What would the Hollywood system look like if I didn’t need to see the film in order to be cast? How much does an actor’s character cost and does the actor’s work need to matter? The truth that these questions answer is that you don’t need to see the film in order to cast a movie. The industry has been moving away from that approach for some time. You don’t see any of that on the screen and when you’re in the theater I can say with confidence that the people who work in your theater feel more alive when they’re performing than when they’re doing it. Not because they’re paid more, just because for the first time that movie is happening in front of you. It creates an extraordinary connection with the audience. You never get tired of watching “Gone With the Wind” on the big screen. That’s what you do for a living. At least I’ve experienced that. I never got tired.
You’ve been in the business for over 40 years. How does it feel to see all these movies that are coming out, and how do you view them?
It’s wonderful to see everybody go and make that money. I’m glad for everybody. But I’m still very grateful to be in the business and still be working. I still feel like I have a choice. This is a huge industry and you’ve got to be very careful about where you put your head because some of the most successful directors are those who take risks and go where the wind is blowing. George Lucas is a director who went through a lot of changes, but he never let those changes cause him to drop back into the comfort of his comfort zone. It’s the same thing for me. If I’m going to take a risk, it has to be the very best move that I can make to take a risk that I think will help the character in terms of the story. I try to have that attitude in all of my films and hopefully that carries over into my acting career.
In addition to working with an impressive cast of talented actors, you’re involved in a number of film projects. You’re making a documentary, and you’re involved in the film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” What did you learn from doing those projects that you’re using in your current project with “The Fifth Estate”?
“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” was my first big film. I was in the early stages of writing it when I