Why Kevin Bacon is the Best 6th Man in Film

Kevin Bacon gets personal with GQ editor-at-large Michael Hainey about the importance of his family and how he found his calling as a character actor.

Released on 8/20/2015

Credits

Starring: Kevin Bacon and Michael Hainey

Transcript

00:00
(upbeat jingle music)
00:11
So did JFK kind of save your career?
00:15
Yeah, JFK was a giant, I mean, if there was
00:18
ever moments in your career where you can stop
00:22
and say, well, yeah that actually was, there's
00:27
not that many where you go, really was a pivotal
00:31
like sort of, very important turning point.
00:35
All this stuff was happening, I mean I did,
00:40
Tremors, I did Quicksilver as a followup to Footloose.
00:43
If you ever want to see something truly awful,
00:46
you should google the bike dance
00:50
that I do in Quicksilver.
00:53
It's between me and a ballerina.
00:58
They were hoping to take
01:02
this kind of, what was supposed to be
01:04
this kind of like a gritty
01:05
kind of Scorsese type, you know,
01:10
drama, crime sort of drama and they were going
01:13
to put a little Footloose in it.
01:16
So, I was playing a bike messenger and they came to me
01:20
and they said, well there's this bike pas de deux.
01:23
(laughter)
01:24
I was like, are you fucking kidding me?
01:27
Anyway, it's hilarious.
01:28
It's kind of great, it's kind of great.
01:30
(laughs)
01:31
I had to go and get bike training.
01:33
Like a bike dance training.
01:35
(laughs)
01:36
Yeah.
01:37
And then there was, you know, well it was a great
01:41
movie which, but ended up not working, which
01:44
is John Houston, She's Having a Baby.
01:47
Some movie called, He Said, She Said.
01:48
I did a movie called, The Air Up There.
01:50
I mean I was just like, I'm trying to figure
01:54
out who I'm going to be as an actor and these
01:56
things are one after another not working
01:59
at the box office.
02:02
And I had an agent who said to me, who knew
02:07
what I'd done in New York, in the theater.
02:10
She used to be the theater agent, in New York
02:14
and she had seen a lot of the off Broadway stuff that
02:15
I had done.
02:16
And said, you know you have to go back to that.
02:19
You have to do some character kind of parts
02:25
and don't worry about putting your name above
02:28
the title.
02:29
We're not going to worry about how much
02:30
you're getting paid.
02:31
We're not going to worry about how big the part is.
02:34
How many lines you have.
02:35
We're going to look for some characters
02:37
that you can play.
02:39
And it was basically saying, you're a character actor.
02:43
Right?
02:44
And if you've been thought of up until that point
02:47
as a leading man, you're like, well fuck, shit,
02:51
now I'm a character actor.
02:53
How did that happen?
02:54
You know?
02:55
And that's like, that's a bit of an adjustment.
02:59
You know, the truth is that, I am a character actor.
03:03
Because if I'm a good character I can't act.
03:06
Like I'm not good at just doing my,
03:11
like me is not, I'm not interested in seeing me.
03:15
And I'm not interested in doing me.
03:17
It's all about who that other guy is.
03:21
That guy is who is other than me.
03:25
And so the first, to answer your question, the first,
03:27
the first meeting that she sent me on was with Oliver Stone
03:30
and JFK.
03:32
I love what you're saying, because it's from leading
03:34
man to character actor or, everyone's had that moment
03:38
where you are, at some point where you have to
03:42
say, am I going to be in number one or number two?
03:45
Right.
03:46
And it's an exercise in, where's your ego right now?
03:49
Definitely.
03:50
And are you in the starting lineup or are you
03:52
an on the bench player now?
03:55
And so, Definitely.
03:56
What did you learn in that moment?
03:58
Were you angry, hurt?
03:59
I was, I was initially
04:05
distraught and then I went, wow,
04:09
this is something that I do and do really well.
04:12
Was it liberating?
04:13
Like I'm, I'm a really good sixth man.
04:16
You know what I mean?
04:17
Like you made the, you know talking about the bench.
04:19
People are now saying, wow, you know, he,
04:22
he wasn't so good in the starting line, but holy shit,
04:26
who knew that he had those ball handling skills
04:30
or who knew that he could come in, you know,
04:34
in the last quarter and just hit three point after
04:37
three point, you know what I mean?
04:39
It's like that was the feeling that I got
04:42
when JFK came out.
