tv Charlie Rose PBS January 27, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
>> charlie: welcome to our program. tonight a look at the rerest in the middle east. we talked to the international krieltses - crises group and marc lynch. >> we support them. when you have democratic agreement that brings power to hamas we condemn it. so we have this often hypocritical relationship to the whole question of democracy. we make face that challenge again in egypt. with a mayor even face it in tunisia. >> this is not causing america to fall, these are arabs themselves who are taking the initiative and they are trying to bring about change. and the worse thing we can do is try to make this about us. so i think the administration is walking a very fine line and
doing a good job with it so far, trying to support the protesters and at the same time not inserting themselves into the middle of a very fluid and very dynamic situation. >> charlie: and we conclude with sir anthony hopkins about actx act -- acting and about the jesuit faith. >> i said i was thinking about going to church and he said why. think very carefully before you do that. he said what's your problem. i said i feel lost in joining the human race. >> charlie: a look at the unrest in the middle east and a conversation with the legendary actor when we continue.
city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: we begin this evening with a look at the unrest in the middle east. the egyptian government banned all demonstrations after yesterday's unprecedented nation-wide protest. four were killed in the violence. small groups defied the ban today as they challenge the 30-year rule. many say that the protest in egypt were inspired by the popular vote that toppled tunisia's president earlier this month. from washington is rob mammy from the international crises group and marc lynch of george washington university, i'm pleased to have them to talk about this. it seems to me that whenever there are tons of things going on, a state of the union, a state visit by china, somehow the middle east always let's us know that they are there and the things are going on. having said that, tell me what's happening in egypt and the
significance of it and what will be the end game. >> the demonstrations that we saw in egypt yesterday were really quite extraordinary. i mean, as you know the the there have been protests in egypt for the last decade but this one caught everyone off guard. there were tens of thousands of people streaming into the centr of cairo. and because it's tunisia, the regime was extremely well prepared for this and they stil couldn't control it. >> charlie: are they trying to make sure it doesn't get out of control or unevitably once there is a spark like this it has its own momentum. >> well they're going to do everything they can to make sure that it does not begin to snowball. the second day was much more tightly controlled than the first day. and from all that i've heard, they are really taking extraordinary measures with the security forces to prevent things from continuing to develop. they've called for a general
strike, they've called for a major protest happened after the prayers on friday, so that will be the next big test and we'll see whether the protesters can sustain the kind of momentum that they had yesterday. >> charlie: rob, who are the protesters. >> one thing, i would add one thing to that. i think we all have to be quite modest in trying to make predictions. these revolutions, if that's what they are, always seem impossible beforehand and inevitable after the fact. that's the case in tunisia. most people who follow thing were taken by surprise. after the fact you can look and say yes there are elements how far a successful uprising were there but we really don't know what the dynamics are in egypt, how the regime is going to answer. like marc says in all likelihood, you can never prepare a hundred percent but the demonstrators also are prepared, they've seen what happened in tunisia. some of the very slogans that we
saw in tunisia now being copied in egypt. so i think this is the situation of great flux. we may look back and say tunisia was a nice one, unfortunately it was followed by others we we may see something different. >> charlie: tell me the make up of the protesters in egypt. >> the protesters seem to be relatively young, not kids but people from their 30's in all demographic backgrounds. people who are well educated. the crowd in the square yesterday had people who were, you know, from all walks of life. i don't think you can say that it's just kids. one thing which is quite striking is that the brother hood appears to be under represented in the crowds. and the other part which everybody will be watching is whether we also see furious involvement by workers and spread into upper egypt and out
of these urban concentrations of these educated young people. >> picking up on what marc said, what i'm being told are the people demonstrated are not your usual suspects. and other people who are demonstrating as marc said there's a whole tradition of demonstrations and protests in egypt including the last several months, it sounds and still is a bit early to say that some of the people that went out to protest were not the kind of people protesting before. as marc said the big even known and it's true in egypt and tunisia, what they will do. they say they will not participate in the protest even though they were blamed by the regime. that's a well-known and familiar tactic by the regime to blame any unrest on those they think are most likely to scare the united states and the west. and to support the protesters you're supporting the movement and be very hostile to the u.s.
