tv Charlie Rose WHUT January 27, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EST
>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. tonight, harrison ford. >> i knew that there was less to success than... than you might imagine. >> rose: (laughs) >> you know, i'm just reminded... it just came to me now that my friend mike nichols said very early on "be careful" and i'm sure he put in the a more eloquent way. he said "be careful not to become a thing. and... and, you know, from time to time i have remembered his advice and it has been helpful. >> rose: and colin firth. >> you know, if i'm sitting at a table and the phone's ringing and i'm alone and i've got a cup of coffee in front of me and i'm not answering that phone and the camera's outside looking through the glass and it's emptiness around me, i don't need the
director to tell me this is a scene about loneliness. he's told me. >> rose: ford and firth next. if you've had a coke in the last 20 years, ( screams ) you've had a hand in giving college scholarships... and support to thousands of our nation's... most promising students. ♪ ( coca-cola 5-note mnemonic ) captioning sponsored by rose communications
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: harrison ford is here. he has starred in some of the most iconic and enduring films of the 20th century. (laughs) he is a globally recognized face. his movies have made nearly $6 billion at the worldwide box office. along the way he's become synonymous with the great american hero. this is a little montage of mr. ford's career. here it is. >> hey, you know a guy around here with a piss yellow deuce coupe supposed to be hot stuff? >> what, you mean john millner? hey, nobody can beat him, man, he's got theastest... >> i ain't nobody, dork, right? >> right. >> hey, you see this millner, you tell him i'm looking for him huh? tell him i aim to blow his ass right off the road.
>> in both kids it's the heart that's the real threat to their lives. >> how much more time do we have? >> megan maybe a year. patrick less. >> i wish that we had a drug to treat pompe, but we simply don't. i'm sorry. >> dr. stonehill? this is john karolyi. all the researchers out there say they're a genius on the verge of a scientific break through. >> i'm not on the verge of anything. >> how much would it take to prove your theory. >> 40 t odds against you are crushing so where does that leave your kids when the dad has no job and no health insurance? >> you're right. this is crazy but i can't just sit around and wait for my kids to die. i promised them that i would raise $500. >> that's all? >> $a thousand. >> it is five house or a thousand? >> $500,000. >> are you totally inpain? >> apparently. >> was it worth it? the stonehill guy? >> he's really eccentric but his science is way ahead of
everybody else's. >> do you have a wife? >> ex-wives, two of them. >> yeah, how come? >> because i'm so easy to get along with. i figure any dude in a business suit that can help me raise venture capital and run the company has to at least be half as motivated as the dad who's trying to save his own ks. note >> we can do this, we push ourselves, we work around the clock. >> i already work around the clock! >> you cure diseases in theory but never help a single human being in reality. >> i can't cure your kids, you know that. but i think i can save their lives. >> what if he succeeds too late? then what? >> you're in clinical trials by the d of the year or we pull the plug. >> nobody is going to tell me how to run my lab! >> we're out of time. >> are you crazy? you've jeopardized your chances of ever getting your kids treated! ♪ we are alive, we are strong...
♪ >> do you remember you told me that i should stop chasing miracles. don't get your hopes up, kid. it's a mail mary. ♪ i've got nothing left to lose... ♪ >> he's not going to kiss me, is he? >> i will restrain him. >> rose: i am pleased to have harrison ford back at this table. welcome. >> thank you. thanks for having me back. >> rose: are you just amazed that you can't to get all these... that... >> i can't to get a job? >> rose: (laughs) yes. >> from time to time. >> rose: sort of, yes. (laughs) >> i am. i am. but i'm getting around to making them for myself now because they're what i want to do. >> rose: let me talk about this movie because you said you're an executive producer of this movie. >> i am. >> rose: did you first see this story or someone else in the "wall street journal". >> i don't remember. it was six years ago there was a series of articles in the "wall
street journal" detailing john crowley's quest. >> rose: who is john crowley? >> john crowley is a man who lives on the... in new jersey. he and his wife aileen have two children who suffer from pompe syndrome. >> rose: which is? >> which is a genetic disease, both parents have to carry a chromosome for it. and what it is is that people who suffer from it lack an enzyme necessary for the metabolism of sugar. so the sugar builds up in their cells and it has its greatest affect on the heart, the liver, and the die photograph.