04:43
It was an immediate like, I never felt anything
04:47
quite like it honestly, except for maybe when
04:50
Footloose came out.
04:51
This kind of like, like hot, like
04:55
warmth kind of coming from Hollywood and pretty soon
05:00
after that, a movie called Murder in the First came my way.
05:04
And Apollo 13,
05:09
and River Wild.
05:10
And it just was like, and I went, all right,
05:14
now I get it.
05:15
This is, this is what I can do, you know.
05:18
And, that's good, you know?
05:22
I'm, I'm cool with that.
05:25
I mean, I think one of the hardest things to do
05:28
as an actor and the thing that I always wanted to do
05:31
was to be able to play different kinds of guys.
05:35
When I look at Meryl Streep who I think I kind
05:38
of put on a pedestal which maybe it's a little
05:41
weird to have my greatest template for acting
05:45
be a woman but that's, you know, she's the person
05:48
that, that I look at, I would say probably the most
05:52
admiration because she's a transformative person.
05:56
I mean you've seen her in so many different sort of skin
06:01
and so many different roles and continues to go,
06:05
holy shit, I didn't know she could do that, too.
06:07
You know?
06:08
I always wanted to have a life where I could do one
06:12
thing and play one guy and then go play a different
06:16
kind of guy, you know?
06:17
And then after that play, a different kind of guy.
06:20
And that's a tough thing to accomplish in this
06:26
career because people want you to do the same thing
06:28
that you did, they want you to do the same thing
06:30
you did well, especially if the thing that you did
06:31
made money, right?
06:32
They want you to do, that's why they put bike dancing
06:35
in Quicksilver.
06:35
It was because they were like, it's the first
06:38
movie he's going to do after Footloose so we've
06:39
got to have him dance somehow.
06:41
He's a bike messenger, we'll put him on a bike
06:43
and he'll dance on that thing.
06:45
At this point in my career, the kinds of things
06:48
that people come to me for are very, very, I mean
06:52
really kind of across the board, just in terms
06:56
of, there's not enough of them and the money's not
07:00
good enough and the parts aren't big enough, and I
07:02
can complain about a whole bunch of stuff, but they're
07:05
really weird.
07:07
They're like really all kinds of parts.
07:10
From all kinds of walks of life.
07:13
And also, all sorts of genres, like you know
07:18
from horror to you know, romantic comedy to, you know,
07:23
comic books to whatever.
07:27
It's like I get a lot of different kinds of things
07:29
so for that, I'm really, really grateful for.
07:32
Why don't you do more comedy?
07:34
Yeah, I want to, I want to.
07:36
It's funny like, everyone, when I tell them
07:39
I'm talking to Kevin Bacon, he's like oh, sociopath.
07:42
Yeah.
07:43
And it's sort of like you get, you've got a lock
07:44
on that market.
07:47
(laughs)
07:47
No one's going to aim for that, you know.
07:49
I do.
07:50
It's true.
07:51
But, I mean, you know whether it's, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
07:54
Or Will & Grace or whether it's like,
07:55
I mean, even Diner, I mean like, why me, do you
07:59
think you could and should and wanna go back
08:01
to doing them?
08:02
Yes, without a doubt.
08:04
For a couple of reasons.
08:06
One is that, exactly what you're talking about
08:09
and what I was talking about.
08:11
I don't wanna get just sociopath.
08:13
I don't wanna, you know, the second you do something
08:15
you don't wanna have to keep doing it again
08:18
and again because then you're just like that guy, right?
08:22
And you know, it's fun and it's challenging and frankly
08:26
I think I'm pretty good at it,
08:29
when given the opportunity so, I don't,
08:34
yeah, I would love to.
08:37
You know, with that being said, things come to me
08:41
where there's a challenge that is emotional
08:45
and physical or a combination of both of them.
08:50
And there's a part of my work that I like
08:53
to be challenged and sometimes, the comedic things
08:57
are, I don't know, they just don't have quite as
09:01
much edge, I don't know, you know, so I've got to find
09:03
something that combines those two things.
09:04
Is there a role, I don't know if the phrase
09:07
is all things being equal but is there a role
09:10
that Meryl Streep played that you think, I wish
09:13
I could play that role?
09:15
Oh yeah.
09:16
Let's see.
09:17
Dingo stole my baby.
09:18
(laughs)
09:24
Um, wha, yeah, I don't know.