it doesn't seem to be the make up of the protesters as far as one can tell. >> charlie: why wouldn't the muslim brotherhood want to ert support the demonstration? >> i think because they know their presence would be a green light for the regime to crack down even harder without a great deal of protest from the west. and so in a sense, this limited involvement, it's something which enables the regime to be even tougher. and so i suspect that they're holding their fire partly because the regime is telling them to but partly because they don't want to give regime an excuse. >> there's been an unspoken or tacit agreement about how far the muslim brother hood can go before the crack down. and it will be so significant they will suffer. they may be regretfing today not having participated given how successful the demonstration
seems to have been but i think the muslim brotherhood has been sort of again this very implicit bargain between the two. they're not a legal organization but they function and they are quite well organized with this red line that they don't want to cross with greater government oppression. >> it's important that the protesters thus far haven't had a great deal of organization or leadership. and if this is going to build momentum and sustain itself for political change it's very likely the muslim brotherhood will get off the sidelines and will have to provide some of those, some of those troops and some of that organization much -- the problem is that could provoke serious opposition which right now they can focus on their opposition to the regime but when the muslim brotherhood does get involved it could create some real divisions and
real opportunity for the regime to exploit those concepts. >> charlie: what's the position of the u.s. >> it's an angel dynamic. it's not just this administration it's every administration most. the balance between supporting regimes despite their non-democratic or bringing to power people less inclined to follow our policy and promote u.s. interest in the region. and right now the administration has to balance between being too critical of the government of the egyptian government even though it needs that government in many other issues whether it's the fight against terrorism, whether it's the peace process, a whole host of other things. it's a balancing act. so far the posture the administration has taken, more sharply today than yesterday is to come out in support of the right of free speech, the right of the people to demonstrate peacefully and to urge the
government to take this as an opportunity to implement the kind of reform, political, economic and social. at some point it will be much sharper and much harder. the fine point may be even harder for the administration to walk because it doesn't want to alienate a regime upon which they relied heavily. egypt is one of them. as we heard yesterday in the state of the union the president doesn't want to be on the wrong side of history. ultimately a number of these regimes are likely to fall maybe not this year, a decade or two. you never know when it will happen and you don't want to be on the wrong side of things. >> both tunisia and what we see especially today and last tight on the administration on egypt, i think they've been make it very very well in the sense that they have not trade to put a made in america stamp. this is not america causing an
arab government to fall. these are arabs themselves trying to bring about change. the worse thing we can do is try to make this about us. i think the administration is walking a very fine line and doing a good job with it so far. trying to support the the protesters and at the same time not inserting themselves into the middle of a very fluid and very dynamic situation. >> where this becomes even more uncomfortable, in the past the u.s. has been accused of double standards. when you have democratic elections in the palestinian arena and brings the power movement against awe -- hamas, we condemn it. we may face our challenge in egypt or tunisia. i agree completely that so far the administration partly because they are wise and partly they've been lucky. they've been able to walk this
fine line. it's going to become harder or may become harder if the protests in egypt have islamists for them or if the islamists movement in tunisia becomes more powerful, that will be the real test. >> charlie: what is the connection between what happened in tunisia and what's happening in egypt? >> the connection is that there's common problems across the arab world. you have governments that are authoritarian, they have failed to deliver on economic growth, jobs. they're widely seen as corrupt. their foreign policies are unpopular. these are common problems across the region. what happened with tunisia is that when it got picked up by al jazeera and television and meda like facebook, this really inspired people across the region. you have to remember a few months ago we all felt we were living in this age of authoritarian retrenchment, that
democracy activists were dispirited, they didn't think they could possibly succeed. tunisia showed them that they can. i think that's really put new life into these protesters. and it's also helped it to break out from just these professional protesters, the people who we think of as democracy activists. there are these people across the region, and it's not just egypt or tunisia, this is almost every country in the region from the gulf to north africa to jordan to egypt. everywhere in the region people are deeply frustrated. they have no opportunity to express their frustrations through politics. there's just no meaningful elections, there's media censorship. so what you're seeing then is suddenly people are seizing an opportunity to express themselves and to try and bring about change. not at this point about democracy. >> charlie: is it possible marc that this sets a standard for a new kind of protest which is not coming from islamists but
coming from a different place in the street, reform elements and in all places which there is authoritarian or an authoritarian and a corrupt regime and that therefore it has a different potential and their represents some kind of change that is new in the middle east. >> yes and no. one of the reasons that the islamist parties haven't made a major role is precisely because the protests are not organized and not going through normal channel. the sentiments are wide spread throughout society and many of the people who are involved in the protests probably sympathize at some level with islamists. so you can't assume that there's no islamic sym these among the protesters despite the brotherhood has not played a major role in organizing them or in leading them.
