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AL QUOTES

 

QUOTES FROM AL


ADVICE TO YOUNG ACTORS

"I see so many plays I wished I'd done. They would've been so important for my growth. That's what I recommend all the time -- involve yourself in the classics. You'll learn a lot. It will give you the variety you can never get if you constantly do the same thing.  (Scene Magazine, 1997, "Sympathy For the Devil", by Raj Bahadur)

"My grandfather was a plasterer. He had such a love for what he did. You felt that he really wanted to get up and do it again the next day. Acting is all about pursuit and staying with something. What is the saying? He who continues in his folly will someday be wise."  (Scene Magazine, 1997, "Sympathy For the Devil", by Raj Bahadur)

 

AGING

"I've been doing this [acting] for 30 years. It's not that my time is running out. But I'm either too old for specific roles or they don't interest me in the same way they did a few years ago. If I want to do a play, that's a year out of my life. As long as I keep the idea that the play comes first, I can handle it." (Scene Magazine, 1997, "Sympathy For the Devil", by Raj Bahadur)

“There was a period when I was out of it for a few years. Almost four years between movies. But for some reason during the last few years, I’ve been more interested, more active. Sometimes, you’re waiting and you’re not particularly excited about anything. But you’re still living in a workaday world, trying to develop yourself — trying to explore things, trying to go into areas where you haven’t been before.
    “You have to decide, ‘Which one do I choose?’ And as you get older, and your time’s running out, you’re trying to figure out, ‘What am I going to do in this next year?’ There’s something to be said for not doing anything, and waiting for something inspired. But that doesn’t seem to happen enough. So you start to figure, like they say, you bring the body and the mind will follow. You hope that, if you go ahead and do the thing, somewhere along the line, you’ll get excited by it. Sometimes, the cart is leading the horse in that respect.”  (MSNBC, 1997, "Al Pacino: The Devil Finally Emerges", By Joe Leydon)

 

AMBITION

"At least in my time, I grew up uh... you had to... you... kind of... averted ambition. It was... it had a kind of pejorative connotation, for some reason. Ambition was uh... was negative. I don't believe that, but I do... do see that ambition is relative. Somebody asked David Mamet, a very interesting... he had a very interesting answer. And I hate to quote him because I... I haven't had his approval. But it's a... such a beautiful thing I think I'm gonna go out on a limb. Someone said to him, "David, you write movies", which he does brilliantly, he writes plays, he writes books, he sent me a book. And someone asked him, "David, you are just constantly writing, writing all the time, how do you do it?" And he said, "It beats thinking". (laughs) I... I thought... I thought... It's just a great quote. I... I... and I... I... kind of... I kind of agree. You know, that's why when anyone talks to me about working, and stuff, I think well, you know, it beats thinking. And so if it's ambitious, it's really about engaging in what it is you do."Hollywood Online (you can hear this interview on Windows Media or Real Audio here.)

"I knew early on that I was an actor, I mean I was doing it all the time. I was in the school plays and everything. But I didn't know that I was going to seriously go into it. I never made that conscious decision till I was in my early 20s. . . . Once that happened to me, I found that this whole idea of success, making it, didn't matter as much. What mattered was the involvement and engaging myself in this kind of activity." (The Journal, 1997, On Meeting "Heat"s Dynamic Duo", By Sally Kline, Journal movie reviewer)

 

ACTING

"The wonderful thing about playing these roles, the opportunity to play them, you see, you get to see what it is like then, to go up against this kind of stuff. What it's like to suddenly be thrown into this kind of a world where the stakes are as high and you're dealing with this kind of a thing. It's exciting because in a way you say, finally say, well, what would I do in that situation?"(Al, on Crook and Chase promoting The Insider)

"When one works from the unconscious, the hope is that the images that have gotten you where you are -- vis--vis the connections that you have made in life -- will come to the conscious when you need them." Electronic Mail & Guardian)

"I work so much from instinct and the unconscious. That's when I feel I'm most liberated as a performer."  The Hartford Courant 2003, THE AMAZING AL PACINO, MOVIE ACTOR ENJOYING HIS GOOD FORTUNE OF STARRING ROLES, by Ron Dicker

"The actor becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful--my personal life suffers." Mr. Showbiz

"So when they take the music away, you have to find an equinox, and part of it is the way it's interpreted and the style and all that -- if that means something to you. I certainly don't understand what I just said." New York (AP) about Shakespeare. I still laugh every time I read it.

(Question: Are you more open now as an actor?) Pacino: "You try to keep yourself open all the time. As a matter of fact when I was younger I was less open I think than I am now. Because I... I sort of felt as though when I was younger that I didn't want anything to interfere with whatever my train was, whereas now I feel that uh.... especially when I made my own pictures, that I really get it from all kinds of people and sources. Who will just say something that uh... you know that is enlightening and interesting and... and always useable. So I feel a little more open. I... I really... listen to... everybody. And the young actors I work with say things sometimes that are really helpful to me and uh... well we worked this thing together. And I thought that Keanu had a wonderful idea about his character in that last scene. When he... when he had this part of, and I thought this was really interesting. He thought well, either you know, I'm nuts, this is going on and I'm nuts, or... so go with it. See what happens. I'll go with it, I'm nuts! And I thought that was a very interesting way to approach that kind of a craziness of that uh... encounter."Hollywood Online (you can hear this interview on Windows Media or Real Audio here.)

