Extended Interview: “American Graffiti,” “Jobs” and Richard Dreyfus in the Citizen Class

Extended Interview: "American Graffiti," "Jobs" and Richard Dreyfus in the Citizen Class

In this expanded transcript of the Turner Classic Movies conversation with Richard Dreyfuss of host Ben Manchiewicz, the Oscar-winning actor talked about his apprenticeship on shows such as “The Wicked” and “The Big Valley” on টিভি60 টিভি’s TV; His work with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in their early classic film; Where he hides his Academy Award; And does he want to play Civil War general?


Ben Mankiewicz: So, because we know each other and I think you like me – I think, I’m not sure (laughs) – and we have a lot of achievements to talk about, but I want to start with failure.

Richard Dreyfus: I’m usually on the way to getting things started.

Mankiewicz: “Producer” in London. How did you go

DREYFUSS: It just went like this. (Laughs) And Mel Brooks disagrees. But this is how it went. First, I was doing “Sly Fox” on Broadway. And I had a successful Broadway hit as my bucket list of things I had. And it was the only one, because every time I appeared on Broadway I was off for two nights. And this one was ridiculously funny. And I was ridiculously funny. And the second act was a Hooray! And it was also in the same theater where Marlon Brando performed “Streetcar.” So, to put the two stories together, the night Brando died I went out on the screen and I said, “If Brando had died 20 years ago, the flag would have been dropped half-mast everywhere in the country. Who represented the revolution and will never understand the greatness of his genius, and to us he was, and to us all And she was nine, and the ‘Streetcar’ the stage [And as an aside, Tennessee Williams hated that production because you could not dislike Marlon Brando and the character of Stanley had to be disliked.]

Mankiewicz: Tennessee Wanted You Hate Stanley?

DREYFUSS: Yes. And so, the show wasn’t his play until Ralph Maker took over for Tennessee. And he knew and understood, you know, what Brando was. And she loved him. However, it made him nuts.

Mankiewicz: It wasn’t his Stanley Kowalski.

DREYFUSS: All right. So that night I said, “I would like to thank all of us for his honor.” And I explain what it is. And on three counts, “One, two, three,” everyone went, “Stella-la !!!!!!” And we took the roof off. And you may have heard of us on 32nd Street. And it was great. It truly deserved it.

However he chose to make himself a clown for 20 years. So, it was part of my brando. And then I said that was it. I announced my retirement.

Mankiewicz: From acting or from theater?

DREYFUSS: From acting. And actually from the film. I didn’t say that. But I didn’t mean theater. The theater is fun for me and I didn’t think I’d turn it down. However, I was discontinuing my film career. And I was slowly, changing some roles, but there is a law in California that says you are not allowed to retire from the show business. (Laughter) And so every time I say this, people should go “Yes, yes”. (Laughter)

And so, I was having dinner with Laurie Singer. And he said to me, “So what are you doing now?” And I said “I’m retired.” “No, no, no, really, what are you doing, Richard” and I said, “No, I’m not kidding. I went to a school in England And I’m running a non-profit to revitalize the citizens of grammar school and high school.” And said, “Richard, what are you doing?” And I said, “Okay. (Laughter) I’m going for the Nobel.” And he said, “Oh. Oh.” (Laughter) As if it’s legitimate!

Mankiewicz: Okay, okay, okay. I think if you go for a Nobel you are retired.

DREYFUSS: So I went to England. And I went on an obligation, outstanding, to be a “producer” in London. And when Mel Brooks called me and asked me to do it, I said, “Mel, I’m a dancer and I don’t even sing.” And he said, “Oh, who cares? You’re funny.” Six days before the first preview audience I was fired because I didn’t dance and I didn’t even sing. (Laughter)

Mankiewicz: You’re laughing now. I guess you’re not laughing then.

DREYFUSS: No I wasn’t laughing at night. It was Friday night. And I had a very bad Saturday. And it’s over and gone through Sunday. My son, Ben, was with me. And he made it great. And I participated that night, on Sunday night, a foreign company or a group of foreign Democrats or so-called aliens. And I said, “You hear tonight that I’m not a ‘producer'” “and everyone went,” Oh, boo, boo. “And I said,” OK, but Nathan Lane is taking charge. “And they all went,” Boo. Boo. “And I said,” It makes me feel great. “(Laughter) And so it was over and it was. I had a really bad Friday. It was gone. And I told people, I said I was going to stay on Sunday night. I decided.

Mankiewicz: Staying in England?

DREYFUSS: Stay in England. ‘Cause I gave myself six months anyway.

Mankiewicz: Oh to do the drama.

DREYFUSS: And so, I said, “I’ll be here.” “What are you going to do?” “Well, write or lecture articles or debate in Cambridge and Oxford and the like.” And I said I would teach. “What will you teach?” “History.” “What history?” And I said, “Have you got any history? (Laughter) I’ll teach it all!”

And they said, “History of English?” I said, “From the first grant.” (Laughter) And then Oxford called me and said, “If you submit a project to us that we approve, you can come and you can’t be a faculty or student. You can be a senior research adviser.” And I said, “You got it.” Because I already did a show to call Disney “Funny, you won’t see 200: A constitutional vaudeville” (1987). And it’s played by John Gilgood, Randy Newman, Rat Pack of the Sixties –

Mankiewicz: Who’s in the ’80s Rat Pack?

DREYFUSS: Oh, Emilio [Estevez] And –

Mankiewicz: Oh, That is Rat Pack Brat Pack

DREYFUSS: Yes, the second rat. And Randy Newman sings a song that was an Americanist song with no irony about the flag. And I got to work with John.

When I was 16 I had an experience that changed my life. Looking at it [John Gielgud] Present “The Ages of Man” in Hartford, LA, and until then, while I was hanging on to the fidelity of acting and its height and all of that, I wanted a conversation from my colleagues, trying to get away because I had this awful fear that I had big ears. And I’ll finish shooting aliens with a laser gun. And it wasn’t the career I wanted. I wanted a bigger thing. When I was 16, Gilgood L.A. Came and I was sitting on a porch. She stepped outside, opened her mouth. And I birthed two: one of them was sitting on the porch with his friends and the other was surprised for the first time.

Mankiewicz: So, even though you started acting in a form of acting, at the age of nine you announced to your parents that you wanted to be an actor, at 16, it really hits you where you want to perform?

DREYFUSS: Yes. And I saw him and I was aware of the great prose submission of a great artist. And I cannot describe to you the length and breadth of the feeling. And I went backstage after the show and I just said, “Thank you.” And left.

And 20 years later, in ’87, that was a hundred years [of the U.S. Constitution], I needed a Member of the House of Lords to ridicule the Constitution and I wrote this speech. And I said, “Oh hell” I picked up the phone and asked his agent over the phone. And the guy said, “Just send it to me.”

And the end result was that I moved to London and I managed John Gilgood. And to say these words doesn’t even begin to describe the experience and the shape of the thing. And when I showed up at the studio on Monday morning at 9:00 am he was already dressed. They had already completed the illumination. It was already the House of Lords in the background and it was done. And I said – ‘Cause I wasn’t a director – I described what I wanted. And I said, “Let’s just do one and -” So, I turned on the camera, he did it perfectly and I said, “Okay, let’s do this.” Absolutely. And we did it in another corner. Perfect. And we’ve done another angle. And then we were done. (Laughs) And I said, “We Nara Hurry up! “

Mankiewicz: Okay, I need more of these. Yes.

DREYFUSS: So, I went to him and I sat next to him. And I said, “John, you think you can…” And I said something. Who knows what I said? (Laughs) I wonder if my tongue works. And I describe something to him. And she went, “Oh how funny, dear boy.” (Laughter) And he did it perfectly. Twice. Done. 10:30. (Laughter) We’re done. And this is the show.

Mankiewicz: Well, he’s a professional.

DREYFUSS: He’s John Gilgood!

Mankiewicz: So, let me run here some of the stuff you reminded me of. So, when you were 16 years old when you first saw her, it was 1963? Something like that?

DREYFUSS: Yes.

Mankiewicz: So, you got bipolar and you realized what kind of dramatic thing you wanted to do. And three years later you are in an episode of “Babychid”.

DREYFUSS: Yes. Yes. Well, I had the biggest inner life because I knew that, first of all, I knew I would succeed. And I wasn’t kidding. I know I know exactly where I am sitting here. And I knew these were the years of my apprenticeship.

Mankiewicz: How did you know that you could succeed? What does it look like I don’t know what that looks like.

DREYFUSS: Yes, most people don’t. And I did. And it was a specialty in my life. This is what I have never questioned.

Mankiewicz: It makes you arrogant, do you think? For some people?

DREYFUSS: No it made me arrogant afterwards! (Laughter) It probably made me incredible later. But that time was simply that I told my friends, “Why are you trying to participate now? What do you do with it? You’re 17 years old? Are you ready for a famous movie career?”

TV carrier

Mankiewicz: So, when you get to “The Wicked” parts …

DREYFUSS: And “Gunsmoke” and …

Mankiewicz: … and you enter “Gunsmoke” and “Big Valley.” (Laughter), you think of it as a beginner. This is me learning this business.

DREYFUSS: And fun.

Mankiewicz: And paying and having fun and having all these incentives.

DREYFUSS: OK, and all the time, especially the first one when I said “no” and I lost my temper and was thrown out of the 20th –

Mankiewicz: What was that production?

DREYFUSS: I don’t know. I never did! But I was there for the meeting. And I had time. And when they arrived they were 45 minutes late. And I went to drink water, and when I returned to Milt Hammerman’s office, the director said, “Why are you waiting for us?”

And I blew. And I really blew. And Milt calmed me down, brought us in and he said, “Okay, Richard, tell me what you’ve done.” And I said, “No. (Laughter) No, Milt, you know what I’ve done I’ve been here 1,000 times and it’s abusive. The whole thing is abusive, the way you’ve treated us.” “Get out.”

An early shot by actor Richard Dreyfuss.

CBS News


So, while getting in the car, I clearly remember that it was better for me to do the role. And so I set a different goal for myself that should be very picky. And when you do one-day parts and two-day parts, little ones, you don’t pick.

Mankiewicz: Before going to the big movie, remind us how you lied in “The Big Valley.” This is a good story.

DREYFUSS: It’s the actor’s oath. You know, the actor’s vow to do what they tell you to do and you say, “I was raised on a flock outside of Las Vegas. Of course I know how to walk.”

Mankiewicz: To be frank, you grew up in New York.

DREYFUSS: In Brooklyn. And I’ve never seen a horse. However, as I was walking through the door, the director of the segment was Paul Henrid.

Mankiewicz: Oh really? What a great From “Casablanca”.

