Christopher Walkin, Rufus- Cannes 1998
Film Scouts "Caught In The Web" Interviews
"Cold Arrival" on
"Out of Body" on Dark City
"Dark Roles" on Dark City
Rufus Says Hello
Text of Film
Scouts video interview - Cannes 1998
Host - since youre going to be at the World Wide Web
- just to begin, if we could ask for you to introduce yourself an explain why youre
here - for all those who are unfamiliar.
Rufus - Hello - well, Im apparently Rufus Sewell and
Ive been here for 10 days - talking about myself, which is turning me into a
strange, rare breed of freak Im looking forward to going home.
H - When do you go home?
R - I think the day after tomorrow - by turning into a rare
breed of freak meaning Ive been doing so many interviews that my girlfriend will say
"how are you" and Ill say, "Well, you know " - Ill start
doing this interview thing with her.
H - You have a stock answer for everything.
R - Yeah, its worrying - so I need to get back to
H - What would you like to talk about if not about
yourself? Do you have any blackjack secrets?
R - No, I recently played blackjack for the first time. I
was in Las Vegas, and fortunately, very fortunately, I was sitting next to Minnie Driver -
who attracted the attention of all the blackjack experts in the entire area - whod
come to give her tips.
So I made a hell of a lot of money.
H - Not bad
R -By sitting next to Minnie Driver - this guy would say,
"Put your money down now, NOW, NOW!" This guy was counting all the cards - one
of the real pros.
H - There really is a secret?
R - Oh, there is, if you can memorize 8 packets of cards -
then you know when the numbers are coming up.
H - So - most of the publicity since youve been here
has been split between Dark City and Illuminata?
R - And Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel, and Lawrence
H - Tell us a little about that.
R - Yeah - its an English comedy which has recently
come out - and its a commercial British comedy set in "swinging" London.
H - Swinging, hipster London?
R - Yeah, but Im not embarrassed about the commercial
aspect of it because I play this cynic. You know, at least Im playing the fuckhead -
you know, Im playing this ex-child actor who was like a really big deal when he was
8 or 9 years old. Everyone thought he was really cute. All the old ladies loved him and
now hes 30 years old, hasnt worked in about 15 years, smokes 60 cigarettes a
day, bottle of whiskey in his pocket - hates EVERYONE, especially his best friends. And
hes quite witty with it - so it was great fun ---- and he probably smells a bit,
H - Are you worried it might be you one day?
R - (laughs) It might be me today! No, Do I worry that it
might be me today or one day? No. I certainly understand, I understand how people get like
H - But things are good - youve got a few films at
R - Well, things are what they are - Im not sure how
good they are, I mean -
H - What does this mean to an actor? I mean obviously, for
a director, you know, bringing a film to Cannes - a benchmark is created.
R - I dont know. I dont know what it means, you
know. Ive seen other people doing it on telly before and I knew what it meant then,
but I cant see what it looks like on telly now. From the inside it feels different.
I mean, yeah, youre at Cannes but its like, hey, youre in front of a
newspaper - what if it said, "Actor kills himself in London flat"? Its not
necessarily good news - so Ill wait and see.
H - As for working with John Turturro, - how did you come
in contact with him? I guess he selected all the actors - or was it open casting?
R - No, there was no casting - I met him through his Mum -
his Mum liked me so Im in the film. At this opening for this play - musical in NY,
which I didnt want to go to - Damn Yankees - I dont like musicals.
H - Jerry Lewis?
R - Yeah, Jerry Lewis - and at the party afterwards -
H - Careful now - dont use Jerry Lewiss
name in vain.
R - Well, Jerry Lewis is Jerry Lewis! I just dont
like - I actually enjoyed that one because it was old fashioned theatre, you know, it
wasnt like Andrew Lloyd Webber or anything. I dont care about saying nasty
things about that.