(about his use of improvisation)"Well improv is... improv... is... is good. I... I don't usually do it. What I don't care about... I don't care about improvs when that is the end result. I do like a scene but that an improv is done in order to finally come up with a scene. It's like... It's like you sort of get through the subtext by improvisation. And sometimes you find uh... areas in a scene that you didn't see before, only through application and improvisation. And it's a certain amount of work and usually in movies they don't have the time to go into that."Hollywood Online (you can hear this interview on Windows Media or Real Audio here.)

"Acting gives you some kind of exaltation, it deeply affects your soul, your thoughts, and maybe your body, too. Acting creates anguish and questions. You can't live with it, but you can't live without." (from an interview about the death of the actor from the original Italian version of "Scent of a Woman". Read the rest of it on the SOAW   page. Thanks Isabella for translating this article.)

"I think that preparation is everything. Sometimes we avoid it because we don't want to leave what we are. You don't want to leave your life to go and prepare for somebody else's. There's a reluctance to do this, but you find that you have to, and when you do get involved, there's a certain reward. It's you and the character you're playing, and it's that kind of blend which is very hard to explain. (Sea of Love presskit)

Shakespeare has always been a constant in Pacino's life. "I keep going back to it. I enjoy working it out, not necessarily professionally, but reading it to people in small groups and seeing the way they respond to it. It's an affirmation. It makes you feel good. I toured colleges and high schools with Shakespeare reading sections, scenes, paragraphs and listening to the beautiful music of his words. I enjoy the meter of it. I enjoy the big places it takes you and the size of it. If I were a singer I would be singing arias because it just clears you up.  There's a lot of hope in it for me. There's a lot of life. It lifts you up. (Sea of Love presskit)

"It's wonderful when the appetite comes. What the actor has to do is always have an appetite. And that's part of the technique and part of what you learn is how to have that appetite. You have a need or desire to say something or do something, because every night you've got to go out there and look for the appetite." (Sea of Love presskit)

"I have the same doubts I've always had. Maybe that's what keeps me going. I worked with Lee Strasberg [the late Actors Studio honcho] -- the guru of the theater. But I never really knew him until I worked with him. Working together is like two people on a tightrope. You're balancing and checking and dependent on each other -- a mutual relationship. Acting is 'I throw you the ball, you throw me the ball.'"   (Scene Magazine, 1997, "Sympathy For the Devil", by Raj Bahadur)

 

CELEBRITY

"The world of celebrity has gone mad. It is very scary, because it happens when you are on a tightrope. You are up there, trying to make a part happen, when someone starts being difficult. This is not good. The whole thing is about trusting each other, as if we are in an orchestra trying to create good harmonies. But I am not going to name names. They know who they are."  ( imdb, "Pacino Blasts Celebrity")

 

CHOOSING PARTS

"The material has always been my dictate.  If the material is engrossing, I get excited. There was a period where I went four years between movies. I've had other periods where I didn't do anything. Recently, I've been more active, though having many roles from which to choose is difficult.
    "Is it THE BELLBOY where Jerry Lewis' boss tells him to go into a huge ballroom and lay down chairs? But the question is, where's he gonna put that first chair? It's a piece of genius watching him trying to figure it out. That's the way I feel when there's a lot of stuff to pick from. There's much to be said about waiting for something inspirational. As you get older, your time's running out. You're trying to figure what to do next. Bring the body and the mind will follow." 
(Scene Magazine, 1997, "Sympathy For the Devil", by Raj Bahadur)

"I think really, in the end, it's the text. It's the story and the writing and the directing. I think that's what motivates you. That's primarily where your choice comes from. The preferences are just do you relate to the part. There are times where you want to work, to keep acting, so sometimes you choose something with the hope that you'll find it as you go along. . . . (Before) I would just wait for what I thought was the right situation all around, the script, everything else. And then I got to a point where I thought I won't work much and when I do I'll pick the wrong thing. I figured let me just see if I can just put it into the character I'm playing. So I don't think as much about the entire movie. Maybe I should think about it more . . . "(The Journal, 1997, On Meeting "Heat"s Dynamic Duo", By Sally Kline, Journal movie reviewer)

 

CHILDHOOD

"I was never allowed out alone, so my mother used to take me to the movies and I'd come home and act out all the parts. It was a lonely childhood. With no brothers and sisters and having to stay off the streets, I had no friends. I felt isolated and odd. So, acting kept me sane."  (Cable TV, "The Devil's Advocate" Star Talks about His Work and the Meaning of Privacy, by Roald Rynning)

 