so they have trouble breathing. the enlargement of those two critical organs are life threatening over a period of time. and there are 400,000 people or less that suffer from this in the developed world. but life expectancy is... >> rose: short? >> no more than eight or nine years. >> rose: right. so crowley realizes his two kids have this. >> and there's no known therapy or cure. so he seeks out the character that i play, who is a fiction. i had the liberty to create a character who is a composite of all the different researchers and scientists that helped crowley. >> rose: so crowley goes on a mad serge search to find
someing to cure his kids. >> he does, and he finds this academic research scientist, a medical doctor but with no interest in... he'd probably never met a pompe patient before. his interest is totally on a cellular level, on an intellectual level. and he works at the university of nebraska and the football coach makes more money than his entire science budget. he's frustrated by the inability to take his theory, which is his life's work, and get it too the next stage of development. and so when i know he meet this is desperate man who pretends to have some money to put into his research, he's... he's excited about the prospect.
so these two guys... and crowley is a desperate man. he's moved by the character i play, his passion for his work and his belief in his work. and so the two of them go into business together. they get venture capital, they raise the mon to set up a lab. stonehill further develops... >> rose: stonehill is your character? >> my character. further develops the science. they are bought out by a... >> rose: big pharma. >> big pharma. and big pharma is developing this... this particular company is developing three or four different enzyme which is they test. and one of them proves to be an effective therapy. for crowley's kids. >> rose: so what we have here is so far two things. number one based on a real-life
story of a search to find medicines that will save lives to children. >> yeah. >> rose: the person who's on the journey. and we have this cranky character. >> irascible. >> rose: irascible. >> difficult character. >> rose: difficult character. >> the irascibility is... >> rose: it's a perfect part for you to play. (laughs) >> don't you start with me. don't interrupt. >> rose: (laughs) >> i think... my theory is that you can account for this guy... >> rose: your method acting delivered. (laughs) >> you can account for this guy's difficulty out of the circumstances that we see. his frustration at the university, academic research to him is a dead end. he's got to ex-wives and he... you know, he works alone, he lives alone, he officials alone,
he's a... >> rose: lives in his own world. >> isolated guy. now he's drawn into the corporate world where he's responsible for time and budget and people are in his face about the progress he's making and are even questioning the validity of his science. well, that would be enough to make me slightly irritability. >> rose: (laughs) here's the first take. >> the man's a genius. he's on the verge of a scientific break through. >> i thought doc was just your nickname. who knew? >> i'm not on the verge of anything. this is a theory, not a therapy. i don't have the money to make my theory into a usable medicine. >> how much? >> how much what? >> how much money would it take to prove your theory? >> i'd need half a million bucks just to fund the lab work. >> that's why you need me. >> i need you? why?
>> because i'm the founder of the pompe foundation for children. >> i've been working on this disease for ten years. i have never heard of you guys. >> how soon do you need a grant? >> now would be good. >> well, not all the money's in place. but it will be. and soon. this is a very exciting time. >> rose: so there you go. i mean, you see the two characters there. >> yeah. brendan fraser does a really great job. very pleased. >> rose: a bit about the making of this movie. it is a made by cbs films. >> it is. it's their first feature. not our first feature. but it's the first film that they've chosen to release. >> rose: and the simple idea that they have, i believe, is that they're going to make moderate budget films that appeal to an adult audience. >> yeah.
