Only In Hollywood

Al Pacino sings, talks about Viagra

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OSCAR winners Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin and Al Pacino in “Stand Up Guys”

LOS ANGELES—Al Pacino was reminiscing about his teenage days in the South Bronx, where he and his friends played tag and jumped from one tenement roof to the next one.

The actor said that sometimes he had nightmares about those days. “What was on our minds when we were doing it?” he asked aloud.

But Pacino rhapsodized about “a whole new world up there—it was uninhabited. It was virgin turf so we went up there.” Then, believe it or not, Pacino broke into an apropos song, “Up on the Roof”: “When this old world starts getting me down/And people are just too much for me to face/I climb way up to the top of the stairs/And all my cares just drift right into space.”

“I think James Taylor sang that,” Pacino said of the Gerry Goffin-Carole King composition (The Drifters recorded the original version). “I love that song. That’s what our thing was. We did it all there [on the roof].”

Pacino stars with Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin as over-the-hill con men in Fisher Stevens’ action-comedy, “Stand Up Guys.” In one scene, Pacino’s character, Val, out of prison after almost 30 years, shops for a suit. He poked fun at his own fashion sense (“rumpled” is how he is often described in articles): “Well, look how I dress. If it’s there, I’ll wear it.”

There’s a funny bit in which Pacino’s Val is determined to enjoy his freedom—but in the process, he overdoses on Viagra.

In a good mood during this interview in LA, Pacino, now 72, dished a quote about keeping fit: “It’s very difficult, like Oscar Wilde (actually Mark Twain) would say, ‘Every time I feel the urge to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.’ ”

The Oscar-winning actor also quoted a witty remark when asked about success and alcohol: “As [Laurence] Olivier used to say, ‘What is the best thing about acting?’ He’d say, the drink after the show.”

We don’t know how Pacino celebrates every night on Broadway, where he’s currently appearing in a revival of “Glengarry Glen Rose” at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

“With ‘Glengarry Glen Rose,’ I can say that I did the movie and I did the play,” he declared. But while he played Ricky Roma in the movie, he essays Shelley Levene, an aging real estate agent, in director Daniel Sullivan’s stage revival.

AL PACINO photo:RUBEN NEPALES

The following are excerpts from the interview:

Any comment on Viagra?

Well, I’m playing the guy who takes 1,000 Viagra pills. I don’t want to confess on that [taking Viagra] because if I did, it would just sound like I’m in denial. But the truth is, I don’t take it. I [still] have it. I’m probably missing something, I know that, but not yet.

That Viagra sequence was interesting because it seemed like such a clever thing for the writer (Noah Haidle) to put together. We’ve seen it before. We hear it all the time—the dangers of Viagra (laughs) which is, you can’t take too much of it. It’s a gift to an actor to have a scene like that to play. That’s fun to do. It’s like giving a really good, funny line in a movie.

On the screen, you are very good with a gun. Do you have guns at home?

No, I am the farthest from a gun that you’ll ever see. Every time I make another movie where I have to use a gun, I have to learn it all over again because I forget it instantly. It’s like tap dancing or something. I don’t know how to do that. You get somebody who teaches you a little bit and you find the rhythm. I have no interest in guns.

You’re constantly eating in the movie.

We know about eating in the movies. You’ve got to be very careful because you start eating on take one. Then you’re fat by take five. They can’t shoot you anymore. It’s a good way to get a week off.

Are you a big eater in real life?

No, I don’t eat that much anymore. I like pasta. That’s what I grew up on, but I don’t eat it much because it puts weight on you. As you go on, you try to stay slim because it’s the healthy thing to do. Too much food is not good. I eat well so if that means anything, I eat good stuff.

Are you funny at home?

Oh yeah, I hope I’m funny. I think I am. That’s why I’m still here (laughs).

AL PACINO and Jonathan Pryce in “Glengarry Glen Ross”

In the movie, Christopher Walken has a touching relationship with his granddaughter. How is your daughter who is around the same age?

My daughter (Julie Marie) is out and about. She makes films. She does her thing, which is good. I prefer that. Every once in a while, she will send me a script and ask for some feedback. When I can see her, I see her. I have younger children (twins Anton James and Olivia Rose), too.

Do you get to see the younger kids more?

When I’m here [in LA], I see them as much as I can, so I’m with them a lot. That’s why I’ve been out here a lot over these years because their mother (Beverly D’Angelo) lives out here.

Can you tell us about the moment when you decided to become an actor?

I wish I had a nice, fat, dramatic story to tell you about that. I do know when I saw “The Lost Weekend” with my mother in the movie house. When I saw “The Lost Weekend” with Ray Milland and he won the Oscar for it, I wasn’t concerned about that. I was just thrilled at the movie. I was really young, 4 or 5 years old. My mother took me. It was kind of a strange thing to bring a little kid to, no? But it had an effect. I went on playing scenes from it and continued to do that for a few years.

Do you have time for hobbies?

Every time I get the urge to get a hobby, I lie down until it passes. I was going to say, the world is my oyster; the world is my hobby. No, I have no hobbies.

Because you work all the time.

I work and work. Hey, how does that song go? (Sings “Lucky Lucky Lucky Me”) Lucky, lucky me! I’m a lucky son of a gun. I work eight hours and sleep eight hours. That leaves eight hours of fun. I don’t want to spoil the fun with a hobby.

What would happen if Sylvester Stallone called you and offered a role in “The Expendables 3”?

I’m totally available.

E-mail the columnist at rvnepales_

5585@yahoo.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/

nepalesruben.

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  • kyrarottie

    Glengarry Glen ROSS.

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