Tye Sheridan might only be 24 years old, but he’s already built up an impressive filmography that’s seen him jump between acclaimed independent dramas and big budget blockbusters. His first three credits saw him share the screen with Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life, Matthew McConaughey in Mud and Nicolas Cage in Joe, which is an impressive start to a career.
Having headlined Steven Spielberg’s box office smash hit Ready Player One and played Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, Sheridan’s star only continues to rise. His latest effort sees him co-starring in The Card Counter with Oscar Issac and Tiffany Haddish, written and directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Paul Schrader.
Sheridan stars as Cirk, a troubled young man who forms an unlikely partnership with Isaac’s ex-con and accomplished poker player William Tell. They forge a bond over the shared figure from their respective pasts that still looms large over their present-day lives, although they’ve got very different ideas on how to solve that particular problem.
In an exclusive chat, We Got This Covered had the chance to speak to Sheridan about The Card Counter and his experience working with the esteemed likes of Isaac and Schrader, which you can check out below.
Up until the third act, The Card Counter could be seen as a twisted buddy road trip movie, with Bill and The Kid wildly different personalities with a shared figure from their past that form a bond. Did you ever see it that way when you were shooting the film?
Tye Sheridan: Yeah, yeah. Well, I also think it’s got the tropes of a classic poker movie. I think it just completely takes that aesthetic, but it’s used poker as a vehicle to get to some of these… take some of those terms, and translate them to more narrative action, which is really interesting. It’s funny you mentioned that, I don’t think I ever thought about it being like a funny road trip movie, but I think it does have those tropes that you’re talking about.
The Kid is clearly angry at the world for what it’s done to him and his family, but your performance never goes big, broad or over the top. Was it hard to keep those emotions simmering just under the surface when you’re so invested in someone who doesn’t know anything except suffering?
Tye Sheridan: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of unspoken dialogue that’s going on between the two characters, and I think it’s largely because they understand so much of each other’s past. So I think a lot of that is, like you said, is playing under the surface. And I think that Oscar is such a terrific actor, and so much fun to work cross from, I think you just try to take in what he’s giving you and react, you know? I think that’s what it came to be about for me.
It’s a stripped-down, character piece with some top talent attached that lives on its performances, was that old school vibe exciting for you as a young actor?
Tye Sheridan: Absolutely, and I think that the film, even in the opening, it has opening credits before the film, I think it’s really fun. Yeah, it’s old school, it’s refreshing, you know? It’s kind of the re-emergence of a classic style, but I think that’s Paul Schrader. And he was adamant from the very beginning about this film carrying that sense of style to it, which was always exciting for me. And getting to work with someone like Paul, who obviously has such a substantial body of work, was fun. You’re super lucky to get to work with him, and watch him do his thing.
Your performance is cold to an extent, but never emotionless. Was that a difficult balance to strike when trying to figure out who The Kid was and how he played against Bill and La Linda, the only other characters he really interacts with?
Tye Sheridan: I think what was exciting about this character, for me, is that he just carries a lot of anger. I don’t think he necessarily knows what to do with it, and I think there’s a lot boiling inside of him. So, I think it’s always that even his silence, he’s stewing. So I think that’s just the way I was trying to look at it.
That concludes our interview with Tye Sheridan. The Card Counter comes to theaters this Friday, September 10th, and you can check out our review here.