On Nolte's preparation for Clean:
Jonathan Romney: By all accounts Nick Nolte, who plays Emily's father-in-law, is very keen on background detail - because his character is a boat builder, he wanted to know all about his craft.
Olivier Assayas: That's how he functions: you have to give him information on the character, and he becomes the character. Originally the character was a contractor. Then when I was scouting in Toronto for a place that would look like Vancouver we found this house near a shipyard and I thought it would be more interesting if the guy was a boat designer. Nick said, "Oh great, send me everything you can about ship carpentry," and he started researching it on the internet. When he came to Toronto a week before the shoot he asked to visit every single carpenter working on Lake Ontario.
I thought he would ask me a million questions about the psychology of the character. I'm incredibly bad at answering those questions - I'm much happier if the actors invent their own story. But absolutely not: he's only interested in objects, he's very practical. So every morning I'd show him the props - "This is your bag, this is your coat" - and we had a very simpledialogue about the more solid aspects of film-making, which is something we both relate to.
From Sight & Sound, July 2005, p33. (Thanks, Phil.)
More How we work.