Wiseguys Walken and Pacino on how it might end

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Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin

"Stand-up Guys" actors Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin in Chicago in October. (Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune / October 10, 2012)

Walken said, "Movies are expensive things to make, and when you do something that people like, or don't like, it tends to stick. I made a couple of movies early on where I was, you know, twisted, and that stuck."

Pacino said: "That is so true, but I have never heard it put so succinctly and clearly. You don't even know it's happening. The material might be different but you find yourself playing similar roles. I have been doing things on HBO because of this. It's like a playground for me. Still, what you're saying, it's not like being typecast. It's more like — I call it the wheelhouse. Is this in my wheelhouse? You think of Bogart, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson — who was the best ever and thought of as a gangster, but quite the opposite of that."

Walken said: "A very cultured person. Robert Mitchum too. Very well-read. You know, I did once try to sink California into the sea with hydrogen bombs (in the James Bond movie 'A View to a Kill'). Those are the parts I get."

"But had you been James Bond, you would be getting those roles."

"I auditioned for 'Star Wars.'"

"And I was offered 'Star Wars'! Because I had made successful films, so they offered me 'Star Wars.' I gave Harrison Ford his career! (Pacino laughs loudly.) Let me go on the record as saying that!"

"I auditioned with Jodie Foster for it! She and I read. She was Princess Leia and very young."

"I was offered Han Solo. I read it, and I'm like, 'What the (expletive) am I supposed to do with this?'"

You guys ever feel taken for granted, I asked.

"Well," Walken said, "I've been stinky."

"No," Pacino said.

"Yes, Al. Yes. I get lucky. Any given day, there are scenes I'm good or bad in."

"That's so comforting. We all feel like that, don't we? That sentiment, it's spot on," Pacino said. "I would prefer to stop making (movies). I don't know. Daniel Day-Lewis, a great actor, but I wish I could be as discriminating as he has been. Which has allowed him to work in a certain way. And he chooses well, and sometimes — and correct me if I'm wrong — actors get caught up in staying active because you never know when it will end."


"Paul Newman said, 'If I wanted to just make the movies I liked, I would work every five years.' And if your lifestyle allows you to do that, why not? But I like the action. It gets you out of the house and out of town."

"(It's been said that) to do this job you have to be sensitive and have the hide of a rhinoceros," Walken said.

"And what if you're a bull in your own china shop?"

There was a loud boom from the street. They turned, then turned back.

"The great thing about being an actor," Walken said, "if they want you, you keep going. (John) Gielgud, he was being thrown this big birthday party at 96. He said he couldn't go. He was shooting a movie. I like that."

"To die onstage! Literally, not figuratively. What could be better than that?"

Seriously? I asked. He sounded serious.

"What?" Pacino said, "And die in bed alone?"

Walken interrupted. "Fish," he said.

"Yeah?" Stevens asked.

"Fish, tell me: Did you have sex last night?"

"Yes, Chris, and it was good."

"But after we ate that big meal and everything? That's disgusting, Fish."

Pacino's face contorted with laughter. The coffee in his tiny porcelain cup sloshed over the side. "Oh, man, Fish," he said, "Why didn't we put this in the movie? Let's go back and let's shoot this. It's not too late."


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