DREYFUSS: You betcha. And I said, “It is an honor to meet you, Mr. Henrid.” এবং বললেন, “আপনাকে অনেক ধন্যবাদ।” আর আমি পড়েছি। এবং তারপরে তিনি বললেন, “আপনি কীভাবে চড়তে জানেন?” এবং আমি বলেছিলাম, “ওহ হ্যাঁ। (হাসি) হ্যাঁ, কোনও সমস্যা নেই I লাস ভেগাসের বাইরের অংশে আমি আক্ষরিকভাবে উত্থিত হয়েছিলাম, কোনও সমস্যা নেই।”

মানকিউইভিজ: আসল মিথ্যাটিকে জোরদার করা হচ্ছে।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ। সুতরাং, আমরা পাল্লায় ফেলা। এবং আমি হেড র্যাংলারের কাছে গিয়ে বললাম, “আপনি কীভাবে চড়বেন?” সে যায়, “ওহ! এবং তিনি বলেছিলেন, “সওয়ার করার চেয়েও শক্ত” ” ‘কারণ এতে আমাকে দুটি ছোট বাচ্চা সহ একটি বকবোর্ড চালাতে হয়েছিল।

মানকিউইচিজ: যেমন, এই ছেলেরা … এটা শক্ত। তারা এটিকে গুরুত্বের সাথে নেয়। আপনি এই উইং করতে পারবেন না।

DREYFUSS: ঠিক আছে। এবং তারা এর বিপদটিকে গুরুত্বের সাথে নিয়েছে। তারা অভিনেতারা তারা যা তারা হ’ল একধরনের বোকা। তো, সে আমাকে অভিশাপ দিচ্ছে। তবে সে আসলেই বেশ হাস্যরস।

এবং তারপর আমি দুটি বাচ্চাদের সাথে পেয়েছিলাম। এবং যে মুহুর্তে তারা বলেছিল, “অ্যাকশন”, তারা বলেছিল, “কাট,” কারণ তারা দেখতে পাচ্ছিল যে আমি বাহুর মতো নিয়ন্ত্রণের বাইরে চলেছি; বাচ্চা দু’জনের সমস্যা ছিল, জানো? হেনরিড গেলেন, “অ্যাকশন” এবং আপনি নিঃশ্বাস নেওয়ার আগে পুরো ক্রু চিৎকার করছিল, “কাট, কাট!” (হাসি) এবং হেনরিড বললেন, “আপনি জানেন যে আপনি কেন এই অংশটি পেয়েছিলেন?” এবং আমি বললাম, “আমি ভাল পড়া দিয়েছি?” এবং তিনি বললেন, “না। কারণ আপনি বলেছিলেন যে মিঃ হেনরিড আপনার সাথে সাক্ষাত করা সম্মানের বিষয়।” (হাসি)


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মানকিউইচজ: আমার পছন্দ হয়েছে, লোকটি “ক্যাসাব্লাঙ্কা” -তে বার্গম্যান এবং বোগার্টের সাথে কাজ করেছিল এবং এখন তিনি নিউ ইয়র্ক থেকে কিছু মিথ্যা ইহুদী পেয়েছেন (হাসি) বলেছেন যে তিনি কীভাবে ঘোড়া চালাবেন জানেন।

DREYFUSS: আরেকটি ছোট ছেলে।

মানকিউইচিজ: হ্যাঁ, ঠিক আছে। সুতরাং, আমি আপনাকে “স্নাতক” সম্পর্কে জিজ্ঞাসা করতে চাই। আমি কেবল এটিই বলতে চাই যে আমার মেয়েটি বর্তমানে “বিউইচড” এর মরশুমে রয়েছেন এবং যখন আমি তাকে বলি তখন আপনার অংশটি সবচেয়ে আকর্ষণীয় জিনিস (হাসি) হয়ে যাবে। তিনি “জাওস” এর মতো হবেন, তার মানে সে “জাওস” থেকে জানে না, তাই না? তবে “বেবিচড,” মারাত্মক ব্যবসা।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ।

মানকিউইচিজ: আপনি সামান্থাকে জানতেন!

ড্রিফাস: আমি যখন “দ্য বিগ ভ্যালি” শেষ করেছি তখন বারবারা স্টানউইক আমার কাছে গিয়েছিল এবং বারবারা স্ট্যানউইক সম্পর্কে জানার যে সমস্ত কিছুই ছিল তা আমি জানতাম। তিনি আমার কাছে গিয়েছিলেন এবং বললেন, “আপনি সেরা অভিনেতা যিনি এই শোতে কখনও অতিথি অভিনীত ছিলেন” ” এবং সে চলে গেল।

এবং আমি অবশ্যই তাকে বিশ্বাস করি। সুতরাং, আমি আমার সমস্ত বন্ধু এবং আমার পরিবারের সবাইকে আমার সাথে অনুষ্ঠানটি দেখার জন্য আমন্ত্রণ জানিয়েছিলাম, যা আমি কখনও করি নি। এবং কখনও হবে না, আবার কখনও! কারণ শোটি প্রকাশের সাথে সাথে আমি মুখের সাথে … (হাসি) এর মতো ঘরের দূর প্রাচীরের বিরুদ্ধে অজ্ঞান হয়ে ব্যাক আপ করেছি কারণ আমি ভয়ানক ছিল। (হাসি) এবং আমি জানতাম কেন বার্বারা স্টানউইক এটা বলেছিল। তিনি নিজেকে বললেন, “যদি কেউ এই বাচ্চাকে সুন্দর কিছু না বলে, তবে সে তার মস্তিষ্ক ফুটিয়ে তুলবে।” (হাসি) এবং তাই, তিনি বলেছিলেন আমি সেরা অভিনেতা ছিলাম। আসলে, এবং আমি এটি ব্যাখ্যা করতে পারি না, আমি ভাল অভিনেতা ছিলাম না। আমি স্পষ্ট ছিল। এবং আমি ছিলাম –

মানকিউইচিজ: এনার্জেটিক?

DREYFUSS: শক্তিমান, এবং এর মতো। তবে আপনি যদি 11 বছরেরও বেশি সময় পারফরম্যান্সগুলি দেখে থাকেন তবে সেগুলির কোনওটি গ্রহণযোগ্য হওয়ার কাছাকাছিও নয়। এবং তারপরে আমি আমার প্রথম কাজটি একটি বাস্তব বৈশিষ্ট্যে পেয়েছি। এবং আমি সেই মুহুর্ত থেকেই ভাল ছিলাম।

“স্নাতক” (1967)

মানকিউইচিজ: সুতরাং সেই দুর্দান্ত লাইনটি যদিও আপনার “স্নাতক”, আপনার একমাত্র লাইন – “আমি কি পুলিশ পেতে পারি? আমি পুলিশ পেতে পারি” – লোকেরা কি সেই লাইনটি চেনে? লোকেরা কি এই লাইনটি উদ্ধৃত করে?

DREYFUSS: ওহ, সব সময়।

মানকিউইচজ: তবে আপনি কি বেঞ্জিনের চরিত্রে অভিনয় করবেন বলে আশা করছেন?

DREYFUSS: না

মানকিউইচিজ: না?

DREYFUSS: না। নিউইয়র্ক এবং এল.এ. এর প্রতিটি বাচ্চা অবশ্যই এই ভূমিকা চেয়েছিল। তবে আমি জানতাম, এক নম্বর, আমার বয়স খুব বেশি হয়নি। আমি তখনও স্কুলে ছিলাম। তবে আমি কেবল মাইকের কাছে যেতে চেয়েছিলাম [Nichols]. প্রচুর কাস্টিং স্তর রয়েছে এবং আমি মাইকে যেতে চেয়েছিলাম। এবং আমার এটি বলতে হবে, আমি একদিন হলিউডের মাধ্যমে গাড়ি চালাচ্ছিলাম। আমি গ্রেহাউন্ড স্টেশন পেরিয়েছি। এবং আমি এমন একটি লোককে বাছাই করেছি যার যাত্রা দরকার needed তিনি একজন বামন ছিলেন। এবং তার সমস্ত ব্যাগ তার অস্ত্র ছিল। এবং তার থাকার জন্য কেবল একটি জায়গা প্রয়োজন। এবং আমি তাকে সেখানেই চালিয়েছি। এবং আমরা কথা বলেছি। এবং আমি বলেছিলাম “আপনি এখানে এল.এ. তে কী করছেন?” এবং তিনি বলেছিলেন, “আপনার মতো আমিও হলিউডে এটি তৈরি করার চেষ্টা করছি” ” আমি বললাম, “ভাল, শুভকামনা।” এবং যখন আমি কাস্টিংয়ে গেলাম, তিনি ছিলেন প্রথম স্তরের কাস্টিং।

মানকিউইচিজ: তিনি কাস্টিং ডিরেক্টর ছিলেন?

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ।

মানকিউইচিজ: কার জন্য? “স্নাতক” জন্য?

DREYFUSS: “স্নাতক।” তিনি কাজটি পেয়েছিলেন এবং তিনি তা করছিলেন। এবং আমি ভিতরে গিয়েছিলাম এবং সে চলে গেছে … এবং আমি গিয়েছিলাম …

মানকিউইচিজ: যে লোকটি আমাকে যাত্রা দিয়েছে। যে দুর্দান্ত লোকটি আমাকে একটি যাত্রা দিয়েছে।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ, হ্যাঁ

মানকিউইচিজ: সুতরাং, আপনি একটি অংশ পেয়েছেন।

DREYFUSS: আমি গিয়েছিলাম দ্বিতীয় স্তর। তারপরে আমি তৃতীয় স্তরে চলে গেলাম। এবং তারপরে আমাকে বলা হয়েছিল, “আগামী মঙ্গলবার রাতে আপনি মাইকে দেখতে যাবেন।” আর এটাই আমি চেয়েছিলাম।

মানকিউইভিজ: ঠিক আছে।

ড্রিফাস: এবং সেই মঙ্গলবার আমাকে বলা হয়েছিল, “মাইককে নিউইয়র্কের উদ্দেশ্যে যাত্রা করতে হয়েছিল। কারণ তিনি ডাস্টিন হফম্যান নামে একজন অভিনেতাকে দেখছেন।” এবং নামে ডাস্টিন হফম্যান, আমি Godশ্বরের কাছে শপথ করছি এটি সত্য, আমি অনুভব করেছি যে অনিবার্যতার বাতাসটি ঠিক আমার ঘাড়ের পিছনের দিকে চলে গেছে।

মানকিউইচিজ: যদিও আপনি তাকে চেনেন না।

ড্রিফাস: আমি তাকে চিনি না। আমি কখনই জানতাম না সে কেমন দেখাচ্ছে। নামটা শুনেছি মাত্র। … এবং আমি তার নাম শুনেছি এবং আমি জানতাম। এবং এক সপ্তাহের মধ্যে অন্য সবাই জানত। তবে মাইক এমন শ্রেণির লোক ছিলেন, প্রকৃত পক্ষে, তিনি কাস্টিং প্রক্রিয়ায় একটি নির্দিষ্ট স্তরে পৌঁছে যাওয়া প্রত্যেককেই ছবিতে একটি কাজ দিয়েছিলেন।

মানকিউইভিজ: কোথাও তারা আপনাকে কিছু দেবে।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ। সুতরাং, আমাকে জানানো হয়েছিল যে আমি সিনেমাটিতে ছিলাম। এবং আমি তার সাথে দেখা করতে গিয়েছিলাম। এবং তিনি বলেন, “আপনি প্রস্তুত?” এবং আমি বলেছিলাম, “হ্যাঁ, আমি সারা সপ্তাহ ধরে স্টেলার সাথে পড়াশোনা করছিলাম।” এবং তিনি বললেন, “ঠিক আছে, আপনি যখনই প্রস্তুত থাকবেন”। এবং আমি গিয়েছিলাম, “আমি প্রস্তুত। এগিয়ে যাও। আমি কি পুলিশকে ফোন করব? আমি পুলিশ করব।“তিনি বললেন,” আপনি ভূমিকাটি পেয়েছেন। “

মানকিউইভিজ: (হাসি) আচ্ছা, আপনি কেন এত আত্মবিশ্বাসী ছিলেন তা আমি দেখতে পাচ্ছি। মানে, আপনি পেরেক দিয়েছিলেন! (হাসি)

“আমেরিকান গ্রাফিতি” (1973)

মানকিউইচজ: আপনি কি জানতেন, ওহে, মানুষ, এই যে ফ্রান্সিস ফোর্ড কোপোলা প্রযোজনা করছে, এটি জর্জ লুকাস পরিচালিত, মানে আপনি কি বুঝতে পেরেছিলেন, ‘কারণ আপনি জানেন না যে এই লোকেরা দৃষ্টি দিয়েছিল?

