'The Shape of Water' star on his Oscar-nominated role

Jenkins appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and talks about the making of the film "The Shape of Water."
19:27 | 02/28/18

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Transcript for 'The Shape of Water' star on his Oscar-nominated role
It's better to. The young and beautiful thing go back. When I was eighteen. I know anyway and I give myself that if I would say to record your teeth a lot more. It's very good. Hello everybody I am Peter Travers this is popcorn we we tell you what's happening at the movies and since it's Oscar time now. I ain't fifth having an Oscar nominees I guess. This week. You know he's an ego maniac any trouble. And you know you better watch out. But he still here he's Richard Jenkins nominated as best supporting actor for a little movie called the shape of water you know you hear of it. I've heard of it and I think everybody that sees it as a little bit of love. That they take from this movie and a lot of that ghost do you Richard I think really pisses. That kind of movie that. It's he does hit me he did it again a solid and a in editing room. First with ten music group and best way yet and some some of the effects were finished and I actually forgot I was in it. I don't use that come right if you set up an ego make everything I usually that went when two iconic street. I forgot I was in it and when I popped up again Whipple. I got lost it was just so cool. But when you see a movie you know many times you're an actor you're gonna move you don't. And here it turns out and it's thirteen Academy Award. It was ten years ago I guess when you did the visitor where you were nominated for the first time yeah. That didn't get thirteen not known if he's elected shouldn't say it's a great it was and Tom McCarthy and is having a good careers. Amazing so they that's a really good thing. But what what do you do do you when you find out to you wife go out celebrate what had. When you're. We had dinner with a couple the first time and we repeated it this time we have two good friends of ours that we sit you know. I actually I'd forgotten share my lectures that we had dinner with John uses its own. So we called Thompson let's go to dinner that's so John and Susan are always going to be included in the nomination. Against that he had another ten years away. By that time of the eighty years though it but doesn't that the nomination if those feelings. It's amazing it's Richard for those benighted souls that hadn't yet seen the single border. Blot. Describe a little bit and Giles in his old job oh Giles wouldn't you think I was gonna but it discredit the movie I can't I can't describe how I would describe the movie like he couldn't yet I can't do it I did ready but you can describe to me yet he isn't. Artist he's eases in illustrator for an ad companies lost his job in 1962. Because are starting use photographs now and he's trying to get keep this account. And he's a gay man who's living in secret list most gay people did in 1962. And he has a crush. On this. Young man that works in the pie shop and his best friends Sally Hawkins is neighbor. Who is a cleaning woman in this scene on talking about the whole movement losses were. It took everything you've got you've got to leave it and if you she's a clean I don't wanna do it in just organizes her hair in it in a government facility. And she's mute. And I understanding sign language which means we've been friends for years. And she loves to watch. My television because I old musicals on and died. I givers all the low down and each one and who was to start what they did and so we have this fabulous relationship which I feel like I'm kind of this. I'm the teacher she's a student and we find out the end of the movies it's the other way round and a it's a fabulous party it's a part that has its. He has his own life as his own. Wants and dreams and desires it's he's not connected to the main story. Until now he doesn't seem like ever seeing good plot device owners and honestly need in this war and you plated it would still be real factor well he didn't. If he was there. It was there was all on the page he wrote it and and until he comes to the conclusion that wait a minute. She's the person who really loves me as living right next door to me. She's my friend. And I've forsaken. And self. What I read this thing the Easter this is a human being. So I thought is he cut all the stuff he didn't he left. So it is amazing. But he's got to work with Sally pockets to lose another person that I ever since I saw happy go lucky guy won it works its. Way she's often depth in this movie. So we view who said take you want to Toro. Yeah I want all the lines basically you should make her view I you know PSA isn't that hard and I say my lines and horrors that high. Our hearts are that's what we like I think it was interesting you know that that's an interest thing. A dilemma that he solved in a beautiful way he and that Vanessa Taylor is cocco wrote the screenplay with a you know when people sign you don't answer. You just understand a new state and you whatever you say back to them but if he's in he area it is seen. I speak which he signs it's the only time in the movie that we do that she everything else is in its subtitles and but what do when he got around it wasn't around it he really she wanted she said I want to make sure you. You understand. Everything nice. I say who she suspects who am I I understand what