DIRECTING

(thanks Pat for posting this on the APML) Al presented Best Director of a Musical Award to Michael Blakemore at the Tony Awards June 4, 2000.
"Thank You, thank you. It's an honor for me to be here tonight, one night of the year, when all of us in this profession take a moment to honor, to recognize and encourage, excellence in the theater. So now to the directors. The work of the lighting people, costume set, even the actors, is instantly visible to the audience's eye. It's accessible, it's tangible, but with the director, it is somehow different. Usually the best direction is the direction you can't see. Is it almost imperceptible to the audiences which is probably why it is the most illusive, subtle of theatre graphs. Now who are these people? What do they do? Well, the director usually helps encourage the writer, to shape the play, also direct the cast, and play, with actors, mostly actors, usually. He tries to bring the actors, to their highest creative potential, and this is not easy. Since actors are different, some actors would rather be left alone, others enjoy collaboration. Still others have to be sweet-talked, and congealed, and almost coaxed into their roles. Now the director must do all that, at the same time bring together the entire production, while maintaining his or her own vision of the play, satisfying both the playwrights' needs and intentions, and ultimately hoping to bring the audience to its feet in appreciation. This is not an easy job, (smiling), and so it is with great respect, and a little bit of awe, I present to you, the nominees for best direction of a play"... (then he reads the names of the nominees)

 

DIRECTORS HE WANTS TO WORK WITH

"The Directors I... I want to work with are... uh.... Scorsese who I've never worked with, and I want to work with Lumet again, I want to work with some of the younger directors today. But mainly for me the director I want to work with usually is because they are doing a movie that they have a passion for, and that is something that you try to figure as you meet them. I think that also there is another aspect to it. I want to work with a director because they want you as an actor in their movie. Because they feel not only, not because they're going to get the movie made with a name in it but because they feel right about you for a part. It could be you and several others, but they include you in that ah... grouping so that they would use you even if you weren't a person that they could get the movie banked with." Hollywood Online (you can hear this interview on Windows Media or Real Audio here.)

 

DOWN TIME

(about Simone) "It's unlike anything I've done before, and I'm really anxious to see how people react to it. So I'll get that out, and then I have no obligations for a while. It's funny, but the world just seems to open up to you when you don't have every minute planned.
    "In the old days, sometimes I'd go two years between a picture, and I wouldn't know what to do with myself. And when you're making films, you're really being paid all that money for waiting, and it took me a long time to be able to use that downtime productively, to use it for other parts of your life."
    "It's taken a long time, but I've just about learned how to quit flapping my arms and float. It's good to float." (2002)

 

EXERCISE / ACTION SCENES

"Breath-Defying"  June 17, 2002 issue, the Chatter colum by Ericka Souter
    Chasing a killer in the thriller Insomnia had Al Pacino feeling his age. "I did some of those runs and thought I'd check myself in the hospital," says Pacino, 62. "You pray that somebody will yell cut and it will be over. After those action scenes, I'd touch myself to make sure everything was still there." It wasn't much easier when he pursued the bad guy in the 1995 drama "Heat." "I remember chasing Bobby De Niro around at 3 a.m.," says Pacino. "I didn't warm up and boom, there went my hamstring. I was like, 'Great, I feel like old Al.' Then I realized, 'I am old Al.' The icon accepts the inevitable. "I guess I have to keep in shape as I get older," he says. "But I don't like to work out. Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes."

 

FAME

"Fame is a perversion of the natural human instinct for attention." "Toxic Fame" by Joey Berlin

(about fame) "You hate to say you get used to it, because you don't really get used to it, but it gets easier. You accept it more. And you finally have to become more comfortable with it. That's what's happened to me, I think." from "Toxic Fame" by Joey Berlin

(about fame) "You simply have to adjust to it. It's part of the deal. I knew someone who had difficulty with it and I've known of people who have left because they had difficulty with it. You have a choice. They left. I stayed, but I like it when it's difficult." "Toxic Fame" by Joey Berlin

"I'm always a little surprised when people recognize me, a little bit. I hope I don't lose it for some reason. But I was out of the loop for about four years and I think that was a very important time for me, when I didn't work. When I came back to working again, to public life, those four years away had a positive effect." "Toxic Fame" by Joey Berlin

"I can't pretend it's ever been easy, but celebrity has been a part of my life for so long now it's beginning to seem natural. What hurts is when you're in an exotic place for a holiday and the paparazzi stalks you. I love Paris, but I just don't go there any more because things have gotten so out of hand. I've tried going out in Paris in disguise, but that always backfires and, when the photos appear in print, you look so ridiculous. But let's face it, the perks outweigh the woes." (Calgary Sun, October 11, 1997, Pacino Plays the Devil's Advocate, By Louis B. Hobson)

"The work is reality. That other stuff is fantasy." (Toronto Sun, October 12, 1997, Still Playing Devil's Advocate, By Liz Braun)