DREYFUSS: না, আমি আসলে কাস্টের একমাত্র সদস্য যারা জানতাম না যে আমরা ক্লাসিকের শুটিং করছি। আমি কেবল ভেবেছিলাম আমরা কিছু কিশোর চলচ্চিত্রের শুটিং করছি।

রিচার্ড-ড্রেইফাস-আমেরিকান-গ্রাফিতি-ইউনিভার্সাল.jpg
জর্জ লুকাসের “আমেরিকান গ্রাফিতিতে” রিচার্ড ড্রেইফাস।

ইউনিভার্সাল ছবি


মানকিউইচিজ: সুতরাং “আমেরিকান গ্রাফিতি” যখন রন হাওয়ার্ড, হ্যারিসন ফোর্ড, সিন্ডি উইলিয়ামস, তাদের কিছু বোধ হয় যে এটি বিশেষ কিছু?

DREYFUSS: ওহ হ্যাঁ। সবাই করেছে। সবাই. এবং আমি, কারণ লোকেরা মনে রাখে না (এবং তাদের কেন করা উচিত) যে ’50s’ এবং ’60 এর দশকের জন্য নস্টালজিয়ায় কিছুটা waveেউ পরেছিল। ইতিমধ্যে একটি ছিল। এবং আমি ভেবেছিলাম আমরা অতিরিক্ত ও বিলম্বিত ছিলাম।

মানকিউইচিজ: ওহ, আপনি ভেবেছিলেন আমেরিকাতে সময়টি অতীত ছিল।

DREYFUSS: ঠিক আছে।

মানকিউইচিজ: আমি তোমাকে পেয়েছি

DREYFUSS: ঠিক আছে। তো, আমরা এই সিনেমাটির শুটিং করেছি। এবং একটি বিস্ফোরণ ছিল। এবং জর্জ আমাকে বিভিন্নভাবে বিভ্রান্ত করেছিল। অন্যতম উপায় হ’ল তিনিই একমাত্র পরিচালক যিনি আমার দেখা হয়েছিলেন যিনি পরিচালনা পছন্দ করেন না। এবং আমরা একটি দৃশ্য করব, আমি এবং রন, এবং তিনি এসে বললেন, “আপনি কি এভাবেই চান?” এবং আমি বলব, “হ্যাঁ”। এবং তিনি বলতেন, “ঠিক আছে,” এবং তখনই এটি হয়েছিল। সান ফ্রান্সিসকোতে রাতের বেলা শীত জমে থাকায় তিনি একটি পুরু পার্কা পরেছিলেন।


সর্বকালের নিখুঁত চমকপ্রদ প্রাণী – আমেরিকান গ্রাফিতি (1/10) চলচ্চিত্রের ক্লিপ (1973) এইচডি By
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মানকিউইজিক্স: এটি সান ফ্রান্সিসকো বা ফ্রেসনো নাকি উভয়ই ছিল?

ড্রিফাস: আমরা সান ফ্রান্সিসকোতে শুটিং করছিলাম এবং আমরা পেটালুমায়ও গুলি চালাতে পারি বলে আমি মনে করি। এটা ঠান্ডা. এবং আমি সত্যিই অনুভূতি পেয়েছি যে জর্জ নির্দেশনা পছন্দ করেন না। এবং আমি আপনাকে বলব, আমি যা মনে করি এটি একটি কাকতালীয় ঘটনা এবং এখনও আমি এখনও 50 বছর পরে তাকে জিজ্ঞাসা করতে ভুলে গেছি। আমি আমার বেসামরিক অবজেক্টর বিকল্প পরিষেবাটি বেসমেন্টের এল.এ. কাউন্টি হাসপাতালে কাজ করেছিলাম। তারপরে আমি “THX 1138.” দেখেছি

মানকিউইচিজ: তাঁর প্রথম ছবি।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ, এবং আমি কিছু জায়গা এল.এ. কাউন্টি হাসপাতালের বেসমেন্টে হিসাবে চিহ্নিত করেছি। এবং আমি এটি জর্জের কাছ থেকে পাই নি তবে অন্যান্য লোকেরা মনে হয় এটি আমার মাথায় পেয়েছে যে সেখান থেকেই এটি একটি ছাত্র প্রকল্প হিসাবে এটি গুলি করেছিল। তবে আমি সত্যিই এটি কখনই নিশ্চিত করি নি। এবং আমি এটা দেখেছি। আমি এটা পছন্দ। এবং তারপরে আমাকে “গ্রাফিতি” এর জন্য অডিশন দিতে বলা হয়েছিল।

মানকিউইভিজ: সুতরাং, আপনাকে অন্য সবার মতো “গ্রাফিতি” এর জন্য অডিশন দিতে হয়েছিল।

DREYFUSS: ওহ হ্যাঁ।

মানকিউইচিজ: আমি বলতে চাইছি, এর আগে আর কেউ ছিল না, কেউ ভাবেন নি, “ওহে আমি এই লোকটিকে মঞ্চে দেখেছি, বা আমি তাকে” বিউইচড “বা” বিগ ভ্যালি “তে দেখেছি এবং আমরা চাই -“

DREYFUSS: না, না, না, না, না, না, না, যেমন ফরাসিরা বলেছে। প্রকৃতপক্ষে আমি দুটি নাটকেই একটি যুগান্তকারী করেছি, স্থানীয়, এবং দ্বিতীয়টি টেপারে ছিল [Forum]. এবং যে আমাকে দেখেছিল তারা “গ্রাফিতি” র লেখক এবং তারা শব্দটি পাশাপাশি পাঠিয়েছিল। তবে আমি এই নাটকটিতে একটি বড় স্প্ল্যাশ করেছি।

ম্যানকিভিৎস: [Was] কোপোলা আপনার কাস্টিংয়ের সাথে জড়িত ছিল নাকি তিনি আদৌ প্রোডাকশনের চারপাশে ছিলেন?

DREYFUSS: না, না।

মানকিউইচিজ: আপনি কি তার সাথে দেখা করেছেন?

DREYFUSS: না না তখন। না, দেখুন তিনি কী করেছিলেন, জর্জ এক সময় দলগুলির অডিশন দিয়েছিলেন। তিনি হরিসনস ও রিচার্ডস এবং এর মতোই অডিশন দিচ্ছিলেন। এবং তিনি চার বা পাঁচজন অভিনেতাকে এক সাথে রাখতেন। এবং সে কারণেই এটি ছিল একটি দীর্ঘ, বিস্তৃত প্রক্রিয়া।

মানকিউইচিজ: আপনি কি কখনও রন হাওয়ার্ডের সাথে অডিশন দিয়েছিলেন?

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ।

মানকিউইচিজ: হ্যারিসনের কী হবে?

DREYFUSS: হ্যারিসন, আমি মনে করি না আমি করেছিলাম। মিছরি [Clark], আমি করেছিলাম. এবং সেখানে বিভিন্ন গোষ্ঠী রয়েছে যা দিয়ে তিনি এটি করেছিলেন। যাতে অবশেষে, যখন তিনি তার সন্তুষ্টির দিকে ঝুঁকেন, তিনি দলটিকে পুরোপুরি জানতেন। এবং তারপরে আমরা সেখানে গিয়েছিলাম – এবং আমি ঠিক বুঝতে পেরেছি যে এই শোটি আট মিনিটের দীর্ঘ হবে তাই আমি আপনাকে গল্পগুলি বলতে চাই না। এটি রিচার্ড ড্রেইফুস সিরিজ হতে পারে!

মানকিউইচিজ: হ্যাঁ, পুরোপুরি। “স্টার ওয়ার্স” চলাকালীন অ্যালেক গিনেসের সেই দুর্দান্ত চিঠি ছিল যা তিনি একটি বন্ধুর কাছে পাঠিয়েছিলেন, আপনি জানেন, সিনেমাটি কী নির্বোধ এবং খাবারের ভয়াবহ এবং আমরা এখানে মরুভূমিতে বাইরে এসেছি এবং মূলত এই অভিনেতাদের বলে মনে হচ্ছে না তারা কী করছে তা জানতে। “একটি বাচ্চা আছে” – এবং তিনি হ্যাঙ্ক ফোর্ড, হেনরি ফোর্ডের মতো কিছু বলেছিলেন, আমি নিশ্চিত নই – “তিনি মনে হয় তাঁর কাছে কিছু আছে” ” (হাসি) হ্যারিসন ফোর্ড সম্পর্কে কথা বলছি, ঠিক আছে, তার কিছু থাকতে পারে। এবং আমি কেবল কৌতূহলী, আপনার কি কোনও ধারণা পাওয়া গেল যে, “ওহ এই লোকটি বেশ ভাল” বা অন্তত সেখানে উপস্থিতি আছে?

ড্রিফাস: মাতাল হয়ে যাওয়ার মুহুর্তে হ্যারিসন ফোর্ড আমাকে হোটেলের সুইমিংপুলে অগভীর প্রান্তে ফেলে দিয়েছিলেন।

মানকিউইচজ: খেলছেন নাকি রাগের বাইরে?

DREYFUSS: ওহ, না, তার পক্ষ থেকে। (হাসি) এটি চালু ছিল না আমার অংশ। আমি বেশ রেগে গেলাম। কিন্তু আপনি যখন আমি এবং তিনিই তখন আপনি পাবেন না যে ক্রুদ্ধ। সুতরাং না, আমি ছাড়া আমি কারও সম্পর্কে অনিবার্যতা বুঝতে পারি নি। (হাসি)

“ক্যাচ -22” টিভি (1973)

মানকিউইচিজ: তো, “গ্রাফিতি” আপনাকে “জাওস” পেয়েছে?