you're saying I don't after repeated she did not know. That and it's abuse because I miss I see something wrong in the middle of which goes back and corrects. Which was just a mistake in the shooting. So it's a it's a beautiful wecht be accidentally you know this movie was told them it was full of them and that's one of the ways you can tell. That if it feels right. Things just happened. And set that really fun interest. Now. I I I read that story about you recently because of course there'd be any time there's a nomination involve them. You come out and say this isn't legs look stupid things are the fun things though it is the pros me. I have nothing to say but I never shut up that's my. I've never seen it that back but OK you can say that but you said in this article that. I feel I have nothing to all right he genuinely say that after this I mean look. You you won an Emmy as you should have for all of kitrey nominated for the visit group people remember you. From Six Feet Under you know ghost father you know. Am just comes in talks to the fan. Real and you couldn't shut up that tell this frequently been exactly what was happening right and so many performances that we see you. That I remember you even in burn after reading for the the Coen Brothers running that hard body fit. It it's stupid but what ever get ahead of but after all of this and I just scratching the surface of things that you played people CU and don't they come up and say I know you from some and they say. I don't think you have anything to offer. They say that's next why you that's where I got it from. But looking DC eight because he's in that it's so clear that you did I think it. And most I think that many of us think were very. It's just part of the deal. I don't know what it is you know there doesn't mean when I see performance that I I can like it sale that's better than I thought it was going to be. And I think it's. I love what I do and I give great respect to what I do and I think sometimes that is that. I. Not as good as I'd like to be. You know once you start saying I know the answer to this I know what is it it's it's did. You just have to keep on. Trying to figure out. Your place in this are accurate and I do think it's an hour I don't mis interpret of art but it's an art. And I think when you stop doing that news when you start thinking hard I got this figured out you you'd you'd. But what I mean is the versatility that you could play and come believe more. If need oh yeah I'll bet that I have something to offer to. Who indeed will step Brothers a lot of us feel that one of the great unheralded. Ireland. It's very. Until I read something that I you have to mr. lay I guess it's too good story not to be true and if you tell me is in them angry but that used to drive on the winning track. I did that was owned by the father of John QS. Whose body you play it in its. And it and we didn't know it will question could know it I asked John at the end of the shoot what is and you he's from Chicago and I'm from the area my wife is from the city. And he said Mo my dad died lose 59 in my my kids never met him. My wife loaning you a little bit so would you do recently was vice president of of the laundering in Chicago. You know I drew. A laundry truck for union and nieces my dad was vice president union. Oh yeah right you're that was John Wright again. Oh he was my boss. It was just. Yeah. And my father all worked at that wouldn't come he got the job and I drove a laundry truck for about four months at five accidents. And four month five act I actually got back into my boss's car when he was in the car. And I sit OK I guess I I guess I'm done now right and he said no no no. No it's fine I sit I just put huge dent in your car is it's by no no don't worry about its phone. I back to your crisis look if you quit I gotta do the route so it's fine you go it all good. I have to say you really as the laundry truck driver has I think tells Rick that he every thought that it my father La get back to. Had the Riley family up to his cottage in Wisconsin right rose the Illinois line. And it is boat company brightest kids and I put all of its kids in the boat I took John John was five night lifted him up and put him in the boat. It's always is accredited one of those things it's it's it's almost the pocket and if it is. Possibly and that it would come together in step Brothers just makes the most sense and I remember him sane as I was lifting him. I'm gonna make a lot more money in you. I didn't know what it meant time. Always tell that children if it hit it gives you that feeling of in the he nearly said that to the united cited. That's when the about how did you get at the large truck. There are ages screen were anxious for me to go they think you need to be an active. Well that's what you realize you realize if I don't make it I think that gave me the results say. If I don't man I can't even drive a laundry to what my gonna do. I have no skill. So. I started acting. I thought that was it happened but I started in an in the theater in Providence, Rhode Island. They hired me as an apprentice. And I'll tell you another story about that. I would to audition for the artistic director. And the guy before me. Had a guitar and he was singing and then they were laughing and clapping is that it here many audition. And he was saying in a plan and they were cheering and thank you and he came out in turn is he is glad. So I go in and I read this thank you Natalie. But a week later get a call the city went higher use apprentice. 