[During] a trip to Paris, some years ago, when he was hounded endlessly. The point is, says Pacino, that the next time you work out in advance how to avoid all that.
   "When you're in a public-enterprise thing, that's what you have to expect. But it's the persistence that causes you to react."
    He doesn't want to dwell on the woes of stardom: that's a tiny, tiny `w,' the actor says. The perqs outweigh the negative stuff. What he most appreciates is something he calls access.
    "I remember in East Berlin, they knew me at Checkpoint Charlie. So that was great."
     (Toronto Sun, October 12, 1997, Still Playing Devil's Advocate, By Liz Braun)

"You have to adjust to being in the public eye. I know actors who had difficulties with it, and people who have left their careers because of it. I have stayed. I like things that are difficult."
    Still, Pacino always goes in the back way to events, and in the '80s gave up acting for six years.
    "It was a very important time for me. I wanted to get out of the spotlight, so I could see. When I came back, I dealt with things better."  (Cable TV, "The Devil's Advocate" Star Talks about His Work and the Meaning of Privacy, by Roald Rynning)

"When you become visible and notorious, you start accepting people into your world that you wouldn't normally be associated with," he says. "That was what got me in some trouble. I started to get involved in situations that came readily to me, where I didn't have to earn it. Especially if your a shy person to start with, what happens is, now you are accepted. You become unduly suspicious." (GQ, September 1992, "Al Alone", by Maureen Dowd)

 

FILMS NOW VS THE SEVENTIES

"Well it's not a question of them being less good, I think it's a question of being different. In the seventies we seemed to be addressing more or less the the social issues of our day, socio-political ideas were being expressed in film. And maybe through journalism now, and through television a lot of those things are expressed in a kind of a way that comes to you so immediate... after all when you think of Dog Day Afternoon, when that came out it was the first time we were seeing the media dealing with a... on a live situation. Right there at the time, while this guys robbing the bank it was televised and everything was going on, this was an early part of that thing. Now today something like that is a... just a... run of the mill, I mean you see it all the time. So for that period of time, those were the ideas that we were going after. It was sort of a... Today it seems that because of television and the exposure of things immediately the movies do a different thing. But we all know that things go through fazes."Hollywood Online (you can hear this interview on Windows Media or Real Audio here.)

 

ITALIAN HERITAGE

"I have many Italian friends, I love Italian food, my girlfriend is half Italian, my daughter is Italian, and in order to feel good I have to go to Italy once in a while. All this despite the fact that I was raised in the Bronx, with only a few Italians around." Insieme Magazine

 

 

GRANDFATHER

"My grandfather, who raised me, and was the most, and um my Grandad died before anything happened to me, any kind of success or whatever happened to me in my career, so I felt a kind of a warmth toward that character."  

 

MISTAKES

"I wanted to watch a few innings, catch the afternoon sun and see those great ballplayers. I thought, if I have to leave early, it's like leaving in the middle of a play. So I put a beard on. Of course, they got it all on television. That beard is now in the Museum Of Mistakes."  (Scene Magazine, 1997, "Sympathy For the Devil", by Raj Bahadur)

 

NEW MILLINIUM

"I may just get the urge to go down to 42nd Street."

Much of the hoopla over 2000 has been "pre-empted by that computer warning thing," the millennium bug that could cause some computers to fail when the new year hits, Pacino said. But he said the notion of a new millennium holds some interest.

"It's exciting to think of," Pacino said. "I just hope we last."

 

NEW YORK

"I know every street in this city. I never thought about moving to Hollywood. Not for a single moment. I have always been a kind of a homeboy."  (GQ, September 1992, "Al Alone", by Maureen Dowd)

 

PHILOSOPHY

"My philosophy? Man is a little bit better than his reputation, and a little bit worse" Barbara Walters interview

"Who speaks of triumph? To endure is everything." Al's favorite quote - from an interview on the Today Show (he didn't know who said it)

 

REGRETS

"The only movie I wished I could have done was Lenny," referring to the blistering 1974 Bob Fosse film about comedian Lenny Bruce, starring Dustin Hoffman. "GQ" interview

He was "far too selective at the beginning of my film career. An actor acts, and I wasn't acting because I was waiting to be inspired by the material. As you get older, you realize your time is running out, so you take the best of what is offered to you and do everything in your power to make it work."  (Calgary Sun, October 11, 1997, Pacino Plays the Devil's Advocate, By Louis B. Hobson)

"No one ever asked me to play Hamlet. I don't think I'm right for the part, but it would have been nice to be asked." (Calgary Sun, October 11, 1997, Pacino Plays the Devil's Advocate, By Louis B. Hobson)

 

RICHARD BURTON

Al Pacino was like a starstruck schoolgirl when he met Richard Burton backstage during a 1980s Broadway revival of "Camelot. Pacino said his idol asked him for his number and suggested they have dinner.
    "I loved his voice, his presence. ... He was charming. I was so flustered, I gave him my autograph." (People Magazine, Pacino Awed by Richard Burton, Associated Press)

 

SEEING HIMSELF ONSCREEN

SEEING "GODFATHER" AGAIN: "I went to the ah... the 25th anniversary of Godfather One. And I hadn't seen that on ah... on a big screen EVER, really. Because when it opened... when it first opened I went in but I didn't stay. I was too nervious. So.. But I saw it for the first time on a big screen. I'd seen it on the small screen. And that was interesting to see... it. And everybody was there from the original. It was interesting... the reaction to it. Uh... so... your... your... your feeling is that uh... I guess it's like looking at an old photograph of yourself. You wonder... (laughs) just wonder. You just say well I mean... you know... you know you just say (laughs) I can't quite relate."Hollywood Online (you can hear this interview on Windows Media or Real Audio here.)