and they're going to make films that they like. >> rose: right. >> and that's not something you see very often in this business anymore. amy bear is the president of cbs films and she and leslie moonves head of cbs had a real passion for this story. and their support was impeccable. >> rose: now crowley was around when you were doing this? >> crowley was around to... we started six years ago. he was around to help us... first of all, you have to convince somebody who's a living person to give you the rights to tell their story. so we met with john and convinced him that we wanted to do a responsible job. he helped us in our research. he helped me enormously in the research because i needed to understand the science and because we were all of us producers were guiding the
script writing process. we had to figure out ws to visualize the science because he couldn't sit around for two hours watching me think. >> rose: (laughs) no. >> that's not a pretty sight. >> rose: it's too much of you! (laughs) >> too much dead air. so we had to find ways of visualizing it. and i had to understand the science. >> rose: but you also have here the sort of coming together of the two characters and the dynamic of the relationship between the two two characters. >> and in my research i did not find, to be fair, anybody as cranky or difficult as i am on screen. but... >> rose: where did you find it? (laughs) >> in my heart, charlie. >> rose: yes. >> no, i thought it was important to be able to create between these two obvious allies some dramatic obstacle. so that when we come together at the end as one needs to do... >> rose: they split up over the selling of the company and the
role of big pharma and what happens there. we'll look at another scene. here it is. take a look. >> you and me going into business together. >> excuse me? >> i'm tired of begging bread crumbs from the university and giving them the patents to my ideas, which is why i'm setting up my own shop. i figure any dude in a business suit can help me raise venture capital and run the company but who's going to be half as motivated as the dad trying to save his own kids. >> so... >> i can promise you less money, longer hours, lousy working conditions plus if we raise the money you'll have to relocate to nebraska. >> (scoffs) >> oh, and with the right business plan i can also promise you a working enzyme for pompe disease. i can't cure your kids, you know that. they're always going to be in wheelchairs but i think i can save their lives.
outstanding cobbler. >> rose: give me more about the relationship between the two of them because one is dedicated to his science. >> yeah. >> rose: the other is dedicated to his children. >> yeah. and it's not a natural mesh as far as my character is concerned. in fact, when he first comes to nebraska under the mistaken impression that i've hung up on him because he's been trying to contact me. >> rose: right. >> he says "i have two kids with pompe." you know, you shouldn't have come here without talking to me. i do research, i don't see patients. and then further when i ask him how old his kids are, my counsel to him is, look, go home, spend time with them while you've still got them. >> rose: all right.
>> chances are it's going to take longer to develop... >> rose: than will benefit your kids. go home and take care and have this time with your kids. >> yeah, and the irony of it all, the final irony of it all, is that when we do develop a therapy which could help his kids he's not allowed to administer it to his own children because of a conflict of interest. he works for the company that's doing the drug trials. so there's another strategy which we... >> rose: which is part of the movie. clearly making the kind of movies is a passion of yours. flying is a passion of yours. so is conservation. >> yeah. >> rose: how are we going in terms of harrison ford? how is the united states and china... >> we're not doing well. >> rose: the people at copenhagen. >> well, they didn't do it. they didn't do it at all. the only substantial agreement coming out of copenhagen is on
avoided deforest station. which is a good step. but now it has to be funded. people have to step up to the plate. and what we're talking about here is the remaining tropical forests which are mostly in the tropical belt around the equator are some of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. we need the standing forest to clean the air. >> rose: right. >> the planet needs that. as well, these forests are... the reservoirs are some of the last remaining biodiversity complicated interrelated sections of biological life. if those people are not... do not have another economic incentive, they're going to have to cut the trees and sell them to... >> rose: or for fuel or
something else. >> and what they do is they cut the trees and they plant low-yield crops, subsistence farming. and then they burn the crop residues and that... the... and they burn the forest as well to clear the land. that process accounts for somethinlike 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions. but the entire transportation sector is around 13%. so if we can mitigate against this destruction of these forests and it's very simple economic processes, you pay them to leave the trees up. >> rose: right. >> you give them mey that they can use for the development of their country. and it's not very much money compared to the investments in technologies which may or may not pay off...