in terms of whether these are reformists, that remains to be seen because when you get into the vast population of people who are deeply frustrated, unemployed, perhaps over educated, who just want change, that might leave theme in a democrat direction. it could just as easily lead in a populous direction or support for some other kind of authoritarian, counter-authoritarian presented. that's why it's so important that these governments give them up to give meaning to formal political institutions. because the alternative to these governments is not necessarily democracy. >> so many of these regimes have used over the year is make sure there's no secular opposition. the only opposition is the islamists ones and other populations don't want them so
they could repress them and make sure there's no organized form in the middle to be the vehicle for protests. what happened in tunisia, maybe happening in egypt as you're seeing a social movement came to tunisia which is a different kind of organization, a funded political organization. in the case of tunisia you had this coupling of social and political demands which came later. that's something the regime's going to have a harder time. and one can overly stress the point is the role of social media and how that's one way to get around the lack of organized institutions. again i think we're going to have to wait and see and look back to what happened in tunisia and recently in egypt to say to what extent facebook and twitter played a role. this is one way you can circumvent the traditional ways regimes have held their popular unrest in check. >> charlie: what's the most
likely place for this kind of uprising to happen. what would be the next venue? >> the protests are happening everywhere right now. and so if you began from the streets, you could look at every place from algeria where there has been protests for quite a while. yemeni protests and jordan and of course lebanon is its own story. but there's pressure on almost all of these regimes. rob is rice. the choices that leaders make is going to be decisive. and right now they're all worried that they're going to be next. and they've been coordinating with each other at the recent arab summit meeting they took measures to prop each other up and created a fund to ease the short-term economic problems. but one of the things which really struck me about egypt yesterday is that with all of those preparations in place, they were still overwhelmed. and that's the sort of surprise
that makes me like rob be a little bit humble about what we can predict. >> charlie: i want to talk about three other events. first, the broader idea that rob and i talked about before, but that the complexion of the middle east into north africa is changing. and that the primary players today are turkey and iran and syria and less so egypt, saudi arabia. any truth to that? >> i mean, we have discussed it in the past. i think there are two dynamics now, two or three. one is what i would call sort f loss of exhaustion of the e gems that have lost a sense of purpose and legitimacy. but also in their foreign policy. it's unclear today what egypt or jordan or other countries that are allied to the west stand for. can't really stand for the peace process which doesn't go anywhere, they can't stand for
national arabism. and now on the defensive because they confront hamas, hezbollah. and you couple that with a the fact they're facing greater unrest domestically, greater sense of crises and as i set earlier sclerosis on the part of regimes. so i think there's that. and you add to that the fact that the u.s. seems to be unable to influence and shape events. i agree with marc in some ways it's a good thing that the u.s. did not put itself forth in tunisia and now egypt. it has no impact of what's happening in lebanon or the other crises in the region. it seems to be increasingly irrelevant in countries like turkey and qatar and others seem to be trying to do more. although frankly they haven't succeeded either. i think we're seeing more than the replacement of the u.s. by another power. is that a vacuum of power and a crises of legitimacy across the board. >> charlie: speaking of lebanon did iran have any influence in lebanon with hezbollah.