09:26
(laughs)
09:26
That's a funny question.
09:29
I'll probably be thinking about that, you know,
09:31
and I'll be like, oh, but you know right when
09:34
I'm falling asleep , I'll go, oh, Sophie's Choice.
09:36
(laughs)
09:37
No, I don't know.
09:38
That's a tough one.
09:39
All right.
09:40
I want us to sort of stay on that sort of acting stuff
09:43
and in the acting world, you know, no is the coin
09:46
of the realm, you hear no all the time,
09:48
you're not good enough, you're too old, you're too young.
09:50
Yeah.
09:51
How do you stay sharp and how do you not basically,
09:55
just put your head in an oven every day?
09:57
Yes, so, here's...
09:58
(laughs)
10:00
There's a lot of those, man.
10:02
I'm telling ya, it's the, you know, look I've
10:05
got a daughter that's an actress now.
10:07
And if you want to talk about no's.
10:09
My son's a musician.
10:10
So I have to see and experience them starting to,
10:14
you know, hit that thing.
10:19
And it's tough.
10:20
It's something that you definitely wanna protect
10:21
your kids because you know how hard it is for you.
10:25
And acting in this career,
10:31
there's so much great stuff that has come.
10:35
I mean, piles and piles an piles of joy
10:39
from having been able to make a career
10:44
out of something that I love doing.
10:48
But it also is an ass kicker because,
10:54
yeah, when you get out there
10:56
and you are rejected,
11:00
they're not rejecting your painting, they're not
11:03
rejecting what you composed, or your article,
11:07
or you know, the building that you built, they're
11:11
rejecting you.
11:12
They're saying, no, I don't like him.
11:16
He's not fuckable.
11:18
(laughs)
11:20
Right?
11:21
So to get past that is, is a challenge.
11:27
The thing that I've always tried to do is keep
11:31
sort of two realms of desire
11:35
and focus, career wise.
11:39
One is, the dreams, like the giant private,
11:43
don't share with anybody.
11:45
Like Roseanne Barr kind of dreams?
11:47
Yes, exactly.
11:48
To be carried out like Roseanne Barr
11:51
at Elizabeth Taylor's birthday party.
11:54
To see your name in lights, to have a yacht
11:59
and a plane and a super model and an Oscar
12:02
or three or four, to practice your Oscar speech.
12:06
All this like stuff that you just keep in this private
12:10
dream life.
12:11
Then the other realm is the day to day put one foot
12:15
in front of the other and try to wake up in the morning
12:19
and go to work.
12:21
Go to work, make a living,
12:25
try to be employed
12:28
in the thing that you have chosen and if you're
12:32
not going to make money at it then do something
12:37
that will get you towards this dream.
12:40
Something that will put you on that path.
12:43
Every day do something that is towards that.
12:48
If you're an actor, it's hard because you can't
12:50
act, you know, if you're a guitar player, you know
12:53
and you want to be Hendrix, you sit in your room
12:56
and you shred and you shred and you shred, hour
12:57
after hour after hour, it's very hard as an actor
13:00
to be able to like do that because like, where do you act?
13:05
So, you go to a class,
13:10
you watch a documentary
13:11
because that's where you see real people.
13:14
You, you go to a coffee shop and you order a coffee
13:19
but you're pretending to be a Russian Immigrant
13:23
and you hope you get away with it.
13:25
You still do that?
13:26
I can't get away with that anymore.
13:27
No.
13:28
I'd like to but I can't.
13:31
You know whatever that is, you're working on your voice.
13:35
You're working on your body.
13:38
You're working on your, you know, all those things
13:41
so like I used to go, okay, I know this is up here
13:46
but what I really want here in 1976 is a job
13:50
at a restaurant so I can pay my rent.
13:51
Then what I really want is to try to get into a showcase
13:55
so that I could possibly get an agent to look
13:57
at something I'm going to do.
13:58
Oh, I got that.
13:59
What I really want is to get extra work
14:03
on One Life to Live.
14:05
Okay, I'm now an extra on One Life to Live.
14:07
You know, they're all like tiny little baby steps.
14:11
You mentioned Oscars a minute ago.
14:13
Mm-Hmm.
14:14
And this is--
14:15
I shouldn't have mentioned that.
14:17
(laughs)
14:18
I got my opening.