>> rose: and so why have we faild? >> because we don't have the political will. we've failed because... and i think conservation and the... >> rose: conservations forces? >> and... the community that i'm representing here, we have allowed ourselves to become separate. we've allowed... we have different issues, we have different policies, we approach trying to attend to nature's needs on a species-by-species or an issue-by-issue basis. and we haven't really raised public consciousness to the level of a movement. we haven't done what needs to be done. we need to raise movement level involvement, like the civil rights movement. like the... >> rose: women's movement. >> like the women's movement. like the anti-war movement.
and we haven't been able to do it. >> rose: so you need a leader to do that? is that what you need? >> that's the problem. that's one of the problems because you're right, each one of them had messianic leadership. i say this all the time... >> rose: why don't you step up? >> no, not me. i don't have the bona fides. >> rose: here's somebody who does, though. roll tape. what is that? tell me about this? this is an inscription of his book that he brought me. >> to you? >> rose: to me. yes. what is that? >> and this is my all-purpose hand... >> rose: so you're saying i'm those, too? >> yeah, i usually... i commonly assign... put an ant there but to make it distinctive and to recognize your special position, i'll name it after you and it would be... okay.
let me devise the scientific name right now. >> rose: all right. >> rosidrus. >> rose: rosidrus. >> nova yorkidris. so rosidru is the genus. and idris means wise one. nova yorkidris who lives in new york. i'll write fit you remind me later. >> i will, indeed. >> rose: so e.o. wilson, one of my heroes. >> and mine. >> rose: that's why i said this. >> a friend, i have enormous admiration for the week being done and the beauty of his language and i think that's what wins the day. >> rose: pulitzer prizes, too. pulitzer prizes because he writes so beautifully. but he does for his friends give them... and yourself last one is like, harrison forditis or
something. was it an ant or was it... >> yes. >> rose: because he's the king of ants. >> because he's the king of ants. he's at the top of the ant hill. >> rose: (laughs) you are in a good place now. >> yeah. yeah. i'm very... i'm in a good place. >> rose: i mean, there is a sense that this is beyond all the movies and all the success and all of that stuff. but there is a sense that you somehow came to a place where you wanted to... you knew there was more. >> i knew that thereas less to success than you might imagine. >> rose: (laughs) >> you know, i'm just reminded... it just came to me now that my friend mike nichols
said very early on "be careful..." and i'm sure he put in the a more eloquent way. he said "be careful not to become a thing." and... and, you know, from time to time i have remembered his advice and it has been helpful. you know, i have had wonderful opportunities in life and i have had wonderful relationships with people and i now have the opportunity to watch my kids... my older kids do well in life and my youngest child liam, who's nine years old, i have a chance to watch him learn the world. and it is enormously pleasing to see his intelligence and his
passion for learning. and it reinvigorates my life. >> rose: and you've been what w calista now for a while. >> we have. >> rose: how long has it been? >> actually, we met at the golden globes. >> rose: and i know, and it started immediately, didn't it? >> yeah. >> rose: whatever that means. >> well it meant that i went home and tore up my address book. >> rose: (laughs) you knew! you're one of these people who meets... >> well, when you know, you know. anyway, we've been together now nine years. >> rose: but you knew. >> i knew. >> you went home and said... >> i'm no dummy, charlie. >> rose: (laughs) i didn't say that. but how are you sflent i reject this idea of people talking about mid-life crisis. >> are you saying i didn't have a mid-life crisis? where do you think i got this?
