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For actors, a set-apart script

From highbrow to lowdown

March 18, 2007|Paul Cullum

"It was an actor's script, with lots of really good roles," says Matthew Goode of "The Lookout." A ticking-clockwork plot with four nuanced character roles at its core, the film features Jeff Daniels as a blind cynic, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the lead. But it's the supporting roles -- Goode as Gary, the coiled, menacing ex-con, and Isla Fisher as Luvlee, a tarnished angel and catalyst for their doomed caper -- that linger after the lights come up.

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Paul Cullum

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TRAINED at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Matthew Goode is known here for a series of upper-crust British roles -- not just Woody Allen's "Match Point," but thankless male ingenues found in the likes of "Imagine Me & You" and "Chasing Liberty," opposite Mandy Moore.

Sporting a flawless American accent -- "I was British, but my father was American, apparently," says Goode -- and virtually unrecognizable from his previous roles, the veddy British Goode maintains his stateside makeover just showed up on the set, along with the character: "The moment I spoke the lines and had the idea of the character -- that was the accent that came out.

"I prepared for it rather like a theater role, because there's a lot of open-endedness about Gary: We don't know where he comes from or why he's doing this. He is maligned by life, slightly. He's quite an intelligent chap. But it hasn't gone very well for him. He's a chancer, really, on the wrong side of the law, morally ambiguous.

"And it's a shame, but there were a couple of scenes in the film that didn't make it in where he's physically very violent as well. It shows what a nasty piece of work he is."

Of the filmmakers, Goode says, "They took a real chance on me. At that point, I was just an English bloke who didn't know anyone. But then, it makes it a lot cheaper."

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