14:19
But it's something you've talked about and I'm
14:21
fascinated by it because, you know, it just,
14:22
you know, when we talked backstage it's like,
14:25
there's life in Hollywood and yet all of us work
14:29
in businesses where there's, there are awards
14:32
given out and there are, you know, you, you won
14:35
a trophy Son and you didn't.
14:38
And you once described award season as the bitter season.
14:42
(laughs)
14:46
then you have things like, all of these things
14:48
have to sort of like go through those periods
14:50
of like, well, he got nominated for that
14:53
best architect prize, I didn't or you pick up the paper
14:56
and so, when you talk about these two things,
15:03
what would you say to someone, actor or not an actor,
15:05
and how one perseveres and how one stays focused?
15:11
Yeah, I mean that's when I would say, just,
15:15
keep the dreams, they're nice if they happen, you know?
15:20
And they're big and they're fun.
15:22
If they don't, appreciate the things that you do
15:26
have done, you know?
15:27
The things that you have gotten, the things
15:31
that you have accomplished.
15:32
And also, the other really, really, really important
15:36
thing about anything is to find something outside
15:39
of whatever your career happens to be,
15:43
that gives you pleasure and peace and excitement
15:48
and joy, you know, because I mean,
15:53
I've been at this a long time
15:55
and I've seen a lot of people who I think
15:58
maybe, although maybe I didn't know them that well,
16:02
like everything that they had was wrapped up
16:06
in acting and movies and Hollywood and this whole thing.
16:11
Their entire identity.
16:12
Your entire identity.
16:14
And then when that doesn't work out, it's a very, very
16:17
lonely place to go home to.
16:19
You know, when you first get onto a movie set,
16:22
it's such a seductive, amazing place and you have
16:25
this idea that, this guy is your best friend.
16:31
You know, you've known the guy for, you know,
16:33
like 20 minutes, you know, but all of a sudden
16:35
we're forced to be in this very, very super like
16:39
emotional and connected kind of place.
16:42
And this crew is your family and this co-star
16:46
is your lover and the person that's playing
16:49
your Uncle is the greatest father figure you ever had.
16:54
And you kind of create these sort of like, I don't know,
16:59
personal relationships but they don't really,
17:01
necessarily hold that much weight in the long run.
17:04
Because somebody says wrap and you go home
17:07
and two weeks later, nobody's calling you.
17:09
You're not calling anybody, you know?
17:11
It's really important, I think, and I've never had
17:15
another career so, I can't really, you know, say this
17:19
for sure but I think that whatever career you have,
17:24
it's so important to find whatever it is outside
17:29
of that career to give yourself peace and love and joy
17:33
and, you know, serenity.
17:38
And, you know, what that thing is, it could be
17:42
a million things, you know, it could be yoga,
17:46
it could be, you know, porn but I mean, it's--
17:49
[Michael] Could be yoga porn.
17:51
Could be yoga porn.
17:53
Is there such a thing?
17:54
[Michael] We'll check later.
17:56
Okay.
17:56
I think it's like the moment I want to sort
17:59
of freeze you right there because I mean,
18:00
I remember last year, I had a conversation
18:03
with Jimmy Iovine and he said, you know this guy
18:04
he just sold his company for a billion dollars
18:06
to Apple and he said, you know, David Geffen
18:10
of all people had told him years ago, and he said
18:13
I was too dumb to get it, he said Kevin always
18:16
told me, don't ever mistake your job for your identity.
18:21
Mm-Hmm, yeah.
18:22
And your career for what you know and put your self
18:26
worth in the hands of what happens here.
18:29
Mm-Hmm.
18:29
And I think it's what you're saying there.
18:30
Definitely.
18:31
You know, is--
18:32
Definitely because you're never going to stay
18:35
like the belle of the ball or whatever that may be,
18:39
forever, especially in something as volatile
18:43
as the entertainment industry.
18:44
But, you know, I'm sure it applies to real estate
18:46
or you know, whatever, architecture, whatever,
18:49
you're never going to stay there forever.
18:52
And it's, sooner or later, something is going
18:56
to, you know, dip and crash and burn and if all
19:00
of your self worth and all your identity is wrapped
19:04
up in whatever that is, I mean, you know,
19:08
L.A., one of the reasons for many, many years I
19:12
really couldn't bring myself to live in L.A.
19:15
Is that, I just felt like my self worth was always
19:21
so visible.