He was there with his Mum and someone said, "Do you
want to come and meet him?" I said no. I tend to avoid people I admire - but I got
dragged over by, you know, by my hand, and introduced to him and I didnt know what
to say. And then him Mother suddenly said, "Oh My God! With your hair, you two could
be brothers! Sit down." (here he does a wonderful Brooklyn New York accent)
So she did, she kind of made a fuss of me and we had a cup
of tea - and that was it. Two years later my agent phoned up while I was in New York and
said, "John Turturro, who apparently met you once, wants to meet you for lunch."
So I phoned all my friends to say Im going off to
have lunch with John Turturro - and I met him - and he said that since hed met me,
hed been thinking about a part in this film - did I want to do it? Of course I
wanted to do it, you know, and then I found out that Christopher Walkin is also in it,
which, where I come, from all I need to say to my friends when theyre giving me a
hard time is, "Look, Im in a film with Christopher Walkin and youre not -
OK?" This is the ultimate - this is all my ultimates.
H - The Walkin legend -
R - Yes, the Walkin legend continues.
H - Whats Christopher Walkin like?
R - Hes actually really nice - but hes a -
H - Is he strange?
R - He isnt very good at talking.
H - Do you have a Walkin impression?
R - No, I just have a little story - I cant do him
talking - I can do him NOT talking. On the first day of rehearsals, I was stuck in the
hallway with him - Christopher Walkin was standing there - and I thought, well, Ill
make conversation with him. (here Rufus makes a Walkin face, very funny) I said,
"Chris, Christopher, um, difficult isnt it, playing actors (serious face here)
difficult to know where to pitch it you know, whether to be at that level or that level
(hand motions) isnt it?"
And he went (again the Walkin face, turning about back and
(H is cracking up at these very good impressions) And he,
for about half an hour, (more of the Walkin face) and I was like - (surprised look) - five
more minutes (more of the Walkin face) and eventually he went -----"cameras"
---- and that was it.
H - And what did you think?
R - I went "good!" And then John Turturro came up
to me afterwards and said, "I hear you had a really great chat with Chris during the
break." So this is a conversation with Christopher Walkin. This is him being
H - Does anyone have a real dialogue with him?
R - Yeah - well, now, Ive met him a few times before,
now we actually manage to talk. Hes nice, I like him - hes very funny, very
kind. Unscrewed up about all this - laughs about it.
H - And as far as the rest of the cast - fond memories from
working with this group - are these people you run into in 10 years and say,
"Remember those days with Illuminata?"
R - Well, yes, when I mean, when, you know, I get back to
New York, I see them now, you know. Johns a friend of mine now. Thats another
thing I tell my friends -
"Im a friend of John Turturro, - OK?"
H - You still have to impress your friends? Youre
Rufus Sewell - you have to drop names?
R - I have to impress my friends - my friends arent
impressed that Im Rufus Sewell because they know that that means (laugh). Yes, sure,
No Im not seriously talking about dropping names - its just that my friends,
its just cool with me and my friends that - uh - Id be impressed by them too.
Its just that you want someone to go "John Turturro" to, because all the
people here are (bored look) like, "yeah, sure - well, so what?" You know then
its not people, when you talk to people like that. You need people to - Im
impressed by these things. Its exciting.
H - Had you ever done this type of broad farce before?
R - Oh sure, Ive done it a lot, I mean, and its
my sense of humor. I mean, broad farce isnt my sense of humor but - Ive done a
lot of comedy. Its not something Im particularly known for and Im glad
because it means that when I do it, people are kind of surprised. Whereas if Id
started with comedy I suspect I wouldnt have had the chance to do the serious stuff
because I would have got stuck there.
H - Anything you have to be careful of when youre
acting - stepping over the line maybe and taking it too far, or being too restrained?
R - No, I mean, look at Christopher Walkin in that film.