DREYFUSS: না, ভাল, আমি জানি না। আমি “গ্রাফিতি” করেছি। এবং তারপরে আমি পিসিটিটি এবিসির হয়ে “ক্যাচ -২২” তে যোসারিয়ার খেলছিলাম যা আমার জীবনের সবচেয়ে ভয়ঙ্কর অভিজ্ঞতা ছিল। এবং এটি প্রথমবার আমি কোনও চাকরি নিয়েছিলাম কারণ যে লোকটি এটি লিখেছিল সে লেখককে পুরোপুরি ক্যাপচার করেছিল।

মানকিউইচিজ: সুতরাং, আপনি অনুভব করেছেন যে এটি জোসেফ হেলারের ছিল –

DREYFUSS: – কৌতুক সময়, এবং এটি দুর্দান্ত ছিল। এবং তারা আমাকে কাজ দিয়েছে এবং তারা তাত্ক্ষণিকভাবে গোলাপী পৃষ্ঠাটি বিস্মৃত হতে শুরু করেছে। And [it] আরও অনেক বেশি পরিস্থিতিযুক্ত কৌতুক হয়ে উঠল।

মানকিউইচিজ: “ক্যাচ -22: দ্য সিচুয়েশন কমেডি”?

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ, এবং তাই আমি পাগল হয়ে গিয়েছিলাম। আর কীভাবে যুদ্ধ করতে হয় তা না বুঝেই আমি যুদ্ধে নামলাম। এবং আমরা ভিক্টরভিলে বা অন্য কোথাও বাইরে এসেছি এবং ইউনিট ম্যানেজার আমাকে এক রাতে ফোন করে calls এবং তিনি বলেছিলেন, “শোনো, এই শোতে অন্য কারোর চেয়ে আপনার ক্ষমতা বেশি But তবে কেউ আপনাকে এটি দেবে না।” আমি জেনের মুহুর্তটি জানতাম এবং তিনি কী বলছিলেন তা আমি বুঝতে পেরেছিলাম এবং কীভাবে এটি ব্যবহার করতে হয় তাও জানতাম না। আমি যথেষ্ট বয়স্ক ছিলাম না, আমার যথেষ্ট অভিজ্ঞ ছিল না, এর প্রবৃত্তি আমার ছিল না। এবং আমি এই ব্ল্যাক সচেতনতাটি অনুভব করেছি যে অবশ্যই তিনি ঠিক বলেছেন। আর আমি কি করব?


ক্যাচ -22 (সম্পূর্ণ পাইলট, 1973) By
ক্লাসিক শিকাগো টেলিভিশন যাদুঘর (www.FuzzyMemories.TV) On
Youtube

DREYFUSS: সুতরাং, শো যথেষ্ট খারাপ ছিল। এটি বিক্রি হয়নি। এবং তারপরে আমি বেভারলি উইল্টশায়ারে “ড্যাডি ক্রাভিটসের অ্যাপ্রেন্টিসিপশান” কাস্টিংয়ের জন্য গিয়েছিলাম। এবং আমি বেড়াতে গিয়েছিলাম [director] টেড কোটচেফ এবং আমরা কথা বলেছিলাম এবং তিনি আমাকে স্ক্রিপ্টটি দিয়েছিলেন। এবং আমি এক সপ্তাহের মধ্যে ফিরে এসে একটি পড়া ছিল। আমি চলে যাবার সময়, আমি এটির দিকে তাকিয়ে ছিলাম এবং আমি বুঝতে পেরেছিলাম যে আমার বয়স কখনও অভিনেতার পক্ষে লেখা সবচেয়ে বড় অংশটি আমার হাতে ছিল।

এবং এই মুহুর্তে আমি শুনেছিলাম, “রিচার্ড, আমাদের আরও একটি সুযোগ আছে।” কি?

এবং আমি লবীর ধাপে অর্ধেক নীচে ছিল। এবং এটি ছিল এবিসির একজন আইনজীবী!

মানকিউইচিজ: আমি সত্যিই বৈধভাবে ভাবলাম যে এটি আপনার মাথায় একটি আওয়াজ। (হাসি) আমি ভাবিনি যে এটি একটি প্রকৃত ব্যক্তি.

DREYFUSS: না, আমি কখন আপনাকে তা জানাব! এবং এই লোকটি বলে, “আমাদের আর একটি সুযোগ আছে।” আমি বললাম, “মানে কি?” এবং তিনি বললেন, “আপনি জানেন, এটি সেই ছয় মাসের জিনিস, সেই উইন্ডো” ” এবং তিনি কিছু দ্বিতীয় শট বর্ণনা ছিল।

মানকিউইচিজ: “ক্যাচ -22” এ?

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ। এবং আমি তার দিকে তাকিয়ে বললাম, “আমার এজেন্টের নাম মায়ার মিশকিন, ২4৪-৫২61১১; আমার অ্যাটর্নিটির নাম ডোনেনফিল্ড, ২8৮-৯৮৮৮। আমি এই অংশটি করার আগে আপনি আমাকে কারাগারে দেখতে পাবেন।”

মানকিউইচিজ: আপনি “ডডি ক্রাভিটসের অ্যাপ্রেন্টিসিপ” করবেন।

DREYFUSS: itশ্বর এটি এত সহজ করে দিয়েছিলেন। আমি আমার হাত ধরে ছিলাম, আমার ধারণা করার দরকার নেই। এবং তাই, আমি তাকে বলেছিলাম, এবং এটি ছিল। এবং তারপরে আমি “ডডি ক্রাভিটস” এর অংশটি পেয়েছি এবং এল.এ. থেকে ট্রেনটি মন্ট্রিয়ালে নিয়ে গেলাম যাতে আমি এটি পড়তে, পড়তে এবং পড়তে পারি।

“দাডি ক্রাভিটসের অ্যাপ্রেন্টিসিপ” (1974)

DREYFUSS: মোরদেকাই রিচলার [the writer of “Duddy Kravitz”], সে আমাকে তুলেছিল এবং তাকে দেখতে এক ঝাঁকের মতো দেখাচ্ছিল। এবং তিনি মহান ছিল। তিনি দুর্দান্ত ছিলেন। এবং তার সেরা বন্ধু, এবং বহু বছর ধরে ছিলেন, তিনি ছিলেন টেড কোটচেফ। এবং তাই, আমি একজন স্মার্ট অভিনেতা যা করে তা করেছি, টেড নিয়ে কিছু গবেষণা করেছিলাম। আমি আবিষ্কার করেছিলাম যে সে একজন যেলার ছিল। এবং একটি ধাঁধা আছে কারণ আমি এটির সাথে ভাল কাজ করি না। টেনশন নিয়ে ভাল কাজ করি না। এবং আমি আমার সম্পর্কে যে জানতাম। এবং তাই, আমরা ডিনারে ছিলাম এবং টেড রেস্তোরাঁয় আসে এবং আমি উঠে দাঁড়াল। আমি একটা দীর্ঘ নিঃশ্বাস ফেললাম, আমার হাত ধরে বললাম, “হাই, টেড। আমাকে চিত্কার করবেন না।” এবং সে আমার হাত ধরেছিল। এবং সে আমার দিকে তাকিয়ে বলল, “কি?”

আমি বলেছিলাম, “আপনি যদি আমার দিকে চিত্কার করেন তবে আমরা কোনও কাজ করব না you আপনি আমার দিকে চিত্কার করলে আমি বাদাম হয়ে যাব I’ll আমি পাগল হয়ে যাব tension আমি উত্তেজনা ছাড়াই ভাল কাজ করি And তাই, আপনাকে সত্যই আমাকে শুনতে হবে । ” এবং তিনি আমার দিকে তাকিয়েছিলেন এবং দীর্ঘ সময় আমার হাত ধরেছিলেন এবং তারপরে তিনি গিয়েছিলেন, “আপনি পেয়েছেন।” এবং সে কখনই আমার দিকে চিত্কার করে নি। সে লোকটির দিকে চিত্কার করে পরবর্তী আমার কাছে. (হাসি) এবং সে টেডের বড় মানুষ এবং সে একটি গরুর আওয়াজ পেয়েছে। এবং পবিত্র গলি, এবং তিনি সবাইকে চিত্কার করলেন। আমার দিকে চিত্কার করে না

মানকিউইচিজ: তবে সে তোমার কথা শুনেছে।

DREYFUSS: তিনি আমার কথা শুনেছেন।

মানকিউইভিজ: এবং এটি এতটা সৌজন্য নয়, তার মানে তিনি কীভাবে তাঁর সিনেমাটি তৈরি করবেন তা বুঝেছিলেন।

DREYFUSS: ঠিক আছে। এবং তিনি এই বিষয়টির খুব প্রশংসা করেছিলেন যে আমি যা বলতে পেরেছিলাম তা হ’ল উচ্চারণ করতে পারি।


ডডি ক্রাভিটসের শিক্ষানবিশ hip By
রিল কানাডা On
Youtube

মানকিউইভিজ: সুতরাং, আপনার বয়সের একজন অভিনেতার পক্ষে সর্বকালের সেরা অংশ। আপনি এটি দেখে কি ঘটেছে? (হাসি)

DREYFUSS: আপনি আপনার হোমওয়ার্ক করেছেন, তাই না? আমি ভেবেছিলাম সেলুলয়েডের ইতিহাসে আমি সবচেয়ে খারাপ অভিনয় দিয়েছি।

মানকিউইচিজ: “দ্য বিগ ভ্যালি” এর চেয়ে খারাপ?

DREYFUSS: সমান। (হাসি) এবং – তাদের দু’জনের মধ্যে এতটা দূরত্ব ছিল না। এবং “অ্যাডেন্টিসশিপ অফ ডডি ক্রাভিটস” এর উদ্বোধনী রাতে এটি মন্ট্রিলের প্লেস ডেস আর্টসে অনুষ্ঠিত হয়েছিল। … আমি এতদিন পর্দায় নিজেকে দেখিনি। আপনি জানেন, নিজেকে “বিভিডড” এ দেখা একটি জিনিস এবং নিজেকে 90 মিনিটের জন্য দেখার অন্য জিনিস thing

মানকিউইচিজ: হ্যাঁ, আপনি প্রায় প্রতিটি দৃশ্যে আছেন।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ। এবং আমরা “জাওস” করেছি, “” ডডি ক্রাভিটস “খোলা হয়েছে। এবং এটি নিউইয়র্ক টাইমসে দুটি পৃষ্ঠার ছড়িয়ে পড়েছিল। এবং মেয়েরা আমার সাথে ফ্লার্ট করার জন্য সুরক্ষা নৌকাগুলি জুড়ে পুরো আয়নায় উঠেছে। এবং স্টিভেন স্পিলবার্গ বলেছিলেন, “এখানে কী চলছে?” এবং আমি বলেছিলাম, “স্টিভেন, আপনার যদি 40-ফুট মুখ থাকে তবে তাও আপনার হয়ে উঠবে।” (হাসি)

মানকিউইচজ: তবে “ডডি ক্রাভিটস” -তে অভিনয় এতটাই খারাপ হয়েছে বলে আপনি ভাবার কারণের অংশ নন আপনি “জাওস” না বলার সিদ্ধান্তকে উল্টে দিয়েছিলেন এবং “জাভস” কে হ্যাঁ বলেছিলেন?