(laughter) did you? is that what we call this? i thought you'd been doing this for a while. >> rose: >> well, ed bradley... >> rose: i new ed did it. >> rose: other, you had lurj with ed and you said... >> i said i think i'll get one of those and i went home and my kid said "is that real?" malcolm, who was ten at the time. he said "is that real?" i said "yeah." he said "can i get one?" and i said "yes, when you're 55 you can get one." >> rose: (laughs) >> but i don't have a mid-life crisis. >> rose: i know you didn't. >> in any case i'm well past mid-life now. i'm enjoying my life enormously. >> rose: thank you for coming, >> thank you for having me. >> rose: always good to see you. >> good to see you, my friend. >> rose: colin firth is here. in 1995 he earned international
notice for his portrayal of mr. darzi in the bbc mini series "pride & prejudice." here is a look at some of his work. in vain i have struggled-- it will not do. >> in vain i have struggled. it will not do! my feels will not be repressed. you must allow me to tell you how ardenly i admire and love you. ♪ it's raining men, hallelujah ♪ it's raini men... >> oh, oh. (moaning) >> jesus. (moaning) >> all right. all right? enough. >> enough. >> enough. >> west banker.
♪ i can still recall our last summer ♪ i still see it all, walks along the seine ♪ laughing in the rain, our last summer ♪ memories that remain. we maid our way along the river and sat down in the grass. >> rose: his latest roll may be the performance of his career. he plays a grieving professor in "a single man". he's already earned a golden
globe nomination. here's a look at "a single man." >> what are you doing this weekend? >> i think i might just be very quiet. >> you never really took me seriously did you, george? >> i tried to, charlie, remember? a long time ago. it didn't really work out, did it? good night, charlie. sleep tight. >> rose: i'm pleased to have colin firth at this tae for the first time. lots to talk about. but will y just talk about voice and i said in this film i thought the voice just had a real impact and you were... >> well, thank you. >> rose: you said to me "really. " >> well, people don't notice
joyce and sound in film as much as you think that might. there's a lot of emphasis on the importance of film as a visual medium and you get a lot of people saying that's all that counts. spend a lot of time in italy where voice is really consider secondary. in fact, they didn't even bother to record sound on a film set through the '60s, i don't think. >> you just loop it later or something >> fellini apparently had people say one, two, three, four, five, six. hadn't even written a script yet and you do it later. >> rose: well, you got some of that from "nine." >> you see it, absolutely. and some of the biggest battles i've had with italian friends has been on the subject of dubbing which i consider to be vandalism and they can't see what the big deal is. it's all about the face and what things look like. i think even subliminal sound is critical in a film. >> rose: tom ford sent you the script for this and what did you any what were your... >> quite a lot of things go through one's mind when that happens. because i had to process a
series of very improbable propositions. one was the idea that tom was making a film at all. i didn't know tom really, we'd had too brief but quite memorable encounter which is he gave me that stare. anyone who's met tom know it is stare. >> rose: (laughs) yes. like "are you crazy? >> yes, it is a little. i don't know if tom's judging you or not. i'm sure he's not but there's always a feeling that the minute tom looks at you you start to straighten your tie and see if your hair's in place. and he explained the stare as being about his thoughts about the film and putting me in it. so tom ford makes a movie. that's already something that took a moment to process. that tom would choose not something that was today-to-do with what we associate him with and the world of fashion or the kind of life that we... we perceive them to have led but it was about a gay college professor in 12, christopherisher wood novel and
this felt like something very personal. it didn't seem to be anything to do with showing off his sprinkle action. you know, it was a... it seemed from the heart. and he was so compelling when he came out to meet me. you know, he's eloquent. >> rose: so what did he say that was so eloquent? >> he told me really his vision for the film. in a way it kind of washes through you. you... he had these... he took me through george's day, not telling me who george was but telling me what george sees and in some ways that's the most useful information an actor can have. because i'm going to be put in a subjective position. you know, i find it much more helpful to me to be told what the stimuli around me are going to be. i need that information, you know? and i will provide the means by which i negotiate all of that and what the obstacles are and all the rest of it. but for tom to give me such a clear image of george's world told me about george.
