Mel Brooks once told Frank Langella, “Nobody would believe you’re from Bayonne. You look like a prince without a country.” But whether he’s playing Dracula or Richard Nixon or King Lear, Frank is still a Jersey Boy at heart. Marc asks Frank about that upbringing across the Hudson and how being an introverted, sensitive middle child led him to a life of transforming into larger than life characters. They also talk about an amazing gift Frank was given by Ron Howard, the line of dialogue from the movie Dave that is his favorite in his entire career, and his performance in The Trial of the Chicago 7.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
All right. Let's do this, how are you what the pot here is? What the plot bodies, what the plug mix, what the porter cracks, what the fuck public gins, what the fuck lists? What's up,
What is up? Oh, my god, what a fucking relief! Am I right? God dammit,
I can stop eaten candy. What a
The weight has been lifted. Man we're,
Children he she vase it's been lifted.
It's amazing how quickly you felt it a lift.
I was almost immediate. I mean
people, I dont know that people really fully understand the power, the symbolic power of
the head of state.
that you. You know that that determines on some level,
How grounded people feel
in the country
we have just been tethered and beaten, and Brain Fox and fucked, with an hurt
an end assaulted, every
by an abusive, narcissistic fuck
mentally ill luck. Was the goddamn abusive step
dad of this country and our mother a mess
a bad choice.
And then we couldn't get him out of the Fucking House and was almost looking like. We could never get him out of the house before he killed.
Fuckin, mother and me
It is all live in fear
we just barely fuckin avoided ray.
Real fascism was here and it got push back.
For the time being.
And we have new institutional management coming.
No other weirdness, who the fuck knows, though, with this fuckin pig
I don't know how all these fuckin american fascists are handling the cognitive dissonance of what is real and what they believe in what they believe.
Happen. I know that those beliefs are being fuelled and fired up.
And they're trying to contain them through propaganda
your ship level, Trump family, some Republicans, but I don't
I imagine with these type of people, brain fucked, brainwashed people or just
but I believe the fascism is the way to go down with this guy.
Then the dissidents they're just go
To double down on their beliefs and we're obviously going we can have to deal with this for a while,
but I want to get hung up on that. I want to be too much of a bus kill. I don't know what the future holds. I do
that today is Franklin Gela Day here on the podcast.
I talk to Franklin Jello, you know Franklin Jello from my stuff like dragon
Frost Nixon the movie Dave,
and a broadway work using the new Netflix movie. The trial of this
The cargo seven he was in that thing would Jim carry for what great actor daunting for me a little bit
Seems very intense, but we had a nice chat.
But I am just thrilled about new management.
All these dummies were, like you know, Biden he's got how's he going to run the country. What's he going to do.
Sweeping Joe. It's like he's. Gonna put it,
fucking staff in place that are God, Damn professionals
You can try to rebuild the the
institutions that have been destroyed on purpose.
By the pagan, his minions
he's gonna bring in some goddamn professionals, he's gonna, believe scientists he's gonna, try to at least navigate
reputation on the guy
front to see if we can get things.
look. It's not going to be perfect politicians
politicians, but I can I
indefinitely get behind this head of state
What his character implies
for the general sort of
Spiritual well being of the fucking country.
Did you ask those speeches.
Did you listen to those speeches?
It's not just relief or trust her home.
Necessarily just really the knowledge of two people elected we're competent.
At being in charge who care about the well being of people. Generally speaking, they have
but the in their fuckin hearts their normal human beings
watching those speeches granted political speech
just written for uplift written firm for
for a sense of change and hope why
the speeches written
by a leader of a country, what a fuckin really
being delivered by real people.
Not just either going what the fuck is happening what's
wrong with this guy. Did you
Families come up on that podium after the speeches and see
real people engage.
With their family with love and joy and excitement of fireworks not just sitting there sucking the attention sucking the stage not giving a fuck about anybody, but their own appearance and babbling. Are you fucking kidding me thank fucking God? If you believe in that stuff.
Just to see a guy who loves his family on that stage,
now going to lead the country work? All the
or con fascists are going to be. What they're gonna be yeah spent
a lot of time, frightened terrified we all did
the bully boys are going to fuck and start a civil war? Is
I don't know, there's plenty of fuckin nasty, mother fuckers. What guns militias Jew
here's where caters mexican haters asian haters full on fucking?
racist are all fuckin levels, real, dumb, shits,
now, who have been emboldened to
embrace a lack of tolerance to embrace
the marginalization of the other? To think that
something to celebrate their all their their own,
we we don't know what the fuck going to do do
we are going to stand up to them and that the other thing all the
fuckin stooges and goals are gonna, be got these fuckin, pure fuck. In fact,
she's propagandist mother, fuckers.
it's fucking sad that seventy seven million people like that.
That's not going away, but God damn good, just give
us the goddamn reprieve,
down, get things,
under control. Put some professionals in place wishing to the goddamned doctors appealed to people like a fuckin person. Thank fucking God.
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What a fucking relief
My experience with real narcissist ones, with power to
they continue to blame everybody, but themselves collar.
Bullshit and contain
to try to maintain power
Narcissus would know powered generally when confronted with
the cognitive dissonance at hand,
a crumble and just say fuck, all of your they crawl off. I prefer
dep I don't know, if that's going to happen in terms of
reaching out her. You know, having
compassion for four
people in your family, your people, you know we're friends, yours if you were up
part of this momentum. In my
until they until the cognitive dissonance resolves its
I dont know that you
That's wrong in my being wrong, or just maybe you can find that line.
That's fine line between compassion
in an gloating quota exotic
directive on Poland me. I don't want to do that, but it's very hard- and I have a few friends at a Republicans who are still my friends and remain my friends throughout this
only because I know they dont know better,
there's no convincing them of anything, but
I don't know how much it worked out for you, and I
so the fear of the militias and fear of the Nazis and fear of the white supremacist there
that organised at another that prepared to mobilise on mass.