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ। আমি এটা দুবার ফিরিয়ে দিয়েছি। আমি “ডডি ক্রাভিটস” দেখেছি, স্টিভেনকে ডেকেছিলাম এবং অংশটির জন্য অনুরোধ করেছি।

মানকিউইচিজ: আপনি আতঙ্কিত হয়েছিলেন যে “ডডি” আপনার ক্যারিয়ার শেষ করবে।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ। হ্যাঁ।

মানকিউইভিজ: এবং আপনি আরও একটি সিনেমা চালু করতে চেয়েছিলেন।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ।

মানকিউইচিজ: এবং তারপরে আপনি এই সেমিনাল মুভিটি তৈরি করবেন, বিংশ শতাব্দীর দুর্দান্ত ছবিগুলির মধ্যে একটি।

DREYFUSS: ঠিক আছে।

মানকিউইচিজ: এটিকে তৈরি করার সময় এর বিশালতার কোনও ধারণা?

DREYFUSS: না। আমি আবারও একমাত্র, যিনি জানেন না!

“জবা” (1975)

ড্রিফাস: স্টিভেন আমাকে ডেকে বলেছিলেন, “আমি তোমার সাথে ‘জাওস’ সম্পর্কে দেখা করতে চাই। বইটি পড়বেন না। ” আজ অবধি আমি কখনই বইটি পড়িনি, এটি পরিচালকদের সাথে আমি কতটা ভাল অভিনেতা। (হাসি)

মানকিউইভিজ: তিনি চান না যে চরিত্রটি কেমন হওয়া উচিত সে সম্পর্কে আপনার কোনও পূর্ব ধারণা করা উচিত।

DREYFUSS: হ্যাঁ। এবং খুব ভাল কারণে: তিনি বলেছিলেন, “আমি একটি গুলি করতে চাই।” তিনি প্রচণ্ড বেগ এবং গতি নিয়ে একটি জিনিস নিয়ে একটি সিনেমা বানাতে চেয়েছিলেন। এবং বইটিতে স্পষ্টতই সাবপ্লটগুলির ওডলস ছিল। [Editor’s Note: Yes! For one thing, in Peter Benchley’s novel Dreyfuss’ character, Hooper, and Chief Brody’s wife, Ellen, have an affair!] সে এর কোনটিই চায়নি। সুতরাং, আমি না [read it]. এবং তিনি আমাকে গল্পটি বলেছিলেন এবং এটি উত্তেজনাপূর্ণ ছিল। তিনি বললেন, “তুমি এটা করতে চাও?” এবং আমি গিয়েছিলাম, “না” (হাসি) তিনি বললেন, “কেন?” এবং আমি বলেছিলাম, “কারণ আমি এই সিনেমাটির শুটিংয়ের চেয়ে বরং এটি দেখতাম।” কারণ আমি বোকা! আমি বলতে চাইছি, এর বাইরে আর কোনও ব্যাখ্যা নেই। কিছু জিনিস আসে যখন আমি বেশ বোকা।

এবং আমি সিনেমা নির্মাণ প্রক্রিয়া সম্পর্কে যথেষ্ট জানতাম না। সুতরাং, যখন এটি শেষ হয়ে গিয়েছিল আমি আসলে নিউইয়র্কের কিছু টক শোতে গিয়েছিলাম এবং বলেছিলাম, “ওহ এটি ব্যর্থতা হবে।” (হাসি) এবং আমি এই সমস্ত কথা বলেছিলাম যা আমি তখন ফিরে গিয়েছিলাম এবং বলে ক্ষমা চেয়েছিলাম।

মানকিউইচজ: আপনি যখন এটি তৈরি করছিলেন, আপনি তিনজন – শিয়েডার এবং শ এবং আপনি – আপনি কি ছেলেদের জন্য হাঙ্গর কাজ করেছিলেন? মানে, আমি জানি এটি আক্ষরিকভাবে কাজ করে না। আপনি যখন এই দৃশ্যের শুটিং করছেন তখন কি আপনি এটি কিনেছেন?

DREYFUSS: না। প্রথমত, যা ঘটেছিল, তারা নিজেরাই একটি প্রশ্ন জিজ্ঞাসা করতে ভুলে গিয়েছিল যা ছিল, “সত্যিকারের সাগরে কখনও অন্য কোনও ছবিতে চেষ্টা করা হয়েছে?” না, আমি ভাবছি কেন? (হাসি) এখন আমরা জানতাম কেন !. এবং সুতরাং, হাঙ্গর যার কোন গ্রাউন্ডিং ছিল না, উঠে এসে গিয়েছিল (শব্দ করে) এবং পড়ে যাবে।

মানকিউইচিজ: ডুবে গেছে

ড্রিফাস: সুতরাং, আমরা জানতাম এবং রেডিও মিক্স দ্বীপে এতটা সর্বব্যাপী ছিল যে আপনি কেবল রাস্তায় হাঁটতে এবং চারপাশ থেকে শুনে সিনেমাটি তৈরির পরিকল্পনাটি অনুসরণ করতে পারেন: “অপেক্ষা করুন, হাঙ্গরটি কাজ করছে না। (শব্দ তোলে) “হাঙ্গর কাজ করছে না। (makes noise) The shark is – ” and you could just hear it. And then one day you heard: “(makes noise) “The shark is working. The shark is work … the boat is sinking. (makes noise) The boat is sinking.” And I was on that boat. And we were sinking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! We had ripped the anchor out and Freddie Zendar, the head of the stunt people, had jumped to the wheel and was trying to power the boat onto the beach at Chappaquiddick Island, screaming all the time, “This is the worst. This is the worst.” And Steven with his megaphone is going, “Get the actors off the boat, please. Get the actors off the boat.” (laughter) And safety boats are coming and it’s a six-foot swell. And, you know, the guys running the safety boats are all local kids. And I’m trying to help a 70-year-old sound man get his leg over the side of the boat, holding his $50,000 NAGRA tape recorder. We lost a NAGRA a week!

MANKIEWICZ: Is that right?

DREYFUSS: Yup. On the very first day of shooting we’re in a boat, a little boat, and it was just doing this (makes rocking motion). And then water [comes over], went plump! And the guy goes, “That’s a wrap for sound!” (laughter)


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MANKIEWICZ: So, you don’t have any feel that you’ve made something great? But you did have faith in Spielberg.

DREYFUSS: Right. If you went and looked and said, “Pick out the person of authority on this set,” you’d never pick Steven on “Jaws.” After that, no problem. He was crowned and anointed.

MANKIEWICZ: So, you know, they considered some pretty big actors, including Jon Voight and Jeff Bridges for your part. And George Lucas was like, “No, you should maybe look at Richard Dreyfuss.”

DREYFUSS: Actually I don’t know that until just this minute.

MANKIEWICZ: That Lucas –

DREYFUSS: No, that those two actors that you mentioned were mentioned.

MANKIEWICZ: Yeah, I mean, they were, you know, they were emerging as very big stars right around then.

DREYFUSS: I had told Steven some years later about an experience I had of being deal-broken out of a film. And when I was describing to him what they had said and done to get me to quit a movie, Steven said, “Oh yeah, that’s just what we had to do to get you into ‘Jaws.”” But they had mentioned Timothy Bottoms.

MANKIEWICZ: Yeah, right, he was among them, too.

DREYFUSS: Yeah, so he was the only one I knew about. And I never knew about George’s endorsement.

MANKIEWICZ: Well, George’s endorsement definitely happened. Because Steven didn’t want a giant, established star. You know, [Charlton] Heston wanted to play Scheider’s part, wanted to play Brody. And you know, it’s Heston. And it’s, you know, 1975, [he’s] still a big deal. But Spielberg thought his screen presence would overpower the other actors.

DREYFUSS: Right. Roy was second to an actor whose name I don’t know but I knew his work. And unfortunately this guy will never know that he was in first place for this part. But he was busy. And Roy was second. And then Lee Marvin and Sterling Hayden and then Robert [Shaw, to play Quint]. And Robert and Roy had this thing about billing. And they were always arguing about billing. And I said to Roy one day, “What difference does it make? Come on, you guys should …” and Roy turned to me and said, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand why you’re not bothered. We all have the same billing.” And I went, “We do?” (laughter)

MANKIEWICZ: You thought, “This is great. Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw. This is fantastic. Yeah.

DREYFUSS: I thought it was “… and Richard Dreyfuss as Lud.” (laughter) That’s what they said on “Big Valley.”

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)

MANKIEWICZ: So, after “Jaws,” you immediately start lobbying Spielberg for “Close Encounters.”

DREYFUSS: In the middle of “Jaws.” Because they came to the island, Michael Phillips, the producer. And he started talking about the film. And when I understood what the film was originally, it was to star Gene Hackman. You know, a lifer in the military, 30-year man and downhome guy. And then in the middle of “Jaws,” in talking to me about the film, he said that he was thinking of changing that character. And I said, “To what?” And he went, “Well, to someone more – ah, forget it.” And I just focused. And I decided that I would badmouth every actor every born that could possibly play that role. And I did!

MANKIEWICZ: Yeah, those actors were?

DREYFUSS: They were De Niro, Pacino, you name it.

MANKIEWICZ: What would you say about De Niro?

DREYFUSS: I said, “De Niro has no sense of humor.” (laughter) And I would say, “Pacino’s crazy.” (laughter) And I would just walk by his desk and go –

MANKIEWICZ: “Gene Hackman’s impossible to work with”?

DREYFUSS: Yeah! (laughter) And then I said one day I said, “Steven, you need a child.” And he looked up and said, “You got the part.” And that was not only smart of Richard, it perfectly encapsulated our relationship, because I knew that that character had to have a childlike quality. And I knew also that I had it. And in a sense, I knew that I was being hired at that time for having that quality, and also the quality of awe. And I knew it. And that’s why I got it.

MANKIEWICZ: It also suggests to me that Spielberg was seeing what “Jaws” was and I think probably sensed, “Oh, this guy’s about to be a big story.” You might not know it yet, but he knew it.

DREYFUSS: Well, I think what started to happen is that once we got back to Los Angeles and we were shooting in the tank for just about a week or a week and a half, we’d end the night and I would go with him to his office and work on the film with him. Just throwing out ideas. And I would park without realizing it in the wrong parking place because one day in the morning they called and Steven looked at me and said, “You’re under arrest.” I said, “Really? Why?” He says, “You parked in Alfred Hitchcock’s space.” (laughter) So, I ran out to the car and moved it. But by that time I knew if I didn’t have an inside track for that role I should have. And I made no bones about it ’cause I had the qualities that they needed for real. And they didn’t have to guess. And he wasn’t gonna have this character have any affairs, he was just gonna be this awe-struck, grownup, seriously committed. And also, you knew that Steven could see the story through this character’s eyes. And when you see the film, you know that every actor in the third act has the same quality on his face. They’re all children. All the technicians, all the governors, everyone in that last sequence has got this great quality of childlike wonder. And he needed it. And I knew it. When I see the film now I’ll watch that last sequence. And I’m still amazed at how many of those technicians had that quality.


