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Tim Robbins - Idol Chatter
Tim Robbins - Idol Chatter

THOUGH YOU DO ACT, WRITE, DIRECT AND PRODUCE, WHEN ROBERT ALTMAN PROCLAIMED YOU THE SECOND COMING OF ORSON WELLES, DID YOU WANT TO KILL THE BASTARD?
(laughs) Yeah, it was “Is that a blessing or a curse?” My first thought was, “I hope that’s not true, because Orson coulldn’t get his third film made in Hollywood.”

BUT HE DID, FINALLY, AND YOU’VE ALREADY AUTEURED A MAGICAL THREE [BOB ROBERTS, DEAD MAN WALKING, AND CRADLE WILL ROCK], SO CHILL. NOT THAT YOU COULD HAVE RELAXED MUCH DURING CLINT EASTWOOD’S EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER MYSTIC RIVER. MUST’VE BEEN PRETTY GRUELING, HUH?
It would have been if we hadn’t had such a sure hand at the wheel. But Clint is very efficient and confident, so you knew you weren’t gonna have a day where you’d be doing a crying scene for 12 hours I loved Clint.

AS YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER, SUSAN SARANDON, MUST HAVE LOVED YOU WHEN YOU WROTE AND DIRECTED HER TO AN OSCAR IN DEAD MAN WALKING. DOES THAT DO

WONDERS FOR A RELATIONSHIP?
Well, I would think it would HELP. (laughs)

ALL THREE OF YOUR FILMS ARE QUITE POLITICAL AND
Politics is such an awful word because of what it implies. Yes, there is content in the movies, but it’s essential that you find the entertainment first; and then if you bring in this other stuff that makes it ABOUT something, fine. But if you have one without the other, you might as well go to a lecture.

SPEAKING OF LECTURES, I WAS STUNNED AT SOME OF THE ELABORATE HATE DIRECTED TOWARD YOU AND SUSAN IN CLIPS I READ.
That kind of hatred is very strange, because it’s by people who don’t know you, and that’s always weird. Your agents and manager say, “If you don’t respond, it’ll just go away,” but this year [when the Baseball Hall of Fame disinvited Robbins and Sarandon to attend the 15th anniversary of Bull Durham after they came out against the war in Iraq] it was so ridiculous that I felt I needed to respond. I mean, if we can’t speak our minds in this country, then why are we pretending it’s a democracy?

THAT’S SOMETHING BOB ROBERTS ADDRESSES.
As a matter of fact, my brother [composer David Robbins] and I had a rock band last summer called Gob Roberts, and we did about five Bob Roberts songs really hard-core punk (sings), “Some people have not, but they complain and complain and complain and complain!” (laughs) That movie is a staple in rock star buses.

YOU OUGHT TO DO A SEQUEL. I MEAN, DON’T YOU LONG FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL FRANCHISE?
Oh, wouldn’t that be great?! And I will also say that the films I choose to see have nothing to do with the politics of the lead actor: I went to Terminator 3 last night, and I LOVED it.

SO WHATCHA THINK ABOUT ARNOLD’S RUN FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA?
Why not? It’s his right, and I’d never, ever tell anyone they can’t run or say something because they’re an actor—I’d the LAST person to say that. (laughs)

SO…WILL YOU EVER RUN?
No—I like what I do too much.

AND YOU’VE MANAGED TO PUT TOGETHER SUCH A COOL, ‘70S-ESQUE FILMOGRAPHY. HOW’D YOU DO THAT?
By learning how to say no. Which leaves you with less cash, but, hopefully, more longevity.

GOT ANY GREAT THE PLAYER-LIKE STORIES?
What? You think I’d name names? (laughs) I’d just say that I’ve run into people that others have called monsters that I thought were great, and I’ve run into some of the “greatest guys” that turned out to be real dicks.

BUT THOSE ARE ALWAYS GOOD FOR RESEARCH SINCE, AS MS. SARANDON HAS SAID, ‘IT’S HARD TO GET SOMEONE TO PLAY AN ASSHOLE AS WELL AS TIM DOES.”
I think that was around the time I was doing The Player, Short Cuts, and Bob Roberts–-the Asshole Trilogy. (laughs)

I LOVE IT. SO, LISTEN, ORSON, YOU GOT A DREAM ROLE LEFT TO PLAY?
I wouldn’t say it’s a dream role, but I really would love to do an action movie. Where I’m running. Yeah. (laughs) I want to run and kick some ass NOW!

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