For a guy who's a successful stand-up and burgeoning actor, it's hard to imagine a performer with as slight a presence as Demetri Martin. The comedian began his career just a few years ago with appearances and writing gigs on both The Daily Show and Conan O'Brien, and moved on to a special and eventually a series with his namesake. In his latest role, as the main character in Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, he plays a young man inadvertently caught up in history-making events when he agrees to host a music festival in his hometown of Bethel, New York. Perhaps appropriately, his performance is a study in modesty, but it's one that will no doubt define him as an actor and establish his presence among mainstream audiences like never before.
Cinematical recently spoke to Martin in an exclusive telephone interview about his participation in Taking Woodstock. In addition to talking about the conception and creation of his increasingly familiar, but surprisingly featherweight persona, Martin talked about tapping into what director Ang Lee wanted for his period piece, and looked back on the legacy of Woodstock, particularly in the context of contemporary pop culture.
Cinematical: What was the process for you of developing this character? In a way it seems not completely dissimilar from the persona you have in your comedy, but at that same time it's not supposed to be you.