Logan Lerman is only 24 years old and already he's had his shot a YA franchise with the Percy Jackson movies, probably where most of us were first introduced to him. He's starred in a WWII thriller, Fury, alongside Brad Pitt. And he's led what many consider one of the great modern high school dramas, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Lerman's accomplished a lot in a short time, but with James Schamus' adaptation of the Philip Roth novel, Indignation, he's tackled the most mature role of his career.
Roth novels have proven extraordinarily difficult to adapt in the past, but first-time director Schamus brought his years of experience as CEO of Focus Features, where he worked alongside Ang Lee, Michel Gondry, Charlie Kaufman, Sophia Coppola and more. And the first thing Schamus did was secure the talents of Lerman and co-star Sarah Gadon for the 1950s set picture, about a brilliant young kid from New Jersey who escapes from the Korean War into the intellectually stifling world of a conservative college in Ohio.
And it was a growing experience for both stars and director, revealing Lerman's growth as an actor and Schamus' long-hidden talents behind the camera. The proof is in the movie's centerpiece, a blistering 15-minute back and forth between Lerman and award-winning playwright Tracy Letts, who plays the university's Dean. It's the kind of heated, intellectual exchange that careers are made of, and Lerman knocks it out of the park, aided by bravura direction by Schamus who was bold enough to shoot it without significant edits.
Along with Filmgordon.com's Tim Gordon and fellow PDCer Mae Abdulbaki, I had the chance to sit down with Lerman and Schamus for a 30-minute interview about Indignation. They discuss the difficulty in adapting Roth, Lerman's affinity for intense characters and his desire to one day do comedy, plus a lot more. You can check out that conversation below, and also find my review of the film here!