I think a lot more like went out with the only gonna go over there, the state we're going.
You want me to suit up and go to the State House like full suited with all the guns. That's going
I got two hours,
and you want to leave at seven,
to go over the state House,
full armor helmet,
that has been taken two hours. We just get ready.
No, we gotta go over. We might get arrested
I don't want to go to jail for this shit. Can we just shoot something around here like we usually do? Let's just go out to the to the you know, to the field and shoot at the the target.
Is it the Jew pictures gaily,
don't shoot the Jew pictures over there? He ever? No, I don't.
Come on. Let's just shoot up around here, I won't go our go to jail.
Come on. I got new Jew pictures so now we just have to
Hang on, we still have to hang on Thanksgiving
he's coming up and despite Doktor FAO warnings, my mother's stow insisting that I come down there that I fly to Florida, which is
God. Damn covert pit get there.
Bring my shit Suda
go to several different markets that are crowded with fuckin people too.
Yet the shit. I need a big make dinner for twenty she's. I can you come on like now. It's
to her credit? She goes. I know I just thought it. Yeah, ok, but what
What if I said I'll come you be like I'm so happy cut to covet coughs sweats
maybe death, because my mom want me to come to Thanksgiving. Don't you look this?
You might be looking a gift horse in the mouth here, man, some of you, like you're, upset you
can spend time with your family on Thanksgiving. Are you, though, are you?
do dammit. You complain about Thanksgiving. You know what a pain in the ass things, giving as the only good thing about going in Thanksgiving this time would be
The destructive see how the trumpet
in your family were reacting, but sadly they probably like you know it was ragged. You know it was stolen million.
Five million. Popular votes
Stolen, what are you fucking, stupid.
Cognitive dissonance, that's what's gonna drive the fascism in this country. I guess it drives all fascism, racist myths and conspiracies
Mind, fury from
broken childhood of the many.
But I do think that I am happy
you think I have theirs relief and I
I want to say hope necessarily
It's gonna be a long swag but relieved and I'm I'm not afraid as much of the future.
In the back of my head, though I got I got about four years. Maybe we can at least at the very least we can kick this goddamn plague, so we
you go to other places and in the country, as opposed to being seen as plague infected pig p,
full incapable behaving like fuckin grown ups, but I gotta
mask on it's not you. It's all the other pig people, but there I'm not with them. They're they're, your country, you come from.
country of infected pig people incapable of acting grownups yeah. But I
I didn't do it sorry.
Go die with the pig people, but I
come to your country will come here.
I am happy to be american, I'm proud of America and proud of the fuckin. This
the people that chose reason: science, empathy, decent leadership,
It is a sound familiar
go on very far.
I'm in a rush, it's two
Well sometimes I just forget: don't kid you
there's no such thing as a good excuse for not buckling up if you've used any of these excuses or any others you're putting yourself at risk of injury or death in two thousand and eighteen, nearly ten thousand people were unbuckled when they were killed in crashes. That's forty, three percent
of people killed in motor vehicle crashes that were wearing seatbelts? No,
What kind of vehicle you drive wearing your seatbelt is the best defence in a crash, even when you sit in the back seat is still need to buckle up. That goes for when you write in taxis and use right. Cheering services, while cops are
look out and writing tickets. So why take a risk seat belt, save lives, so do the smart thing and buckle up every trip day or night click it or take it
Fuckin mask I added their part
same fuckin people
goddamn neo is the death wish people
with your childhood that bad that it's either fascism or fucking die for something dumb.
wow. I don't know man. I hope it's redeemable for fuck's sake
I was on the tonight show you can go watch that I did the tonight show from my backyard
I believe on what day was it Friday?
Go the tonight show dot com or whatever it is go. Look it up. Mark Maron
can. I chose fun
it was fun to be in show business again, even though I was sitting in my backyard
fun to see Jimmy.
Good audience for me
and yet I was happy with that spot. So
Listen Frank Langella is in this new film, the trial of the Chicago seven, which is now streaming on Netflix, and this was recorded,
before the election.
Take that into mind. We have a few,
In the can, but this is
me talking to the amazing Franklin GOA. How are you, sir, I'm excellent? Thank you I'm getting too used to this technology. I don't like it right
I prefer one on one talking with somebody face to face
but this is the modern age
me too. I it's it's the way I always did it. I would have people in the room with me and you look and you can feel and you can connect properly yeah, but
are you you feel you feel you're getting too used to this, that it is becoming somewhat comfortable,
I had my generation your resistance to it, but
If you don't learn how to do it, you can't do this anymore.
You ve covered.
You can connect with your kids. You can't look at the grand child in
because everybody is always sending you something radically, but I I don't feel it. I do it, but I do
it's better to pick up a little kid, a few horse, of course,
yeah but yeah. But now you just have to settle for people holding them up to the computer. Okay, here's a face
well. How is it affecting? Are you by yourself? There? You were you New York?
New York, New York, you getting depressed, getting depressed, all right,
oh, no, I'm not depressed at all. I live in
a country town where everybody talks talks you
the post offices. There you have it
wonderful conversation with them and you go to the market. It's very
civilized where I live, people are still polite. Still
willing to stop and talk. I can help each other
that's a good feeling and are they being safe up there? Do you feel like there s colors, where one of the safer areas a higher, but you see
find time to get out and see the folks people know
I stay, I'm isolated
but you don't you don't go to town
go to town. I think I've been once in five months.
I got an you know. The strangest thing is that I don't miss it.
I lived there since nineteen sixty and
it isn't, as if I happen had to grab
in time in New York.
It don't miss it. I'm not sentimental about it at all.
