2- Cidade das Ilusões (Fat City, John Huston, 1972)I’m flooded with so many memories…the first thing I remember is the interview. I think Beau got me that gig. Huston thought he was too old for the part, so Beau said ‘Why don’t you check out my younger brother?’ So I had the interview in Madrid, Spain. The night that I landed, I met this girl in the lobby and she took me out on the town and we ate all this great seafood, drank and really had a ball. The next morning I was feeling rather peculiar. All of the sudden when I got to the interview, it turned out that I was really sick. It turned out that I had food poisoning, from the shellfish. The interview was at this museum. John showed me all this fine art while I was vomiting with my mouth closed and swallowing it, trying to maintain! (laughs) He didn’t notice at all, just kept showing me all his favorite paintings! I went back to the hotel and was so weak, I couldn’t pick up the phone to call for help. James Mason who saved my life, he was staying at the hotel and with whom I’d done a rather obscure picture called The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go, which was directed by Burgess Meredith.
3- Portal do Paraíso (Heaven’s Gate, Michael Cimino, 1980)
I still think it’s a terrific film. Michael was very hot off The Deer Hunter, which had won all these awards, so he pretty much had free reign to do as he pleased. He’d shoot dozens of takes, sometimes 50 or 60. The problem with that is, you never know on which take you really have to be “on” as an actor and it sort of threw a lot of us out of synch. The other thing I remember was during the big shoot-out at the end, we all had to ride in a circle, half going one way and half the other. Now most of these guys playing cowboys were real Montana cowboys. And Michael must’ve had us do two dozen takes of riding around in circles–right at each other! I remember right before every take just going ‘Please God, let me live through this one!” (laugh) One of the saddest memories I have making films is going to the premiere of the film in New York and the reviews the next morning. And that terrible sound of a smattering of applause at the end. I notice that every time I’ve seen the film, I enjoy it more. I think that might be a function of starting to relax into the film’s pace, knowing what I’m in store for. I think it’s very American, especially nowadays, to be used to seeing cut, cut, cut up on the screen. Even if you’re not realizing what’s making you uncomfortable, that’s what it probably is…a big part of how much a person enjoys a film is what they know about it going in, either from the trailer, the ad in the newspaper or the reviews. And with Heaven’s Gate, the reviews were so terrible! Talk about preparation going to see a film! And the reviews were so personal. One review said “If they shaved Michael Cimino’s head, they’d find three 6’s.” I mean, what the fuck is that?! It’ll be interesting to see, 10 or 20 years from now, how that film is received. On a positive note, Cimino gave me the whorehouse and that barn on that huge ranch at the end of the shoot, and that’s now my house in Montana. The barn’s my studio.
4- O Último Golpe (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Michael Cimino, 1974)Well, it was Michael Cimino’s first film. Clint produced it, and was giving Michael a directorial shot after he’d written Magnum Force (with John Milius) for Clint before that. It was the first film I did up in Montana, and I fell in love with that state. Later, I bought some property and built a house up there. It was a great experience. Clint likes doing very few takes, one, maybe two at most, whereas Michael likes to do a lot, but couldn’t since Clint was the producer. So there was one scene where I wasn’t happy with the way it was going, and we’d already done a couple takes. So I went to Michael, and said I wanted to do it again. Everyone got really nervous, including Michael, who said “I don’t know man, I’m gonna have to ask the boss,” meaning Clint. So this hush sort of falls over the set when Clint comes back. He looks around, looks at me, looks at Michael and says “Give the kid another try.” (laughs)
5- O Homem das Estrelas (Starman, John Carpenter, 1984)I remember going in and reading for John Carpenter. I almost gave myself one of these adjustments that actors give themselves. It was almost like I became a small being inside this huge body and I had to kind of steer it around, you know? I was always trying to “act appropriate,” as human as possible. If he was crossing his legs, his legs would be crossed, but his weight wouldn’t be quite on them because they weren’t being crossed for the same reason that we humans would cross them. I thought if I could get that initial scene when he’s being born, if I could get that together and make that as real as possible, then it would just be a process of him getting more and more human towards the end. I have a dancer friend. One of the things I do to prepare for roles is get a role model, so I’ll look through my phone book and find someone who reminds me of the person I’m about to play. So with Starman, I looked through my book for strange friends who I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they were an alien. (laughs) So I came across this guy named Russell Clark who I’d been friends with for years. So I had the studio hire him and we worked for about a week and videoed the work, doing a lot of body work for the birth scene. One of my fond memories of making that film was, I was in my study, reviewing all the tapes I’d made. And I was in there, naked, doing that opening scene of Starman’s birth and my wife opened the door, came in, and saw me huddled in the corner, nude. (laughs) She had a very strange expression on her face and very quietly closed the door and left me alone! And also my daughters were small at that time, and I observed how they were in their bodies. I looked at different birds also, that kind of thing.