IS HE CRITICAL OF HIMSELF ONSCREEN? "Of course I may be... oh I think I may be overly critical. So I try to uh... I try to get an objective thing, and wonder about... uh... and... I try to look at... at uh... what I'm going to do next... really. I... I think either way you go with that... you know... if... I don't think you can really be accurate either way you go... if you're... if you're strongly against what you did or... or really positive about what you did, I don't think it's uh... I don't think there's any... real... use in that."Hollywood Online (you can hear this interview on Windows Media or Real Audio here.)

 

SHAKESPEARE

"What it did, and what I think Shakespeare does, in a way, is, it mirrored a lot of what I was... the emotions that were in us... human beings. And I think that part of what Shakespeare's appeal is, I think, and why he's lasted this long, is I think he runs the gamut with it. I think he gives you as much room as you have emotion, he gives you that room, and I think that's why we all relate to it. Because if we've loved, if we've hated, if we've felt... uhhh... deprived or betrayed or happy or joyful. He emcompasses that in his work."Fox Searchlight Directors

 

SHYNESS

"My first language was shy. It's only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness." (Calgary Sun, October 11, 1997, Pacino Plays the Devil's Advocate, By Louis B. Hobson)

 

STONE, OLIVER (DIRECTOR)

[He reminds me] of the painter Jackson Pollock, who once said that as soon as a painting began to make sense to him, he threw it away, because it meant that he'd lost touch with his unconscious. Although Oliver knows exactly what he's doing, he still reminds me of Pollock in the way that he will do things, like, 'I feel this' - boom! - 'I feel that' - boom! He was creating something spontaneous, almost supernatural or mythic." (Premiere Magazine, January 2000.)

 

TAKING CHANCES

"It's harder when you're famous. There's such a spotlight on you, you can't afford to fail. Part of why I make my own little films is to take chances and possibly fail in roles I might not ordinarily be cast for."  (Scene Magazine, 1997, "Sympathy For the Devil", by Raj Bahadur)

 

THEATER VS FILM ACTING

"[On stage] you're a tightrope walker, and you have the wire up 100 feet. You start going across, and if you get shaky, you have to either get to the other side or go back again and start over, which you certainly don't want to do. That's theater. Movies are like the same thing, only the wire is on the floor.
    In films, there are other chances to get a performance right. But anything can happen on the stage. You get used to that adrenaline thing the theater has. All kinds of chemicals start to work for you in your body. You can start to miss it. You want to get back to that kind of feeling, 100 feet up there."
    I never wanted to know where the camera was going to be. I didn't want anything to keep me from doing things the same way I did them on stage. That doesn't work.
    In the theater, you're employing the entire instrument, voice and body, in one continuous performance. In movies, it's a close-up for one line (of dialogue) and a medium shot for another, then the performance is patched together in the editing room.
    For some people, it's a tough period of adjustment. There is a temptation to get a little lazy or distracted."
   He recalled a stage role early in his career when an impromptu response to another actor left a fresh, effective impression.
    "Whatever it was that I did, it was spontaneous," Pacino said. "It worked, and I kind of fell in love with it. The next night, I tried it again, and it fell flat because it didn't come from the source. It was spontaneous before, but now it just seemed like another bit. I realized that I needed to put that particular acting choice to rest."
   Perhaps Pacino's audience that night didn't notice anything wrong. But he did and felt uneasy enough to learn a privately embarrassing lesson. Live theater encourages such acting traps and escapes, without the margin for error that filmmaking provides.
    "It's a real training ground, learning who you are in relation to the role, expanding yourself," Pacino said. "We have a tendency in the movies to work in naturalism, which is sort of the operative today. You play roles that people can recognize as themselves or the people down the street.
    But, what happens is that there can be a sameness in the work, doing the same kinds of roles in the same situation. You get pegged into a certain type of character.
    In theater, especially repertory, you're doing all kinds of roles that aren't mirrors of what goes on today. Grand plays with bold characters: Shakespeare, O'Neill. It widens your horizons, opens your imaginations.
    If there is a problem with film acting today, it's that too many young actors don't experience the stage first."
    (St. Petersburg Times, Film Greats Crave the Stage, By Steve Persall, Wednesday, September 15, 2000)

 