>> i believe it was a hezbollah -- i don't think hezbollah needs to coordinate with iran because they are promoting the same agenda. it's that hezbollah use the interest of the islamic republic lick with the support of neighboring countries but it came down to hezbollah not being prepared to accept a prime minister that was willing to go down to the tribunal looking into the assassination -- >> charlie: what are the implications of that for the future, marc. >> i think the one country you mentioned earlier on that rob didn't talk about is turkey. i think you cannot under estimate the dynamism of turkey foreign policy right now or how it's viewed across the arab world. there's a sense as rob said, all of the major arab powers right
now are adrift. they're consumed with their own internal problems, their harness to set up policies that just aren't working out. iran is also i would say not really a rising power right now. iran is struggling with unexpectedly tight international sanctions. they're facing very large amount of propaganda across the arab media by, led by regimes that are very worried about iran and hostile to iran. i think that the election and the aftermath of the election in iran really hurt their image with arab republic opinion that supports democracy movements. that hurt iran. on the other side they look at turkey which is the dynamic economy, it's got one foot in the west, they have the moderate islamists party that came to power through elections. and then when they found
themselves involved in the gaza situation with the floatilla, they succeeded in the eyes of arabs forcing the international agenda. a lot of arabs look at turkey and they say there's something there that we don't see either in iran or in arab governments. and that's something which i hear every time i go to the rae now it's turkish foreign policy. nobody has really been able to impose an agenda or shape the region. that is one of the most important new factors in regional politics. >> i think i agree with that and i think turkey is the most interesting country in terms of its foreign policy. what we're seeing unfortunately is sort of the battle of the spoilers when turkey tries to do something immediately the egyptians try to block it or we try to block it when it comes to iran with a deal they tried to put together. what is missing today is a sort
of a joint work with turkey to try to reach out to many so of these whether it's hamas or hezbollah thinking collectively or jointing how to deal with lebanon and iran. i think you need to add the fact the u.s. still remains the most influential power in the world including the middle east that turkey has the legitimacy and credibility that we're losing and others don't have. if there were a way to join those in some kind of tandem, i think much more can we done. the crises and relations between israel and turkey does not only affect turkey's role as mediator but for the u.s. to have as close relations with turkey as it might like. at this point we have to face the fact the u.s. on its own is not able to shape events way it wants to and it's going to have to work with others and not just its traditional partners but new partners, turkey among them. if we want to get things done. >> charlie: that's not limited to the middle east. that's true in asia and lots of
other places. >> i think that's right. >> charlie you asked about the future. and one of the things which seems really clear is that a lot of the assumptions that we've been working on for a long time are all kind of collapsing. and we haven't really come to grips with that collapse. the peace process is by any fair standard if it's not dead, it's life support probably. by any reasonable standard when you look around the region, things like the peace process, american's support for the march 14th movement in lebanon. the focus on iran. the support for authoritarian regimes. it all has a feel of coming to an end. that's the reason why we really feel like there's a need for real rethinking of the fundamentals and this might be the time to really step back and rethink what it is we're trying to achieve in the region, who we
should partner with and secure what is really important to the united states. >> charlie: talking about israelis and palestinians. these documents in terms of negotiations, are they true, number one. and number two, do they have impact? >> i have no reason to doubt their authenticity. there has been a compassion toe on the palestinian side. some voices are saying they're not formed, they are authentic. these represent our position and we're prepared to defend them. as i go through them there's very little in any of the documents i've seep so far, and some still need to be released today, there's very little that vizs me or inconsistent with the position that palestinian negotiators have taken for over a decade. you asked about the impact. i think the raw material itself is less interesting than the impact and the ripple effect it's having. on one hand it is mobilizing
