|Turkish newspaper - august 2000|
|Introduction and commentary by
Seyda who translated and typed the article:
Interview with Joaquin
There was an interview (made in Rome) with JP in a Turkish newspaper recently, which I want to share with everybody. I don’t claim that my translation will be the best possible, because I don’t have much time to devote to it at the moment (I’m in the middle of holiday preparations) , but before I let you go completely without it, I’ll give you a simple, unedited translation. Remember please that I don’t claim that these were the exact words of the people mentioned below, but that this is only an attempt to give you a rough idea about said article.
Well, a great deal of the article and the interview tells some basic facts about JP, his family and his acting career that need not be repeated here. To save time and space, I’ll only dwell on the “different” parts. First of all, though, I’d like to point out that the article is a praise of JP as Hollywood’s new favorite bad guy and starts with an introduction of the usual sort, telling that he’s the brother of River, giving info about his sisters, and stating that he last starred in “Gladiator” and has now done “The Yards”.
The interview starts with a question about his eyes – the reporter says that his beautiful eyes mesmerize women but that directors are rather reminded of evil and death by them. He answers: Do you think so? Then it must be true. For as long as I can remember, I have been hearing compliments about my eyes. My mom’s friends, my teachers at school, my classmates, they were all obsessed with my eyes. They were saying that they had the color of Liz Taylor’s eyes, something close to violet. Yet I think that the part to be interested in a man should be something else...(by the way, I can’t help wondering what his original words were...).
The next comment is that he comes from a family of artists and that all his siblings are famous. He replies that his mother was a secretary at NBC and that she sometimes took him to work, so that they wouldn’t fight at home. So, he says, he was offered his first role at the age of six and right after that his eyes were used in a TV commercial (he doesn’t say which commercial it was – does any of you know?). He goes on: When I was ten, I got my first leading role in “Space Camp”. After that came “Russkies”. With Ron Howard’s teen comedy “Parenthood” I entered almost every American household. Of course, the young girls first devoured my eyes. My acting ability was never considered.
Then there is a quote from Ridley Scott, who is said to have remarked about Joaquin that for the part of Commodus, he felt Joaquin deep in his bones – that it was an intuition and that for this prince of ugly darkness he couldn’t even have thought of anyone else. The following is JP’s reply: RS told me, when I was doing “Clay Pigeons” , that I have an interesting and expressive face which suggests hatred, evil, and treason, and that he could never think of anyone else than me for the role of Commodus. I replied: “Are you crazy? How could I possibly master this part?” RS suggested then that we should at least try to do a few scenes first. Then I asked Ridley why he wanted me for that part and he replied that he couldn’t think of a more neurotic, paranoid young emperor. So we shook hands.
The next question is about the character of Commodus, what kind of person he is. Joaquin says: Marcus Aurelius knows that he is evil. He kills his father and becomes emperor at the age of 19. Yet he is a psychopath. He is in love with his sister. He enjoys murdering people. In short, he is a very immoral boy. He comes to enjoy power at a very young age. His character is very unsteady, it changes constantly. For example, he wants the people to love him, but the gladiator fights which he organizes to reach this end turn out to be fatal for himself in that they cause Maximus, whom he believes dead, to come to Rome and seal his fate.
The reporter then asks to what extent it is acceptable, even if it is only required for a movie, to love and desire one’s own sister, to which Joaquin replies to remember the scene: I’m desparate. Me and Lucilla lie next to each other. Then I lose control and get on top of her and at that moment Connie Nielsen, who plays the part of Lucilla, shouts at the camera “I can’t do that, I can’t concentrate. I cannot forget that it is my brother that I’m supposed to be with. I can’t do something that’s so abnormal!”. All of us, especially Ridley Scott, cannot get rid of the feeling that we have committed a sin while doing that scene.
About his relationship with Russell Crowe he says: It was the opposite of the relationship in the script. Actually Russell isn’t very talkative. He memorizes his part incredibly well and is very meticulous. Even if Ridley was pleased with a particular scene, if Russell was not sure about it , he’d do the same scene again and again until he had found the perfection he was looking for. Apart from that, he’s a great person. He’s very confident and imperturbable.
Then he briefly talks about “The Yards” and “The Quills” in answer to the question about what he has done after “Gladiator” and he also mentions that he thinks Kate Winslet is an incredibly beautiful mother-to-be. The next comment of the interviewer is again about J’s eyes. He says that it is now generally known that Joaquin is very pleased about owning the most attractive eyes in Hollywood. Joaquin answers: They are my capital. I earn my bread with them. But strangely enough, they always become an eye-witness to bad characters.
Lastly, the journalist asks him if there is an actor/actress with whom he’d like to do a movie together, to which J. replies that there was, and that he has already done a movie with her. I enjoyed the happiness to do “Inventing the Abbots” with Liv Tyler.
So, that’s the end. There is also a photograph of him together with the interviewer, where he’s wearing a blue shirt and a black or dark blue jacket. It’s very sweet, unfortunately I can’t scan it and share it with you. Still I hope that you enjoyed the interview, which I personally believe to be a bit out of style in certain places with his other interviews I’ve read so far on this fanpage. Therefore I’ll be glad to hear your comments. Although I won’t be in Istanbul until the beginning of September and therefore won’t have access to my computer, I’ll try to check out “our” fanpage from time to time by going to an internet cafe...Take care, then, everybody!