Hoping one day before I'm decree
I will do another play and walk around the area which I love, but if that's not,
meant to be
I'll, do something else.
There is at least
it's true of me,
there is a great acceptance that begins to come over you when you
Our charities that dumb Nazis,
things and not to get to? Actually
What you did in a way as a child go with the flow nature.
And it control it
I try to be angry
It's not going other traffic. Is this your guy, you just
great blessing, I think
one of the few of old age right. Actually, I'm in my I just turned fifty seven, but I do realize that
one of the relief
of aging- is that you really don't give a shit as much as you used to about things you used to give a shit about it's
True and you actually look back and you think, like you know, why was I so upset about that? It's not there anymore. Well,.
One of the things is, I think
try not to look back to much. Although at this point in life
you do review a lot of what you like in your twenties, your thirties and you.
Have to endure seniors.
With hair and
sooner and in better shape and
what do your life was like that very,
day when you shot that scene.
I saw a dozen or more,
Photographs of me recently taken in Berlin,
where I was shooting a film which vine all I could see when I looked at the picture was all I care
god I don't remember,
nineteen eighty, so
it may come to me. Ok bye!
Well, I could look at was oh I'm on my mind,
where you know with Hungary
is Dracula. Was it no? I was a terrible terrible movie. The
sphinx, ok, yeah so
you could think was what
I remember the circumstances of my life at that point, I remember coming down over hotel sweet, my wife is waiting upstairs
I very little memory of the actual film right. Just that's probably pizza
sounds like it's probably PTSD that you blocked out a terrible movie, but that's what's interesting about watching this Chicago seven movie is that I mean you were a young man and very alive and engaged with theater and culture at that time, when that happened right, yeah very
and it was New York. I mean what are you I mean where this circle of people you are in in theatre, in New York, sort of you, no active,
culturally and politically. Well,
if they were, I wish I was not aware of it. I freely can
First, that it thirty, I had
two things on my mind: you can guess one of them, but the other was work right and that's
While I cared about. I wasn't a good citizen. I wasn't following the political scene. I mean
more aware now, because when
much more in danger and I'm frightened.
in ways that the I never dreamed I'd be frightened in a democracy yeah for sure, but at thirty
I remember Kent State and I remember all my
uncles being in
the Korean WAR, Yan
later later on. Vietnam was
working all the time and not
Zimbabwe's I am now hit it off?
Took place in New York for you right. You came over from Jersey,
it I didn't come over from Jersey until I graduate
in College and Syracuse, but your jersey got the Imo Jersey Guy and there is a lot of us. We are used to talk like that. I used to say give me your call, it will have coffee, I mean that's it
exactly how I spoke part of Jersey
they own. I was born in Bayonne. I'll Brooks used. Mel Brooks my first director envy.
And he said nobody would believe you're from Bay on you look like a prince without a country, so I was right and what were they come from italian family fallen
what're! You hear something!
Naples and Calabria and we're your parents
first generation people, second, a second thing,
of grandparents, it spoke italian and yes to a degree, but I was raised.
In a household where everybody
spoke English at the top of their lungs
There was no one. There was no medium ground of any kind
woke up in the morning I get out a bad light.
Good morning had not happened. So that's it
logistics. Are you probably I sought out to performing just
sort of get some control over the noise. Well, I sought out performing because
I wasn't a comfortable young boy
I was always ill at ease. I couldn't. I could,
talk to girls. I didn't like going to any house, I didn't know. I would get my hands
would start to get sweaty in.
I wasn't, I was
lost in sports away. My brother was-
and I had this strange akenside me
but there was something I was meant to do,
but I didn't know what it was.
It's hard to feel comfortable when everyone's yelling all the time right, yeah and when you're a middle kid. Oh, you said: yeah all boys, no sister brother,
But you were the one that kind of got lost
between the margin between the two. Absolutely all of these cliches about being
middle child at the youngest
over a long period of life you come can realise when you made other friends
and talk that people are
automatically very much like what the cliche of a
little child or a younger daughter or an an older, older sister to a younger man. Why would?
So you know at that point in your life right.
There are certain patterns at the obviously have foundation in reality. Behaviorally I mean you know
I guess the
just for a reason that that those facts are true, but what your fee,
other, do or cannot world was he in
My father was a business man and he ran a company
called the Bayonne Barrel and drug company which,
Defied, gallon drums and smaller
you painted them. I don't
went into the bungs and took out all the grid inside
I started working for him when I was
the fifteen or sixteen reconditioning drums. No, I was assigned to their will lie very large factories and on Monday I was told to watch the windows. All
across one wall. By the time we got to Friday. They were doing
we again have destroyed all over
It is a very interesting time. You knew that wasn't gonna, be your life
you paid me fifty dollars a week.
My mother insisted. I give her forty what
now that you are working,
was her remark, so
I live on ten dollars a week. What was
The forty dollars for her for rent
wow. I don't know it just was it was just
feeling that I was now working- and I had to
I pay my way so we could for for granted. Now I
Did was she a domineering person? Yes very much so
very much. So domineering is a nice word. I think
She was mentally under upwards.
You know I had had more cracks to the face and more.
males she just wasn't
very emotional, italian woman, of which there are many many many you I never married. You tell you, you ve been very diplomatic ivy I am my grandmother was my grandmother was the same?
Whenever I would run upstairs to my grandmother
because my mother was overwhelming. My grandma was right.
What's the matter with you out of it, you get hit downstairs you go upstairs. You get hit yeah and you know. I think there is something to be said. Really. Truly, I don't
look back on. It is poor me.
there is something to be said with the kind of
The plan that generation mad a hundred, though their word,
There was very little sensitivity, discipline,
You feel your cared about even worse.
It's not necessarily kind.