some critics of the palestinian authorities saying you're sell outs, prepared to give up jerusalem. on the other hand what you're finding on the palestinian side, many people are saying what's new. we don't really trust our leadership. we don't trust the peace process, we're not going anywhere anyway so how much are we learning from these documents. i the dust still has to settle. there's a lot of energy excitement around them in the media. i'm not so sure what kind of impact they would have. this is just one more obstacle in a course thoos so emcumber with obstacles right now to get the instructors going, i don't think it's going to make that much of a difference. the difference it might make and that's where we need to watch what does it do to the palestinian authority and negotiators which was already quite damaged. i don't think it's going to impact the peace process much because the peace process was in
dire straits. >> charlie: where is the palestinian effort are. i see people trying to thwart it in different places and speaking out against the palestinians and reaching to the united nations to get support for statehood without some kind of agreement with israelis. does that have legs? >> the recognition by certain countries has legs and we're seeing it like american countries and europeans. i don't know what impact that actually has. recognizing the palestinian status that doesn't have sovereignty, not able to control its borders or air space. it may bother them and that may be the reason the palestinians like it. it's sort of a substitute for a clear-sighted strategy for those
who wanted a solution shouldn't put in place. so no other palestinians are doing it because they have nothing better right now and it's one thing they can rally around but it has its real limitations. what is most frustrating that when you speak to people, they don't seem to think about the next step and the step after that. so what if a hundred countries recognize a palestinian state. i remind you after 1988 when the palestinians declared their independent state, it didn't make a difference then and it's not going to make much of a difference now. >> charlie: except they're much more exasperated today than they've ever been. >> true. >> charlie: all right, thank you very much. mark life, george washington universities, robert malley, international crises group. we'll be right back. stay with us. >> charlie: anthony hopkins is here. his life began in the theatre as
an apprentice to the late lawrence olivia. he was in the silence of the lambs. he was nominated for three more academy awards since that time and here is a look at some of his work. >> why is it always him and never me. >> he has interest. >> christ henry, is that open? >> you never called me. you never said my name. i'd have walked, i'd have crawled. i'd have done anything. >> it's your nature to give these morning duties to your father. but you must know your father lost a father and that father lost his. but it's an obstinate course of
stubbornness. >> you wake up sometimes don't you, wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs. do you think if you sayoor captain, you could make them stopped, don't you. you think if captain lived you won't wake up in dark ever again to the darkness of the lambs. >> i don't know. i don't know. >> you were asking him. >> she was matron at a boy's preparatory school in sussex. >> a matron. >> yes, sir. >> sounds like she'll know how to cape us from misbehaving. >> i certainly hope so, sir. >> for 16 years, ever since this
case you've had a lot of fun, a lot of fun. but recognize you have a responsibility if you're against the candidate, to give him the shaft but if you do that, at least put one lonely reporter on the campaign and tell the reporter what the candidate. i think all in all this is as good as i've taken but as i leave you, i want you to know, just think what you're going to be missing. you won't nixon to kick around anymore, kick around anymore. why don't i remember that. >> that was supposed to be me. i was supposed to come in and yell stop doing this. >> so they didn't shoot it the day i wrote it. >> dobbs was rewriting everything. he was all over the place, all over the director, everywhere. >> who is the director.
>> gabby. >> i remember. >> charlie: the new film called "the rite" opens in theatres on january 28th and here's a trailer for the film. >> there's a new program at the vatican to reteach the clergy the right to exo sizal. >> he was being read the lord's prayer. >> told me, to you believe in -- >> yes, but i don't think it's
the devil. >> you're the american. >> yes. >> welcome to rome. it's infested with cats. make sure they don't come in. >> what do you believe. >> turn on the lights. no. he preferred you to believe he's not there. >> like the devil. >> get complicated. there's no proof of the devil. >> you're still not convinced. >> she doesn't need a priest she needs a shrink. >> you be careful, michael. choosing not to believe in the devil won't protect you from him. >> early signs of the possession are settled. social withdrawal, persistent tremor in her limbs.
