‘Girls’ star branches out with writing, directing

February 19, 2013

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Alex Karpovsky is a very busy man. In addition to starring in HBO’s “Girls” as Ray Ploshansky, Karpovsky directed, wrote and starred in two movies — “Rubberneck” and “Red Flag” — which will be premiering as a double feature this Friday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. But he does not find his schedule overwhelming.

“Usually I’m on [a project] for one or two to three days,” Karpovsky said. “So it really doesn’t take up that much time. At least it doesn’t feel that way.”

Despite the large number of projects and characters that he takes on, Karpovsky makes sure to fully commit to each endeavor.

“My big thing is to make sure I understand what I’m doing in a fundamental, comprehensive sense,” he said. “I want to know if I totally understand what this character’s about, what his motivation is during the scene [and] how this will seem appropriate to the bigger picture. I just want to make sure I get it, that I get everything.”

In “Rubberneck,” Karpovsky plays a Boston research scientist named Paul. Months after a weekend fling, Paul continues to lust after his coworker Danielle (Jamie Ray Newman).

This role came naturally to Karpovsky. “My dad’s a scientist,” he said. “I grew up in a community of scientists, so it was easy for me to draw from that and the general personality traits from these scientists.”

In “Red Flag,” however, Karpovsky’s part reflects his own personality. In the film, he is a newly single indie filmmaker who is traveling to promote his film “Woodpecker,” a film he actually directed in 2008. Alex is forced to suffer through a series of humiliations, each one more absurd and comical to watch than the last.

“I took my genuine fears and insecurities, basically amplifying them for comedic effect,” Karpovsky said. “I find that stuff funny. Woody Allen used to do that. Louis C.K. kind of does that with his show. At this point, I feel I know a portion of who I am and I have enough perspective on some of my traits to caricature myself for comedic effect.”

Karpovsky was also eager to share his advice for the aspiring writers, directors and actors of NYU.

“I think, right now, more than any other time, there is no excuse not to make your film,” he said. “There are many ways to raise money, and we don’t have to bend over to executives as much anymore. The resources are there, your excuses are empty. Go out and make your movie. Take your time, do it right, but set a deadline.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 19 print edition. Will Landman is a contributing writer. Email him at film@nyunews.com.

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