65 dollars a week he. It's like this that and it'll only cost you 65 dollars a weekly but. So idea I went in the first play I did the artistic director wonderful man incredible. Adrian hall said to me OK now you play the guitar here. I don't play the guitar. He's yet yet you strums from the time urgently need to play at the plate he looked at me said darling that's why I hired you. He'd meant to hire that guy work. I hope. I don't. You wonder what it's don't have aiming to offer Wear that help us. Like a freak accident. Hiring the wrong guy Hugh. Until he was stuck with Q therefore you had to do it it's like fight went home and I said and I are gonna be accurate law. But. Like you know you wind up doing this if you wind up being the artistic to wreck I ran thereafter with by were they trying to another guy and they just they may. They were in trouble and I was going to be I was the interim artistic director you know everything's qualified I can't be like Internet and I let me. I will do this for a year and that's all I don't want to. This is not who I ended up doing it for four years because we had to get our act together and we do. And that we brought us to use to Sen who runs the public and when he ran for twelve meters so Nancy it's a great theater I remember the last time eyesight like you're saying I'm in New York warranty doing something on Broadway what can I see you. And you just had no interest and now now. I don't know. I've always wanted to be in movies it was just movies are nothing well I mean the theater was something that was possible. And I loved it I mean I love the fact I direct in the theater my wife and I she's choreographer we direct it and do musicals together. We rethink them and do I love the rehearsal process I love. Being in the rehearsal with actors. But I don't know I just love movies I'd love doing them my love. I'd I'd love the idea of them I never saw theater as a kid I grew up in a small town in the midwest and went to the movies. And once they get a chance do them. I that's what that's work put my focus. Well I can I have to ask you then what was that first time where someone hired you to be on camera in the movie and what's it by mistake. A fifth of them at that well the first movie I did. Stood for studio movie yet that important foot movie. Called on Valentine's Day woods woods. Great because they got to beat no become a different floats and if it was just an incredible experience but the for studio movie was so over. Larry Kasten who like low but I had two scenes in it the first scene says howdy. And then the next scene seven weeks later writes that you can't do shot. Part yeah and and I played Kelly the part owner of the saloon with Linda Hunt. And Jeff Goldblum mast and one day I was sitting in the hotel in the when new way ones Lisa bloom who you play it Kelly in New York Connolly. You counter so anyway but the first I shot my first scene the first day. Out. We thought print okay. And then I was a cover set. Which means if the weather's bad they go inside shoot so you'll lose today Newton shooting. So you have to be ready all the time if it snows are. So they would let me go home so I was in the hotel nestled hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico for seven weeks. And nobody knew me because I was the only one wasn't working. And went to parties their caste and had a party. At the end of issues. And I'm sitting alone in the current. And you look Linda Hunt actually Linda Hunt. To. Me after dinner cheese sweet let's take Kelly after did it take for the my as we media we need to do something he has to work on that how yet it's got to happen but. So I'm at the party and I'm just like losing my mind. And Larry cast says Richard night. Some polling you've been here ice at seven. Weeks. He said no no no I meant that the party. I was a little rain usually have little that's been here for so long to do that. Are but you've never been on this set before with me now to you don't know that we ended song and so was really great to hear that you and your wife do all he knew where white people. We're you know they all but deserted him that is on an apple with the so it's long. And you know there's a great moment we are you Italian sitting on the sofa and you're doing a little dance. He'll have to do it. But you listening to a musical on the TV and that's one of your favorite states that which it can't remember it sure you can remember Everett Washington and no I do not you have to do. Give me some song at. Some pieces that you cannot. Anything. This is pretty wide. Chili house on the house on the hill on the house on the hill and open. The girl in the house with the house. Is doing Jimmie Rodgers for bin Bombay it. Would. Did not get a get the part which we didn't have to meet secretly. Wish we didn't have to accuse the group me. And and trying to do an old fifties song that really makes sense for the movie. That's Jimmie Rodgers it was almost there it was almost. Instead of middle and this secret Camille Little bit of the city. I gotta do and went on to an equity. Yeah. You deserve the Oscar for that well so are do you edit this is not at all those diseases. This will volume through life. We moment you know a lot to offer musically and I didn't expect it it was all going so well. Richard it is always. If we can do it if it all go but.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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