How do you research the role of a man who thinks he's an alien?
One of the things that we did was go to a lot of mental facilities in California and New York, and the first question we asked was "Do you have any patients here who think they're from another planet?". And they would say "Oh yes, there are 11 of them. It's very, very common". So, I would ask to meet one or two and I did, they were really quite endearing.
Aside from the mental shift, there's a physical change in you as you play Prot too, isn't there?
When you have been to a mental facility or even if you watch autistic children or anyone who is challenged mentally, there is something that happens to them physically. I wanted a slightly strange quality to the way in which Prot moved. I remember, pretty early in rehearsal, because I started thinking about the eyes and how it was that Prot saw the world, and how it was he saw human beings.
There's a scene in which you eat a banana, skin and all, presumably in more than one take. Isn't this going over and above the call of duty?
I didn't intend to take the scene that far. The prop department had made fake bananas, but they looked like gigantic felt markers. So we sent off for some very good organic bananas, cleaned them as best we could and I just decided there was only one way to do it. That's a lot of potassium, it's a very clean high I can tell you.