Watch young parents today
they say or whatever you want go wherever you want. Do they go into a supermarket gotten, just go downtown and pick what you want right.
A kid wants everything. So
He needs a parent to guide him and I don't see that happening in a lot of the younger ones. Now that's new, I had to be home at a certain time. I knew I couldn't touch something in another one's house. I knew I could only have one thing in the supermarket, so I
They were boundaries
again, and I hear- and I liked him why
I think that that makes sense to me. You know it also. Kids, you know when there, when they can't make a decision, sometimes want guidance.
So they're not overwhelmed all the time, but I mean it seems to me that once it becomes abusive,
you're craving that kind of discipline that might not make your adulthood that terrific
While I may have missed legit, I wasn't abused. I want some.
I was brought up in
an italian family. There were nine ten uncles and aunts right and there was a lot of picking up and throwing around in love, but there was no,
fallen around there, wasn't any
whatever you want. Let me: what's he do
heart to me there just wasn't any of that, but so you yeah, I guess no. I wasn't saying that you were saying abusive, but you know nails and pops to the head upstairs and downstairs. I mean I understand discipline and I understand you know the
I kind of love,
kind of passion by day,
and I understand how that could be big B
yeah that disappointed in and of itself good you, you know
we start grounded in something but buddy
you find that you don't you
do poor me, but do you find that your your choices in life are sorted
directly relative to wanting to get to get away from that I mean how. How did they respond to you wanting to act? When did you decide that you?
because clearly you said you were uncomfortable and socially awkward and middle child and stuff, but a lot of them had to have to do with your being
overly disciplined on some level.
Someone, but I decided at about setting
It saved my life because
as I said earlier,
I was so ill equipped for the world,
for the real world too sensitive way too way too sensitive. My brother was a jack and I take very much seriously
MR was very beautiful and out being
a girl, and I always felt
maybe I was adopted. Maybe aliens left me here because I didn't feel connected
and the moment I walked in
who play. I said: oh,
this is where I belong and funnily enough
the day I graduated college.
I listen to all of my friends in panic
at night at the party. They were all saying. What am I
I gotta do I don't know I was gonna. Do my laundry idle?
I don't know about profession. Should I
a doctor, my father wants me to be a lawyer and I never had that problem by that time. What I knew was
I wanted to be. An actor is without being
potentials, are calling
and I knew I had a job the next day
after graduation I drove to were
area and was rehearsing a play the next morning so,
that was one of the pitfalls
but you do whatever you want to call them of life.
I didn't have
everything else, but I knew my profession
but but you know, but to pursue a calling specially one that does not offer
security or guarantees of any kind. That is creative, yeah, that's a career.
Just thing and end in that
you know, I think a lot of people go through life heartbroken because they felt that a calling, but they didn't, have the courage to pursue it,
not courageous at the time it's desperate right.
In a way you gotta know other choices in your head. You are desperate to find your place in the sun, so to speak. In New Delhi,
I have some form of identity.
All of those they all work well later in life? It's always been my.
I experienced the darlings of school
best, looking guy or the head of the basketball team, or the pretty
yes, girl, they have a lot of trouble later in life.
If striving always striving, always ever read a book by Ortega, Cold River,
of the masses. Now it's worth it,
in the book. He says.
The man with a clear head
it's not the man sitting on shore can't
plating life and trying to
decisions and Philip,
absolutely philosophically thinking about what to do the man with the
your head? Is the man
in May ocean swimming against the current, never getting to shore, because that act
was always swimming, always trying always looking to do
or be something I sell things
and when you get into the ship of success when most
people get into that boat when they reach the boat. They pull the guy
unemployment gentler after them. They want anybody else in their happy right right. So I've always thought
I always identified with that.
Would not always me, but keep swimming Frank, just keep swimming
you did a theater all all throughout high school.
And that type of stuff- and that gave you sort of
a little cachet? Little identity got laughs. You got moved people, you know them
photographs of made six
in playing reverend chargeable.
Importance of being earnest, but you know that painted great yeah in your hair and eyebrows that you make you put the little dot in your eye because everybody told you them that it major rise right. That's a
Well, that's a fun play. I think I did that boy once a year
that's a great book,
more than eight. So when you
the college you studied theatre as undergrad too
I want to say,
turkish university, where a number of people Jerry still went there. She
Sorkin my there, which I didn't know until I read it recently, and there was,
the professor there
very renowned name, Sawyer far away L K
I still have my note books. I have my note books from my class than one of the things he said was ACT
in spite of your neurosis. Not because of it was a great
great listen to me about this
skill on me. Crafted
What is at me, I did then explain to me. Well, it means said: Durham you down.
you don't, but some word. I wonder yiddish way, call muzzle you! Don't
you don't role around in your own and ask it all neuroses? Ok right use it. You create
You make an arch out of the craft, the skill that you have.
You work hard in spite of the narrow aside it you don't like card because of it all.
Right right and don't let that neurosis inform everything. So you don't actually you'll get the skill set to do the job,
I can give you one very good example: witches IP,
kingly or a number of years ago. It bam pretty recently I
yeah about two thousand and fourteen yeah and the,
the actresses in the play.
At the end of the scene, came off stage and said: oh, I didn't feel comfortable tonight. I just I don't know what it was. I didn't feel comfortable and I
it's not your job! Does your country, it's your job
to make the audience feel comfortable
and I might as all been talking in Swahili
was unable to get their concept
because young actors are often thought too,
this beer self,
You know, will be yourself
for the home alone
here you go onto the stage and in front of a camera for them the p
watching you, you don't go
For yourself, you don't go on.
To vent. You know
your own personal dramas, you you
damn right unless, unless the roll calls for that, but right, yes and then you moulded rice,
making art but the
but with so shall would did you when you
retraining with Thumb, Sawyer Falk?
yeah who seem like he had a practical approach to the craft?
