TORONTO – Esteemed actor Ed Harris portrays some shockingly violent scenarios on HBO’s sci-fi thriller “Westworld,” but behind the scenes he enjoys living peacefully and in the moment through activities like yoga.
“Not religiously, but that actually really helps. Just your breathing,” said the four-time Oscar nominee.
“Each breath, you’re lucky to have it. So if I start getting nervous or excited, I just try to breathe and be aware of it. And feel my feet on the ground, actually feel I’m here.”
Living in the moment is a theme of Harris’s new film, “Kodachrome,” which was shot in Toronto and hits Netflix on Friday.
The 67-year-old plays Ben, a cantankerous, cancer-stricken photographer who shoots exclusively on celluloid.
With a diagnosis of just a few months to live, Ben is desperate to develop four rolls of film at a Kodak lab that’s about to shut down.
Elizabeth Olsen plays his assistant and Jason Sudeikis plays his estranged son, who works at a record label and is struggling to remain relevant in the digital era. Together, they go on a road trip with Ben to the lab.
Mark Raso of Toronto directed, and Jonathan Tropper of New York wrote the Canada/U.S. co-production, which reflects upon an analog age in which society was seemingly more present.
“Obviously I use a computer for various things and have my iPhone, but I think there’s something to be said for not doing anything, for just sitting, for just observing,” Harris said in an interview at last September’s Toronto International Film Festival.
“I was down in Kentucky at (actor) Sam Shepard’s memorial with his family. His family was talking about how Sam was a great observer and he was a very private guy. One of the aspects of that privacy was, he would like to just be and to take in what was around him, and you can’t do that when you’re on your phone 24-7.
“There’s something to be said for stillness and quiet and not digitizing. Especially the younger generation. I don’t even know if they know how to sit still.”
Raso shot entirely on film stock and featured some quiet moments onscreen, just observing characters without cutaways.
“I didn’t want to make something sentimental at all because I wanted it to be about the present and where these people are in their lives,” said Raso, whose previous feature was “Copenhagen.”
“One of the things I really appreciate about the film is … it takes its time,” added Harris.
“There are a lot of moments where it’s not about dialogue, it’s really about just observing these people in their own privacy and what they’re going through in their heads.”
Harris had to learn some photography skills for the role. And he provided a personal photo of himself and his daughter for use in a scene in the film.
“I bought a beautiful old Leica Camera, which I used in a movie, so I got into that for a while…. I took a couple of decent shots,” said Harris, an Oscar nominee for the films “The Hours,” “Pollock,” “The Truman Show” and “Apollo 13.”
“Ed was shooting film the entire time,” added Raso.
“At the end of the film, he gave out the photos that he was taking (during) the entire film to cast and crew… I have one of the photos he took of me while we were shooting that’s on my desk.”