>> rose: he has said and others have written this critical point is that what he liked about you was the ability to contain emotions but show emotions through your face rather than through some dramatic expression of... >> oh, well, that's a continuerful compliment from tom because that's the kind of acting i admire in others and it's certainly something which i think is critical to this particular character and the way he deals with things. because basically the film is about nothing if not about putting up a wall in order to prevent things both coming in on him and the kind of chaos he feels he's got inside himself. so that protection is all he's got until he makes it to t end of the day. so if he feels a sense of utter despair and he's that far from a complete collapse, his tie pin and his cuff links are what's holding that in place, you know? the hair has to be right.
the shoes have to be... there is... he t only control he has are these external things and they're also to protect anybody reaching o to him. anything that's going to kind of get to him. so it's a kind of edifice that protects him in a kind of two-way. >> rose: it's also an interesting film because it's a... the last day of his life. this is somebody who gets news and decides that at the end of the day it's going to be over and it has a kind of liberating impact on him. >> well tom was very preoccupied-- and this is one of the things we talked about when we first met, actually-- by the notion of the present and the ability or inability to inhabit the present. that's one of the greatest challenges i think we have as human beings. and i think a lot of philosophy and religious teaching and spiritual teaching is aimed at that. it's all we have. and yet we don't really succeed.
and being acquainted with the present moment. i think it was john lennon or somebody who said life is something that happens when you're planning something else. >> rose: it was john lennon. exactly. i've seen you take note of thish dennis potter, i think it was, in which he looks out the window and talks about... >> the blossoms. >> it's resonated with me for years. i can't remember the exact quote but it... i think it must have been gone into some sort of mythology because a friend of mine quoted it last night completely in a different context and he said... >> rose: it was a series of great interviews. >> it was a series of extraordinary interviews and very courageous. he knew he was dying and he basically allowed these interviews to be a discussion of the process of dying. it sounds utterly morbid and depressing until you see them. he doesn't hide the hardship. >> rose: because he sees thing
with a different eye. >> this is it and this film, i think, speaks to that. he looks out of his window and he... these flowers that he's seen every spring, today he knows he'll never see them again. he doesn't know quite how long he's got but he certainly will not make it to another spring and he said "today those blossoms are the whitest most beautiful most vibrant blossomest blossoms i've ever seen." >> rose: i want to talk about a scene that's so beautiful in this film and have you reflect on it. it is... he gets a phone call telling him that his lover has been killed and you see in one scene what i assume is difficult for an actor, is to go from one emotional state to another emotional state. >> rose: it's certainly very difficult to do in the front of a rolling camera because what what we love to do is prepare ourselves before the camera rolls you know, if you've got december pyre and devastation,
you can stewart that. you say okay, everybody be quiet while i get the despair and devastation going. okay, i've got it, despair and devastation, roll quickly. this is one way you have to read the script, he picks up the phone and he's happy and he gets news and he has to end in a different place and then, of course, you have to do another take and go back to happy. and fortunately i worked with a director who had so much understanding, somehow, or respect for the acting process that he gave it an extraordinary amount of time and space to reveal itself. >> he had patience and confidence. >> he did. and we shot this film in 21 days which is a recipe for panic under most circumstances. >> rose: first i want to show this scene that we're talking about. roll tape. >> yes, sir, you have, indeed, called the correct number. how may i help you? >> this is harold ackerly. i'm jim's cousin. >> oh, of course, yes. good evening, mr. ackerly. >> i'm afraid i'm calling with some bad news. >> oh?
>> there has been a car accident. >> accident? >> there's been a lot of snow here lately and the roads have been icy. on his way into town jim lost control of his car. it was instantaneous, apparently. >> oh. >> it happened late yesterday, but his parents didn't want to call you. >> i see. >> in fact, they don't know that i'm calng you now, but i thought that you should know. >> thank you. >> i know this must be quite a shock. it was for all of us. >> yes, indeed. >> rose: so just looking at that scene we just saw, what's the hardest thing about him? i mean, how do you do... if it's easy to do despair or it's easy
to do some other emotion, how does the actor make sure that he can do both in one take? or one roll? >> i think you just have to... you have to think your way as deeply as possible into that character's world. and set the stakes up. because you really can't be at the end before you get there. you just can't inhit the beginning. and we had drama school exercises that concentrated entirely on this very thing, because this is something that's obviously going to come up in drama. what happens when the big surprise hits? what happens when you're... you might start a scene in a state of despair and something happens to completely brighten everything up. how do you get from one to the other? and i think sternly the way i was trained, whichis, you know, to put it very, very simply would be stanislavsky that you excavate as deeply as you possibly can so that you are ready to react as that character at any point. i wasn't particularly aware of doing that.
