Magazine article Variety

Jeff Daniels

Magazine article Variety

Jeff Daniels

Article excerpt

In 2007, Jeff Daniels starred as Ray in the first American production of David Harrower's profoundly unsettling drama "Blackbird," about an older man confronted by a woman over the relationship they shared when she was a 12-year-old. This year, Daniels ("The Newsroom," "Dumb and Dumber") returned to the show in a Broadway version - co-starring Michelle Williams - that won him a Tony nomination.

What's changed for you, doing "Blackbird" the second time around?

Last time I didn't explore the addiction that is this guy's failing: 12-year-old girls. I liken it to an alcoholic. There's the fight with the character Michelle plays, but also he's fighting within himself. As alcoholics will tell you, you're powerless against it. It will wait you out. And then she shows up at 27, but he can see her as 12, and she's like an open bottle of whisky.

Does the show change much from night to night?

You've got to make it alive every night, which is different from a mule-on-thetrail, greatest-hits performance. So Michelle and I, being from film, where take one is different from two is different from three, sometimes I'll just spin something differently. It wakes us up. It keeps us focused. …

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