Did you have any sort of resentment towards a more method, driven type of thing
I was lucky young man, I've, I've found the mentor and the
teach her young who taught me that,
the scale and it's a cry
and you must bring real emotion to it.
He taught me to shape things. He taught me to make decisions about. How
The boy, a momentary, seemed never to lose the on.
Of my emotional life, but never to let my emotional life rule
but it was I was doing so.
A love of Shaw and Moyer and in shakespeare- and
Arthur Miller, remember jealousy. Williams came to me
and an understanding that, for each of those plays there was
different way to approach them
stop the writers intend. So you
you did not do much more training after
sawyers class? No, I didn't
I was in an acting class for six months in
I couldn't bear it for that very reason. I was sick of action.
Is blowing their noses and crying and saying this reminds me of a guys coming on saying I was there, I just
wait a minute what's the syntax of this line, but what does it mean
How can I get a laugh here? I dont mean that you just do it technically, but you do you combine them.
In that moment that you just did that very brief impression of the guy working out the problems and acting class. I was like I'd like to see it
a little more that
What do you mean yeah, like I'd like to see you, do that character a little more, the guys I rarely played that kind of guy, but I'm really a on boy.
And, as I get older, I probably should return to back but thou, but that those are interesting choices. I mean where were you conscious about dumb?
removing the New Jersey from your town, all very,
I knew I would never have a successful acting career. If I didn't stop talking
like that. It's I when I was.
Venus sixteen year old, I I saw
Laurence, Olivier in the film
Richard the third ere I stole
have a downstairs. I bought the thirty three and a third album. That's
seventy years ago, and I went up into the attic and locked the door
and I listened over and over and over again
to John Good,
saying oh passed a miserable mood.
An I slowly began to imitate him and
who is my jersey accent, but you don't
think at that time by the autumn.
Interesting, because, like that, a jersey accent
it isn't in and of itself neurotic
is that it is not at all and
It is certainly the child childhood. You had in what you came from an end and how it built you. I would guess what
could be termed yes,
what neurotic, but did you feel, I'm sorry
Am I no? It's all right. I'm listening to you disagreeing with you. I'm disagreeing in silence. We know okay. Well, maybe that's the wrong word, but but but you well sensitivity, I guess I'm what what what I'm
trying to say is that by me
and cleanse yourself of that accent? You were sort of taking on a different character. For yourself
you know you were making a decision about who you were going to be as you
yes, I was I
I knew somehow inside myself, there
I could have,
a better life than what is happening to me, emotionally, an actor
became the vehicle for that
and I also knew when I got to Syracuse
I found the right man too,
help me understand what I told you react in rather roses.
I also knew later on in life that dumb
After all, this is Shakespeare and I'm gonna.
Have to live up to certain things
this is Tennessee Williams. It's
who call another part of me out and that
what's wonderful about acting very, very few
people, my age,
until that enthusiasm they get term J
goodbye at its worst
the profession for
managing to hold onto your self esteem
oh really have I'm not a franchise actor Don.
I don't have one game to play right. Am I just
keep doing out over and over again
to get lost and transform. If I can
and when you do something like you did even in this most recent movie, which is based on a real guy, you know
what how do you find the that this sort of wire
the drive shaft. What are you going with? What
oh I read everything I can read about him. I get all of my intellectual stuff out of the way
I throw it all away and I come out and, as I said in other only one other interview, I leap
empty handed into the void, which today,
expression. I was once given
that means said instead
spending hours a day lying lying down. I I must myself myself for the night,
standing in the wings working yourself up and shooting your load in the wings.
stage, you done all the basics. You learn the lines you know
What they mean
and now you have to mean them when you say them, and that means jump
in a way jumping on a horse and galloping. You had your lesson, as you ve been told when
to pull in the reins when to let her go and then you leap and you can challenge from miles and miles in greater
because you done all the preliminary work, why accent
yeah. Absolutely you know I talked to her. I talked to quite a few actors and- and you you know that the idea,
of doing all that work and trusting that you ve put it in its in you and then no den
Then just letting go of it. Yes, it also gives you
something to hang on to in the bad times and actors actor
I'm great love of actors, its
very difficult life
No, I'm not saying it's more difficult than anybody else since its by it is, but it be,
its search. You yourself, as steamers, is challenged.
Every day your dick
I challenge you- have to hold on to a belief,
and one of the things- and I think we talked about this about-
Kids are raised today, one.
the things you have to hold onto it.
Skill is your craft
is knowing you can shape line, knowing
You can get an audience to laugh and even more
importantly knowing you can make them cry that catches.
It was a bad time when you're waiting is
I always say to people: it's probably.
The most difficult thing in the world is the waiting that all actors
and then know like once you have the opportunities to choose.
The material, that's gonna, be satisfier. I either
without phrase leap empty handed under the Lord was given to me by a friend.
He framed it. I've taken into a redress signal, my bad,
and, as the years gone alone idle.
Get to my entrance Baxter
agent or a second,
before I'm. The curtain goes up. I used to
you don't. I have lunch. Didn't I used to sit in the wings and get myself into it and, as I said before it I'll do it, it does
nothing but tighten you and freeze you
what have you done? Everything and you feel, oh, how am I going to be tonight?
I do master classes and I say to the kids: com
locate your life. If you want to be a great actor,
complicate your life.
Don't lie in bed all day
yourself. Up to the night fight
with your girl friend, said
Tell your mother, your mad at you know,
go go shopping for your indigent grandmother deal,
with life for real and then, when you get to the theatre, you have to
clear your head and say now: I'm gonna leap,
but if you're all day lying around thinking, I'm an artist to know how much it said
it doesnt work and then you, you, love what you're doing too so day of show it's good to fight with your spouse,
now maybe your parents,
yeah and and then we'll get ready for work
but you don't have
therefore, if you run around ideas, I live your life.
live your life and be a person go shopping.