i didn't go methody on it. i didn't spend the day... >> rose: methody. (laughs) >> i just senate a chair and tom pointed a camera and there was just something about the way he communicates the tone that put us all on the same page. whether it was the grips or the electricians or whatever. we all somehow were in the same world. >> rose: here is what tom ford said about your character. roll tape. >> this is a character who is holding himself together by his outer world. his outer world and his inner world are linked. inside he's the soulful romantic crushed man who's keeping himself together by all of this outer armor which i can definitely relate to, you know? on a bad day-- and this is a good piece of advice for most people, when i have a bad day, i polish my shoes, i put on my best suit. >> rose: (laughs) >> i do! because it's armor! >> rose: so there he is. that's the guy you're playing.
>> there's so much a tom in this. there's a lot of christopher isherwood, there's a lot of me. for this thing to have any life at all, it has to live and breathe the people that created it and everybody interpreter in the process of adaptation has to give something that's quite significant. >> rose: does he work differently than other directors? >> yes, i mean, i wouldn't want to... i've worked with some truly wonderful directors but tom is absolutely up there with the best. >> rose: because? >> directing is a personality thing. there is not one particular set of boxes you have to take to be the good director. the absolutely perfect director is an impossible commodity. how can one human being know everything there is to know about text and about lenses and about the editing process and pace and about, you know, how to talk to a... an electrician about his problems, how to deal with the producer, the kind of human relations aspect with
actors. if you take three or four of those boxes, you're probably pretty great. >> rose: but tom seems to have gone to a certain length to make sure that you and others understood why he was fascinated by this character and why this story was so compelling. >> that's exactly right. and i think that the... the best thing a director can do is to make his vision contagious. is to make it clear and to infect you with the desire to share it. and to communicate it. and he has that. i think that's probably what he was able to do with his fashion work. >> rose: and that's what... i would assume actors want. i mean, you know how to get there but just tell me where you want me to get. i'll know how to get there with my techniques and my training that will get us there. >> quite. i mean i don't want to be... i don't mind. some directors are very verbose and they give you a lot of detailed instructions and if that's good, that's good.
we talked about pinter before. harold was very, very economic, you know? he wasn't... >> rose: and precise. >> yes. it wasn't always kindly delivered. it was very rarely anything but technical. it would be "why don't you just sit down before you say that line." >> okay. i mean, i can hardly see how that's going to make a difference. you tried it, it worked, it solved the scene. tom actually in some ways would have something of that. he didn't say a great deal, but when he did, it was a nugget that would reveal everything. but it was ngor do with the fact that it was, as you say, in control before we started. you look at the house, you understand something about george. >> rose: right. >> you think, okay, he leads this elegance. it is partly a cozy wooden paneled enclosed space with a fireplace. it's also partly a glass house, which is exposed. george's clothes tell me something about him, just as you heard tom say, it's where he protects himself. he doesn't need... you know, if i'm sitting at a table and the phone's ringing and i'm alone
and i've got a cup of coffee in front of me and i'm not answering that phone and the camera's outside looking through the glass and its emptiness around me, i don't need a director to tell me this is a scene about loneliness. he's told me. and that... we all got it. and that was what was wonrful. i felt that there was this... despite the pressure that we were under with these long days and short number of them that we had, he created the illusion of space and freedom to do things. julian moore said something quite similar. she said there was a sense that you could try anything. that you could use and stretch your imagination to its lits and yet there was somebody always in control. >> rose: all right. take a look. there's another scene here from "a single man". >> it takes time in the morning for me to become george. i'm to adjust to what is expected of george and how he is to behave. by the time i'm dressed and put the final air of polish on the now slightly stiff but quite
perfect george i know fully what part i'm supposed to play. looking in the mirror staring back at me isn't so much a face as the expression of a predicament. just get through the goddamn day. >> rose: there is in terms of tom and the way he makes the character a kind of perfection abt... >> it's neurosis. >> rose: it's neurosis, yes! (laughs) >> it's passion! it's deranged! i mean, he needs this so desperately that casey kotchman not be sane. there's nothing serene about this. this is an answer to, i think, some of the critics who find... >> rose: too ordered. >> they're too aware of the style. >> rose: that's exactly what they say. >> if we didn't know tom's history i think there would be less of those observations.