No, I dont think taking it too far is a problem, you know. No, I dont think
so. I think the style of this film in particular - it can be piked, because the language
is slightly stylized. You know people suddenly start singing with orchestras and things
out of nowhere. Its not going to matter too much if you take it over the top.
H - Guys singing in an Armoire?
R - Yes, it depends - you match it to the flavor of the
film youre in and hopefully youve got the flavor right.
H - And as far as telling the story of life in a theatre
R - Well, it tells the story of the life in this theatre
H - Well, this particular one - is that at all
representative of the experiences youve had working on stage or working on films?
R - Ive never found it THAT easy to get sex! (laugh)
But uh, yeah, I mean its representative - its
representative - its not, you know, accurate because its about, you know, a
very long time ago when theatre was absolutely considered vitally necessary by everyone.
Whereas now its become more of a luxury - preaching to the converted, you know, at
But um, oh yeah, I mean - I loved that aspect of it -
playing an actor on stage, in rehearsals, the way they really are, you know.
Saying, "Do you mind not stepping on my lines, love?
Im speaking now. Is she going to cry during my bit? Ill tell you, if she does,
Im bloody walking!"
All this kind of camp bitchiness and the comedy, the way
people have, the way that actors are with each other back stage - theres quite a lot
more than an element of truth in it.
H - And was there actually any situation when you would say
to somebody, "Dont step on my lines"?
R - No, personally, that sort of thing terrifies me - if
anyone says ,"Dont step on my lines, " I go, (high pitched, little boy
But this is just, its kind of nauseating to hear but
it actually was just really brilliant fun, start to finish. I dont like hearing
that. I just think it sounds like lies, when people say that, but its true.
H - Can we talk for a second about one of the other films
here - Dark City - part of the Millenium series or something that theyre doing here?
R - They never told us that - Oh, good!
H - Its been out a few months, I know, in North
America. What kind of reception has it received here in Cannes? Were you at all surprised
R - The French reception has been incredible.
H - I mean, you would think - its right up their
R - Yeah, and I think also its probably partly the
way they marketed it here has been slightly better for the film. Because in America they
pushed it as this kind of - its not Total Recall - its a kind of esoteric, I
call it "acid noir" -
H - Acid Noir?
R - Yeah
H - Youve coined a new term -
R - Yeah, it could catch on. But you know, its not
like a science fiction film. I mean, of course it is ultimately - but theres more to
it than that. Its about ideas and there are, if you look for it, themes. And I think
the idea that you would just try to show it to as many people as possible and get as much
money for it as you can - if youre gonna chop the film up to do that then its
a shame. Id much rather, personally, show it to a smaller audience who like that
sort of thing, rather than turn it into another film for people who arent going to
like it anyway.
Like I dont like the - a - theres a big speech
at the beginning of the film which defeats the entire purpose of the film, to me. It just
infuriates me because it wasnt there - and the whole thing about the movie was that
you discover towards the end that youre not on earth. Youre actually - But
now, because it was confusing "stupid people" presumably - Well, it would
probably confuse me too, but I like the confusion. What I loved about the story was that
you didnt quite know what was going on - and I feel its a shame, kind of
reductive, to try to make it so clear that everyone gets it because you alienate a lot of
people by doing that as well.
H - Finally - you mentioned you had a home page -
R - Yeah
H - Can you tell us a bit about your experiences with the
R - Well, I discovered it by accident. Uh, its called
Vue2Sewell - its called. Its quite lovely - well- it was very nice of them.
H - Obviously you have a lot of fans on the web, and
especially with Dark City and the net following its attracted. Is there any message
for your fans or your friends - Christopher Walkin loving friends?
R - (waves to camera) Yeah - just - Id like to see
nude photos of me. I want to see what I look like from behind (laugh). No - I have - you
know - what can I say? Hello, you know.
H - OK - Any Walkin, final Walkin impressions?
R - No final Walkin impressions.
H - All right, thanks a lot Rufus. Good luck with all the
R - Thanks a lot.