In this delightful, wide-ranging conversation with Jim Sharman, a respected and enduring artist in his own right, Malkovich speaks about his recent collaborations for the stage with Michael Sturminger, The Infernal Comedy and The Giacomo Variations, along with his rich and varied film and theatre work over the years.
Malkovich has acted in 65 films and was one of the founders of Chicago’s critically-acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Perhaps best-remembered for his stand-out roles in films such as Dangerous Liaisons and Being John Malkovich, Malkovich is also well known for his endless capacity to "shape shift" -- the seducer, the intellectual, philosopher, the coward -- often within a single character.
On the art of seduction, he tells Sharman: "Seduction is like theatre, you have to be where you are. You have to be in the present…and allow the person looking into you to read the quality in you that they need in order to be seduced by you."
The discussion ranges through the role of fathers and sons in American literature, Malkovich’s love of William Faulkner, his disdain of celebrity, making unlikeable characters worth watching, and the critical differences between acting for the stage or screen.
The event was a part of the Sydney Festival 2011.
John Malkovich is an American actor, producer, director and recently fashion designer. Over the last 25 years of his career, Malkovich has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. He received Academy Award nominations for his roles in "Places in the Heart" and "In the Line of Fire". He has also appeared in critically acclaimed films such as "Empire of the Sun", "The Killing Fields", "Dangerous Liaisons", "Being John Malkovich", and "Changeling".
Malkovich, along with Joan Allen, Gary Sinise, and Glenne Headly, became a charter member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. He moved to New York City in 1980 to appear in a Steppenwolf production of the Sam Shepard play "True West", for which he won an Obie Award.
Jim Sharman is an internationally-renowned director of film, theatre, operas and musicals. He is best known as the co-creator/ director of the 1973 theatrical hit "The Rocky Horror Show", and the cult film "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", released in 1975. His other credits include director of the original Australian productions of "Hair" and "Jesus Christ Superstar". His memoir Blood and Tinsel was published in 2008.
Acclaimed actor and director John Malkovich reflects on his initial feelings after reading Charlie Kaufman's script for the film "Being John Malkovich". "It never occurred to me that anyone would be goofy enough to actually make that movie, but of course I hadn't met Spike Jonze then," says Malkovich.
Stage and screen actor John Malkovich describes the inherent differences he has discovered between acting for film and theatre. "Theatre is an ephemeral, living organism," says Malkovich. "Film is not." He compares performing a play to surfing a wave.