You talkin to me?
I love that. It’s burnt on my retina, that image of De Niro in the mirror. Mirror image...
Do you feel lucky, punk?
Very lucky. Talk about stream of consciousness, but isn’t the brain amazing that I have no idea what you’re going to ask me but in one second there’s De Niro in a mirror and there’s Dirty Harry with a big gun. I just think of that lovely quote where Clint says, “This could stop an elephant at 40 yards” or something like that. If an elephant charged me from 40 yards away, I’d hope that Clint would be there with his gun to stop it.
Play it again, Sam.
Tickling the ivories. I don’t think my character Lenny in The Escapist would do much of that. He’d be too busy pumping iron. It’s a cliché when you see Stallone pumping iron at the beginning of a prison movie, but the reason you pump iron is because you don’t want to get fucked, basically. I went to Mississippi to visit state penitentiaries for another project and it was apparent that there’s a great deal of fear among some of the guys there. So all that pumping iron is basically saying, “Keep the fuck away from me.”
What if you could go back in time and take those hours of pain and darkness and replace them with something better?
I would replace them with hours of darkness and pain. Who’d want to replace them? You can’t escape. It’s a noble truth. You can’t escape it. Bring it on… Lenny is someone who’s filled with anger and pain. I think the angry character that I played in Running With Scissors gave [director] Rupert Wyatt the thought that he could harness that for Lenny.
You ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight?
Heath, I can just see Heath. I met him a couple of times. Beautiful man.
What is the last thing you do remember?
I’m thinking of Peter Falk in a mac, scratching his chin, turning back and going, “One more thing…” I know that quote’s from a far more brilliant, esoteric thing than Colombo but I always loved it when, just before he heads out of the room, Colombo would turn around and say, “And one more thing…”
You either surf or you fight.
Oh man! I think it’s more, “You are the wave that crumbled you… You are the wipeout that knocked you sideways.” I don’t surf anymore. I just haven’t been able to and I’m not intent on going down to Cornwall where it’s freezing cold and you have to wear four inches of latex to keep warm. So I haven’t had the opportunity lately… My fight scene in The Escapist took about four hours to shoot; on a big-budget movie that would be four days minimum. We were up against it, there were 100 inmates screaming in the room, your adrenalin’s up and you’ve got to be aware that you don’t fuck each other up. I got a big warning in rehearsals when I got way too close and clocked my elbow into the other guy’s mouth. I nearly took out his tooth.
I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse…
I love the bit in No Country For Old Men when Bardem flicks the coin in front of the garage attendant and slaps it on his wrist. That was an offer he couldn’t refuse! Have I had any? Yeah, daily. Getting my hands dirty in life.
I’m done with theatre. The playhouse is for dreamers.
I see a quill, flouncy shirt and tights. Tights that don’t fit.