VITTORIO GASSMAN

AL INTERVIEW ABOUT THE DEATH GASSMAN, THE ACTOR IN THE ORIGINAL ITALIAN VERSION OF SCENT OF A WOMAN

    July 2nd 2000 - Vittorio Gassman, crowd in tears for the last acclamation.     (thanks Isabella for translating this article)

   Rome - American actor Al Pacino, Oscar winner in 1993 for Scent of a Woman, an american remake of "Profumo di donna" directed by Dino Risi, starring Vittorio Gassman, is deeply moved by the death of his colleague.
    "When such a great actor dies, a guiding light is missing in the international community. I am catholic and I have italian origins: my mother Rose loved italian movies and theater, and she teached me to follow them."
    The way we were both looking for Shakespeare, the always renewed pleasure for literature and for the words of the classics, but even for every movies' genre.
    Vittorio Gassman has been a great and endless source of inspiration for any actor. He's been loved and respected for more than 50 years of work in theater and cinema, 'til his end. I've been very touched and saddened when I've been told of his death. I've always been one of his fans, as many others all over the world. Of course we will miss him, even if someone says that theater actors are writing on the sand. His aura, his deep inspiration will be with us forever."
    No, Pacino has never met Gassman personally, and before shooting Scent of a Woman, he didn't see the italian version directed by Risi.
   
"After the end of the shooting I saw it, and studied it, and I thought that my Oscar was for him too, because Martin Brest directed this movie taking inspiration from many other Gassman's movies. When in Scent of a Woman I drive the Ferrari, it remainds me "Il sorpasso" (The overtaking) and the tango scene remainds me many other italian comedies. I saw many of his movies before shooting some of my charachters: the salesman in Glengarry Glenn Ross, or Lefty Ruggero in Donnie Brasco, for instance."
    What does the always busy and younger Al Pacino know about Gassman's career as a theater actor?
    "At the Actor's studio, as in many other experimental theater groups, Gassman has been and always will be an example to be followed: for the dedication he had in creating drama schools, and his own Workshop, for his amazing technique combined to a way of acting and playing meant as a kind of work in progress. I was 26 when I saw Gassman play a collection of italian theater at the Lincoln Center in NY. He made me fall in love with Luigi Pirandello and his "L'uomo dal fiore in bocca" (The man with a flower in his mouth). Later, while studying his work, I developed my ideas for Looking for Richard: the great Elizabethan theater, the art of dressing up, the mixing of stage and real life. Gassman did all this."
    Did you know that Vittorio played Richard III in 1968 directed by Luca Ronconi?
    "Of course, and we studied the sets by Mario Ceroli, the script they used, based upon the version by Rodolfo J. Wilcock. In many drama schools we worked with "Affabulazione" (it means "plot" or "interrelationship of the main events in a play, movie etc.") by Pasolini, that Gassman played many times, and we both did a continuous research about these masterpieces."
    You came from a different country and a different culture, what do you share with Vittorio Gassman?
  
"The hope that youth will reach their deep souls through the theater and the love for the words. I love to teach to young people just like Gassman did, and I strongly feel that life and theater are always meeting in a kind of playful puzzle, and it's important to show what's behind the screen or the stage, too. Gassman did many movies and plays mixing up his life and his work. I'm doing something like that, too."
    Al Pacino, as Gassman, sometimes has lost the peace with himself: is it so difficult being both a man and an actor?
   "Acting gives you some kind of exaltation, it deeply affects your soul, your thoughts, and maybe your body, too. Acting creates anguish and questions. You can't live with it, but you can't live without."

 

WINNING THE OSCAR

"To win the award was like winning a gold medal. It lasted for weeks. I never had that amazing feeling before. Success is sweeter now that it continues. As long as success doesn't become your goal, you have the best of both worlds." (Cable TV, "The Devil's Advocate" Star Talks about His Work and the Meaning of Privacy, by Roald Rynning)

 

 

QUOTES ABOUT AL

 

Russell Crowe (co-star in "Insider")  "Al's a flower child. He's so relaxed."

Colin Farrell (co-star in "The Recruit") "Al Pacino has shown me that you can still have ambition even after 40 years in the business."

John Goodman (co-star in "Sea of Love") who plays a gay divorce' in a yet-to-be-titled Fox sitcom, offered some ideas for names..... As for his dream on-screen love match? "AL PACINO".

