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Max Theriot has had a long career for one so young, starting as a child actor and making the tricky transition to an acting career as an adult. It was one of the questions I had for him when we spoke on April 5, 2013 when he was here in San Francisco promoting his latest film, DISCONNECT. Theriot went into detail about how he prepared mentally and physically for the intensity of his role as a “model” on an online porn site. Aside from the fitness routine to build the physique necessary, he talked at length about getting into the mindset of young people who are in this line of work, and the surprising attitude they have towards it. When discussing the back-story he had created for his character, Kyle, Theriot didn’t just explain the tattoo across Kyle’s chest, he recited the poem that inspired it. We went on to talk about his current gig as Norman Bates’ older, resentful half-brother on A&E’s delightfully creepy series, BATES MOTEL, before finishing up by talking about a previous film he’d done, FOREVERLAND, that hadn’t gotten the recognition it deserved. Or the audience. I’ve included a link to its official site here.
Theriot brings an unexpected innocence to the role of a sex worker whose generous heart and trusting nature turns the tables on the reporter (played by Andrea Riseborough, with Theriot below) who wants to use him almost as callously as the people who log into his chat room for cheap thrills. Like the film itself, tropes such as Kyle’s seem familiar, but take unexpected turns, building to an emotional volcano in the form of one of the great film montages ever as the intersecting stories all reach the breaking point at the same moment. It releases the emotional tension that has been building since the opening scene, and leaves the viewer breathless with its intensity. DISCONNECT takes the well-worn conceit of people eponymously disconnected from their lives, and twists it with the dark places it allows decent people to go, before leading them to, if not salvation, if not peace, at least epiphany. The other epiphany worth mentioning is the career-changing performance by Theriot’s co-star, Jason Bateman. Easily one of the funniest men on the planet, he proves that his timing and sensitivity are just as acute when playing drama in a performance that will break your heart as a father who didn’t realize how alienated he is from his family.
Click on the link below to listen to my interview with Max.