6- Cutter & Bone (Cutter’s Way, Ivan Passer, 1981)
Ivan Passer directed it, who’s wonderful. We shot it up in Santa Barbara, which is when I really fell in love with it. Ivan was, I don’t want to say passive, but he said very little and created this wonderful sort of atmosphere where it could all take place. Jordan Cronenweth shot it beautifully and Jack Nietzsche did a beautiful score done entirely with German women playing champagne glasses. It was amazing. John Heard gave a really remarkable performance. He should have been nominated for an Academy Award.
7- A Última Sessão de Cinema (The Last Picture Show, Peter Bogdanovich, 1971)It was a great experience. I was 19 or 20 years old, getting to do kissing scenes with Cybill Shepherd… Everyone was in love with her. Peter (Bogdonavich) was so wonderful. The cinematographer, Robert Surtees, was incredible. He was a true master. The whole cast was great. I always felt that Tim Bottoms never got enough acclaim for his work in that picture. He’s a wonderful actor. My favorite scene in that movie is the last scene between he and Cloris in her kitchen…Peter had such courage as a director to let the silence in the scenes just hang there. It was amazing. We had a great time going back 20 years later to do Texasville (1990), which was also written by Larry McMurtry. It was just like we’d had a long weekend, and then came back to work…Larry McMurtry just wrote a new book, the third installment, called “Duane’s Despressed.” (laughs)
8- Morte no Inverno (Winter Kills, William Richert, 1979)
That was another first-time director, Bill Richert. It was all kind of a fictitious version of what happened with the Kennedy clan, sort of crossed similar territory that Oliver Stone’s movie did ten years later, in a sort of weird way. That was an interesting film because, here’s this young director, who was so charismatic…do you remember the cast he assembled? John Huston, Elizabeth Taylor, Toshiro Mifune, Sterling Hayden, Tomas Milian, Eli Wallach, Belinda Bauer, Richard Boone…just a wild, wild cast! He got all these people just out of his sheer excitement about the project. It was interesting on a lot of levels. I had a chance to work with John Huston as an actor as opposed to a director, which was quite different. During Fat City he kind of kept me on my heels. He and Stacy Keach, who did the lead, were very close, but he kept me on my heels, saying things like (as Huston) “We’ve scheduled some fights for you, Jeff. We’re going to turn you pro…” I was so in awe of him. During Winter Kills it was just the opposite. We sort of hung out and you always got the feeling that he was giving the actors lessons in how to work with a director. He was so deferential to Bill Richert, who’d never directed a film before. He was really wonderful. I feel so blessed to have worked with him on both those films. I keep waiting for an opportunity to work with Angelica now, I love her work so much.
9- Amigos e Aventureiros (Rancho Deluxe, Frank Perry, 1975)We met in Montana when I was filming a movie called Rancho Deluxe. My wife was working her way through college as a waitress. But it was a small town and we saw each other around. Eventually I asked her out for a date. She said, “No. You Hollywood guys come up here and think you can get all the local girls. Forget about it.” Fortunately I managed to persuade her to go out with me in the end. Someone happened to photograph the two of us, just as I was cajoling her. If I had my wallet on me I could show you the photograph. It’s my prize possession.
10- The Iceman Cometh (John Frankenheimer, 1973)So my agent called me, and said that John Frankenheimer was doing a film of The Iceman Cometh with Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin and Fredric March and wanted me to be in it. I said ‘No man, I want to get back to my music. I’ve got other things I want to do.’ A couple hours later, Lamont Johnson, who’d just directed me in The Last American Hero called and just read me the riot act: “You call yourself an actor?! How can you turn down this opportunity to work with these masters of your craft?!” So I decided to do a little experiment on myself to see if I really wanted to make this my full time job. I figured professionals are supposed to do it, even if they don’t feel like it. So that’s what I’ll do. And it turned out to be a really great experience. It was all shot on one set. Usually on a film you might rehearse for a week or two then spent eight or ten weeks shooting. On this, we rehearsed for eight weeks and shot for two weeks. It was all of us sitting around a table, all these great actors. All my scenes were with Robert Ryan, who’s a guy who kind of stands alone. He’s such an underrated actor. So it was hanging out with all these great actors and learning from them. It was kind of like a play that we could have taken on the road. John Frankenheimer did such a masterful job of shooting it, keeping the camera moving. The cameras used these huge magazines that could do ten minute takes…I’m not that knocked out by my performance, looking back (laughs). But it was great working with all those guys, and working with them made me realize that this is what I wanted to do.