Lawrence Grobel (writer who has interviewed Al several times and is a close friend.)
An anecdote from the Philippines' Reader's Digest article, October 1999, "Lesson's From the Dream Factory"
(thanks Gay Lacsinda for sending this)

    During a particularly difficult (attempted) interview with interview-hating Robert Mitchum, Grobel was finally reduced to stammering out "I'm just here doing my job."
    To which Mitchum replies, "That's what Eichmann said. He was just doing his job."
    "Mr. Mitchum, are you comparing doing a magazine interview with what Eichmann did to the Jews?"
    "It's the same thing" was his astonishing reply.
    I walked out on Mitchum, depressed and doubting my profession. Later that afternoon I met Al Pacino. "What's wrong?" he asked, reading my face.
    "That SOB," Pacino said after I told him. "You're an honest journalist; you don't take cheap shots. Don't let him get to you this way." Then he challenged me to a game of chess.
    "I don't want to beat you after what you just said," I joked, spirits lifted.
    "You can never beat me," he replied, with a look in his eyes that millions of moviegoers would recognize. "Set 'em up."
    My daughters have known Al all there lives as a family friend, not as a movie star. Madonna they knew. But they didn't believe Al was acting with her in the movie Dick Tracy. So he took them to the set and introduced them to the Material Girl.
    And so Madonna starts complaining about paparazzi, and Grobel's daughter goes, "A Maserati?"
    "No, a Maserati is a car," Madonna said laughing.
    "Oh, Pavarotti."

Marthe Keller (Al's girlfriend from the mid-1970s to the early '80s who is back in New York for a career comeback) "Al is a great friend now," she said. "We went through  that year of transition after we broke up. He's much better as a friend. He calls me all the time. He called today to wish me good luck."

Larry King (CNN talk show host, author) "Al Pacino has a different natural style of humor. He's one of America's finest dramatic actors, but offscreen he's a funny guy: New York funny. He has that New Yorker's reaction to things, the ability to shrug off so many of life's threats and dangers because they are surrounded by threats and dangers all the time right there in their own hometown.
     We were standing in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles with Walter Cronkite, Pele, and others, only a few hours after the terrible earthquake in January 1994. We were in town for a cable TV awards banquet the night before. So we were each telling about our own reaction when the quake hit. All of us were shaken-at least I was. But Pacino shrugged and said, "I'm from New York. I thought it was a bomb."  (excerpt from his book, How To Talk To Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere)

Dino De Laurentis (producer "Serpico") "Al has no age: he's bound to remain forever young, because of the strenght of his passion, he has the eye of an explorer. I saw him in Panic in Needle Park, a very hard drough story. I had no doubts choosing him to play Serpico, and he looked like the real Frank Serpico. He was, and he still is, a very shy man, with a strong sense of decency. Very perfectionist in his work. And he had to wait so many years to win his first Oscar as actor in a leading role in "Scent of a woman". He was deserving it since he did Serpico. He had an immediate fame, he became a sex symbol too. He's not sixty: he has one of the most penetrating glances of the movies, one of those looks that really see you through. I remember that the unexpected fame he had playing Serpico was a little upsetting to him. He was already fond in theatre, he was thinking about directing experimental theater-movies, I've heard he's editing Chinese Coffee now, a movie by an Ira Lewis play he directed too. He only plays the roles he believes in, he dropped Apocalypse now, Wall Street… My wish? Being the same Al Pacino he's always been."   "How I launched him in Serpico".   Tuesday, 25 April 2000, for Al's 60th birthday, Italian newspaper  (thanks Isabella)

John Leguizamo (co-starred in Carlito's WayMeeting [Al] was like the most exciting moment of my life. In Carlito's Way I play this guy who, appropriately enough, idolizes Pacino. My character's a gangster wannabe. (ET Weekly)

(Detour Magazine, July/August 1995) Oh, Pacino was awesome. He's very generous, you know, he told me to relax. I said, "OK, he wants me to relax, now why is that? Is he afraid I'm upstaging him?" Ha ha! All these thoughts burst into your mind. Am I too big? Have I done too much comedy, so I can't be real now? He just said, "Relax, have a good time." Of all the actors I've worked with, he's the most grounded, most attuned one of all -- really listening, really responding, just like jazz music, I've never felt that with anybody else. And I'd say Wesley [Snipes] was the second most like that.

Ta Leoni (co-star in People I Know)
"The work was very intimate and intense. If I had Al Pacino for my leading man for the rest of my life as an actor I'd die fulfilled."

Sidney Lumet (directed Pacino in "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Serpico") "It's hard for people to believe that actors can be shy, but Al is shy. In his acting, his instrument is himself, his emotional nakedness. So other than acting, he tries his damnedest not to bare himself."

"He is literally incapable of doing anything fake."

   "Everything stems from some incredible core inside of him that I wouldn't think of trying to get near, because it would be like getting somewhere near the center of the earth," Lumet says. "What comes out of his core is so uniquely his own. Its the only thing he can trust. It is quite clear that Al is a loner."
    Unlike actors who are trained to find the truth of the character in the moment and switch it off when the scene is over, Pacino stuck with the emotion twenty-four hours a day during Dog Day afternoon. "He was never really light in spirit. It's a very tough way to work. The cost has to be enormous, really nightmarish and horrendous."
(GQ, September 1992, "Al Alone", by Maureen Dowd)

Micheal Mann (directed him in "Insider" and "Heat") "As an actor, Al is devoid of any fear of embarrassment. He's completely courageous. I needed someone who'd infuse emotional energy into the film because it was going to be a movie stripped of action."

Garry Marshall (directed him in "Frankie and Johnny") "The best eyes in the world."

