In Closer, Jude Law portrays Dan, an aspiring novelist who earns a living writing obituaries. Though Marber contends there is no protagonist in the story, Dan is the character through whom all the other characters are introduced. Law is no stranger to portraying vainglorious characters as he demonstrated in his Oscar® nominated performance in The Talented Mr. Ripley and, more recently, in Alfie. What drew him to Closer, which he had seen several times on stage and greatly admired, was Marber’s “extraordinary dialogue and its concentrated focus on these four characters who are the heart of the play,” he says.
The intimacy of the situation was matched by the demands of working in close quarters with only three other actors. “There was never a day where you could kind of take it easy because virtually every scene has a definite emotional pitch,” says Law. “You were either opening up and offering yourself to someone or closing yourself up and trying to get rid of someone. It was quite intense and demanding.”
Reflecting on his character, who is a catalyst for much of the action, Law says, “Dan is someone who’s really living in a sort of cocoon, a frustrated novelist, until he meets Alice, who becomes his muse. Through her, he blossoms. The relationship is really responsible for him coming out of himself, encouraging him to be confident enough to find the woman he really thinks he loves, Anna. Unfortunately, that relationship seems to be doomed from the get-go, and though it gives him some of the happiest days of his life, he eventually throws himself away by pouring himself so wholeheartedly into it.”
While he sees Marber’s play as basically a story about men and women falling in and out of love, it is also a battle between two male characters who become each other’s nemeses. “There’s a certain amount of ego going on between them. You could argue that for them it is almost more important that they’re screwing over the other guy than getting the girl they’re in love with.”