19:22
It just seemed like there was more posters, more billboards,
19:24
there was more, you know, just kind of like,
19:28
this is who you are today and then on Tuesday, you know,
19:33
you're not.
19:35
And I needed to get some kind of separation from it,
19:38
because I felt like I needed to, because I knew
19:41
instinctually that I needed to find something else
19:45
to give me happiness and peace and stuff like that.
19:46
I mean, I don't feel that way about L.A. anymore but--
19:49
Is it true that you once had a prosthetic mask
19:54
designed so you could walk around L.A. and not be
19:57
recognized.
19:58
I did.
19:59
I did, yeah.
20:00
[Michael] How did that go?
20:02
(laughs)
20:04
It's depressing to be us, isn't it?
20:06
Yeah.
20:07
I didn't like it.
20:09
I didn't like it.
20:11
I, had built by a very good prosthetic makeup artist
20:15
and it was a simple prosthetic but I was,
20:19
I think pretty much, I know I was unrecognizable
20:22
and the reason I know is that I went into The Grove,
20:26
which is a famous kind of outdoor mall in L.A.
20:31
And I walked around and nobody smiled at me.
20:37
Nobody said, I love you.
20:40
(laughs)
20:42
Nobody parted way to let me in.
20:46
Nobody gave me any free shit.
20:47
(laughs)
20:50
And all of a sudden I realized that after so many
20:54
years, you know, it really is mostly good, you know?
21:00
It's, you know, there are times when I go, fuck,
21:04
I mean, I just don't want to take another selfie
21:09
with somebody, but mostly, mostly it's good.
21:15
Who inspires you?
21:17
Hmm, well my wife inspires me daily.
21:22
With her passion and energy
21:26
and volatile nature of her personality
21:31
because I tend to maybe be a little
21:35
more, I don't know, careful.
21:38
And she's got a certain kind of abandon that I love.
21:44
I am certainly inspired by my kids.
21:50
Just because, I feel like as good as it is
21:55
to have famous parents, I think there's a lot
21:59
of challenges that go unrecorded,
22:04
you know, amongst
22:06
children of famous parents and I think that they
22:09
both have done an exceptional job figuring out
22:14
their path, you know, in light of the fact
22:17
that they had this kid of bizarre upbringing.
22:21
The one thing that I might have adjusted was
22:24
to have the ability to take advice or to look
22:32
for people and listen to their words or you know, discuss
22:38
things with them and you know, because I never
22:41
did that at all from my father on.
22:45
My mother, I would absorb things but I never ever
22:50
sat down with anybody and said, can you tell me,
22:53
even agents, managers, I didn't wanna hear what they
22:56
were going to say.
22:57
Because you thought you knew it all?
22:59
I thought I knew it all.
23:00
I thought I knew it all from the time I was
23:01
probably five.
23:04
That's when I was,
23:05
(audience laughs)
23:06
that's when I saw a little bit of Fenwick in you.
23:08
That's, that was,
23:09
Uh huh.
23:10
That's sort of like, guy who knows it.
23:12
Tell me more, when do you think you finally,
23:14
that clicked for you like?
23:16
Uh, last week maybe.
23:17
(laughs)
23:18
I don't know, man.
23:20
I mean, I don't know, I, I'm trying now.
23:24
I'm trying now in my life to say to the people
23:28
that I love and respect or just know,
23:34
maybe like in the industry or whatever or agents
23:37
or managers saying, well, there's a really good
23:41
thing to do every once in awhile which is,
23:44
if you're in the middle of a conversation is say,
23:47
so what do you think, you know?
23:49
That's not something that, that's not something
23:51
that comes easily to me.
23:53
Why not?
23:54
Because I think I know it all.
23:57
Because I think I know it all in terms of
23:59
what is right for me, you know?
24:04
So, have you gotten any good advice lately, any
24:06
good insight that you think, huh, wish I had known that?
24:09
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I'll give you an example.
24:12
I was talking to a person who's in my life and we
24:16
were talking.
24:17
I do this television series for three years
24:19
and it was like, you know, important kind of part
24:23
of my life.
24:25
It was the most time I ever spent doing any job
24:28
and then it ended.
24:29
And we were talking about kind of what to do next
24:33
and he said, you know, you did a lot of brooding.
24:38
Maybe you shouldn't brood like, you know,
24:40
maybe the next thing you shouldn't be brooding so much.
