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By Chris Gore | April 29, 2003

Edward Burns and Rachel Weisz may star in James Foley’s grifter thriller Confidence, but do they actually know what the movie is about? You be the judge.

Tell us about the story of the film.
Rachel: That’s a hard question to answer.
Ed: Uh, we’re still trying to figure it out.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s a thriller with a really twisty turny plot. Because it’s basically like a film noir grifter gangster story and Ed’s the leader of a con team and they do this complicated grift.
Ed: Yeah, that’s exactly it.
Rachel: And he gets me along as the…as the shell. Is that the right word?
Ed: Are you the shell?
Rachel: I think the shell means the person who distracts…
Ed: I thought you were the bait.
Rachel: I’m the bait, yeah. I have to seduce the uh, the bait, the mock. There’s like a dictionary of grifter language.

What was it like to work with Dustin Hoffman?
Ed: I mean, for me personally, I love this man. There isn’t a guy that loves acting more than he does. He’s on the set and it’s like he is having so much fun. He wants the scene to be so good and the movie to be so good…
Rachel: He’s infectious.
Ed: He really is.
Rachel: Even when he’s off-camera he makes everybody in the scene better. He’s completely so generous. It’s unbelievable. It really is. He’s an inspiration.
Ed: And it’s always about the betterment of the film, you know. A lot of times actors will want to change scenes in order to make themselves look good…
Rachel: Yeah, I want more dialogue. His ego is like …
Ed: It’s healthy, but it’s in check.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s healthy.
Ed: We don’t want to say he’s egoless.
Rachel: No, I wouldn’t say that. He wouldn’t like that.

Now, Ed, you’ve worked on films that were made for like, you know, no money. I mean, really no money and you’ve worked on real Hollywood productions. How does that compare?
Rachel: Craft services was better…
Ed: That’s the big difference…
Rachel: Bagels and toasters and cream cheese and sorry…
Ed: …And trailers, campers, things like that. But the big difference is in the filmmaker. I don’t know what the budget of this was, but it was on the lower scale. Jamie’s got such a great way with actors that, you know, everybody feels good. Like you want to do your best work for him because he’s so excited.
Rachel: There’s a lot of passion.
Ed: Spielberg was the same way on Private Ryan, which was obviously a huge budget and it’s weird, like their approach is very similar and very different, but comparing the budget size, when the cameras are rolling, it’s the same experience, so, you know, they can be very different aesthetically, but depending on who’s running the show, I think, the work can be very similar.

Ed, you’re also unique in the fact that you’re a director who’s become a successful actor…
Rachel: Yes, Ed. You’re so unique… in more ways than you can imagine.

But what do you take from your directing experience now being in front of the camera? I mean, do you prefer one over the other?
Ed: It’s sort of like apples and oranges really. For me as an actor, the smartest thing I think I’ve done is I never even talk to the director about directing. I’m sort of just not interested in that side of it. What I’ve done is try to work with people that I can learn from. In this case we had Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia, so for me, I’m there trying to improve as an actor, trying to learn from those guys. And you work with Dustin Hoffman, it’s like playing hoop against Michael Jordan. You bring your best game and you’re only going to get better.

That’s fantastic. What do you hope people get out of the film?
Rachel: Fun. It’s like a puzzle, a little mind bender. Hopefully it’s exciting. What do you think?
Ed: Yeah, I think the same thing. I think what’s fun about the movie is it’s not a personal story. It is such a fun ride and we were saying there’s like a certain non-reality to it, so it’s fun for us to escape into those characters and I think it’ll be fun for audiences to escape into the movie.
Rachel: It’s escapism. It’s like Humphrey Bogart, Lorin Becall kind of style as well. You don’t walk out on the streets and see peeps like that.
Ed: It’s more like a Memento where you’re trying to figure out – okay, did they actually pull it off – or you look for the implausibilities because it is so convoluted and complicated.
Rachel: Right. Someone says to me last night, it’s a three-dimensional chess game. I have absolutely no idea what that means, but it sounds kind of good, right?

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