C.How will he introduce himself to the interview? With a black turtleneck sweater and leather jacket, or with a colorful and pop sweater, with some eccentric rings on the very long fingers? Everything will depend on the mood of the day. Here it is, in video, on Zoom: today it is strictly in black, her almost white hair combed back and “her” rectangular glassesi heavy-rimmed. The character I meet is Jeff Goldblum. With him it is impossible to distinguish the actor (of the screen) from the person (that you are interviewing).
His histrionics as a performer – he terrified us in The Flyconquered with The big cold and amuse himself with his wacky, almost Dadaist humor in various films by Robert Altman and Wes Anderson – he has as it translated into this sleek, bizarre tall man from Pittsburgh, who has been on the Hollywood scene for nearly half a century. Perhaps this is it his “play” that makes him irresistible, persuasive and one of the darlings of the public.
The son of a doctor and a radio journalist, the third of four children, Jeff began to show his creative flair at an early age by painting and playing the piano, then he took summer theater courses, and at 17 he moved to New York to study acting with the legendary Sanford Meisner.
The passion for the stage was already born, albeit kept very secret, at the age of ten.
He loves to tell that in his prayers he repeated every day: “God please let me be an actor.” Heard of imploration: he soon moved from theater to cinema, he made his debut in 1974 with The Death of the Night and then starred in horror films, arthouse films and adventure and action blockbusters (the various Jurassic and Independence Day).
It was precisely the global success of Jurassic Park to broaden the circle of its fans: since 1996 even children stop him on the street, fascinated by the character of the mathematician Ian Malcolm, which the actor takes up in the last chapter of the saga, Jurassic World – The Dominion. Goldblum,
Jeff Goldblum’s Thousand Lives of Artist
70 years old next 22 October, he is now part of the American pop-intellectual iconography: his name appears in large letters in the television series and World According to Jeff Goldblum, in the biography Because He is Jeff Goldblum, in the ready-made script for the new series e Curiosity of Jeff Goldblum.
But that’s not all: the multifaceted Goldblum is also an established jazz pianist and plays around for the United States with his Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. Married since 2014 to Olympic gymnast Emilia Livinsgton, he is the enthusiastic father of Charlie Ocean and River Joe, aged seven and five.
It was 1992 when he first set foot on the Hawaiian set of Jurassic Park. Steven Spielberg was the director, she, Laura Dern and Sam Neill the three protagonists. The first image that comes to your mind, thirty years later?
Martin Ferrero. He was the attorney Donald Gennaro in the film. On the plane from Los Angeles to Kauai, he introduced himself and told me point blank, “I have the role of the lawyer, but I think the two of us should make a change in the script, and you and Spielberg should talk about it as soon as we get there. I believe that for the narrative it is better that your character, and not mine, ends up devoured by the dinosaur. What do you say?”. I replied, on the spot, that it was an interesting idea. Then, talking about it with Steve, I discovered that the T-rex would have eaten the lawyer Gennaro after a few minutes, that he would have disappeared from the scene forever (he smiles pretending embarrassment).
And when did you first see dinosaurs?
I had put on my stage costume to go to the set. I met Spielberg, Laura and Sam dressed for the role, we got into the jeep to meet the triceratops that Stan Winston had created and with which he also won the Oscar. They looked real! I will never forget the first scene shot. Try to imagine when thirty years later I found myself again with Laura and Sam filming Jurassic World – The Dominion. What a joy!
At the age of ten he already dreamed of being an actor and his dreams have come true. But how did she come up with the idea that she wanted to act?
I was very lucky. My mother often took us children to the theater: every time I wondered what was going on behind the scenes. They were “mysteries” that left me with bated breath. When I attended a summer theater camp a few years later, the experience was fantastic. My father loved to repeat: “If you find something you want to do, that is the key to your career choice.” In short, I had to be an actor!
What roots does your passion for music have?
When I decided to become an actor, I also started playing the piano. One day my teacher offered me a jazz arrangement, and I fell in love with it. I liked that syncopated music very much, so I decided to commit myself; I wanted to be able to play it, to improvise. I also came up with the crazy idea of pitching in to some lounge bars around Pittsburgh to get cast on. I was not driving at the time and always had to find someone to accompany me as I also had to bring the piano. Jazz is part of my life.
“It’s not complicated to be me: I’m authentic”
Is it difficult to be Jeff Goldblum? Project that fascinating, ironic, vaguely surreal image, and never disappoint fans’ expectations?
But he knows that she is funny, always so nice and sharp … (It is not clear if her gentle tone hides a sarcastic streak, ed). So she asks me what’s the trick to not disappoint anyone? I have always tried to be myself and to express authenticity when I am around people. And I don’t wear a mask. Everything is so ephemeral, fleeting. I consider myself tremendously lucky to be able to act and to have this connection with the audience.
She does not seem to agree with the old saying “The dress does not make the monk”. He has always been a model of style, his interest in the world of fashion and costumes is known. Recently – he told me – he worked with Miuccia Prada and for some years he has had his own personal stylist.
It will also be true that the dress does not make the monk, but profound truths emerge from a surface: the face of a person, for example, becomes a map of his history and of what he has inside. If I think of the world and the world of the actor, every legitimate portrait starts for me from the external aspect: that type of shoe makes the character walk in that way there; what’s behind a haircut, a watch or a pair of glasses?
They are details part of a story, and they interest me as hell. When I introduce myself, as in this moment to her, with certain details I reveal something about myself, and our way of communicating depends on the image that I propose to her. When I play the piano I wear a certain hat and if I specifically choose certain sweaters and shirts it is not to impress anyone, believe me, but to express myself.
Becoming a father at sixty is an immense joy. What has changed in his life?
Well, everything. I reorganized my days in a completely different way: two children change your way of thinking, your feelings, your priorities; your heart opens wide, you see things through their eyes. Soon I will take them to see Jurassic World – The Domination, it will be their first movie in a movie theater! But she and I, Alessandra, should meet in Hollywood to talk about these things: let’s have a real date, sooner or later. Promise?
iO Donna © REPRODUCTION RESERVED
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