sir, exactly a year ago Philip Seymour was our Idol Chatterer and we forecast
an Oscar. Now, with your kick-ass portrait of Idi Amin in The Last King
of Scotland, you have a shot at him, too.
I dont know, I cant let myself get
..I mean, when I was doing
The Shield this year everybody was talking Emmy buzz so
[An Emmy nomination was not forthcoming]. But I do think The King of Scotland
is an amazing movie.
said you tend to not play yourself, but A part of my spirit. When
youre channeling a murderous Ugandan dictator is what you find there
a little ghastly?
Yeah: There is a fear of what youre capable of. Because theres
no way to manufacture aggressiveness or angeryou have to search
inside yourself and look in the corners. Or in the front! (laughs)
its definitely not the front since youre a famously
You know, just yesterday I was directing a video and said to myself, God,
everybodys talking about, (stickily sweetly) Ooo,
hes so nice. Im, like, Damn! I need to be nasty! I
need to give em edge! (laughs) Oh, wellin the right
role theyll see edge.
Scotland to Jim Jarmuschs Ghost Dog to your
Cannes Best Actor-winning breakthrough in 1988s Bird, weve
seen it. Speaking of Bird, you were only 26 when Clint Eastwood hired
you for that epic role. Did you think he was nuts?
first I was excited, then afraid. But fear made me work hard. I got a sax
at a pawn shop and it was a while before I realized it was broken. But it
actually made me play good when they gave me a good one. I was, like, Oh!
(laughs) I learned from Bird just to divethat I may crash
and burn, but, probably, Ill fly if I just dive.
it true that, even though you made your film debut at 22 in Fast Times
at Ridgemont High, you didnt think you had real chops for a while?
after Fast Times I went north to a conservatory, because I felt like,
Maybe I could work, but Im not good. It was driving me crazy
watching my work onscreen.
by 1986 you were shooting pool with Paul Newman in The Color of Money
and dodging bullets in Platoon.
Platoon was life-changing. It was one of the first times I was working
in another country and, again, we were talking about how people are capable
of doing things they never realized were inside themselves.
you routinely use roles like, say, the sweet, but doomed Jody in The Crying
Game, for personal growth?
think thats the main purposeto grow. Im searching
for this kernel that everybody has that connects us all together. Its
a personal quest, too.
just what was the quest with Travoltas Battlefield Earth?
I think people are a little tough on that movie, because it was based on a
book by L. Ron Hubbard and was Johns private passion.
also done Phenomenon with Travolta, I know yall are close. As
a well-known scholar of spirituality, any take on Scientology?
not a Scientologist, but Im definitely tolerant. If there are things
I can find there to help me improve, then I would use them just as Buddhism,
Christianity, whatever. But I see people making the jokes
truly not defending John or Tom [Cruise], Im defending people being
able to believe what they choose.
directed Toms Katie [Holmes] in First Daughter and Whitney Houston
in Waiting to Exhale and, thus, have been dubbed, a womens
George Cukor here. (laughs) Thats cool, though, I like that.
you know, there are those who feel those films arent serious
enough for an actor of such great gravitas.
understand that. And now were in a time when so much is going on. Peoples
consciousness is changing which means we truly are moving into a new age.
So Im going to apply a new understanding. Its not as tangible
as Id like, but its a very powerful energy that can come into
my films now. As for the gravitas, well, hopefully, I have some
wisdom to match what it looks like. (chuckles) But probably not as much as
everyone might see.
2015 Brantley Bardin. All Rights Reserved.