>> michael, what's happening to me? >> if you can feel it, how can i. >> it's real, michael. it's real. >> michael? close the door, please, we don't want to disturb, do we? >> charlie: i am pleased to have anthony hopkins back at this table. thank you sir. >> good to see you here. >> charlie: when you watch the montage, not the trailer. what did you think when you saw hamlet, and all of those performances. >> how analysis time goes by. that was almost 40 years ago. it's kind of scary. i made those in 1967 to 1968. i had forgotten all about them
and hadn't recognized myself. >> charlie: but the career has been more and bigger than you ever imagined? >> oh yeah. at that time i didn't expect -- i mean i wanted a career like i have now. i had no idea it would happen. yet i suppose i had some kind of little faith. >> charlie: you knew at some point. >> i had a loved -- hunch because i was a troubled young boy in those days. i was a nuisance to work with. and then the years pass by and you mature. >> charlie: why weren't you easy to work with? because you were demanding of yourself and everybody else. >> i was really kind of dysfunctional. i didn't belong anywhere. that's why i came over to this country. i didn't fit in anywhere. i felt ostracized. probably paranoia. unstable me. and i came to america, went out to. cal and
go to -- i go to california and you have a sense of piece. >> charlie: tell me about "the rite," tell me the story. because it's a reporter and it's based on. >> it's based on truth. michael patonia wrote the script. it's a young priest who is from america. the priest was on the set with us. the father gary thomas. >> charlie: he was on the set meaning he was there during the making of the film. >> giving some advice. >> charlie: to authenticity. >> yes. this young priest, he loses his faith in the story. one of his seniors says well go to rome because i think you ought to meet somebody. and i think you ought to really think because he wants to leave and give it up. and things happen and he goes to
rome and he meets me many and this man plays father rukas based on another guy that's still in rome, outside of rome in france i believe. he himself had been performing many many -- the story is this young priest played by this young new actor from ireland, wonderful young actor. he arrives and he's full of doubts when he meets me because he doesn't believe in exorcism or doesn't believe that the devil is an anthropo morphic entity. i said well if that's what you believe. the and he becomes possessed. that's all true. wow. so let's take a look. this is father lukas revealing to michael that there are times when i doubts his faith. here it is. >> the interesting thing about skeptics, atheists, they are
always looking for proof, certainty. what do we do when we find it. in my experience it's a total loss of faith. days when he thought of the devil. there were things scraping away inside me. things like god's fingernail. and finally they can take no more of the main and i get shoved out from the darkness back into the light. >> charlie: as we were watching this, you said you wrote that little part. >> yes. i took license for that because i thought the script was perfect but i had an e-mail correspondences from the director and said i would just like to add something in here. it's based on my own -- >> charlie: about faith. >> about faith. years ago, 30 years ago i went to a priest in london. he had become a psychiatrist. and i was the particularly, i
wasn't brought up in a church, i was an atheist or agnostic whatever that means. i went to this man in england, a jesuit and i asked him, i said i'm interesting in becoming, going into the church. he said why. he said think is he carefully. he cut me short and he said think very carefully before you do that. the he says what's your problem. i said i feel i don't, i feel i'm lost. i don't want to join the human race. do you ever have problems. he says yes, many many months. a couple years i lost my faith totally. he said that is living hell. i said what happened. he said gradually you go, you
decent down into the soul like god's fingernail. finally i couldn't take more main and went back into the light. i said you still doubt. and he said i don't doubt anyone. i said you know. he says i'm not certain but i believe. doubt is something you real must cherish because there are no doubts in the darkness. i thought it was a great paradox. >> charlie: it's fascinating because i've had in a variety of television series of things that i have done having to do with scientists. >> oh yes. >> charlie: and scientists can't go there because they can't prove it. >> they can't go there. >> charlie: to faith. >> oh yes. >> charlie: because they're not willing to, most of them. there are exceptions. i mean people like nobel laureates. they can't go there because they can't prove it. you have doubts? yes. the line that you just explained to me. scientists in the end say i can't go there because they can't prove it.
