Dane DeHaan: BAFTA EE Rising Star Award interview

BAFTA recently announced its shortlist of the five actors selected for the BAFTA EE Rising Star Award 2014 .

The BAFTA EE Rising Star Award is up for grabs to the most exciting young actors working right now. After the shortlist is announced, the winner is selected by a public vote (the only BAFTA to do so).

Up for the prize - alongside George MacKay, Lupita Nyong'o, Will Poulter and Léa Seydoux - is Dane DeHaan. Soon to be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 , DeHaan has been a standout in some of the most acclaimed films of recent years, including Chronicle , Lawless and The Place Beyond The Pines .

We caught up with him last week to get his reaction to the nomination, as well as talking Spider-Man , his James Dean biopic and Life After Beth ...

Congrats on your BAFTA nomination. How did you find out you'd been nominated?

I was… I found out on Twitter. [ laughs ] I woke up and it's later in London, so things had already happened there.

Crazy that we found out before you did…

Well, it's a crazy world! I feel like I find out things via Twitter more often than you'd think.

What else have you found out on Twitter?

Awards, y'know. I found out I got nominated for a Gotham award on Twitter. I had gotten a text message from a friend that said, Congratulations. And I didn't know what he was talking about. I went on Gotham and it was, like, You've been nominated for a Gotham award! I was like, Wow, that's what he was talking about.

What does it mean to you to get nominated? Is it an affirmation of what you do?

It's certainly not why I do what I do, but I think one of the amazing parts of our job is that people love to watch us do it. The thing I love to do, people love to watch me do. And then we also get awarded for it, so it's certainly not a bad feeling! It's a great feeling to know that your work is being received in an overwhelmingly positive way. To have people behind you, to be rewarded for your work is a great feeling.

Any words for your competitors?

No! I look forward to meeting them.

So it's not, like, the war's on!

The war is not on, it'll be fun to tweet about it and have a bit of a campaign for it, interact with fans about it, but it's not about a competition. I think it's about rallying your own troops, not trying to tear down everyone else's.

Was it a scary idea to jump into a large-scale franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ?

No, it was never really scary, it was just exciting. When I found out they were casting a new Harry Osborn, I fought extremely hard to be a part of it. Superhero movies are my guilty pleasures, they're the movies I'll always go and see - Spider-Man especially. I loved the first Amazing Spider-Man and I was a big fan of Andrew and Emma and having seen (500) Days Of Summer , I was a big fan of Marc [ Webb ]'s. I was just really excited. It was a really exciting time of my life and it still is. Not too much fear, just excitement!

You've been pretty busy in the past few years…

Yeah, I think I went three and a half years of straight filming movies, starting with Lawless and then the last movie I filmed was Life After Beth , which is going to Sundance. Non-stop, not much of a break, then I have taken a break since and I'm just working on my next on now.

What is Life After Beth ?

Life After Beth is my first comedy and it stars Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, myself and others. It's about… I come home from college and my girlfriend [ Plaza ] has died and then she comes back to life and we find out that she's a zombie. It's a really crazy movie. It's kind of a metaphor for a break-up, the things we go through. It's a really fun, crazy movie.

Is there anything you've not done yet that you're itching to do?

I'm sure there is. I don't really have specific goals like that, but what I love about the opportunities I've been given is the variety. I want to try everything. I've seen all different genres of movies in my life and I've enjoyed at least one film from every genre of movie, so it's not like I'm only focussing on one thing. I want to continue making good films and return to theatre at some point, just keep acting. I'm so lucky and grateful for all the opportunities I've been given, and with these great opportunities, even greater opportunities are coming, so I think I'll just let all that happen and step out of the way and enjoy the ride!

And you’re currently working with a dialogue coach?

For the James Dean moved called Life . He had a very specific voice so I've gotta have it, too! It's a challenge. His voice was a lot higher than mine, but it's fun, you know, that's what I like to do. The harder it is, the more fun it is, but it's definitely a challenge, for sure. Today I'm doing the coaching for an hour and a half. I've been doing it for a couple of months already and I do it twice a week til we start shooting. And once we start shooting, the dialect coach is on set to make sure everything is going well.

Interview by Josh Winning

To vote for the BAFTA EE Rising Star Award Winner, visit www.ee.co.uk/bafta

The winners are announced on 16 February 2014.

Matt Maytum
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, looking after the long-form features there, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.