MICHAEL PENA TALKS “END OF THE WATCH”

After seeing the film, you almost can’t deny that they  had form a real friendship, all their scenes together came out so naturally. I asked if any scenes were improvised. “98% of it was written. And I always do that in every– like in Crash for instance. There was these little words here and there, little moments, pieces of behavior.” Peña turned to Ayer. “I remember when I told you it’s all about behavior.” Ayer nodded, “I said, ‘Dude, just get in the car and you’ll know what I’m talking about.’”

“Sometimes people just do behavior, and they’re not even doing the scene, which sucks especially for a director, chewing on the toothpick, looking like ‘I don’t know what you’re doing.’ But it’s when you know a scene so well — like the last scene, for instance, was almost word-for-word. That one was so specific,” Peña said. “You know, there were like 5 words probably improvised. And its little things, you just want to paint the picture. We were here for like 5 months, reading those things. Any stuff that was improvised was talked about already time and time again.”

Ayer says that many discoveries were made during the rehearsal process. “A lot of times we would be rehearsing, and stuff would come up, and man, that’s great. And then finally, when I got to set, I’d sit and write that stuff down. So even new material or anything that’s improvisation are all discoveries along the way. So the main characters… it’s hard to mad-lib as a character and have it be relevant and end up in the movie.  But these guys knew their characters, and they could speak as the characters.  They could do anything as these characters. They were so locked in.” Peña wholeheartedly agreed, saying that he “really felt like the character.” He goes on to say, “As an actor this is one of the truly fulfilling performances that I have done.”