and they are intellectual, their whole being is a scientist. >> there are many physicists who do believe. there are parts where people are getting close to the essence of power. >> charlie: that's part of what they're working on in geneva. >> yes. i don't believe in the person but i believe in spinoza. charles darwin was a staunch member of his own church. he extraordinary range of life and the power of life itself. and he never gave up his faith. galileo was a man of the church. never opposed the church but he said things which upset the apple cart. for me to doubt or refute would
be shabby because somebody -- that's a remarkable man and the scientists are remarkable people. so i'm open to any suggestion. >> charlie: what it is, that's the key word, open. i mean you were so open that you came to. now it was all what? what brought you to the other side so to speak? i mean just constant, you went from atheist to an agnostic to a believer. >> yes. >> charlie: what was crucial about the last part of the journey from agnosticism to belief this. >> well according to notradamus. many years ago, i was in a lot of pain. i was drinking a lot. i was drinking myself away, but i don't think i want to go to
that subject because it's boring. i said look at these people, what are they doing. they believe in all this nonsense. my father was an atheist and marxist and all that. i was going to die doing this stupid nonsense. then one been day i realize i could have killed somebody in my car and i just made a phone call to somebody and mentioned something about how i could get help and she mentioned the three letter word. she said god. and suddenly all of my defenses collapsed. i said well why not. my supreme intellect -- >> charlie: all the defenses nell away. >> it all fella way. it was the ground of all being. i never argue with people but
saw how powerful it is, it's all over, now you can start living and it's all been for a purpose. so all pain is for a purpose. >> charlie: how much better is your life because of it. >> transformed immediately. >> charlie: transformed. >> yes, it was a quantum leap. i was in one stage and suddenly -- >> charlie: it brought you happen must and what. >> a lot of confusion and growing peace of mind as the years have gone by and now contentment. it's not a very useful word. >> charlie: you were really well read. i mean you read a lot. >> yes, i read all the time. i think the greatest power that's in my life is being in school, being ostracized for being relegated to the background. i was always at the bottom of the class. they used to call me the dummy, you know. they used to call me elephant head. i had a rather big head and small body. and all the kids made fun of me. >> charlie: we all remember these kind of things. >> it was very painful and caused me a lot of anger and i thought one day i will become
famous and i'll show you. i became like winston churchill. and i look back on that. it was a great gift. even my drinking was a great gift because it caused turmoil in me. >> charlie: the turmoil made you a better actor is that what you're saying. >> it made me a better person because i just, yes, i think it did. all of a that angst and pain, it was worth it. i was just lucky enough to pull back from the brink before it destroyed me. i was working with chaos. just something in my personality. i looked at it not with self pity or regret but this is the best that could have happened to me. it was a painful journey but i mounted that. >> charlie: without the journey you wouldn't be the manner. >> yes. >> charlie: if you hadn't found that. >> that's right. >> charlie: exactly. do you paint as well.
