Heya Film Fans! Flick Chick here, hoping you guys liked my cover story and interview with the legendary Michael Douglas (TODAY newspaper 22nd Sept)
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
For those of you wanting more, here’s my interview with Gordon Gekko himself … unexpurgated. Enjoy!
WHEN Michael Douglas asked me if I was warm enough (the balmy spring weather had suddenly turned nasty) as he sat down for our interview at the Hotel Du Cap Eden-Roc, it never occurred to this silly journalist to enquire how he was feeling. Major fail, I know.
This was Gordon Gekko, for goodness sake. He’s the infallible movie star who braved the Black Rain, had the Basic Instinct to survive a Fatal Attraction (but not so much Kathleen Turner’s attempts to kill him in The War Of The Roses).
Mr Douglas, I do apologise.
At the Cannes Film Festival in May to promote Oliver Stone’s highly anticipated Wall Street : Money Never Sleeps, I’d simply assumed that his slender, somewhat frail, frame was due to the strain of having his 31-year-old son Cameron sentenced to five years in jail for drug offences. Not to mention that the two-time Oscar-winner (for producing Best Picture One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and a Best Actor win for Wall Street) is already 65 years old.
Unfortunately, it was a manifestation of something much bigger. Douglas shockingly revealed on his David Letterman appearance this month that he has Stage 4 throat cancer. It’s not good. But, as always, the tough guy who plays tough guys roles is being, well, tough.
Douglas has publicly said that he has at least an 80-per-cent chance of recovery, and told Letterman that “it does improve”.
And as he sprinkled his old-school movie-star dust all over our interview, joking and keeping strange reporters warm, you can’t help but root for the guy.
“You work as hard on your failures as you do on your success,” he said of his iconic characters. Big C or not, there is no keeping Michael Douglas down.
Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in a scene from the original 1987 Wall Street
So, Michael, are you happy to come back to Gordon Gekko?
Am I happy? Now I am…yeah! Hey, it was a great part. One of the best parts I’ve ever had. So why not? It was a fantastic part. I got an Oscar (laughs) ,Somebody asks you to play the role again, but now this time, rather than being at the top you’re at the bottom. So yeah, I am very happy to come back.
So did you re-watch the original before the shoot? Did Oliver (Stone) make you?
It is 22, 23 years later. I figured I didn’t have to worry about continuity or anything! (laughs) Nah, We just talked about it. And he said he wanted to deal with it in real time so I said ok!
What was it like returning to a role that must have meant an awful lot to you? Revisiting something like that must make one think…
Well I was really happy that we made the decision to do it the way we did. It’ll be a little depressing to try and do a Gordon Gecko 22 years later…. And all you had to look at was how old you’ve gotten ( laughs) I really felt that it was the only way to go- to book end it.
How do you feel about Gekko becoming a hero in the community with his “greed is good” motto?
I feel really weird. It’s one of those things I just can’t explain. Except that everybody likes a good villain. It’s a really well-written, beautiful part, and he had some famous great lines. So many have come up to me over the years to say, “Man, you are the single biggest reason I got into the business. I watched Wall Street, and I wanted to be Gordon Gekko.” I talk to these young MFA, MBA students who just worship Gordon, and I said to them, “Come on! The man broke the law – insider trading, destroyed companies…” And they said: “Yeah, yeah, yeah … but he looks really good.” (Laughs.)
Maybe it’s like those Mob movies where the gangsters are looked up to…
I think so. Must be. It’s really weird. Oliver and I just never got it with those guys. Except now, as we look at all the trouble they’ve gotten themselves in. 22 years ago, all those guys are probably the same guys who are running these companies now… you know? Nobody seems to have picked up anything.
Oliver stone has a reputation for being a tough director. How has he changed as a director then and now?
