IT'S SAID THAT YOU DON'T LIKE TO TALK
ABOUT YOUR MOVIES TOO MUCH? IS THERE A PARTICULAR REASON FOR THAT?
Last weekend I took place at a press conference for the first time. And it's already my seventh or eighth movie. So far I've always hesitated to promote movies.
BECAUSE IT'S EASIER TO TALK ABOUT MUSIC?
No, I like to talk about the movies. So far I just didn't think it was necessary. It wasn't my construction site - I'd done my work. "U-571" was the first movie to which I let myself be interviewed. That was very interesting. The movie stars have journalists from all over the world flown in, then they work three days eight or nine hours really hard, and that's it. I on the other hand have to fly around the world myself, every day to a different place. That's the difference between the music- and movie business.
ARE THERE ANY MORE DIFFERENCES?
Actually a lot. The biggest one is: I speak the words somebody else has written.
YOU COULD WRITE YOUR OWN SCRIPT.
I could, sure. I could also learn to fly as soon as I grow wings. Write a script! (chuckles) Crazy!
YOU ALSO WRITE SONG LYRICS...
That's something totally different. In the music business I'm the director, the producer, the star and the marketing guy all in one. In the movie business I'm something like the bass player. I go there, play my part and go home. That's a big difference. That's good and bad at the same time. You'll want to control everything. You wish to have your own opinion be noticed - and still I'm intelligent enough to know that the director is doing a better job than I could.
IS THAT DIFFICULT FOR YOU?
To let go of control? No! I learned that really fast. With my, I think, sixth movie "No looking back" Ed Burns and I once talked about how we could change the character, how the scenes would work better. And I said: "Hey, Ed, I got this idea: Blablabla..." And then I said : "Oh my God, I'm babbling!" And he said: "I'll be right back." When he returned, he'd written something that hit the point precisely. With music on the other hand you can phantasize, describe the scene nonetheless, but graphically, metaphorically go beyond that. You can also do that in a good dialogue. I can't. I use pictures like the bible.
YOU ARE CATHOLIC, AREN'T YOU?
Well, yes, not really. Technically yes, practically no. The bible is something like the Greatest Hits. There's no word about a flop. The catholics for example never tell, what Jesus was doing between 13 and 30. Where was the guy? In the desert? What was he doing there, in Las Vegas? THAT'S what I want to know. I ask myself why this chapter was left out. Do you believe that Maria Magdalena was only there to do the dishes after dinner? I don't. She was like Shirley MacLaine with the Rat Pack - she was one of the guys!
YOU LIKE TO CITE FRANK SINATRA, JESUS OF THE RAT PACK. WHAT CONNECTS YOU TO HIM?
First of all the guy was from Jersey like me. Second he was extremely cool. He even helped the president to his office. He was all the way down and came back up, did over 60 movies and went on tour until he was 80. He's lived his life. He was very loyal, unbelievably talented and in a certain way modest. A great life. I also think very highly of Elvis. He was the first world wide rock 'n roll star. He made a couple of bad decisions - or had them made for him. It's a pity that this guy died already at the age of 42. He had enormous talent. He could sing and act. Unfortunately he only did that in shitty movies.
YOU SEEM TO CHOOSE YOUR ROLES VERY CAREFULLY.
I hope to learn from the experiences of those guys...
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT COLLEGUES, WHO GO THE OPPOSITE WAY OF YOURS? KEANU REEVES IS TRYING TO ESTABLISH HIMSELF AS A ROCKSTAR AFTER HIS SUCCESS WITH "MATRIX".
Yes, I even took him with me to Australia - during the band's last tour -, to give him the opportunity to perform in front of a big audience. Nobody wanted to give him a chance. Just like five years ago nobody wanted to give me a chance to play in big movies. So I did him a favor.
HAVE YOU NOTICED AN IMAGE CHANGE SINCE YOU'RE ATTRACTING A DIFFERENT AUDIENCE THAN THE TYPICAL ROCK FAN AS AN ACTOR?
I'm not aware about my image. That's what you guys from the press are responsible for. But lately I've met more than one guy who said: "You seem much taller on screen." (laughs) Fuck you! (laughs) That's right, I'm not very tall. But there's still Tom Cruise. Cruise is a total movie star. When he enters a room, you notice him right away. The French pop philosoph Michel Houellebecq has developed an interesting theory about rock stars: He calls them the pharaos of the modern times.
Because they're the master of the masses and control the masses. Because everybody wants to be like them. In addition to that I believe that movie stars have much more power than rock stars.
YOUR HAIRDO WAS AND STILL IS A BIG TOPIC...
There's no doubt about it. It was for a while. But I swear by God that I don't look so much after my appearance. I'm lucky to have good genes. People always keep asking me: "Oh God, what do you do for your skin?"
SO WHAT DO YOU DO FOR IT?
Fuck, what do I know? I shower once a day. That's it.
DO YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR FATHER OR YOUR MOTHER?
Both. I just simply have good genes. I don't look like 38. People tell me "Hey, in this movie you look like 18! What do you do for that?" Nothing! Cher also says she has good genes. She's got some good genes and some plastic everywhere. I don't have that. Tom Cruise also is a very good looking man. And like me 38. His parents have presented him with good genes.
YOU'VE GOT THE GENES OF A PLAYBOY-BUNNY AND AN ITALIAN HAIRDRESSER?
Correct. But my mom wasn't a playmate in today's sense, she worked in one of those restaurants. But that was such an innconent time: 1963 everything was still a whole different. Sinatra was a constant in this first Playboy-Club in New York.
SO THAT WAS STILL PRESTIGIOUS.
Yes, she was a playboy-bunny - and very proud about it. And I was even more.
ARE YOUR TWO KIDS PROUD OF YOU AS WELL?
My kids barely know what I'm doing. They think I'm an actor.
HOW WAS IT GROWING UP WITH PARENTS LIKE THAT? DO YOU AUTOMATICALLY BECOME A ROCKSTAR?
It just has to be. Where I come from, you could go work in a factory or go to the army. And that was it. A dead end. I saw the guys making 25,000 bucks a year and screwing little school girls. I thought "Isn't there anything better than this?" I wanted to get out of that town.
YOU'RE A HERO OF THE WORKING CLASS.
Certainly! I never went to college. My parents worked six days a week. They barely could afford the house we were living in. But they still had dreams. We were dreaming all the time. You should dream yourself. And when the opportunity arises, take it.