24:42
And I was like, Jesus Christ, I rip my fucking
24:44
heart out, you know, sacrifice mind and body and soul
24:49
and it's all minimized to, you were just brooding
24:52
for three years.
24:53
And I went, you know, he's absolutely fucking right.
24:56
I mean, like--
24:57
More comedy.
24:58
Yeah, more comedy, exactly.
24:59
There you go.
25:00
Do you guys know each other?
25:01
(laughs)
25:02
No, but seriously, that's exactly, that type
25:05
of thing, like a couple of years, man, I don't know
25:08
how many years ago, I would've gone, what,
25:09
don't talk to me like, you know what I mean?
25:10
You have a hard time asking for help?
25:12
I do, yeah, I do.
25:13
Why?
25:14
It's a male problem.
25:16
It is, I think sometimes it is a male problem.
25:18
I think I have it.
25:20
I think I can figure it out.
25:21
I wanna, I wanna figure it out.
25:25
I've always been the guy that figures it out.
25:29
Figures it out in my life, figures out in my family.
25:32
Figures it out in my,
25:34
kids, my family, my brothers and sisters.
25:40
Yeah, no, that's what I do.
25:42
I don't ask for help.
25:43
I just want to touch on the Madoff question here
25:47
because I'm, and the only question I ask about that
25:50
is, what's fascinating to me, absorbing that
25:53
from a distance is,
25:58
in any couple, you know, always
26:02
the most charged conversations are about money, right?
26:07
And here, you guys had something horrible
26:11
that you experienced and god bless you,
26:16
you navigated it and you know,
26:20
and just from an outsider, It
26:22
seems to test onto the foundation that you had built
26:27
for yourselves but it's, what do you say to people
26:32
when it's like--
26:34
Yeah, money's tough.
26:34
Money troubles.
26:35
Yeah, money troubles s tough, man, for sure.
26:37
And I think that, I don't know, there's all kinds
26:39
of like, statistics about fights and relationships
26:42
and stuff that a lot of times it comes down to money
26:44
and--
26:45
But how did you and Kyra navigate that?
26:47
Yeah, I mean I think that we, well look,
26:51
we've been through a situation already because
26:55
we've been married for a really long time
26:57
and in our relationship, I made all the money
27:01
and then she got on The Closer and I wasn't
27:05
making jack shit.
27:07
And for seven years she made all the money.
27:10
So we already had this kind of like, there was a certain
27:15
sort of balance about that whole issue, even if,
27:18
I think we were pretty cool about it from the beginning
27:23
but even if we weren't, like that really made a great
27:28
balance.
27:30
And I think that when the Madoff thing happened
27:35
we sort of, both of us,
27:41
we like stuff and certainly
27:46
we, you know, we didn't
27:50
want to sell our apartment
27:53
and we didn't want to sell, you know, whatever
27:57
but we knew we could, you know, we'd be all right.
28:01
We knew we were gonna have each other and that
28:05
our kids were okay.
28:07
They were, you know, through school and you know, almost.
28:12
We both felt like we would work and there were so
28:15
many people that got, you know, hit so much harder
28:19
than us and, yeah, I mean, I don't think there
28:23
was a moment where like, that thing happened
28:27
and then we got pissed at each other.
28:29
It just, that's just, it was sort of the opposite.
28:33
We kind of went, holy shit, you know, let's,
28:37
you know, let's...
28:38
(laughs)
28:40
I don't know, let's have sex or something.
28:44
(laughs)
28:45
I don't know.
28:47
It's free.
28:48
(laughs)
28:49
It's free.
28:50
(laughter)
28:51
Okay, so there's the quote.
28:56
There's that, yeah there you go.
29:00
No charge.
29:01
What's been the biggest surprise of your life?
29:04
Hmm.
29:06
Biggest surprise of my life.
29:12
I think it's ahead of me.
29:14
I don't know.
29:16
I mean,
29:21
I tell you one thing that's sort of, this sounds really
29:24
silly but one thing that kind of surprised me
29:26
was, we had a child and,
29:31
I knew if you asked me
29:34
intellectually, I knew that when you have the second
29:38
child, it's not the same one that comes out again,
29:42
because it's like a different shuffling of the DNA
29:44
and stuff like that, but in my mind I sort of didn't
29:48
even consider that the first child would be vastly
29:52
different than the second child and that was a strange
29:57
surprise to me, believe it or not.
30:00
And a great surprise and one that, that continues
30:04
to surprise me.