"In a way, he's extremely naive. It's strange to talk about vulnerability and innocence with a guy who's played the foremost killers on the American screen. But he's so pure and honest and artistic, it's a little like Don Quixote walking through Hollywood."  (GQ, September 1992, "Al Alone", by Maureen Dowd)

John C. McGinley (co-star in "Any Given Sunday") London Free Press - Friday, December 24, 1999 - Section C/Entertainment - page 1
    Al Pacino is not unapproachable.  Just shy. John C. McGinley, plays the sports announcer in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday, learned this little secret from John Cusack.
    "When Johnny and I were shooting The Jack Bull in Calgary, he told me just to go up and knock on Al's trailer door."
    "That's is the secret of talking to him.  If no one knocks on his door, he stays closeted up by himself.  It really worked.  I spent a lot of time talking to Al," says McGinley.

Thom Mount (Producer "Scarface") said he had to coax Al Pacino from his trailer when he got so caught up in his role as gangster Tony Montana in the 1983 movie "Scarface" that he became paranoid. Seattle P-I.com

Henry Rollins (co-star in "Heat")   (Movieline question) What's been your most memorable movie experience? "I did a fight scene with Al Pacino in the movie Heat. For two days straight he threw me through a window - the greatest experience of my life. But every time he threw me through the window, he would help me up. He is such a gracious and classy guy. He knows everyone's name - from crew guys to...everyone."

Oliver Stone (directed him in "Any Given Sunday", screenwriter of "Scarface") "Al is a sweet man. Hes got a sweet inner core. Hes very shy. His radar is amazing. Hes very smart. Uneducated, frankly. I dont think he had much schooling, but hes got a natural intelligence. One of the best of his generation.

"Al Pacino is a schmuck." (after Pacino pulled out of "Born on the Fourth of July". He has apparently kissed and made up with him since.)

Meryl Streep   (Movieline interview)

MOVIELINE: Why is it actors never seem satisfied doing what they're really good at?  Barbra Streisand excels in light comedies but prefers heavier drama; Al Pacino's strength is drama but he wants to do comedy...

MERRYL STREEP: "He's right. He's very, very funny. American Buffalo was the perfect thing for him, that blend. He should do that as a film, he was so great. I saw him and Duvall do that - it was one of the best things I've ever seen. Ever. He's funny even in his most serious roles. He's always putting a twist on something. Look at Dog Day Afternoon.  Fantastic. That's an actor's dream, to be able to find something where you get laughs and it's excruciatingly moving at the same time."

"Memoirs of a Pet Therapist"
    (thanks Michelle from NY for posting this on the APML)
    Al Pacino. What a guy!
    One day I received an odd call. The man said he wanted me to train for someone who was very famous but couldn't reveal his identity. He just wanted me to meet him in the city and from there he would drive me to another location. I would then meet this infamous character and train his dog. By this point in time I had
trained a number of dogs for alleged organized crime figures, so I'd learned that it was in my best interest to find out who I going to see before I saw him. Otherwise, I could wind up like Jimmy Hoffa.
    So I called this guy back and told him I didn't mind going, and I didn't mind working with him, but I had to know who I was going to see. Well, the guy met me in the city and it turned out he was part of Al Pacino's management team. We drove up to Westchester County where Al had this beautiful house overlooking the Hudson River. I remember pulling up the driveway along which was posted a sign that said "Careful Driving! Puppies at Play." Right off the bat I knew I was going to be dealing with a really super guy.
    Inside the house I met Al and his two dogs, Lucky and Susie. Fay accompanied me on this trip because she wanted to meet Al. (Do I need to explain why?) It said a lot to us that he chose mixed-breed dogs instead of designer dogs. We chatted and laughed and the one thing I remember about the conversation was that Al kept saying
    "Did yas eat? Did yas eat?"
    It was like being at home with my Jewish mother --- I guess Jewish mothers and Italian mothers travel in the same orbit.
    Although Al was somewhat shy with humans, Lucky and Susie helped him relax at home. We discussed his puppies and I gave him some advice in terms of what I would recommend for his dogs. We did a little leash work as well. At the time, Al was immersed in his role for the movie Scarface, and he was truly living as "Tony Montana." I would look at him and, from one moment to the next, it was like he was two different people. It was truly an astounding trnasformation.
    Anyway, we set up an appointment for the following week at his apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side. I walked into his apartment and sitting there with Al were Elliot Gould and David Mamet, all playing Atari baseball. I chuckled to myself at the sight of these megastars playing videos games.
    I started the training process with the two puppies. The dogs were doing well and the training was progressing. But I had a little problem with Al's efforts. I don't think he was really into practicing with his dogs. Sometimes people think you can just hire someone and they'll fix your dog. Well, you can hire someone to
fix the electricity, the water pipes, or the woodwork, but no one can fix your dog for you. A pet is a living, emotional thing, and it requires a personal commitment by the owner. In any case, I continued with the lessons, and I believe Al was happy.
    I moved on and have enjoyed Al's acting even more since.