Fear John (Malkovich) - The Feature Interview
Don’t mess with Malkovich – he’ll tell you why...
John Malkovich is about to get crazy in the latest DC Comics adaptation Red. The film legend spoke with us 1-on-1, and we ran into some surprises. For instance, for John Malkovich, sometimes happiness is a warm gun….
Nerdist News: Did you do any weapons training for Red?
John Malkovich: Yeah. It’s not the first few rounds I’ve squeezed off in my lifetime. But every gun is different, every armor is different. [The film’s weapons experts] I really liked, and spent a lot of time with them. They were super-knowledgeable, and super-safe, and fun, and have a great love of what they do, which is something I always find appealing.
NN: Did you have a favorite weapon?
JM: Yeah, a Swedish K.
NN: You’ve been on a roll with comic-related projects. Red, and Jonah Hex, then (almost) a Spider-Man movie, and Transformers 3 next. Are you a big comics fan, or is it just coincidence?
John Malkovich: No, I never was a comics fan, even when I was a kid, but it’s just, you know, that’s mostly what they’re making movies from these days: comic books and graphic novels. So there’s a lot of that around. And for the most part, I think they fit film-making well. With Red, I didn’t even know it was based on a comic book, because that’s just not my field. Except if it’s one of Daniel Clowes’, because we’ve produced a couple of his graphic novels.
NN: For Jonah Hex you got your own action figure. Is it weird to see yourself as a little plastic thing on a toy shelf?
JM: I’ve always thought of myself as an action figure. No – I’m not sure that those are going out the door like hotcakes, by the way. And I don’t even know – are they still selling those?
NN: They are. As one might expect, the Megan Fox figure sold the fastest.
JM: I would like to think so. Otherwise everything I thought about the world is wrong.
NN: Your character in Red has a unique perspective on the world, because they say he’s been fed a lot of LSD in the past. How method did you get in your research?
JM: [Laughs] I was never an LSD person, I’m not a drug person. Although pretty much most of my friends were in college in the early ‘70s. But I never was all that curious about it, really, and the last thing I need is to expand my consciousness. That could end badly.
NN: Did you go back and talk to your friends from college?
JM: No, because I had to listen to them for hours when they were doing drugs. It’s not an experience I care to repeat.
NN: Your character in the movie extremely paranoid. Are you paranoid about anything, or was it a stretch to get into that character?
JM: I’m not really paranoid about much, but communication travels so fast now, whether it be a story that’s true or false, or somewhere in between. I think there’s some degree of blurring between the public and private lives of people that’s pretty invasive and not very pleasant. But I’m not really paranoid about it. I’m just aware of it.
NN: In terms of the blurring of the public and private persona, you’re one of the few people who’s won an acting award for playing a version of yourself in a movie named after you [Being John Malkovich]. Did you find that made it worse for you afterwards, in terms of that?
JM: No, really not at all. Although I did think about that a good deal before I responded in the positive, because I’d always been left alone to have my little life and do my work. But in fact, no, that turned out not to make any difference whatsoever. I think the thing that changed everybody’s life was the Internet and camera phones, because you can’t go one minute of the day before you have to stop and let every person in the world have their photo op. And they all say the same thing: “I know you must hate this.” And you always say “Yeah.” And they say, “Well, sorry, I just have to.” So that did more than any work I ever did to change [my] life.
NN: Is there a difference in that between Europe and the US in terms of being approached?
JM: A little bit. I always used to think L.A. was the most laid back and easy place for actors, for known people to live, but certainly not any more.
NN: What’s your favorite moment in the movie?
JM: I haven’t seen it yet. So my favorite moment will very likely be not a moment that includes me, if my habits hold.
NN: Last question: Is there anything you can tell us about your character in Transformers 3?
JM: I am under a lot of secrecy, sorry. So I’m not supposed to talk about that. I sure like doing it, I can say that.