Your garbage right read a book. Don't freak out anything that yeah. That is anything that keeps you engaged in the act of living
so that when you come to the theatre that night you're follows that I knew
bring it onto the stage and what was that
first. What was the first row, you did were your like. I'm it's happening, I'm an I may
professional act. I've arrived
nineteen sixty three
I came to New York in nineteen sixty one
I didn't sixty three I was lucky day-
Yet the leading role
Like all the immoral list,
and it was a colossal success
It was about a man discovered. He was homosexual and
nineteen sixty three that was big time yeah.
And it was a giant success in considering very racy it was.
at all, but,
grand for about a year and a half or two years dumb
I remember on opening night of that play all the credit
the theatre on opening night and then
like a great movie, run to their typewriters,
to meet the deadline to get it on. Nowadays they come for a week before.
I sort of think the excitement of knowing its that might. Anyway, I have
the girl friend, who subsequently became a wife and action
Curtain went down
I want to be a little glass of wine backstage and then she and I went to the New York Times Building and stood,
waiting for the my view to come down.
There was a box there
and we saw the guy bringing the times to put the member.
I put the diamond and the paper
was when it was still wet and I raised
and found my picture and a review. That was call I'm an actor,
actor in New York City. It began there
a good review, great review. Yes, it was a. It said, Frank Langella, not that I remember
He ain't glandular, an actor
where's. My very first review,
and there have been better
a much worse but free
It seems that it, it was really about theater. I mean, and I mean that work
The thinking in terms of film at all. At the beginning,
I had no notion that I would ever appear in front of a camera that I would only be to me,
the Broadway area and Marquis said being a Broadway
star was everything I wanted everything and I
had a condition of coldness stages, which makes
eyes, quiver a little bit when you're being intense
and I thought it meant like could never. I could
taken into the army because of it, because you can't focus quickly in order to shoot a gun,
and on stage
you know my grandmother used to say every knock is a boost
So when I was told I had this,
I could never work in film.
Television, I was
the stated, but my goal was to be there anyway. But
We knock is a boost, means that when I would be on stage
because my eyes quivered. They pick up the light,
So you see
and I got many reviews saying this something in his eyes. Well, it was a condition, but I didn't tell anybody till till now it ended
that being a a boost: the dead
every knock is a boost. Eventually I did go
on camera, characterized as you get older, the condition lessons and the first.
The first row is what now, with networks
the first movie. Nineteen
sixty nine did some tv before that
one or two: I did it her powers
show called trials of Brien starring Peter
can all learn stretching
one or two other things. What was it like? Working with Peter FARC at that time, he's a character? Well,
Peter disappeared at lunchtime, usually with one of the young leading Ladys, so you never got never got a chance to talk to him.
It would come out of his dressing room, looking relaxed
I never forget that I thought well, that's a great Burke, but by war
king with now Brooks
when he was that young, because he's so lit up
All the time that must have been somethin,
these still lit up
he still inside right. I don't know how long ago I saw him, but
Mail doesn't change.
I tell this story about me because it's my favorite.
The opening scene of the movie is me and a giant square, twelve chairs right, yeah, twelve chairs, with about three hundred yoga lobby, yeah
moving towards the camera. Moving away, they didn't understand. A word male said-
And MEL setting at the top of his lungs and yelled at them onto
up of a ladder, God down Fucking Yugos go around and do this they didn't know so you'd see in the rush as you'd see a hundred people running after the camera. Looking
right back as he told them tat? They had no idea how to mingle, where no one that poor people they wish list
for people in a village and
EL loves to make people laugh and he had honey
people just staring at us
guys like you'd, make a joke
they wouldn't laugh.
It was a wonderful experience. I imagine
this movie, where I had a great time,
but I imagine like over time that that
true thrill is still theatre right. I mean the others. What did so out of process and in making movies- and you know I just Something'S- can take forever
well, yes, and no for me. It's changed. I've done.
About. Seventy five plays and I've done now about
the similar remounted movie la
as much as I love. My last two plays were,
father, a man with dementia and King Lear and
much as I love, I still love being one stage. I now a door being in front of the camera.
I adore trying to bring the moment to the simplest
most honest. I could make it and there is,
particular thrill in that which help
she endure the long waits and getting there at five o'clock on this movie. I try
Chicago something I had to get
there are five to do all the prosthetics,
which were very subtle- you never noticed them, but they were there
but I'd there wasn't much waiting,
Time at all Aaron was very efficient.
But there is a lot of doing it on camera, doing it off camera, doing a master and
If you maintain
The idea that an audience is never going to know whether you,
You sat for three hours before that.
Or whether you had an egg headache that day
a moment. You hear action, you leap empty,
ended into the boy you give the lands, the most truth for showing you can get related to it.
You're playing, and that is a joy to be now as much is going on
as a young actor. I was very theatrical lemme. I had to learn
the calm down in front of a camera,
I talk I actually talked to. I interviewed Jeff Daniels and Aaron Sorkin when they were doing the play.
To kill a mocking bird. I did so
it interviews with him, and it was interesting because Jeff Daniel said to me about Film MAC
that you know you really have to you,
like I'm just saying this and in terms of
having done a little bit of acting myself on tv and what not there
because I was in an actor my whole life of his comic that that this sort of waiting around was starting to. I was like this is ridiculous, but then, if you start to frame
like your moving towards this moment?
That's your job. Is this moment right and you
Jeff was very clear about, like you have to learn how to work your face like there was something
film acting. I never thought about it. That way. It's almost all face.
Yes, but I wouldn't I wouldn't say it the same way, I would stay you
have to learn how to achieve
what you need to
to move the audience.
