THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA, WHY HE HAD TO FIRE HIS DAUGHTER,
AND HOW HE ENJOYS ANNOYING OLIVER STONE
Mr. Jones, welcome to Idol Chatter. Its
Im good at that! As long as its trivial and frivolous and idle, then
I can manage it.
thenthough Ive always thought of you as deeplets
go trivial: Do people call you Tommy or Tommy Lee in real life?
your wife call you?
varies. (flashes a rarely-seen grin)
From the intimidatingly tough-guy persona youve cultivated from your
Best Supporting Actor Oscar-winning The Fugitive to The Three Burials
of Melquiades Estradeyour self-directed, Cannes
Film Festival Best
Actor award-winning cowboy opusits
lovely to see you smile. So, tell us, please: Are you ever just a goofball?
Sureeverybody is everything. Im goofy round
about 4:30, usually.
Wednesday afternoons. (smiles again) My 14-year-old daughter and I are pretty
this the child you, briefly, fired during The Three Burials
did fire her! It was 5:30 AM, shed done three days of beautiful work,
I said, Okay, honey, time to go to work, and her response was,
Go away! I said, All right, and drove to the set where
they said, Wheres the kid? I said, Forget the kidshes
fired. But, behind my back, the staff had slipped over to the hotel
and said, Just this once, honey, it might be a really good idea if you
were to get up. (chuckles) That got her motor running
a director can you terrorize sets the way your Batman Forever villain
freaks-out Gotham City?
no. I dont care to employ anybody who requires being terrorized.
Barry Pepper, Three Burials..s de-facto villain, must have been
pretty traumatized after the mauling his character takes from you.
was my intention to find the roughest, West Texas places I could find [Lee
has two ranches in his beloved Texas homestate]. So Barry had scrapes, cuts,
and dings all over himhe was pretty well beat-up by the
time it was over. But he stepped right up.
the films themes are wide-rangingracism,
loyalty, marriage, redemptionits press kit dubs
it a Neo-Western.
snort) Thats not the kind of language I would use. But, lately, Ive
decided that, if a person needs a label, let them have it. So, hell, Three
Burials is a situation comedy. Its got a naked woman
so its pornography. Neo-western? Fine! Soap
does directing give you that acting doesnt?
better chance to satisfy my lust for creative control.
you still love acting?
a great joy and privilege for me to be an actor. I love the cinema. I believe
it to be an art.
good friend, Samuel L. Jackson, once claimed to us, I love me onscreen!
Do you feel similarly?
I dont watch the movies Im inI mean, hell,
I know how it ends, I was there. But I have followed The Three Burials
around the world watching it with audience after audience.
was their reaction? Though much of it is deadly-ass serious, bits of of it
are quite hilarious, too.
good! Thats important. I have actually proposed that we have a designated
laugher follow it around to start the ball rolling. He could watch the
first reel, laugh two or three times, then, once it snowballs, leave and go
on to the next screening. (chuckles)
you and Oliver Stonewho directed you to an Oscar nomination as
Clay Shaw in JFKgiggle much?
and I were born on the same day, same year, but I can still piss him off by
telling him hes older than I am by ten minutes. I have the highest regard
for him, but his direction to me is not real complicated: He insults me, then
I insult him. But he knows Id kill for a shot and thats what counts.
lets wrap: Exactly how concerned are you with your legacy, how long
your films live on?
know that people are improved by a movie that was made long ago is highly
gratifying. The fact is some movies dont even live a weekend. On the
other hand, people are still watching Birth of a Nation, The Cabinet
of Dr. Caligariand they havent quit watching
Coal Miners Daughter yet, either. Heymaybe
itll last another weekend or two.
2015 Brantley Bardin. All Rights Reserved.