Benjamin Walker talks 'American Psycho,' 'In the Heart of the Sea'

By Karen Butler  |  March 14, 2016 at 1:04 PM
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NEW YORK, March 14 (UPI) -- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson alum Benjamin Walker says he is grateful for the tremendous opportunities that have allowed him to play a variety of roles on stage and screen.

The 33-year-old Georgia native, who recently starred in the survival picture In the Heart of the Sea and the romance film The Choice, is in rehearsals for Duncan Sheik's new, darkly comic, Broadway musical American Psycho, which is set in the 1980s and follows the exploits of a well-dressed, investment banker and serial killer named Patrick Bateman.

"This is the best-case scenario for an actor -- to work with Ron Howard, to do a Nicholas Sparks movie, to come back to Broadway and do American Psycho and work with this great team. Yeah, don't tell anyone, but I'm living the dream," Walker told UPI in New York after he and his co-stars previewed several songs from American Psycho for the press.

"The story is so dense and the music is so good and so much fun, selfishly for us to sing, that it gets into your bones whether you like it or not," Walker said of the new show. "Because of the book and the movie, in particular, there is something kind of sterile and distant about Patrick Bateman, and I think that's challenging because I want to make him human. Granted, he takes it a bit far, but there is a bit of Patrick Bateman in all of us and that's important, that, by the end, we can understand his frustrations, even if we don't relate to them necessarily. We see the humanity in him and that's important."

So, did Walker intentionally avoid seeing Sheik's earlier London version of the show, starring British actor Matt Smith, because he wanted to find his own way into the character?

"Nah, I was busy. I was making In the Heart of the Sea. I would have done it, but I was starving to death," he joked, a nod to the weight he lost to play the emaciated captain of a whaling ship in the 19th century-set maritime drama.

Asked if the physical challenges of the movie helped prepare him for a grueling, eight-show-a-week stage schedule, Walker said: "People are asking me, 'Do you hate going to the gym?' and I'm like: 'You don't understand; I ate sunflower seeds for a month. I love this. Today is fine. Yes, I'll do some push-ups.'"

In the Heart of the Sea is now on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray. American Psycho begins previews March 24, with an official opening planned for April 21.

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