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) 98%

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

Amazon Prime Video Baby Yoda HBO Pixar 2019 The CW See It Skip It A&E Musicals Awards Rocketman Chilling Adventures of Sabrina BBC One Tomatazos Stephen King mockumentary Summer HBO Go YouTube asian-american DC Universe Amazon Prime BET Awards Polls and Games IFC Films rotten BAFTA Mudbound scorecard Spike Disney streaming service Freeform Watching Series Acorn TV australia Academy Awards LGBTQ CBS All Access theme song Marathons child's play Spring TV witnail BBC Black Mirror Disney+ Disney Plus Disney Plus spy thriller 2017 USA Network spanish Lionsgate christmas movies dramedy E3 YouTube Premium Toys franchise NBC Binge Guide Mystery CMT TNT crime drama comic books CNN obituary cars dc Film Television Critics Association rt archives series Fall TV slashers X-Men twilight news ID films The Witch crime psycho anthology cancelled Spectrum Originals reviews Martial Arts Amazon festivals thriller Rock book Sony Pictures video boxoffice Pop Travel Channel zombies Interview Discovery Channel WarnerMedia war sports die hard Sundance Now Comic Book Winners indie Oscars jamie lee curtis Classic Film stop motion Lucasfilm critics CW Seed DC streaming service Character Guide Trivia Hear Us Out Heroines TV renewals latino Arrowverse spider-man period drama game show San Diego Comic-Con TIFF Schedule Sundance zero dark thirty Extras archives Lifetime Christmas movies Star Trek 007 Musical cats Epix cancelled television harry potter OWN IFC Crunchyroll remakes cooking dceu Bravo finale 71st Emmy Awards VICE History movies TLC Box Office elevated horror canceled south america cancelled TV shows YA politics vampires movie golden globes tv talk ghosts MSNBC romance blockbuster TCA Winter 2020 TCA 2017 criterion ratings festival Pirates richard e. Grant DC Comics The Walking Dead sequel FXX National Geographic Brie Larson dark Drama FX on Hulu Cartoon Network transformers Hallmark Christmas movies Starz biography stoner DirecTV Netflix Rocky New York Comic Con Reality Competition indiana jones comedies Food Network adaptation nbcuniversal screen actors guild universal monsters versus cults Nickelodeon space what to watch Logo TCM Trophy Talk TV Land Apple sitcom TCA stand-up comedy Infographic documentary kids 45 free movies Podcast CBS Comedy Central Captain marvel concert Peacock foreign halloween Adult Swim strong female leads Film Festival sag awards italian Cosplay black comics Marvel Studios SundanceTV Valentine's Day doctor who spanish language TBS spain ABC Family Video Games Biopics worst movies Comedy Christmas comic Countdown satire Funimation Writers Guild of America The Academy Disney Showtime Ovation 99% Mindy Kaling PaleyFest emmy awards Comics on TV breaking bad animated MTV Trailer documentaries blaxploitation 24 frames crime thriller Western The Arrangement diversity dragons unscripted docudrama boxing Sneak Peek rotten movies we love green book revenge Election PlayStation RT21 Paramount Network MCU Year in Review 20th Century Fox Best and Worst Holiday independent El Rey medical drama BET Reality deadpool reboot WGN children's TV all-time Photos Teen American Society of Cinematographers Black History Month Disney Channel Quiz discovery nature best Britbox screenings Fox News japanese natural history 21st Century Fox Netflix Christmas movies Elton John TV Star Wars Fox Searchlight french Vudu Fantasy YouTube Red Ghostbusters ABC science fiction Endgame Opinion 2015 First Look Apple TV+ Horror Mary poppins FOX based on movie Marvel Television quibi A24 television Turner cinemax Awards Tour spinoff composers Emmy Nominations Thanksgiving supernatural canceled TV shows chucky TCA Awards GLAAD USA Marvel james bond Winter TV batman disaster AMC Warner Bros. laika travel Action Turner Classic Movies venice anime Women's History Month halloween tv facebook GIFs Pride Month Cannes social media Family BBC America a nightmare on elm street crossover Nat Geo political drama First Reviews Superheroe miniseries Sundance TV sequels Hallmark Superheroes 2016 2020 FX E! Creative Arts Emmys President psychological thriller classics cancelled TV series Red Carpet Calendar Set visit fresh Universal romantic comedy singing competition true crime SDCC worst dogs fast and furious Music hispanic superhero Avengers Hulu Mary Tyler Moore renewed TV shows ITV cartoon Anna Paquin 4/20 talk show Animation Kids & Family Dark Horse Comics Emmys Shondaland Syfy Grammys Walt Disney Pictures hollywood game of thrones award winner Alien Song of Ice and Fire nfl Columbia Pictures ESPN VOD Nominations scary movies parents 72 Emmy Awards Premiere Dates Chernobyl Apple TV Plus Rom-Com Ellie Kemper mutant video on demand Tarantino robots The Purge Paramount Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt serial killer Amazon Studios Shudder Certified Fresh Television Academy cops football toy story joker mission: impossible VH1 Super Bowl justice league Sci-Fi hist police drama casting RT History OneApp streaming PBS LGBT GoT teaser 2018 HBO Max Pop TV NYCC comiccon TruTV Tumblr name the review Mary Poppins Returns werewolf Tubi toronto zombie Holidays aliens Pet Sematary binge Crackle Esquire adventure Country DGA Masterpiece historical drama directors technology SXSW Lifetime APB