>> i paint and i sell paintings. >> charlie: you compose and you play the piano and you're reading remarkable stuff. your own personal journey and when you look at where you are, you must be -- >> bemused. and mystified. these a wonderful artist called hess. and a friend wrote to her a long letter because she complained. she said stop grumbling and mumbling. don't be cool, be uncool. just paint rubbish. stop looking back over your shoulder. it changed my life. that's what i do. they can't put me in jail, i can't write music, they may not like it. you do what you do for fun and for free. >> charlie: great. and acting, have you changed in
term on how you approach acting? >> yes. i just been working with this young actor carla donahue, i see a young kid coming along who is nervous and just enjoy it. just enjoy it. i have a lot of fun and i don't take it seriously anymore. >> charlie: don't take it seriously. what does that mean. >> i work very hard to get my script and all that stuff. literally. >> charlie: literally what? >> literally, i go over the script 500 times. is that right. >> yes, because i'm obsessive. i had to go over and over. but i enjoy it, it's not work. i go on the set and i know i'm relaxed and i can make jokes on the set and i cannot -- i can look at myself and i make people laugh because it's only a job. there was a famous incident what was it the golden gloves. it was a little bit of upset because somebody made fun. >> charlie: i think it was
what's his name, ricky pervase who was -- >> i didn't see it. >> charlie: i didn't see it other but he was rather pungent in his criticism. >> i sense that, i've been in this game a long time now. and i say the younger actors, they take themself too seriously. i want to say wake up it's only a job. they get too much money too much power, they hit the drugs and the booze and the papparazzi. >> charlie: are you saying all this stuff you went through, you had to go through alcoholism and all this stuff to become where you are now. >> that's right. >> charlie: are you also saying even in terms of craft, to get to the place you are where you look at it with a better perspective, you had to go through whatever it is you did in your career in the work?
you didn't have this attitude about acting when you were 25. >> oh no, i was nervous angry all the time. i came out in frustration because i didn't belong anywhere. >> charlie: could you have been the way you were back there. >> no. >> charlie: you had to go through a process of getting there. >> i had to go through that process. i work with young actors. i have master classes. >> charlie: you do master classes. >> yes. i did a few years ago. >> charlie: what happens in a master class? >> i don't tell them how to act i just say know your lines and get up and do something. >> charlie: you tell them. >> i get a camera and i say okay now we're going into it and have some fun with it. i say know the text. i pick a piece and say okay you can do that a little quieter. just don't act so much and some don't have talent. i say okay it's no big deal. just keep it simple. this was one young actor, spanish actor who was so mobile.
i said don't move a eye drop. and of course they all -- i said don't even move one eyebrow because you got a great face stop moving the eyebrow. not even a twitch. he did it. and i said okay on you go. the and he did his speech and i watched him on the big close up. i said cut. bravo. come look. my god, he didn't do a thing. i said that's all you need to do. >> charlie: wow. when people write in about this show they say the thing i love about your show is a the diversity but b the sense that you look like you're having so much fun. >> yes. >> charlie: people get. there's a sense that you are doing something with both love and passion and having fun. >> yes. >> charlie: it connects. >> it does. >> charlie: it connects wherever it is. it does. life is not somber but there is,
you know. >> it's difficult life is. it's difficult, just to survive. i was working at mgm many years ago and they're people on the set, screaming and shouting and ego. outside people were pan handling because they had no homes and i used to think this is great, we're insane in here. >> charlie: they have no food. >> no food. >> charlie: and were being petty as hell. >> trying to educate their kids. what are we doing. this is crazy. and i work with these young kids and all that. i mean i did all that, you know, the booze and parties. but it's like i think today they need mentors to say be careful. just watch it because you're going to die. and why waste and throw away all that. >> charlie: have you minute
your memoirs? >> i tried. i got bored with it. >> charlie: you can't just tell it to somebody. >> no. >> charlie: because the badge you use would come through if you're telling your story to someone. >> i've started it several times and then i'd though it away and get bored with it and said who needs another active life. i like reading biographies like the new one that's come on. but no, i've read other people's biographies like, oh whoorks he is his name. >> charlie: what about keith richards, he's written a brilliant memoir. it's fabulous. >> i must read that because i like to read them and how they do it and maybe i can imitate their style. >> charlie: the thing is being authentic. it's all the things you tell the actors, you go there where you are.
this is where father lukas warns michael that the devil still has him fooled. here it is. >> it is the devil. >> this is a very very sick girl. she doesn't need a priest, she needs a shrink. >> still has you fooled. doesn't he. >> you've got your bag of tricks. >> michael. isn't this evil. >> charlie: the film is called "the rite" it opens on january 28th, next week. thank you, great to see you. >> thank you very much. great to see you again.