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MANKIEWICZ: Is that the Richard Dreyfuss movie you watch most?

DREYFUSS: Oh no. Oh no, no. It is the movie that is asked about more than any other.

MANKIEWICZ: Really?

DREYFUSS: And so when I’ve done autograph, convention things I always say to the audience, “I know more about “Jaws” than anyone else in the world. Here’s the deal: if you ask me a question that I cannot answer about “Jaws” I’ll give you ten bucks. If, however, you ask me a question that I can answer you give me ten bucks.” And I am way ahead on this one!

MANKIEWICZ: Oh people, they rise to the challenge?

DREYFUSS: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

MANKIEWICZ: And you take their $10?

DREYFUSS: I certainly do.

MANKIEWICZ: You know why you do? It’s a bet. You gotta pay a bet.

DREYFUSS: Hey. And I’ve made it clear.

MANKIEWICZ: Yeah, that’s right.

DREYFUSS: And the first one who ever beat me was a ten-year-old girl.

MANKIEWICZ: What was the question, you know?

DREYFUSS: I have no idea. (laughter) But I just remember looking at her and going –

MANKIEWICZ: I could’ve beaten you. I could’ve won ten bucks from you with the Jon Voight and Jeff Bridges.

DREYFUSS: Yeah, yeah. (laughter)

MANKIEWICZ: Damn it. (laughter) Blown opportunity. So, what is it, the Dreyfuss movie you’ve seen most?

DREYFUSS: After the first screening I usually never see a film from first to last again unless it pops up in some way on television. And then I’ll watch depending upon where in the film it is. And “Jaws” is not the one I would watch most. Well, “Tin Man” and “Let it Ride” and there’s certain films from the ’80s that I adore. And I think they’re great.

MANKIEWICZ: “Down and Out in Beverly Hills”?

down-and-out-in-beverly-hills-richard-dreyfuss-bette-midler-touchstone.jpg
Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler in “Down and Out in Beverly Hills.”

Touchstone Pictures


DREYFUSS: Yeah, “Down and Out.” I considered myself at a certain point one of Paul [Mazursky]’s actors. But I had first turned him down, because of Marlon Brando. He wanted me to do a film called “Next Stop, Greenwich Village.” And I read it. And it was about my life had I lived contemporaneously with [him in] the early ’50s. And I came into the meeting with him and I said, “Paul, can I ask you a question?” I said, “You have all these actors in the movie. And you have no one mention Brando. Why?” And his first response was, “Why should I?”

And I said, “Because that’s the only thing they talked about then.” And I mean it. I mean, that was everyone’s subject of conversation. Even though I wasn’t there – I was too little – but I knew and I made it my business to know such things. And I eventually said, “No, I don’t wanna do the movie,” because –

MANKIEWICZ: ” – Because you don’t respect Brando enough.”

DREYFUSS: (laughter) Because I didn’t know Paul enough. And we had been told, both Paul and I, “Boy, when you meet one another are you gonna fall in love.” Well, that’s doomsday.

MANKIEWICZ: Right, of course.

DREYFUSS: I didn’t do the film.

MANKIEWICZ: But you got together later.

DREYFUSS: Yeah.

“The Goodbye Girl” (1977)

MANKIEWICZ: Let’s go back a little bit ’cause we’re on that run. So, “Close Encounters,” great experience. It’s two straight films with the prince of Hollywood.

DREYFUSS: I was a prince. তিনি was the king.

MANKIEWICZ: Spielberg.

DREYFUSS: Yeah.

MANKIEWICZ: Then “The Goodbye Girl,” which oddly enough had De Niro cast first. Who you had just badmouthed to get “Close Encounters”!

DREYFUSS: That morning, I’ll never forget this whole sequence of events. One morning a friend of mine calls and says, “Did you hear that Bobby De Niro got fired this morning?” I said, “No one’s gonna fire Bobby De Niro.”

MANKIEWICZ: This is the movie he did right after “Taxi Driver.”

DREYFUSS: Right. And Mike Nichols was directing, “Bogart Slept Here.”

MANKIEWICZ: The original name of “The Goodbye Girl.”

DREYFUSS: And before noon I knew he had been fired. Nichols had quit. And I finally called [producer] Ray Stark and said, “Do you wanna talk to me for any reason?” And he said, “No.” And I said, “Okay, just thought I’d call.” Click. And that was that. (laughter) And about four or five months later, I was at the Warner Brothers commissary. And Ray Stark walked up to me and said, “Do you wanna do ‘Bogart Slept Here’?” And I said, “I don’t think so. Are you doing ‘Bogart Slept Here’?” And all of a sudden there was Ray Stark, Neil Simon and Marsha Mason standing in front of Richard Dreyfuss. And they’re asking me to play the lead in the movie that they’re doing.

MANKIEWICZ: They came and confronted you in the Warner Brothers commissary?

DREYFUSS: Yes. And I’m saying, “No, no, no,” until finally I heard a voice inside myself say, “Richard, shut up. (laughter) Don’t do this. It’s too clear.” And so I said, “Yeah, let’s do a reading.” And that was what Ray was inviting me to. He wasn’t saying the movie. He was saying, “Would you do a reading?” And I said, “Yes.”

MANKIEWICZ: And it took four or five months because in-between firing De Niro, Simon rewrote the script?

DREYFUSS: No, no. I love saying that. No, no. No. It took some months because Ray didn’t know whether he wanted to pursue this film now that Mike had quit. And finally, whatever he was thinking happened, and we had a reading at his house. And as soon as the reading was over I raised my hand and said, “You’re not gonna make this movie. There’s no way you can have sympathy for a guy whether he’s sitting on a curb crying or his children have been kidnapped by North African Barbary pirates if he’s a movie star. You cannot sympathize with his problems.” And that was my firm belief. That this was a film that could not happen because it was the story at that moment of what happened to Dustin Hoffman after “The Graduate.”

MANKIEWICZ: Right, after he became a huge star.

DREYFUSS: Right. And I knew it. And I said, “No, you’re not gonna do this.” And Neil, of all people said, “He’s right. But I have an idea.”

MANKIEWICZ: And if I’m understanding it correctly, it wasn’t merely that. It was also this sort of electric chemistry that he saw between you and Marsha Mason and thought, “That needs to be enhanced.”

DREYFUSS: We were great. We had more fun that day, the two of us, and it was great. And there was a thing about Neil’s work. And about less than a month later we had another reading. And this time it was “The Goodbye Girl,” completely different. And that was hysterically funny and romantic and great. And that we knew we’re gonna do.


THE GOODBYE GIRL06 By
Peg Mularz On
Youtube

MANKIEWICZ: How much had your between “American Graffiti,” “Jaws,” to “Close Encounters,” to “Goodbye Girl” when you mention your quote, “It had gone up significantly by then”?

DREYFUSS: Yeah. (laughter)

MANKIEWICZ: Life had changed.

DREYFUSS: Life had changed. But it was all very kind of laid out. You know? I was on a talk show once in Canada. And it was one of those interview shows that’s only one person. And he said to me what you just asked. He said, “So what happened to you after you did ‘Duddy Kravitz’ and ‘Jaws’?” And I said, “Well, you know, people came to me with projects.” And they said, “And your salary?” And I, you know, having heard everyone say to me, “People never tell their salaries,” and I didn’t quite know why. But I said, “Well, let’s put it this way, when I did ‘American Graffiti’ I got paid this much. And then I did ‘Duddy Kravitz’ and I got paid that much. And then I did ‘Jaws’ and I get paid THAT much. And now I’m gonna get THIS much.”

MANKIEWICZ: (laughter) That’s a good–

DREYFUSS: And then he said, “How much is THAT much?” So I said, “$500,000.” And he said, “I can’t believe you answered that. You’re the first person who has ever answered that question.” And I said to him, “Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” And I said, “Well, how much do you make?” And he went, “I can’t tell you.” (laughter) And he not only refused to say how much he made, he left the taping of his own show. He walked off. (laughter)

MANKIEWICZ: Because you were asking him what his salary was.

DREYFUSS: You betcha.

MANKIEWICZ: So we feel, like, entitled to know the salaries of famous people.

DREYFUSS: No.

MANKIEWICZ: No, I think that’s a human condition.

DREYFUSS: But I think that if one asks, then you have to answer.

MANKIEWICZ: Oh no question. I’m just saying what that human condition is, no question – if you ask, the person has to answer.

DREYFUSS: Well, but I could’ve easily said, “That’s private.”

MANKIEWICZ: Right, you gave a good answer. (laughter)

DREYFUSS: Yeah. But when I said to him, “I’m not going anywhere ’till you tell me. You got me to tell you.” Well, by this time, the three cameras are on these floaters, you know. And all the cameras are going, they’re laughing so hard, that the guy left the set.

MANKIEWICZ: That’s so great. The idea that we don’t ask people’s salaries, it ends up only serving management. And they don’t want us to know because if we know and start talking, then people are gonna want more and to be paid fairly.

DREYFUSS: Well, and it has the story of the beginning of Hollywood. That’s the star system.

MANKIEWICZ: That’s right.

DREYFUSS: The “Girl with the Golden Curls” [Mary Pickford], when she was named, everyone knew the moment she was named she wanted more, and got more, and became a star, and became a power. And the rest is history. But that’s why they kept the names of all those actors [in early silent films] secret.

MANKIEWICZ: So, “Goodbye Girl” is successful. You are nominated for an Academy Award, I believe is what they call it.

DREYFUSS: Yeah. (laughter) Yes. Yeah.

MANKIEWICZ: You remember being nominated, that moment? I know you know the win. But do you remember the call?

DREYFUSS: I certainly do. I had been told when I did “Duddy Kravitz” that I was gonna be nominated for “Duddy Kravitz.” And I said no, and they argued with me, my friends. And I bet them. I bet against myself. And I made a bunch of money! Because I knew. I knew that year, you know, I knew enough about it. So that when I got the call in Puerto Rico my agent called and said, “You’ve been nominated for ‘The Goodbye Girl,'” I went, “Wow,” and then I said, “Who else is nominated?” And he said, “Woody Allen, John Travolta, Marcello Mastroianni, and Richard Burton.” And I went, “I’m gonna win.” And Meyer, my agent, went, “Right.” And I said, “Meyer, I’m gonna win!” And I’ll tell you, you know, not a secret, John Travolta was too soon.

MANKIEWICZ: That’s right, no question.

DREYFUSS: Too soon. Richard Burton had just passed the hump. If he had been nominated the year before they would’ve given it to him in a second and we all would’ve stood up and given him a standing ovation. No one was ever gonna give Marcello Mastroianni the best actor. And no one was gonna give Woody Allen best actor because it was the year of “Annie Hall.” He was gonna win everything else. (laughter)

MANKIEWICZ: Screenplay, director. Right, yeah.