30:06
I have a son and a daughter, they could not be,
30:12
they're just so different, you know.
30:14
And but yet, it shouldn't have been a surprise
30:16
when I look at my brothers and sisters, I mean
30:18
there's six of us, wow, are we different, you know.
30:21
My brother and I play in a band together and when
30:25
you line up almost everything in life, we will
30:29
take opposite sides.
30:33
Right down to if we walk into a restaurant,
30:36
I know exactly what he's going to order because
30:39
it's the last thing I would ever order on a menu.
30:43
I mean, including like, the drink selection, everything.
30:47
Like, there's just stuff, sports, politics,
30:51
everything, it's like amazing to me.
30:54
And yet, we have a bond you know, that's
31:00
familial and strong
31:05
and it's the same thing
31:07
with my two kids so, I should have realized that
31:09
but that surprised me.
31:10
Is there any, your father's, he's passed right?
31:14
Mm hmm.
31:14
Is there any advice that, I mean, you absorbed
31:17
from him that you give onto your kids now or do
31:19
you find yourself longing that you could ask your father?
31:24
Um, well, my dad, you know,
31:30
again, I didn't really want advice from him
31:34
and shocker, my son didn't
31:36
really want advice from me, you know?
31:38
(laughs)
31:41
And I thought that that was going to shift because
31:46
there was a part of me that wanted to have a relationship
31:50
with my father that was going to be more, you know,
31:54
let me teach ya how to do this, son, let me teach, you know,
31:59
but who he was and who I wanted to be were like
32:03
very, very different things and,
32:06
and then I thought that was going to change once
32:10
I had my son and it really didn't.
32:12
But, it eventually, if you hang in there you start
32:17
to see the qualities that you tried to express
32:22
or the things that you tried, the examples that you tried
32:26
to lead start to trickle down, you know,
32:29
to the people that, that you love and that's
32:32
an inexplicable joy.
32:36
Did your father, sometimes with all this.
32:38
Meaning you know, what your parents do
32:41
and what the career you end up in.
32:44
Mm hmm, right.
32:45
You often feel like they just don't understand
32:46
what you've achieved.
32:48
My father was a, he was kind of,
32:53
and I don't use this word lightly, he was kind of a genius
32:58
but like really super eccentric.
33:00
And a giant, giant egomaniac.
33:04
And as he got older, more and more
33:09
kind of brilliantly cantankerous
33:12
and in a way became sort of angry
33:17
that the world hadn't understood
33:22
how things that he had to offer.
33:26
He was also very, very into
33:31
like his own legacy,
33:33
his own press and all that kind of stuff
33:35
so I got a really strong taste of fame from my father
33:41
which was really, really interesting and definitely
33:45
inspired me, compelled me to try to be, as I said,
33:49
more famous than him and also horrified me
33:53
about certain things.
33:54
I'll give you an example, my father was like a crazy
33:57
like clipper, saved everything that was ever written
33:59
about him, ever.
34:00
And I'm the opposite, I have nothing.
34:03
I don't archive anything about anything
34:05
that anybody's every said about me.
34:07
I just don't wanna, I don't read reviews,
34:09
I don't keep anything.
34:10
My father had reams and reams of stuff.
34:13
(laughs)
34:13
You know that was written about him.
34:15
[Michael] Right.
34:15
I guess as sort of a reaction to that.
34:17
But, all that being said,
34:22
he was hugely influential
34:26
on me, you know, really gave me a great love
34:30
for architecture, history, design.
34:37
And also nature, even though we were urban kids,
34:41
we just adored like, nature and there's a lot of things
34:44
about me that all of a sudden I see, this is what happens,
34:47
you know, you grow up and then you see yourself becoming
34:49
your father, you know just when you were least likely to
34:51
and least hope to, you know?
34:53
A lot of the stuff that I see about myself,
34:57
I mean, I'm reading in the paper about,
34:59
you know landmarks for instance in Manhattan
35:03
that they're tearing down and you know getting
35:06
rid of the Rizzoli building and this and that
35:08
and I'm like, Goddammit, and I'll be like, holy shit,
35:11
that was just my father.
35:13
He just popped out somehow.
35:15
Whoa!
35:16
[Michael] That's great.
35:17
You've been entirely generous.
35:19
I want to thank you for your time.
35:19
Thank you so much.
35:20
It's been awesome.
35:21
(applause)
35:23
(upbeat music)