Latest Entertainment News Headlines

INT: Kurt Russell


“Do you believe in Miracles?” Sportscaster Al Michaels asked that famous question in the closing seconds of the greatest upset in the history of Olympic hockey. For Michaels, and indeed for anyone else who witnessed U.S. team’s improbable victory over the Soviets at Lake Placid, the answer was obvious: “Yes!" Over 20 years later, the Cold War is a distant memory and professional “Dream Teams” now dominate the Olympics. But a new Disney film called MIRACLE starring Kurt Russell as the enigmatic coach Herb Brooks, seeks to remind us of just how remarkable the Miracle On Ice truly was. I got a chance to talk with Kurt about his latest role, as the intense, hard-driving coach that led the Americans to victory over such impossible odds.


Do you feel you worked harder on this character than any other one?

Since Elvis. Herb is more subtle than Elvis. It was more difficult with Elvis because everyone knows exactly how he was. And Elvis is broader, and broader in that regard is you can do more wrong. This is more subtle, but it's more confining, and when it's more confining, it's getting that much more specific.

Was that your real hair?

Yeah, that's my hair. People tell me it looks like a wig. It was my hair, hair sprayed, because that's what he did. That was the way he wore his hair.

How hard is it to avoid mimicking and act?

Well, I think the approach is what you take. If mimicry is what you're going to do, then the approach is something that I actually don't much understand. I don't understand mimicking that good. I don't really know how to do that. But what I do know what to do and sometimes you do it and succeed, sometimes you do it and you fail, there's varying degrees. What I do know how to do is watch people. And I think perceive why they are the way they are why they behave the way they do, and I can do that with anybody. To certain degrees, I have that ability. I know that, I have known that all of my life. I had it when I was five. I'm good at seeing people and getting inside their head and saying, "I know how he feels right now. I know how that person feels and I know why they feel like that."

Is that why you wanted to become an actor?

It probably is. When you're creating a character, I think it's fun to take somebody that you've seen or you've known, if it fits, and say, I know what this character is like. And the character I've seen is even better than this, so go do that. A lot of them are just now after all those years, they're just in your imagination, but that's no reason why you shouldn't bring them to life in different characters in movies. But when you're doing somebody that exists, you're obligated to that person. I wouldn't want someone to play me and not get it right. The obvious truth is that when you see anybody doing you, they're not going to do you, because what they're going to do, and I'm guilty of this, they're going to do what they see you as.

It's shocking to me how you're perceived differently by people looking at you than you perceive yourself. Everybody is. If I was to direct someone doing me, then at some point, if he was worth his salt, he'd say, "You're on your ass. That's not what you're like." And I go, "No, no, no, it is." And he'd go, "That's not what everybody sees! Everybody sees this, this is what they see." Because I've had it with my kids, my son Wyatt, does a great imitation of me which I just found out recently. But I saw him do it and I said: “Oh that is good!” (laughs) It hurt a lot, but it was really good!

What did he do?

He just did me. He's really good at it. I mean, he's just really good. He just gets what's funny to his siblings, he gets what's funny about me. So, he does that - some extreme reaction to something. I do that, but I didn't realize it because in my mind, I'm just thinking, but sometimes I have explosive extreme reactions. But within my mind, I'm just going, “Ha ha ha.” But to them it's like, “HA HA HA, WOW!”

And they see that but that's not what I'm doing in my head though. So he does a really good imitation of me, whatever his thinking. He does a good one of me thinking, which is very funny. But anyway, it does make you realize that whenever you're going to play somebody that's alive, you feel obligated to try and get them, but the truth of the matter of is, you're going to try to get as close to what you see. So in meeting Herb for this, with the knowledge of that truth, I wanted to –  I'd like to get it from Herb's point of view too so that I guess what's in his mind would be represented correctly.

How did you go about your research?