DREYFUSS: Right. So I said, “I’m gonna win.”

MANKIEWICZ: Right, very quickly you would assess it’s me versus Richard Burton.

DREYFUSS: Right. So then, I win. And I made money. And the next year I made a bigger bunch betting. “Quick, tell me who won best actor last year?” And the answer was me. And I knew that people forget that quickly. And so I made a fortune. And I also learned a great lesson.

MANKIEWICZ: So you would literally bet someone that they couldn’t name the most recent best actor when they’re having a conversation with the most recent best actor winner?

DREYFUSS: Right.

MANKIEWICZ: That’s a great skill. I don’t see Joaquin Phoenix doing that. (laughter) Doesn’t seem like a Joaquin Phoenix move.

DREYFUSS: Although the chances of that happening now are even greater that I’m right, because now they have ten nominees or something? Don’t they have more?

MANKIEWICZ: It’s still five for best actor. But there’s so many other shows.

DREYFUSS: There are far too many awards by far. And I once I think made a terrible error not purposefully. But I was walking into an evening that was honoring Steven. And I had actually written a whole thing for the program about why. And I was walking in with the head of Universal. And the second head of Universal. And as we walked in I said, “Ah, another tribute to Steven Spielberg.” Well, I think they thought I was really envious and angry or something. They didn’t know that I was joking because the two of them looked at me like I had grown a third head. And I was never enthusiastically greeted again.

Temperament

MANKIEWICZ: This doesn’t necessarily relate to it, but it reminds me, like, you’ve told a couple stories. You have a temper.

DREYFUSS: Well, do I have a temper? I’ve fought for my right to say something. I have never told a director he had to do it my way. I never did something so unfair. But I have fought for my thinking. And I think that’s interpreted as a temper. I have had some bad relationships with people.

MANKIEWICZ: In the business.

DREYFUSS: In the business. And one was with an actor. And one was with a movie star. And a couple with directors.

MANKIEWICZ: Do you distinguish between an actor and a movie star? You said one was with an actor and one was with a movie star.

DREYFUSS: Yeah. It’s very simple. The first, the actor, was from a class that we were both in and it was prior to our fame, so there was no movie star in the equation. The second guy was very famous. But I just grew up a little. I had not said it, not told the story for about some years. And then I said, “Why am I keeping it a secret?” And so, I told the story, and then after about eight or ten years I stopped. Because I wasn’t gaining anything. And it wasn’t making me feel good or adult. And so I stopped. And I don’t do it.

MANKIEWICZ: That suggests, even later in life, some significant growth.

DREYFUSS: I hope so. I really hope so. I don’t know about other people. I know that I have a companion and that companion is me. And it would be silly not to make friends with that companion, and not to do well by him, and to try to grow up. Growing up is learning to be fair and learning that that thing that you did because you thought you had every right hurt people. And when I once had a terrible experience driving home to San Diego from L.A. And I felt at one moment all of the times I had hurt women that I had loved. And I don’t know about you, but for me emotional recall is immediate. It’s like reliving something. And I had to stop the car, get off the freeway and park the car and just cry for a long time because I had no idea that I had been hurting people I loved. And I had been doing it pretty consistently. And so, when I had the chance I wrote each of them a letter just trying to explain to them that I’d had this very painful revelation and that I apologize profusely for anything that I had done.

And the aggregate answer was, “That ship has sailed, pal.” Click. And this is the only life that I know I live. Maybe I get more if I’m Hindu. But this is the one I know. And so, I do want my Wednesday to be better than my Tuesday. And I want to grow up. And if I’m gonna fight, I’m gonna fight for something that’s worth fighting for. And if I’m not, don’t.

MANKIEWICZ: That response of “That ship has sailed, pal,” it’s also a degree of growth to hear that and let that go. They’re entitled to think that ship has sailed. Your responsibility, right, is to recognize what you did and feel bad about it, and move forward.

DREYFUSS: Right. And I grieve at the loss of each one of them that I had behaved as if I hadn’t lost anyone. I would brag about the fact that I never lost a girlfriend and they were still friends of mine. Well, they had been tolerating me. And there’s a difference. And I don’t wanna keep doing that. I don’t like that Richard. I don’t approve of it. And I have been, you know, I’ve been married, I’m married for the third time. And I told my wife once that I didn’t think that men were mature enough for a loving, sharing relationship until they were in their fifties. That everything else was just practice. And that I did believe. And I do. And I know that because of her, my wife, who I know is sitting over there but I’m pretending that she’s not, she’s kicked my butt enough to make me a better person, to help make me a better person.

MANKIEWICZ: What actually impresses me most about you is, you know, you have all this wild success from, like, ’73 to ’78. And you’re in L.A. and it’s 1978. And there’s a scene which I imagine for a 30-year-old best actor winner who’s at the top of his game is very hard to avoid. And you get a substance abuse problem. And you get a famous one ’cause you’re famous. And so the crash is famous. I didn’t mean the actual crash. I meant the emotional crash is famous. And you recover from that, right? You move past that, I imagine, incredibly difficult process. But you don’t stop there. You’re not like, “Wow, I got past that. And this is the new me.” And it’s almost like that could be an excuse to make other mistakes because, “I’m a recovering addict. I fixed it. You want me to fix other things, too? No, I did the hardest thing there is to do.” But that didn’t happen. May have taken some time but that didn’t happen to you.

DREYFUSS: I was doing a play at the Taper. And in the middle of this play I had a revelation about my own behavior.

MANKIEWICZ: When is this?

DREYFUSS: This was in 1971. And the revelation was that if you had no secrets no one could hurt you. And I then proceeded to become a low-down, lying, dirty dog for a bunch of years. I just went against what I had just had a revelation about.

MANKIEWICZ: The revelation isn’t the hard part. The acting on it is.

DREYFUSS: Right. And because I have a kind of sense of drama, you know, sense of theatricality I can create the beginning, middle and end of the story. But I got a hold of myself before I went all the way down. I had a friend of mine in New York who saw from a block away a New York Post headline with picture that said, “Dreyfuss busted.” And he puked. And that, for some reason, stayed with me. And I could tell you all kinds of things that you don’t have time for. But I decided to be a better person. And I think that that’s a legitimate goal. And I like that about me.

MANKIEWICZ: You didn’t decide at once, you’re deciding it today, also. Right? I mean, it’s sort of you constantly wanna be a better person.

DREYFUSS: Yeah, well, I really in a sense did decide on a given day, something happened on a given day which insisted itself on my mind, and from that moment on I have had the goal of being a better person. And that’s for real. I had an argument, I had a fight with a director. I was at a film festival once. He was there. And I heard that he was coming. And I asked for a napkin, “Do you have a napkin?” And I wrote on this napkin, “As far as I’m concerned we have no argument. I’m done. I’m finished. I have no reason to continue. And I don’t hold anything against you. And I’m just telling you this because you should know.” And I had it delivered to his room. And when I saw him about a day later, two days later, I could see as I walked up to him that he was looking at me like, “Was that part of the fraud?” And when he understood that I was not kidding, he didn’t jump into my arms and kiss me. But he understood I was serious. And that put that away. And I’ve had reason to do that one or two more times. I haven’t done it with [the famous movie star]. And I will. We’ve never crossed paths. And one day I will write him a note and say, “As far as I’m concerned, it’s over.”

MANKIEWICZ: Real quick, I forgot, what were you doing in Carl Reiner’s guest house?

DREYFUSS: I lived there for years. I lived in the Reiners’ guest house for about four, five years. The “Jaws,” “Goodbye Girl” period.

MANKIEWICZ: So, mid- to late-’70s, you’re living in Carl Reiner’s guest house. You won an Oscar, took it back to Carl Reiner’s guest house?

DREYFUSS: Eventually, yes. On the night, no. On the night, Sylvester Stallone handed it to me and I didn’t let go of it until I was on a private plane to Brooklyn, [where I was] appearing in “Julius Caesar.” And I never let the thing outta my hand. So they didn’t get it back to do the imprinting on it.

MANKIEWICZ: Oh you didn’t do that that night?

DREYFUSS: No. But I put it on the common dressing room table. And every actor that was in the group, they went, “Where is it? Where is it?”

MANKIEWICZ: Of course.

DREYFUSS: Right? And so I said that night, “Now listen, when I come out, they’re gonna applaud or something. So just, you know, take a hold.” And I came out. Nothing! (laughter) No response! And every actor in that show made it his business to walk by me during the show and, “So what?” You know?

MANKIEWICZ: That’s awesome. You know, you said everybody wanted to see it. I literally walked into your house here, into the room where we’re taping this, looked at the wall and said to the producer, “Where’s the Oscar?” (laughter)

DREYFUSS: Did you?

MANKIEWICZ: Of course! Yeah. Which prompts me to ask, where’s the Oscar? (laughter)

DREYFUSS: The Oscar I keep in the refrigerator.

MANKIEWICZ: That’s not a joke?

DREYFUSS: No. That’s not a joke. It’s just that I want people to know that I won the Oscar. I just don’t like to brag about it.

MANKIEWICZ: Right, I gotcha.

DREYFUSS: So I figure that sooner or later the guys go, “Got anything to drink in this house?” (laughter)

Richard-Dreyfus-his-Oscar-in-the-fridge-620.jpg
Richard Dreyfuss keeps Oscar in his fridge.

CBS News


MANKIEWICZ: My great uncle, Joe Mankiewicz, won four Oscars in two years, writing and directing. Back-to-back years for “Letter to Three Wives,” “All About Eve.” He spent his life, as did my grandfather, Herman, who wrote “Citizen Kane,” regretting the industry that they were in, feeling shame that movie making was not serious art. You were a theatre critic or you wrote plays, that was serious art. Movies were nonsense. Joe adapted to it a little better than Herman. Their father didn’t approve, like, pictures were, this is popcorn entertainment. Right? The theatre, books, that was serious. Yet, on the mantel, as soon as you walked into his house in Bedford, New York: Oscar, Oscar, Oscar, Oscar. He may have felt great shame, but somehow he got past it.

DREYFUSS: Yeah, I never felt the shame. But I always tried to keep it in some balance that the list of those actors or whoever who never won an award and were never nominated, is as great a list as those who have.

MANKIEWICZ: He was nominated but Cary Grant doesn’t have an Oscar.

DREYFUSS: And Henry Fonda, I worked with him right before [“On Golden Pond”]. I did a play called “The Time of Your Life.” And we toured all over America. L.A., Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington. And night his wife overheard me talking about Spencer Tracy, and I was, you know, worshipping him. And Shirlee said, “Why don’t you ever talk about Henry like that?” And I said, “Because my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth, that’s why.” And we had an exit. I’m working with Henry Fonda – my saying that is kind of like saying, “I cured cancer,” you know, it’s a big deal – so, we had an exit where we go out the swinging doors of the bar. And then I follow him through one part of the backstage and then down another. And then we get to a certain door and I gestured for him. And he gestured for me to go first and I would go first. Then one night we go outta the thing and we get to that door. And I open the door and started through. And he goes, “Getting pretty cocky, aren’t you?” (laughter) Wow.

