HFPA in Conversation: Hunters’ Logan Lerman on Working with Al Pacino

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros March 25, 2020
Actor Logan Lerman

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In Amazon’s new series Hunters, Logan Lerman works most of the time with Al Pacino - and he has been a huge fan of Pacino’s since childhood. “He is like the foundation for everyone’s film knowledge. You start with the greats and you think of a handful of people and Al Pacino is one of them. I watched all of his work when I was a kid. I used to fake sick from school and try to just watch movies and I’d find myself watching his films a lot, especially Dog Day Afternoon and the Lumet classics,” Lerman told HFPA journalist Scott Orlin.

Lerman and Pacino play Nazi hunters in late 1970s New York. Between takes they had long conversations. “He has so many incredible stories. We’d find ourselves kind of getting off track of what we were talking about for work that day and just getting into Al’s amazing history. It’s incredible just to hear it coming from his mouth and all the things that people don’t know.”

He was amazed to hear how some iconic pieces of work and performances came together. “They aren’t just a stroke of god-given talent and things that happen, just a stroke of genius right in that moment, that it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and exploration. And there’s a lot of things that don’t work when you’re exploring and it’s about how you bounce back from that and keep exploring on the day and how things come up in the moment and how these iconic moments in film just happen by chance. But it’s really just the culmination of hard work.”

Lerman’s character on Hunters, Jonah Heidelbaum, is mathematically talented. He doesn’t relate to that. I wouldn’t say I’m a problem solver or anything like that. It was an interesting element of my character though, that really the value of it was giving Jonah a reason for being a part of the group and having something to give. He offered some sort of talent to be worthy of being one of the Hunters.”

Jonah is trying to find out who murdered his grandmother. “I actually don’t relate to my character very much at all except for the obvious cultural relationship that I have. We’re fairly different people. And I’ve never experienced a tragedy like that. Why it interests me is that I’m exploring something I’m not familiar with and I can kind of live in that world and try to understand my character the best that I can within the time that we have to film it.”

Listen to the podcast and hear when he uses his middle name; why he started to go to auditions when he was five years old; which two commercials he did before he started to work in film; what kind of memories he has from Heath Ledger on the set of The Patriot; how Mel Gibson helped his career; why he called himself stupid when he was nine years old; why he stepped back after filming The Butterfly Effect; why the TV show Jack & Bobby was like film school to him; why he learned a lot about himself on the set of Hoot; how Jim Carrey became his mentor; why he fought to get the lead role in the Percy Jackson franchise; why words excite him more than action; why he fell in love with the script for The Perks of Being a Wallflower; which was the most difficult film he worked on; how was his first time at the Sundance film festival; what was the name of his first band; and what instruments he plays.