I met Herb a couple of times. Spent really good full days with him and then I had lots of tape to watch. A lot of people to talk to. I talked to all these guys, and all of them had a different point of view. Jimmy Craig, his take on Herb is completely different from a lot of the other players, because he was treated differently by Herb. He's a goal tender, you treat them differently. That's part of the reality of that game. So I had all that information and anytime there was a question, it could be answered. I am really am sorry that Herb couldn't see it, but I would love to know what he thinks of it. I know the other players have been really gracious to me and said in their opinion, that was what Herb was like.

Are you a big hockey fan.

I'm a good fan of the sport. I was a good baseball player and I know baseball, but I don't know hockey. I'm just the average jabroni who loves to go and put my nose to the glass and scream and holler and have a good time watching how good these guys are.

Does that manifest itself in the performance?

No. As a matter of fact, I think you must remove that. That's who I would be. You have to remove that. It's bad to be a fan and play a coach. Coaches are not fans, coaches direct the game. They're directors, they're producers, they're conductors. They're not fans. They don't cheer. As a matter of fact, what you'll see coaches do when somebody does something physically spectacular and they understand all of what's gone into that, you'll see them once in a while look at other coaches and go, “hmph.” It's very subtle. And you'll see players on the bench. What a lot of players on the bench do is when they see something completely insane and spectacular that a player does, they'll just very quickly turn to a player and say, "I can do that." And that is your way of saying, "You gotta be shitting me. What did he just do?" That's how not fans they are.

The players are not fans, the coaches are not fans. That's the problem I've generally found with the writing in most sports movies and it's why I haven't done them. For the great and most part, they are written from the fan's point of view and not written from the understood player/coach point of view. This is what Ron Shelton and I talked about when we were talking about getting together to do a baseball movie which he ended up doing called BULL DURHAM. The great thing about baseball, I said to him, is baseball is the only sport played by men for women. All other sports are played by men for men, that I know of. Man, team sports. Because baseball players, we'd just as soon have 50,000 women in the stands. We couldn't care less if there was a guy there.

But football is a gladiator game. Like the goal tending coach with Wyatt's hockey team. The minute the fights break out, we like to go, "Oogah. Here comes the oogah." But all the guys are sitting there, "Yeah, oogah, oogah, oogah!" It's cavemen, but it's part of the game. I'm not putting it down. I'm just saying, to us, it's like here comes the oogah. Oogah boogah, here we go. Baseball players don't have oogah boogha. Baseball players like to look good in their uniform and run around the bases and say: “How's it going?” They want to be cool. That's what they're about. And Ron wrote it from, which in that regard was the point of view that you really need to understand baseball, the point of view of the woman who is with the ballplayer.

That's the point of view to write a baseball story from which he did which is why Bull Durham I think is one of the best made. So I don't read them often and I don't like doing them often because I know it's number one, written from a fan's point of view, number two, directed  from a fan's point of view, and number three, and the most disgusting of all, played from the fan's point of view. Actors who want to be. What's good about this movie is that you've got a guy who's directing it, who's a really good football player and is not a fan of hockey. He has a player's understanding. You've got a coach who has players' understanding, played baseball professionally, who's not going to look at it as a fan. And you have the guys playing the parts are not actors that want to be hockey players. They're hockey players that were cast in a role that the director believed he could work with them as actors. So that's why the movie looks credible.

Are you able to look back at your career with a certain amount of objectivity?

Someone said to me yesterday the best thing I've ever heard about my career. He said, "Your career looks like it was picked by a drunken driver!" I said that was the best description anybody's ever had of my career. I suppose that's pretty much true about just about anybody after 43 years. She said, if you connect the dots and put it on a road map, it looks like drunken driver. I said: “You're right. I can't deny that. It's just all over the map!” It's good, bad, indifferent, it's everything. I've had the opportunity to play all kinds of different characters. Comedy, drama, action pictures, what are these?

What’s it feel like to be a grandfather?

I like it. I'm happy for my kids and I'm happy that there is going to be babies around again. I hope they have more.

Have they come to you for any advice yet?

No, as always, kids sort of see you the way you are. I think what is interesting from their point of view is that they were beginning to realize a whole lot of new stuff which is that when they were born, you were in their shoes, and you didn't know any more than they do right now. So I think that is good.

Source: JoBlo.com



Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting