In conversation with Macon Blair of Blue Ruin – Beard Gorelore

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March 10, 2014



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At Beardrevered we are very much looking forward to seeing Blue Ruin – a dazzlingly original film balancing grubby reality with genre thrills and midnight-black humour. Its success at recent festivals – including Sundance, Toronto and Cannes (where it won the Fipresci Prize) – bodes well for its imminent UK release in May. But what we’re really excited about is Macon Blair, who plays Dwight – a vagrant who, after avenging his parents’ murderer, gets himself (and his estranged family) into very hot water with the murderer’s gun-toting family. Because Macon Blair has a massive beard.

We were overjoyed to chat to Macon and get the inside scoop on the film, the actor and his facial hair.

Congratulations on your breakthrough lead role in Blue Ruin. How did the project come about?

Thank you! Jeremy and I had been trying to get a movie off the ground for some time but the scripts we were developing always ended up being too expensive. Finally, he decided to write something that was small enough that, if the worst came to the worst, he could try to self-finance, and that’s what ended up happening. It was born out of desperation. We needed jobs.

Tell us about your work with Blue Ruin writer and director Jeremy Saulnier – this isn’t the first time you’ve worked together, is it?

We started making movies together in grade school, all this schlocky action and horror stuff on ½” video and Super 8. There was a big group of kids working together back then and we’re all still friends. A few of the others—Chris Sharp and Sandy Barnett—worked on Blue Ruin as well. A shorthand and a trust develops over that many years. Jeremy can kind of wave his arm and make a nonsense sound and I’ll know what he’s trying to tell me. It’s like a secret code.

blood beard

What was the preparation process for the part?

Grow the beard. Learn the lines.

This isn’t the first time you’ve grown a beard for a role [Macon previously sported some serious facial fuzz in Murder Party]. How long did it take to grow and did you enjoy sporting a full beard?

For Murder Party the beard was incidental. I happened to have a beard at the time, I’d had one for years, and Jeremy had written the part for me (his name was even ‘Macon’) so there wasn’t any reason to shave it. For Blue Ruin, though, the beard was a specific part of the character design, something we started on well in advance of production, obviously.

Did you have a beard grooming routine during filming?

Not really, because it was not supposed to look groomed. It was supposed to look unkempt so I just turned it loose.

Would you consider being a full-time Beardsman?

I have been in the past and may become one again in the future but for right now, the way my kid grabs everything in sight, I’m happy to be a Nudeface. One less thing he can get ahold of and yank.

Historically facial hair implies wealth and wisdom, however it can also be associated with loss of refinement. In light of your role as Dwight, what do you think of this statement?

With Dwight, the beard is not about lack of money or lack of culture. He’s just gone so deeply into hermit mode that keeping up appearances is not something he thinks about. He’s a resourceful guy and if he wanted to it wouldn’t be a big thing to get a razor and keep it tight…but he’s become so withdrawn that it’s simply not something he thinks about. Why bother, you know?

Car beard

As a Brooklynite, what’s your view on the rise of beard transplants and men paying up to $7000 to increase their cool factor?

Wait…what? Is that real? That sounds startling to me but whatever makes you happy is okay, I guess. But how does that even work? Is it like a weave? Is it like plugs? Suddenly I feel very old and confused by the world.

How has the success of Blue Ruin impacted on your life? What’s your next project?

Aside from feeling really great about having gotten to make a movie with my buddy, my day to day life is basically the same. I stay at home with the baby, I work on scripts, I audition when I can. People return my emails a little bit more, which is cool, but I’m still in sweatpants 95% of the time. Jeremy is developing a few different projects that I may be involved with, I’m writing some stuff, everyone is busy but we haven’t quite decided what the next thing to shoot will be. Soon, though. We have some really fun options.

Finally, who is your ultimate bearded hero and why?

Abe Lincoln! Self-explanatory!

Blue Ruin is being distributed by Radius-TWC in the U.S. and will be released in theaters, On Demand, and iTunes on April 25th.

It’s released in the UK by Picturehouse Entertainment on May 2nd. – miss it if you dare.


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