Tf hero

The great ac­tor on Spiel­berg, Spidey and snakes…

Total Film - - Contents - JG

Al­fred Molina is much more than Doc Ock.

Lon­don-born Al­fred Molina was al­ready a renowned stage ac­tor when he made his film de­but in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. But it was Prick Up Your Ears that was his true break­through, lead­ing to a ca­reer span­ning four decades and work­ing for the likes of Sam Raimi, Paul Thomas An­der­son and Jim Jar­musch. His new play Red is be­ing beamed into cin­e­mas…

Red was a play you couldn’t re­sist…

I started read­ing it and by page 10, I thought, “Oh shit, I’ve got to do this.” It’s not a punch-the-air mo­ment. It’s ac­tu­ally rather de­press­ing. You feel all your other op­tions fall­ing away.

When play­ing a real-life char­ac­ter such as painter Mark Rothko in Red, how much is on the page and how much do you have to re­search?

It’s both, re­ally. You do have a cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­ity not to mis­rep­re­sent them. It would have been fool­ish if I’d walked in and said, “I’m go­ing to play him Ir­ish, with a limp, be­cause I think that’s ar­tis­ti­cally in­ter­est­ing.”

You’ve moved be­tween film, TV and the­atre. Do you have a pref­er­ence?

It’s all work. My cri­te­ria through­out my

life has al­ways been: stay em­ployed. I’ve never been one of those ac­tors who have any grand no­tions about cer­tain parts they want to play. I just think, “I want to pay my bills.”

Your film de­but was Raiders Of The Lost

Ark. How was work­ing with Spiel­berg?

Amaz­ing. Spiel­berg was a star di­rec­tor. Har­ri­son Ford was a star ac­tor. I was very ex­cited to be a part of it. I knew noth­ing. My train­ing was specif­i­cally for the the­atre. I never hit my marks. They put this tape down, and I com­pletely ig­nored it. I didn’t re­alise it was for me. Dougie [Slo­combe, DoP] must have been re­ally frus­trated. Even­tu­ally he came around from be­hind the cam­era and spoke to me very qui­etly. He said, “What you’re do­ing is lovely. And it would be great if we could ac­tu­ally see you do it.”

An­other clas­sic is Stephen Frears’

Prick Up Your Ears. On set, did you and Gary Old­man feel like you were cap­tur­ing some­thing spe­cial?

I re­mem­ber feel­ing, “This is good.” But whether or not my feel­ing trans­lates into some­thing that will stand the test of time? I’ve no idea. I’ve had that feel­ing of ‘this is good’ on movies that have turned out to be a piece of shit.

Your Dr. Oc­to­pus in Spi­der-Man 2 is an iconic bad­die…

I was very proud of it. I’d never worked on a film with that level of tech­nol­ogy be­fore. When I com­pare what they were do­ing with the way we shot Raiders? You know that scene where Har­ri­son is low­er­ing him­self into the snake pit? That was real snakes in a pit. The only thing sep­a­rat­ing them from Har­ri­son was a very thin piece of glass. Now it would just be a green cir­cle on the floor and they’d put it all in after­wards.

Was shoot­ing the fire­cracker scene in Boo­gie Nights as mad as it looks?

It was minutely chore­ographed. Paul [Thomas An­der­son] cre­ated this at­mos­phere in a very sub­tle way. The young ac­tor who was play­ing my kid was light­ing full-strength crack­ers. They were re­ally burst­ing. But in or­der to cre­ate this weird mood, my ears were plugged up. All I could hear was a muf­fled ‘phoooof’ be­cause Paul wanted me to be wan­der­ing through all this mad­ness and not jump­ing at the sound of the crack­ers. The guys on the sofa were hear­ing it full bore.

Fi­nally, how was it play­ing Robert Aldrich in the TV se­ries Feud, caught be­tween Su­san Saran­don’s Bette Davis and Jes­sica Lange’s Joan Craw­ford?

Very ex­cit­ing! The chance to work with Jes­sica and Su­san? It was a no-brainer. And it was a great role. Luck­ily, I al­most matched Robert in physique. I’m a lit­tle bit taller than he was, but I’ve cer­tainly got the right girth. I didn’t have to put on weight – I’d al­ready done it.


‘i’ve never had grand no­tions. my cri­te­ria has al­ways been: stay em­ployed’

see­ing red (top to bot­tom) molina with har­ri­son Ford in Raiders Of The Lost Ark; as vil­lain dr. oc­to­pus in Spi­der-Man 2; as painter mark rothko in Red.

artist in res­i­dence molina re­turns to both the­atres and cin­e­mas with new play Red.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.