Don't worry about working your face or trying to me
faces. If you
watch television now
actors are making faces like crazy, looking off to the side and looking down on it,
doing a million thing and most of the time is because they're forced to do mediocre. Mediocrity
so they try to fill it with everything they need. To.
My my feeling is be simple. Be honest, be direct
right and ever in and if your craft is in place, it's gonna. You know you ve already done that that the word it can carry through and I so you can
when you go home at night
glorious, you feel you ve put some
into the lines that the odds
and swore reactor. There was about
Alan LAD, you maybe cheer,
young to remember it.
But he was in a western. He was a western star. Many star, Annie,
wasn't thought it was a great actor. He was great
and the story he went in.
He won't hear movie star, he went.
Into a bar
at the end of the day in all the guys at the bar on how are you movie actor Jana good Day and he said yeah
I managed one great look
right and sometimes
you can. But if you do it, I showed up
back in my neck. If you do it, if you are able to manage it, you had
the successful day
forgive me, I don't like the word we ve got
successful day is an artist,
Let me just say as an actor. Okay.
Because you have achieved something. Why I think
beautiful. I think what you're saying is. You know it's encouraging to me
yeah. I somebody who does some of this work now to two to appreciate that
Convergence on that moment, because when you do a take here, sometimes is thirty seconds anymore,
get to do it ten times
but you're still a thirty five.
Our interest and extended a minimum of thirty five tags now did that drive you nuts
but I buy them the moving writer. So
from a year on the stage Aramis
gorgeous to work with. If you get it,
first take. He wants to move on and usually will do a second for safety and if you
by our joy one more time
but he will let you, but I never do. I. I honestly feel unless I felt
really lost move on.
That's fine with me. You trusted director. I trusted him
Not every direction, that's it,
I sort of like the reality. Is that you know a couple a couple of your biggest rolls, Dr.
accurate and Nixon were
we're stage roles, so you you
You were dug in Rio. You knew one very
I had to change both those men dramatically.
I really had to work hard.
Here's, a wrong Howard story. If you would like about Pross Nixon, I played
pros Nixon Android a year year- a thirty
part and- and I
Does it by had gone
Nixon into my soul,
and the first day we shot that movie. I remember Kevin Bacon standing over in the wings and
it was to be Nixon's first entrance and film where he
the camera man and said, take out over there and you do this and do that and
And then he had to speak to America. Can I do
wrong. Guy has got its good iris. Ok, I stood again right
notes on solar envelope
They came over to me and said here doing you come over here. You do this and I
he kept saying? Let's do it again?
I didn't know why.
And he came over he whispered to me. He said I saw you. Do this play in New York. City.
It's why I wanted you to do the movie and I have asked
and you did that seem four times impeccably
four minutes and thirty two seconds every time. This is not the live theater.
You don't have to move on and keep keep a whole play going. Take your time break it off
Look at that person longer I am for scissor.
Cut away. While he liberated me on the first day. That's absolutely gave me.
Feeling of such joy. That I- and I thought I
who is doing very well in the first tags, but I was living up to
obligation. I had
but on myself in the theater
so when you have to make the audience here- you in the last straw, it's very
different when you have to make them feel something in a major closer
it's like. I don't know why you just tell me that story in it.
I find a very moving nature. I was there
Frank ran forward at the end, because
actually Nixon became very
a different man in the movie, then the play
a very introverted in many ways. It very quiet
and very interesting
of an in pain, a lot of pain,
resting, and that was all because of that note, run
I take a little bit of credit goes. I was smart enough to hear it. I might add an all
I was smart enough to open the windows and let the next session of the theatre world go away
and make him the term of just the camera.
You changed the void. Yes, I do
and I loved, I loved every minute of shooting that movie
it's great movie, I really loved watching you. I always like watching you
It is interesting that Dracula role I remember when I was
young guy me. What was that, like one thousand nine hundred and eighty or something I was still in nineteen? Seventy eight. I was still in high school, but I remember that's what it put you on. The map is this kind of like a sex symbol. If you were like
twenty two eggs
to do that.
Thirty nine well
I think almost anybody who plays dracula-
becomes a sex symbol for a while, but in different ways I played him as a romantic gothic, hero and.
I played not as a killer and not
not frightening at all. Much to the dismay of the producer
they wanted me to do all
fangs in blood and
imaginative force with women
They love it because,
they can imagine being penetrated without being.
Penetrated. You know right, let's hear right, it's not their right, and so there you don't look characters been around a long time
not the only true said success with it. So
the thing that basic,
theme of the man
of that character. Character is really based on. It is a Roman
yeah and very rarely played that way.
yeah, and I remember like there's there's like one when I knew we were gonna talk, and I was thinking about you and my mom
Worries of you got there
I remember there's a scene in that film lolita. Were you play quilt that I
like. I cannot get out of my mind. There was something so disturbingly
devilish about how you approach that guy? The sort of
I give my mind there is the
dubious sense of morality,
but there's a scene there where you're. Just like running down the hallway naked in
a frenzy that
I can't it's, it's stuck in my head that that whole portray
what that guy was so again
sort of what it was
stir being, but you but human.
It's a very underrated film. It should, I think,
should be revised.
Adrian line director and it was at a time
when the country was very up in arms about child abuse and
people wouldn't go to see it. It was damned thing I think I could show now
and talk about many takes Adrian.
Was thirty five or forty take
really any ghastly any and your naked? That's it! That's differ
Well, yes, you're naked and it's cold in the studio, but it was
like get it. I remember being. I should watch it again because I remember it being. You know like
it's a challenging book, so it's gonna be a challenging movie. What are you gonna? Do
You seem to have an inability to
really be aware of of comedy and and and also aware of, you have a full range that you, it seems you're very
comfortable with you like doing comedy in general. I love it more than anything. I really do. I I don't think
I'm quite known for it, but I've done half of them.