11- Morrer Mil Vezes (8 Million Ways to Die, Hal Ashby, 1986)Hal Ashby was really one of my favorite directors I’ve ever worked with, a real master, and such “art balls.” He would have such faith in the actors and himself and the whole process, that he would be so relaxed that it would seem to an outside person that he was unprepared. It was really just this faith in the artistic process. You just have to look at his work to see it. One of the sad, and tragic things about 8 Million Ways to Die, was the producer had hired this brilliant director who presented the script to me. I said ‘Why does Hal want to do this? It seems like kind of a cop, shoot-em up picture.’ Hal said “No, no. I want to get into the character’s obsession with alcohol, and a whole different thing. I don’t really know why I want to do it, which is maybe why I want to do it. The only way I’m going to figure out why is to get inside and examine it.” I was eager to work with him, so I got in there. The way he worked, I can understand why the money guys would get frustrated. He would throw out a lot of the script and do a lot of improvisation. Coming from being an editor, which is another great place for a director to come from, he would draw on that skill. I remember him saying the secret to being a great editor is to making yourself so familiar with all the film that you’ve got, and just sit there and go over, and over every single piece. So the producer was on the set often, had no respect for Hal’s process at all. Hal was very smart when one of the producer’s guys came to the set to spy on Hal. Hal hired him into his camp to be my technical adviser because he was a recovering alcoholic! He was a wealth of information and most of my speeches were worked out with him…somehow, miraculously, Hal shot the film the way he wanted to shoot it. Then it got down to the last weeks of shooting, with a few days left, and the producer comes down and says “You’ve got one more day.” So Hal, very brilliantly, made us all feel like we had all the time in the world. He let Andy Garcia, whose first film this was, do a bunch of takes for the bit he did on the phone. He wouldn’t rush him. He said “Let him discover the scene.” And at the end of the day, Hal got everything he needed! Hal was going to take some time off and he gave the film to his editor. The producer came in, fired Hal, came after the negative, then proceeded to cut the entire film against the grain that Hal shot it. Hal was making all these editorial choices in the camera while he was shooting. I remember asking Hal ‘Are we going to do much looping in this film?’ Hal said “I’ve never looped a film in my life! I’m an editor. I know how to take a razor blade, shave the emulsion off the film, and splice sound in.” I ended up looping about 100 lines after the producer re-cut it. It broke Hal’s heart, it really did…We didn’t know that he was sick at the time, but he probably was.
É um top dos filmes que mais gosto, mas para suas atuações seriam estes: Morrer Mil Vezes (8 Million Ways to Die, Hal Ashby, 1986), American Heart (Martin Bell, 1992), Susie e os Baker Boys (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Steve Kloves, 1989), Sem Medo de Viver (Fearless, Peter Weir, 1993), Cutter & Bone (Cutter’s Way, Ivan Passer, 1981), Tideland (Terry Gilliam, 2005), O Grande Lebowski (The Big Lebowski, Coen Brothers, 1998), O Homem das Estrelas (Starman, John Carpenter, 1984), O Pescador de Ilusões (The Fisher King, Terry Gilliam, 1991), Tucker – Um Homem e seu Sonho (Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Francis Ford Coppola, 1988)
Trechos de entrevista retirados daqui
Nota despropositada: Há uma história que gostaria de contar sobre a importância do cinema na vida das pessoas, envolvendo um outro filme com a presença de Bridges que nem sequer foi citado, talvez seja mais informação que necessário para os frequentadores deste blog saberem, mas ela é boa para se entender o meu ponto de vista de que qualquer manisfestação cinematográfica é válida e merece respeito, gostando ou não da mesma. É uma história longa, então vou resumir: eu gostava muito de drogas, mais especificamente de drogas fortemente alucinógenas, no melhor estilo “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, então numa dessas minhas eventuais bad trips que duravam dias (porque sempre eram bad trips, mesmo assim eu adorava) cismei que haviam pessoas embaixo de todas as camas e dentro de todos os armários da casa onde morava com mais uma galera, por isso eu tinha que matá-las com a faca da cozinha, mas eis que alguém me acalma com o DVD de Seabiscuit, ver a porra do cavalinho me acalmava, só sei que passei dois dias seguidos vendo o filme e não lembro de absolutamente nada sobre ele. Portanto, palmas para o cavalinho do Homem Aranha que me salvou de uma vida de culpa e na prisão.