Straight from arriving back to the US from Romania, where he’d just spent months filming Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny Whitworth took some time to speak to Movie Fanatic about his role in Limitless.
Whitworth talks about his character, working with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, and if he would take a "limitless" drug.
Tell me about your character, Vernon.
He’s the ex brother-in-law of Bradley Cooper’s character, Eddie Morra. They haven’t seen each other in a while and they bump into each other on the street. Vernon, for all intents and purposes seems to have everything going on when it’s quite the contrary when Eddie knew him years ago. It turns out that he has access to this drug that can make you the ultimate version of yourself. There were a lot of psychological things I did to prepare, but I don't want to get into that... Essentially he's the guy who introduces the drug.
What attracted to you that role?
Primarily because of Neil Burger. He’s a fantastic director, and there wasn’t another role that I was appropriate for besides Bradley Cooper’s role. I was really attracted to the script and the director. When he became interested in me, I was very happy because I’d love to be a part of anything Neil is doing. Leslie Dixon’s writing and her version of the book was really cool. I’m happy to be a party of it.
Before you auditioned, had you read Alan Glynn's "The Dark Fields?"
I hadn’t. Unfortunately, or fortunately, all of my inspiration came from Leslie’s script.
How was it working with Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper?
Obviously they’re both very talented craftsmen. Bradley is amazing, very spontaneous and fun to work with. Bradley’s very talented. We got along right away. His girlfriend, Renee [Zellweger], I’d worked with her years ago, so he got the 411 on me through her. We hit it off right off the bat. He’s a really generous guy, and we had something in common that I knew his girlfriend. Amongst other things we have in common, but I won’t go into detail on that. [laughs]
Unfortunately I didn’t have any scenes with De Niro. De Niro being what any actor would hold up as one of the great actors. He’s as good as it gets. He’s been an inspiration to me since I was a kid. If I just called De Niro talented it would be an understatement. I didn’t get to go toe to toe with him after they said action, but I’ll looking for opportunities to in the future.
Would you characterize Limitless as a sci-fi thriller or sci-fi horror?
Thriller. It depends on what your idea of horror is, I guess. I would say sci-fi thriller.
What do you think would happen to the world if such a drug existed?
I’m going to answer this question as if there are no negative side effects. I think it would kind of cancel out everyone. If everyone was on it, everyone would be smart and fast, and it would nullify itself.
Would you take the drug?
Yes I would, if there weren’t negative side effects. If it was just a drug someone approached me with, no. I’m happy the way I am.
What do you hope audiences leave the theater feeling?
Hopefully, that they were taking on a ride. Provoked to think if they would take the drug and what would happen. I hope they take away some sense of entertainment and wanting more Vernon!