I've done had been committed. Girls like day day was great praise,
had shown was actually you play
it's. The first movie I did with Ivan Man and then I'd. We work together to
four times in dry
in a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I'd lost the title of the budget,
You could make if you can make Ivan level of camera. I see people
You know you done something right.
refill might have done and every play I've done.
from every imaginable writer my fate
favorite line that I've ever spoken
Dave. It's after
the cavernous president, leaves the room
and my assistant looks at me and I'm in a rage
says to me. What are you going to do and I say I'm going to kill him,
did you can't kill him? He's the president?
I said no
it is an ordinary person.
I can kill one hundred ordinary people
Gary Jerry was rope at last, so funny didn't kill a hundred people waiting
but like in terms of like when you were talking about you know actor
end and rules that are difficult because they they may,
not be satisfying. I mean.
you seem to have. There are some films that ve done that you'd. Do you don't seem to like very much in that? You may be warrant
How do you choose what to do
well it's a myth that you choose
broken down. Something comes along. I haven't. I haven't made a film. It fell Madonna play for a year before Aaron Cold.
And if it's a bad movie
and you know it, you still
workers hard, I work is hard. If
higher and bad movies to try to make it
work, at least in my little boy,
but you know when you read it
you don't always know now you gotta wouldn't take it. If I knew it was going to be a flop, you don't
Always go in with it,
big hard, I made a movie for Ridley Scott
set whatever for you. Whatever the year of the con
price to America Ways
where's your right, thereby do years ago any we re wonderful cast all about.
The discovery of America and every day we were shooting it. We thought were making a classic. This is the Lawrence of Arabia of our time and then to my
I after it I got a little comedy.
Dave Dave, which I thought well get the kids use
I'm doing my best and day was incredible success in
that will be disappeared. Fourteen
Did you just disappeared,
even I fell asleep the first my screen. I guess that happens. I talk to her when Winkler about the right stuff, which is really by all stand,
there's a great movie and adjust didn't, didn't catch didn't catch
now you you never really. Now
yeah and you don't know what it has to do with it.
Trusting you played another judge. Dingy played their worn burger to write in Europe.
The Ali movie right.
Is Muhammad Ali's last case. I think it was cold last fight, maybe you like playing judges,
I don't play. This is only the second one I've ever played, and yes, I love doing that. One too,
No, if you survive as long as I have here,
have favorites and one
The full experiences you are:
They don't always combined, which means
You can have a very bad experience and make a great film
You can have a love. Fest and film
is terrible is simply.
No rhyme or reason to it, but do you ever?
Do you look at any of the work that you did? You know I understand what you're saying and sometimes you can have a great acting expense,
events in a movie, that's not success forward or doesn't cut well,
but are there any instances where you think you could have done something differently or done something better everything.
Every time I why
I watched the charter was Chicago seven only two days ago.
I try to make it a rule not to watch anything I'm in for a year because I want to. I don't want to
The editor. Why don't you go away that moment? I did this, but the
response to it has been phenomenal and
I thought I should honor Aaron by watching it sooner and I did and
even watching it, I thought even
with the lovely reception to Make-
Which am grateful for I went out. Why did you do that? You could have done this.
You could have done, which is why I don't watch them, because I'm always.
You know, I don't know how you feel about what you do, but
this point in my life
the process is far more rewarding. Then the result just the tree,
Trying to find it in get
always disappointed in the results. Always I got here younger
You say use that take as I look really answer my mandate
they came out well
at my age, I'm always looking now. Were you truthful? Were you honest?
have you been caught acting
you ve been caught acting you're. Not do
Right so were
and I was glad I saw it because I loved that cast of actors.
Every one of them, every one of them was absolutely marvelous. It seems like that
tat the thing about that. From that Ortega,
the sitting on the beach versus swimming against the current that
you seem to be
generating a lot of that current through your life.
Try to I am
I am afraid of being complacent and I
I'm afraid of fun. I never
take apart because its close to a golf course.
I never take apart and say. I know how to do that. It's what am I tricks? I I take what's offered to me,
and try to make the best of it, and I respect this craft and the skill
Not Hoa poke, not sitting
on a pedestal, saying I'm an artist which very boring, but lucky me. I have skill.
I have something I can moulded shape undue and I'm
Coming to the end, you know I've got we'll see
maybe I've got another decade of it, but
As I get older
I love the silence in the interim.
See the camera,
I trying to put something in that,
Gonna move an audience
you're great at it, and I appreciate you spending the time with me. It was great talking. Thank you. I enjoyed it good, you're, a wonderful interviewer and I'm sure we've been here for outwards
but I didn't feel that way. Oh good, well, look just went like that. Oh good! Well, I'm glad we spent some time together and take care of yourself and his great meeting you
to mark your lovely gotta talk to. Thank you, Frank. Take care man by
All right, that was Frank Langella before the election, the trial, the Chicago seven, is now streaming on. Netflix. Oh God bless America. The relief and remember I'm not going
very far. I mean I'm in a hurry. Look it's
uncomfortable? I just
get some time
there's no such thing as a good excuse for not buckling up
if you've used any of these excuses, you're putting yourself at risk of injury or even death. But if that's not enough to convince you, consider this not buckling up, could also cost you lots of money. Cops are writing tickets. So why take the risk do this
our thing and start buckling up every trip day or night click it or take it baby.
And where you fuck him ask I added there
I'm gonna play some celebratory music. Oh my god, I had a.
Pig devil sitting on my chest for four fucking years.
Burma lives monkey by their lives. The flying Capri gain.
Aid. We got a new management.
Transcript generated on 2020-11-19.