moved onto less-troubling projects, including the Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine and playing a radical environmentalist in Night Moves (due out Sept. 23). He still sports a bushy beard from playing the latter role.
“My daughter is 8 months old, and if I shave at this point it’s going to be so traumatic,”he says. “She knows me as a man with a beard. You get attached to these things.”