You talkin’ to me?
Film quotes pose as questions. Film stars try to cope.
Kurt Russell is.
Are you talkin’ to me?
There’s a fine line between saying too much and not enough, and I don’t think I’m very good at it. I also make wine, and I don’t like to tell people what they’re drinking. I want them to experience it and tell me what they’re experiencing, and that’s what you do when you make a movie. I love going to the movies and knowing nothing.
You talk the talk. Do you walk the walk?
I think it’s important. My take on acting in motion pictures has always been to try to make the character 100 per cent credible. That’s it. You have to make it 100 per cent credible. And then after that, you do what you can as an actor to make it entertaining as well.
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
I don’t know if I’ve danced with the devil. If you consider being in dangerous situations… I am a pilot, so I’ve had some rough situations in a plane, and I’ve felt like I wasn’t necessarily dancing with the devil, but I might have been wrestling with him.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
The ones that have affected me the most… the first one was when I was probably eight years old, and I saw The Blob, which really got to me. And then in adult life, The Strangers, which was just absolutely horrific. And then The Blair Witch Project. I thought that was fascinating on many levels. It changed the whole zeitgeist for horror movies. It was a great concept to have found something and strung it together. And by the way, Halloween and some of the things that John Carpenter did – and I got to be in one of them, The Thing – to me, they’re great horror-type movies.
What’s in California?
It’s a terrain that has drawn over the years an eclectic and very wide-ranging interest in terms of the type of people who have gone to California. So therefore California is also not just a place, but it’s become… in terms of a human experience, it’s become what it is. I think it’s very varied, it’s vast, it’s large, it’s a beautiful state. It has every kind of terrain. So California is that. I’m hoping that California remains a place where I will want to live and enjoy.
Why so serious?
When I don’t work, I’m out. I’m done. But when I do work, I’m 24/7. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. I take it seriously in the respect that I want it to be as good as possible. I never didn’t take it seriously. As a matter of fact, one of the first things my father said to me when I went to work as a 10-year-old, was, “You’re getting paid a man’s salary, so do a man’s job.” That always meant, to me, showing up on time, knowing your lines, being prepared to offer what you can.
Do you like what you do for a living, these things you see?
Yeah, I do like what I do for a living. The most impressive thing I’ve seen on set? The one that sticks out the most in my mind was some of the massive sets that we built for Stargate. Another set that was fantastic, that was just like “oh my God”, was on Big Trouble In Little China. There are pretty great sets in The Christmas Chronicles. It’s one of the great, fun aspects of my job. You don’t have to imagine everything. You see the fantasy in front of you.
Remember: no man is a failure who has friends.
You know, that goes right along with The Wizard Of Oz, at the end when he’s giving them out their awards, and finally says to the Tin Man, “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” I think that those are great lines that apply to life.
Jack Burton just looks that big ol’ storm right square in the eye and he says, “Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.”
[laughs] That’s Jack Burton. He sees himself as bigger than life, so he wants to present himself as bigger than life. Do I relate to that? No… only in a comical sense. I mean, that’s what I think I brought to that character. Even the writers said that he wasn’t quite that way on paper. What I decided to do, and what John [Carpenter] wanted me to do and encouraged me to do was, I think in a comical sense, this character’s bravado. He’s an incorrigible optimist, and he does come through. MM
‘WHEN I DO WORK, I’M 24/7. I TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. I WANT IT TO BE AS GOOD AS POSSIBLE’
Russell as Santa in The Christmas Chronicles.