He’s confrontational, you know? Not to me personally, although at that time I took it personally. But he tests his actors. He pushes you. He’s more like a professional sports coach with professional athletes. He’s not there going “Oh I know how insecure acting is” and being a patriarch figure. 22 years… he hasn’t changed a whole lot. He still burns the candle at every which end. I don’t know how he does it. And just when you think he’s going to fall asleep in his chair, he hears you completely and he’s got really good direction for you. And as I sat there watching (at the film’s worldwide premiere in Cannes) in awe, I thought, “This is truly good filmmaking.” He’s a really good filmmaker.
And how have you changed since the first film?
I probably am more comfortable with myself and don’t try as hard. (Sniggers.)
Michael Douglas reprising his role as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
You don’t seem keen on sequels, save for Romancing The Stone, and now this. You weren’t in Basic Instinct 2 ...
You want to see my saggy ass? (laughs) You talk about good parts, and in the first one (Basic Instinct), that was a great part. I love Sharon and she was wonderful. But yeah, we did that and I didn’t feel the need to do it again. That was a tough one to do and we pulled it off. I don’t usually like sequels. They call this ( Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) a sequel,but I see it more as a book end.
Ok, so no sequels. So what are the other things you look out for in a movie role now?
It’s always been the same. A good script…a good movie. I like a good movie and I really don’t care about the parts. Never cared about the parts. Sometimes you get a good part, you know? Sometimes you don’t. But I am not really thinking about that now. I am sitting here, happily married. Got two young kids… plus it’s a great time to work on nuclear disarmament in terms on what’s going on out there.
Yes, you’ve been a longtime nuclear activist. Is it important to make films with an agenda, a “message”?
I’d like to if I can. But you can’t just make a “message”. As expensive as movies are, if I can get two hours of entertainment, and also a little food for thought, that’s great. Unless I am doing a documentary, I try to make entertaining movies. And if I can slip in a little message – groovy.
Well, there is a lot of message in Wall Street and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Oh yeah, there is a lot of message in a lot of pictures I’ve done. But hopefully, they entertained first or nobody would be quite interested in them…
Michael Douglas with Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Would you do action movies again?
I don’t mind.As long as I don’t have to run. The last one I did (2006′s The Sentinel), I was running, and Eva Longoria passed me! And she was in high heels! (Laughs.) I said to myself, “Holy sh**! I’m in trouble!”
Well, your much talked about next role as flashy gay entertainer Liberace ain’t no action movie (or maybe it is!). What attracted you to that role?
Haha. It’s going to be so much fun. He’s such a lovely guy, so colourful. And part of it is that Matt ( Damon) is in it and has agreed to play my young lover.
Matt as your lover? Now that must be the ultimate mind boggler!
Yes I know! God bless him! It’s fine for me, at this point in my career. Heck, I’ll try anything! But I said to Matt, “You’re a brave man. Here we go!” (Laughs.)
Are you worried about how you’d go about playing such a flamboyant real life character like Liberace?
Not really. I guess I sort of made a career playing guys who you wouldn’t think you’d like, and gotten away with it. Be it in Fatal Attraction, Solitary Man…even Gordon Gecko. He’s the charming rouge or whatever you want to call it. So no, I am not too worried about it.
So I guess the big question is will you do a Wall Street 3?
Oliver and I will be wheeling onto set … creaking! Ha ha! Well, listen, Kirk (Douglas, his father) is 93, and he’s thinking about doing another picture! If they can afford the insurance… (Laughs.)
Yes, it’s obvious longevity is in the genes.
Yeah, I’m very lucky. (Smiles)
So you’d do it?
There is something good in this second Wall Street movie. I was thinking this would certainly be a good reflection 20 years later, to give people some sense of what was happening in 2008. Yeah, I’d do it!
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is in cinemas now!
For fans of the original ( like me) or even those we aren’t, it’s still worth going to the cinemas to catch it! ( Read my movie review here OR here)
Till then, always remember to Snap, Crackle and PopCorn!
Your Flick Chick,