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) 96%

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

golden globes 21st Century Fox latino young adult docuseries Ellie Kemper Mary Tyler Moore Wes Anderson ID IFC Films Fox News Spring TV blockbusters Travel Channel ABC FX on Hulu Trailer OWN rotten movies we love Lucasfilm WGN Infographic Sony Pictures debate TV renewals reboot dexter Mystery Hallmark Christmas movies cinemax DirecTV book adaptation Lionsgate black kids 71st Emmy Awards sag awards live action Television Critics Association TCA Awards action-comedy Super Bowl heist movie international Paramount kaiju halloween tv 2016 miniseries Video Games space Discovery Channel politics dark travel critic resources thriller TV One SDCC canceled worst twilight witnail natural history 2015 indiana jones revenge Lifetime disaster Song of Ice and Fire Music universal monsters Adult Swim popular The Walt Disney Company DC streaming service harry potter die hard YouTube Premium spinoff Opinion vampires 2018 Mary Poppins Returns Syfy cats casting Rocketman teaser high school Sundance TV SXSW dc Creative Arts Emmys Marvel Television VICE sitcom obituary anthology hollywood chucky name the review best know your critic Binge Guide Logo Pop Netflix Baby Yoda what to watch Photos doctor who Character Guide Ovation 24 frames Tarantino zero dark thirty olympics Trivia VOD transformers cults marvel cinematic universe dogs GoT talk show The CW HBO Go New York Comic Con RT21 90s child's play Rock posters parents BET Awards VH1 canceled TV shows christmas movies science fiction Netflix Christmas movies Endgame 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards comiccon Apple TV+ target GLAAD President BET Television Academy rt archives Year in Review sequel nfl Marvel kong The Walking Dead comic book movies WarnerMedia stand-up comedy werewolf 2019 scorecard quibi Box Office Avengers hidden camera Cosplay Holidays Shudder Rocky First Look archives Amazon Prime RT History Comic Book YA Captain marvel Tumblr war dceu ABC Family Anna Paquin Amazon Prime Video Masterpiece National Geographic The Arrangement mutant laika superman A24 finale reviews Family fresh Alien PlayStation golden globe awards tv talk 2020 Amazon Studios Polls and Games BBC One joker boxoffice Disney streaming service Martial Arts suspense wonder woman scary movies gangster Pirates Valentine's Day Christmas binge Oscars Tomatazos slasher renewed TV shows new star wars movies legend stoner Biopics aapi Film justice league discovery LGBT Disney Channel American Society of Cinematographers Paramount Plus book cancelled TV series classics Apple scene in color Extras spy thriller YouTube Red breaking bad police drama NBC Columbia Pictures Esquire Brie Larson stop motion 73rd Emmy Awards Podcast Hallmark cars APB DGA Turner Classic Movies ghosts directors Epix deadpool Election NBA comic Red Carpet Showtime Best and Worst cops Universal Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Acorn TV MCU elevated horror TCM TV Land TIFF marvel comics Quiz venice Kids & Family SundanceTV El Rey Disney FOX Paramount Network anime PaleyFest Holiday Shondaland nature Freeform E! Calendar cartoon Drama biopic prank YouTube Fall TV versus superhero ratings adenture feel good dramedy women ESPN CBS Lifetime Christmas movies toy story telelvision Star Trek australia Marvel Studios TBS 99% DC Comics Nat Geo festival Peacock remakes Marathons Crackle CMT crime thriller singing competition new zealand TruTV Mudbound Certified Fresh TCA History serial killer aliens festivals Turner Crunchyroll Comic-Con@Home 2021 Broadway docudrama ViacomCBS robots DC Universe 45 Emmys fast and furious Trophy Talk Bravo Apple TV Plus spider-man Vudu A&E TLC all-time Emmy Nominations The Academy 1990s Film Festival critics spain batman Western nbcuniversal Sneak Peek Reality Competition movie new york cancelled a nightmare on elm street Hear Us Out strong female leads MTV halloween slashers Premiere Dates documentary video on demand animated Pop TV The Purge streaming movies diversity video TV movies TNT rt labs critics edition Walt Disney Pictures composers movies jurassic park CBS All Access Nominations Britbox game of thrones zombies Winter TV independent Superheroe cancelled TV shows south america indie free movies satire Chilling Adventures of Sabrina FXX Interview spanish language Rom-Com Mary poppins Sundance Now zombie Pride Month TV Cannes NYCC 72 Emmy Awards french toronto emmy awards basketball Toys based on movie Pacific Islander biography blaxploitation lord of the rings Musical Awards E3 romance true crime jamie lee curtis crime Writers Guild of America historical drama Elton John BAFTA streaming Disney+ Disney Plus hispanic psychological thriller CNN USA series blockbuster Food Network mission: impossible Pixar Stephen King Hulu Star Wars hispanic heritage month HBO Max Dark Horse Comics Teen supernatural Fantasy Mindy Kaling game show royal family saw concert Action medical drama king arthur sports 20th Century Fox comics Nickelodeon Funimation Women's History Month GIFs rom-coms psycho spanish Black Mirror documentaries Winners IFC monster movies Fox Searchlight Reality foreign Ghostbusters political drama BBC ITV godzilla comic book movie trailers Black History Month facebook ABC Signature Tokyo Olympics Comedy MSNBC Country PBS CW Seed 007 Exclusive Video Comedy Central worst movies Sundance 4/20 Set visit mcc richard e. Grant Comics on TV Heroines Sci-Fi news Arrowverse Starz HBO OneApp USA Network Spectrum Originals AMC FX theme song children's TV italian green book rt labs crossover sequels mockumentary boxing Pet Sematary Countdown Horror asian-american screen actors guild First Reviews razzies Awards Tour technology screenings Superheroes social media Thanksgiving BBC America LGBTQ pirates of the caribbean Image Comics 93rd Oscars period drama TCA Winter 2020 San Diego Comic-Con japan Grammys Tubi Cartoon Network award winner Disney Plus Amazon Musicals adaptation 2021 2017 TCA 2017 Spike Chernobyl franchise king kong cancelled television Animation criterion dragons football adventure Watching Series Schedule films rotten unscripted Legendary romantic comedy hist comedies japanese crime drama james bond Academy Awards Warner Bros. See It Skip It Summer television cooking comic books Classic Film The Witch X-Men