How James Woods mis­tak­enly an­nounced his re­tire­ment in a real es­tate list­ing

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - KICKOFF -

James Woods still isn’t en­tirely sure how the end of his act­ing ca­reer came to be an­nounced on Fri­day by a real es­tate re­porter for a lo­cal news­pa­per in Rhode Is­land.

But he’s pretty sure it’s his own fault.

“My ca­reer is not go­ing to end in a real es­tate an­nounce­ment,” Woods as­sured The Washington Post, af­ter head­lines sug­gest­ing it had done ex­actly that spread from the Prov­i­dence Jour­nal to Peo­ple (“James Woods has found the most un­usual way ever to take a fi­nal bow.”)

“It’s just funny,” Woods said. “My agent said, ‘Are you re­tired?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so, am I?’”

He is not, even if the star­ring vil­lain of “Once Upon a Time in Amer­ica” (1984) and “Ghosts of Mis­sis­sippi” (1996) is bet­ter known th­ese days for “Fam­ily Guy” cameos and his ul­tra-po­lit­i­cal Twit­ter feed.

Here’s how, as best Woods can re­con­struct, reports of his re­tire­ment be­came “greatly ex­ag­ger­ated.”

Af­ter nearly 50 years in Hol­ly­wood, with var­i­ous Emmy awards and Os­car nom­i­na­tions to his name, the ac­tor has, by age 70, also ac­cu­mu­lated a good num­ber of houses.

He owns sev­eral prop­er­ties in Rhode Is­land, in­clud­ing a va­ca­tion home be­side a lake in Ex­eter that was put on the mar­ket this week for $1.39 mil­lion.

Be­fore driv­ing up to the lake this week, Woods went to break­fast with his real es­tate agent, Allen Gam­mons, to de­vise a mar­ket­ing pitch.

“We did a lit­tle in­ter­view,” Woods re­called, and then patched Gam­mons into his phone call with The Post for the de­tails.

“You said you want to sim­plify by hav­ing less prop­erty as you go to­ward re­tire­ment,” Gam­mons said.

“Yeah, ex­actly,” Woods said.

So Gam­mons wrote up a news re­lease. It be­gan:

“Long­time Rhode Is­land res­i­dent and War­wick Pil­grim High School grad­u­ate James Woods, Vet­eran of nearly 150 movies and tele­vi­sion shows, has an­nounced to­day that his re­cent re­tire­ment from the en­ter­tain­ment field has prompted him to sim­plify his life.”

The real es­tate agent read the draft to Woods over the phone be­fore send­ing it out. The ac­tor was driv­ing at the time, and more in­ter­ested in the pho­tos.

“I was not pay­ing at­ten­tion,” he said. “I some­how didn’t hear ‘re­tire­ment.’”

Others heard noth­ing else. Buried three para­graphs deep in an ar­ti­cle ti­tled sim­ply, “James Woods to sell home in Ex­eter,” the Prov­i­dence Jour­nal men­tioned that Woods would be end­ing his ca­reer and “hopes to spend more time on pas­sions in­clud­ing pho­tog­ra­phy, an­tiquing and Texas hold ‘em poker.”

Th­ese de­tails also came from the news re­lease.

When he learned that he had ap­par­ently re­tired, Woods said, he was tempted to leave the story un­cor­rected to find out what would hap­pen.

“Who would care if I were?” he won­dered.

The Hol­ly­wood press soon an­swered his ques­tion. Within hours, en­ter­tain­ment sites swooped in on the “bizarre home list­ing,” as Dead­line called it.

On Twit­ter, where Woods writes much less about film than con­ser­va­tive pol­i­tics, fans lamented the news while non-fans mocked him for it. Had he not re­tired decades ago, some quipped. Others won­dered when he would “re­tire” from so­cial me­dia, where the ac­tor reg­u­larly at­tacks lib­eral causes and what he sees as left-wing bias in en­ter­tain­ment and the news.

Woods watched his bo­gus re­tire­ment played out on­line, but never de­bunked the re­port un­til The Post tracked him down on Satur­day.

In truth, he said, it was funny. “I’m the world’s big­gest tease on Twit­ter,” Woods said. “I do not re­motely take my­self se­ri­ously in any way. Why do you think I’m on ‘Fam­ily Guy’?”

That said, the ac­tor stressed that he’d be happy to act again — if and when a wor­thy role comes along.

“No ac­tor re­tires from the film busi­ness,” he said. “In my 30s, I could play a sharp young lawyer. In my 40s, I could play an ac­com­plished fam­ily man un­der at­tack.”

In his 70s, he said, he’s hop­ing to star in an up­com­ing film about the ho­mo­pho­bic West­boro Bap­tist Church — not play­ing a vil­lain this time around, but a gay pro­tag­o­nist.

In the mean­time, Woods said, any ap­par­ent dry stretch in his re­sume is due to his own choosi­ness, not his re­tire­ment — and cer­tainly has noth­ing to do with an­tiquing.

Joel Ryan / As­so­ci­ated Press

James Woods

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