Interview: Byron Mann

Posted on July 9, 2018 at 8:00 am

I was delighted to have a chance to interview Byron Mann for The Credits about this week’s release “Skyscraper,” co-starring with Dwayne Johnson. He is deliciously arrogant in one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite films, as the “synthetic CDO” guy eating sushi as Steve Carell fumes in “The Big Short.”

An excerpt:

I have to begin by asking you about one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies, The Big Short. It’s compliment to say that in a very brief appearance you created a very complete and utterly loathsome character. Tell me about the audition for that role and what you and the director discussed.

I ate potato chips in the audition. I’m serious. The director, Adam McKay, midway through the audition, asked me, “Hey, would you like to have some potato chips?” I said, “What?” He said, “Yeah, would you like to have some potato chips while you’re doing the scene.” His intention, I found out, was to do it exactly as the scene happened in real life: my character and Steve Carell’s character were having sushi in real life, so Adam McKay wanted to see what that felt like in the audition. Apparently, I’m pretty good at eating potato chips.

What was the toughest part of the training for Altered Carbon? What’s your favorite training tip?

I had a personal trainer who was helping me gain muscle mass, and “shred” at the same time. So I was lifting crazy weights, as well as doing a gazillion aerobic exercises at the same time: doing a hundred revolutions skipping rope – three sets, a hundred burpees, a hundred mountain climbers, a hundred jackknives…thinking about it now makes me tired already. My favorite training tip: hire a kick-ass (no pun intended) personal trainer and watch what you eat. My second favorite training tip: burpees. If you don’t know what that means, google it. It’s an instant fat burner and wakes you up like no other exercise.

You live in four cities on two continents. How do you remember where your toothbrush is?

I have four different toothbrushes in all four cities. You should have asked me how I keep my currencies straight: I have four Muji pouches, all with a sticker on them that denotes the four cities: Los Angeles, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Beijing. Everything — SIM cards, bills, coins, keys — goes in these pouches.

What is your technique for maintaining focus when you’re working on green screen?

Honestly, that’s the hardest part. Looking at a yellow tennis ball is a lot different than looking at a building on fire and ready to collapse. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.

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