MANKIEWICZ: He was one of the best. He’s just about my favorite. You named the other, Tracy, and they were in a different league. And people in the league below them were fantastic.

DREYFUSS: Yeah.

MANKIEWICZ: But they –

DREYFUSS: He had a thing that really stuns me even now, he’s remarkably and eccentrically funny. When he’s doing a comedy and specifically it’s the film about the tuxedo that follows the tuxedo [“Tales of Manhattan”], he’s so funny in this movie. And he’s playing a rube. And that’s why he’s funny. And I still watch it with a kind of amazement because he’s not doing anything. And yet he’s hysterically funny. He’s really unique in that way. Much more so than, like, Jimmy Stewart or Tracy or someone. Fonda’s comedy is so hidden, in a way. And he was so Americana for so long. One of the great honors of my life was, I was asked to speak at a dinner in honor of James Stewart at the Waldorf Astoria when I was about 35, 36. And I explained to this audience, including Stewart, who he was and why he was what he was. And how before the war he was America. He was the most innocent of Americans. And I particularly held up the scene from “Mr. Smith” where he’s got the hat in his hands and he’s trying to talk to Claude Rains’ daughter which is, again, hysterically funny. And then I said, “And then he went to war. And when he came back he was never the innocent American again because he had killed a lot of people and a lot of children and a lot of innocents because he’d been in the Air Force and he’d had, you know, he bombed them. And he knew it. And you never saw that innocent American again.” And I have always said that film noir Either Jimmy Stewart.

MANKIEWICZ: That sort of post-war darkness.

DREYFUSS: That post-war darkness which is neurotic and edgy and sharp and, like, holding onto his morality with a grip. Like, when he played, in every film, except for “It’s a Wonderful Life” he always played this.

MANKIEWICZ: There’s a little element of darkness in that, too, of course, there’s near-suicide, right?

DREYFUSS: Oh, yeah, yeah. But even that darkness was the kind of innocent darkness. And when I finished, and I knew I had said something good, as I was leaving, one of his daughters ran up to me and said, “My dad can’t talk to you right now because he’s crying. But he wanted you to know that he never realized that anyone had watched him that closely.” This guy had been a film star since 1934! And he never realized that someone had watched him that closely. I am had. And I had a lot of others. And so, I had a friend standing next to me at that moment who said, “Boy, I wish someone would talk to me that way about my work.” And I said, “Let’s have breakfast.” And at breakfast I told him about his work. And he cried.

I think I’m seriously blessed. I really am. I did something that I loved to do. And I was paid and praised. And I got to do it for 60 years. And the only reason I stopped was to do something that I so passionately loved as much as acting, which is my country. But when I watch actors, and you can separately on or off camera ask my wife that when I watch a film I watch a film very closely. And she ends up watching me instead of the movie because I’m so wrapped up in watching this film that, even if it’s a comedy I’m like crying and I’m standing and sitting and standing and sitting. I don’t go to a lotta movies anymore because I don’t like them, they’re not very good anymore. And I probably have missed out on a bunch of really good films. But mostly they’re crap. They made a very big mistake when for that one decade they let the lunatics run the asylum. And they made a lotta money, and made some great movies. And then they decided to take it back from the lunatics and make the decisions themselves.

MANKIEWICZ: You mean like ’67 to ’76?

DREYFUSS: Yes, 1970s was the decade of our generation. And they never should’ve made that decision. And they still shouldn’t. But, if you wanna make a lotta money, then at least tell the truth about it.

MANKIEWICZ: You said something that just struck me because it’s a line from “Citizen Kane,” which is, “It’s not hard to make a lotta money if all you wanna do is make a lotta money.”

DREYFUSS: Right, right. Yeah. Money has always escaped me as a talent. (laughter) I’m the one guy that, I was once invited to speak to an investors group as if I’m an investor. And I said when I got up there, “I think I’m about to be thrown off because I’m the guy who made 50 and lost 55.” (laughter) And I was thrown right off!

MANKIEWICZ: So, here which is the thing that happens when you’re shooting television and movies – why do you think people responded to Richard Dreyfuss?

DREYFUSS: I have a certain constituency, I like to say. And they are Upper West Side, college educated, mostly white people, although I am very popular in the black community (laughter), and I like to say that. And it’s usually those people who live, you know, somewhere above Lincoln Center and the guy’s hairy and 60 and his second wife is 30 and beautiful with long hair down to her ankles.They’re the ones who like my work. (laughs) And I think the fact is that almost every film star, male film star, who could be defined as a romantic leading man has in common with one another a sense of danger as best personified by Bogart in “Casablanca.”

MANKIEWICZ: Right, a threat.

DREYFUSS: Yeah, you know that off screen he has been hurt by someone. And is very capable of that violence or something. And I don’t. I don’t have that. And I think it’s rare that actors don’t have that. And that has something to do with my appeal. I’m urban. I look as if I’d gone to college, even though I haven’t, until I was 50 when I went to Oxford. And I’m intelligent and I play intelligence. And George offered me – oh, this is a good story. George offered me one of two roles [on “American Graffiti”]. He offered me the one I had, Curt, and he also offered me the part that Charlie Martin Smith was playing, and I chose Curt. He said, “Why?” I said, “Because I love to play self-awareness. And Curt is completely self-aware,” meaning that he knows that night that he will remember that night 30 years from now. He’s totally aware of that. And that is a quality that I love to play. And think I have.

MANKIEWICZ: You definitely think you have that. I’m sure you do have it.

DREYFUSS: Although probably not as much as (laughs) I should!

MANKIEWICZ: None of us have as much of the thing we think we have.

DREYFUSS: Yeah, yeah. And also I don’t know, can I play outside of my century? In other words, I’m a 20th century person. And can I play outside of that? John Wayne could play the 19th century fabulously.

MANKIEWICZ: Easier than the 20th century.

DREYFUSS: And yet he couldn’t play the 17th century. And Charlton Heston could play any century including eternity which is why he played God. So only one actor I know could do that. And that was him. I’m an urban 20th century college-educated guy. Self-aware. And there’s certain things that certain actors share in common. One of them is, no romantic leading man ever initiates a kiss.

MANKIEWICZ: Really?

DREYFUSS: He lets the woman start, and then he kisses her back. Except for one. Me. (laughter) I have never been able to hold back if a beautiful woman is coming at me to kiss, I’m there! I have never been able to wait. So a kiss is a kiss is a kiss.

MANKIEWICZ: I think you could play visionary 19th century scientist.

DREYFUSS: I wonder if I could play Grant.

MANKIEWICZ: Ulysses S. Grant?

DREYFUSS: Yeah.

MANKIEWICZ: I think you could play General Grant. Yeah.

DREYFUSS: So do I.

MANKIEWICZ: Yeah. It’s interesting, why would you wanna play General Grant? That’s not who I would imagine when you think of a 19th century figure.

DREYFUSS: Well, I know an awful lot about him. And he’s the only man I know who actually rose twice. He failed and rose from failure twice. And it’s a remarkable quality.

MANKIEWICZ: That is a remarkable quality.

DREYFUSS: And there are stories that are told about him that in the midst of battle when you have the high ground, and the high ground could literally mean two inches. If you were two inches higher than your opponent, he’s at a disadvantage. So at the battle of – some battle, when he found that he was subject to a surprise attack and he raced to the front, he got to the front and he was literally two inches above. And what they call a preternaturally calm attitude came over him. And this always happened. He was able in the midst of bullets flying and people being decapitated with shrapnel around him to be able to observe with an incredibly calm demeanor. And he would look and then he would ask what military colleges say are the smartest questions in the smartest order. And he would ask certain series of questions. And then he would answer. And he would give them orders, the best orders in the best order. And that’s what led him at one point, he was listening to his men talk about Lee. And he said, “You know, I’m sick of hearing of Bobby Lee. I’d like to hear Bobby Lee worry about me. And so, let’s get him worried.” And he knew how to do that. And Lee knew. Lee knew.

Lee’s subcommander was Longstreet. Longstreet was Grant’s best man at his wedding.

MANKIEWICZ: Really?

DREYFUSS: Yeah. And Longstreet would say to Bobby Lee, “Don’t underestimate Sam Grant.” And he had written a letter that said early, early on in the war, “It looks like they’ve forgotten about Sam Grant. Let’s hope they continue to do so, because if he gets involved in this war, we’re toast.” Basically. And he was. He knew him so well.

MANKIEWICZ: I did not expect to get that. That was a rich piece of Civil War history. And I’m a Civil War buff. I’m an American history major. I like that stuff.

DREYFUSS: My favorite character is George Henry Thomas who was the Union general who was born in Virginia and stayed with the North. And Lee and he had served together in Texas in the Second Calvary. And he at one point had said to Lee, “You know why Davis put this unit together? It’s not a coincidence that we’re all Southerners or mostly Southerners.” And he said, “If you are gonna do what I think you’re gonna do I’m a major, colonel. And I’m gonna end up a general. And when I do you’d better look over your shoulder because I’m coming for you.” And he said, “I used to have respect for Bobby Lee. I have no respect for an oath-breaking hypocrite and a horse thief, which is what you are unless you return that animal to someone in the United States Army.”

Civics

Dreyfuss has spoken frequently about what he refers to as “Common senselessness” in public life, which he attributes to a diminution of civics in the American public school curriculum.

DREYFUSS: Why did we remove the study of civics from our public schools? It has affected every sector of our society and endangered us beyond belief.

MANKIEWICZ: The abandonment of civics.

DREYFUSS: The abandonment of civics. The curse that we have performed on ourselves. And as everyone knows, doesn’t matter which side you’re on anymore, we all know that we’re in danger. We all know it.

MANKIEWICZ: I’m not sure that part’s true. I know, I believe we’re in danger. I’m not sure that it doesn’t matter what side you’re on. I’m not sure I’m not sure everybody’s as aware of it.

DREYFUSS: I think that what is hard to admit on one side is that they’re looking forward to it, to that. It’s about nihilism. We can’t deny that our system, the system, has actually betrayed everybody. And we’ve all been betrayed. No one has gotten a raise, no one in labor has gotten a raise in 60 years. And so, they have a right to be pissed off. I think they went [and] swallowed the wrong, you know, herring, and went in the wrong direction. And now it may be too late to change that, which is why I think they’re looking forward to it. Because we’ve not only lost understanding of love of country and respect for the Bill of Rights, it’s been gone for so long it has been out of our cultural vision for 50 years. And that’s four generations of children who have gone through our system without knowing any part of it. They don’t care about it. They don’t know about it.

And unless we revive it and get it into the curriculum of public schools, we will never get it back, and this country will not survive this century.

I have a big dose of Cassandra’s curse. Cassandra was a Trojan princess who was cursed by Apollo and told that she could foretell the future, but that no one would ever believe her. I got it!

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