Home-Based Entrepreneurs can learn from Al Pacino in overcoming time constraints and improving your relationships.
by The Interview Feed
Al Pacino talks about his best friends, relaxing with poker, his children, enjoying acting, what attracted him to the movie Stand Up Guys, and being old school when it comes to technology.
Question (Q): Mr. Pacino, the title of your latest movie is Stand Up Guys. Do you consider yourself a stand up kind of guy?
A lot of our work now is dictating by the clock. We have to bring it in a certain time period. And that time period affects your work. Time always does. It’s a different ballgame today. Photo Credit: Reuters
Al Pacino (AP): I’d like to think I am. As long as I sit down (laughs). It’s all about the moment it comes. We like to think certain things, and then we are surprised when the moment comes. That’s when we reveal our true character.
Q: Have you always had a stand up guy in your corner? Somebody who has always been there for you throughout your life?
AP: When I was growing up in the South Bronx I had people around me who I could really depend on. I wish my kids had that today. They don’t have those kind of friendships that I
grew up with. I got my social education from the streets of New York. We were out and about all the time.
Q: Do you have one best friend in your life?
AP: I am lucky. I have a couple. But one of my buddies is out in LA. His name is Charlie Lott. I write him every day. Unfortunately he’s been afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis. He’s bedridden.
Q: It must be difficult to be Al Pacino and try to live a normal life. How do you relax?
AP: I play Poker with my friends. I really enjoy sitting with guys around a table and hang out. I like the gathering. There is something very comforting about it. I enjoy the guys. A lot of them are old friends of mine. Guys I have known my whole life. Sometimes I lose track of time when we play. There is a friendliness and things come out. It’s not intense because it’s not high stakes. I get lost in it at times.
Q: So, Poker is like meditation for you?
AP: It’s very Zen, yeah, it’s like meditation.
Q: How do you cope when things don’t go right in your life?
AP: I remember I was going through a rough time in my life, and then I went sleigh riding with my oldest daughter. I got on the sleigh with her, and the rush, the wind, the snow, the speed. It felt great. It was transfixing, I forgot everything else that was bothering me. Children can do that to you. They can be a wonderful inspiration.
Q: You have young children. Did they change your view on how hard you work today?
AP: In a way they have, yes. I take certain variables into account before I sign on to a job today. I don’t want to be gone for too long, I want to be close to my kids. Younger kids.
Q: You used to have this reputation of being this intense guy who could only live for his job. Still feel that way?
AP: Life as an actor can be very taxing. When I did Merchant that was very demanding. When I finished it I didn’t want to do it again. If acting is your only life, I understand it. If you have another life besides theatre, it’s very difficult. And I feel that have so many other lives today.
Q: Do you still enjoy acting today?
AP: Every single time I get the urge to act, I lie down until it passes. That’s Oscar Wilde who said that. I love it when I am in the environment that makes it possible. But it really varies from project to project today though. It’s like anything else, you just do it because it’s your profession. You do what you know.
Q: Do you ever think about retirement?
AP: Oh, no. I don’t ever consider retiring. I don’t even know what that means. Retire to what? What is retiring about? I think it’s understanding of what you are capable of doing. If the roles become far and fewer in between then I just find other things to do.
Q: How difficult is it to maintain good friendships in your business?
AP: We are all over the place all the time. It’s difficult to maintain good friendships all the time.
Q: The idea of friendship and loyalty, is it disappearing?
AP: I don’t know if it is. But I have very close friends in my life. They are important to me. People that I could have been married to, they may be the closest friends I have today. Love doesn’t alter when it finds alteration nor does it bend. Love is always there.
Q: Are you easy to direct?
AP: I think so. When I was younger I was much more difficult. If I learned anything from directing I learned what directors go through with actors.
Q: How has movie making changed today?
AP: A lot of our work now is dictating by the clock. We have to bring it in a certain time period. And that time period affects your work. Time always does. It’s a different ballgame today. Making movies with my own money helped me to get off that treadmill. Nobody can tell me to hurry up or to put more pressure on me. I like it that way. I like to be my own boss.
Q: What attracted you to this project?
AP: I liked the characters. It was unusual, and exotic. It was a small film, and it had Chris Walken involved. And I love Chris. Part of it was that I really like Fisher. He’s a wonderful actor, and I wanted to support him as a director.
Q: Was this movie a walk in the park for you?
AP: It wasn’t as hard because we are all good friends.
Q: Do you ever feel a sense of accomplishment?
AP: None whatsoever. I feel that I am doing the wrong thing all the time. I do enjoy the process though. I look at the world as an actor. That’s my way of expressing who I am. But I need the script, of course.
Q: Have you gotten better over the years?
AP: I have gotten easier. That’s what they tell me. When I was younger I was a lot more intense.
Q: You always carry books in your pocket. What are you reading right now?
AP: I am reading the Richard Burton diaries. I enjoy it. This was a very elegant man. It was a funny story when I met him. We met in Canada, and he asked me for my number. I was very nervous that I wrote down Best Wishes, Al Pacino.
Q: Are you old school when it comes to technology, or do you know about computers?
AP: I guess I am pretty old school, but I am trying to learn the computer for my younger children.
Q: Diane Keaton just wrote her biography. How about you?
AP: Sounds intriguing. But as long as I work, I do seminars, and I do readings. I have not read Diane’s book yet, but I heard she speaks well of me. Thank goodness (laughs).