i think people would be celebrating the wonderful cinematic sensibility of the man. >> rose: right. >> but because we know about the fashion history and the rest of it we see the fashion stuff. i understand it but i think what they're missing is how integrated it is. this stuff is not... these beautiful costumes are not decoration. they are a symptom of a kind of illness, really. and it's the same with the way julianne moore's character dresses. you know, he is holding on to something that's about to fade. she is at war against aging and despair and solitude and... >> rose: here's another interesting scene. roll tape. >> would you like to meet charlton heston? he's our scorpion. every night we give him something new and watch him kill it. daddy says it's like a coliseum. daddy says he wants to throw you into the coliseum. >> no kidding. why? >> well, he says you're light in your loafers but you're not even wearing any loafers. >> sweetheart, what are you
doing bothering him? >> she's not bothering me at all susan >> i'm glad to see you, george. jennifer, let's let mr. falconer get back to his thinking. good-bye, george. >> bye, susan. bye, jennifer. >> rose: we see the humor of the character. >> i think so. it's humor with a... with an edge all the time. it's not frivolity although we see him abandon himself to that in the scene with julnne. but he's looking at this child who's expressing all the prejudices that he is on the receiving end of, you know, from his suburban neighbors and probably most people around him. you need to be thrown in the coliseum, you're light in your loafers and all that stuff. all he's seeing is probably for the first time in his life the sheer beauty of a child. >> rose: yeah. >> and that's his brat neighbor's kid, you know? these kids have annoyed him ever since he's lived there. and what i find that haunts me about the film and i think haunts a lot of people is this idea that these beautiful
experiences george has are all mundane things. on any other day they would be mundane. >> rose: does it say anything to you in terms of what you might want to do or what you might have options to do or the kinds of characters that... >> it hasn't done anything like that just yet. it's partly because i've been steeped in something else until last friday and so i haven't really had time to absorb and rethink... >> rose: this is a film? >> this is a film called "the king's speech" which is about george vi who was the father of our present queen. >> rose: oh, yes, yes. >> and in the wake of the abdication crisis, which is the aplot of history, if you like. the stuff most of us know about where the king of england... >> rose: this is a great story. >> gave up the throne for love. or did he? >> re: now was he... that was george vi? >> george vi is the one who succeeded him. >>. >> rose: queen elizabeth's father who succeeded his brother who gave... who became the duke
of windsor. for the american divorcee that's right. mrs. simpson. and you can't marry mrs. simpson because you can't marry a divorcee, you can't marry an americ. the brother had a speech immedment, he had a terrible stammer which he had to seek to overcome and this film is about his attempt to overcome that. it's about his relationship with hispeech therapist. >> rose: you spent a little bit of time-- or maybe more than i know-- your parents lived in niria. >> that's right. my parents were born and raised in india. my mother... >> rose: professors? >> yes, they are. still. teaching. they were children of... ministers of the church and doctors and my grandfather, actually, my paternal grandfather had been a missionary about there until the age of about 38 and he just looked at people and thought... he joined the british missionary society because he heard they were building schools and hospitals. he didn't want to evangize, he
never converted a single person, in fact. >> rose: (laughs) >> and he said that quite proudly at the end of his life. but, no, he said i'm going to be a doctor and very few people would train a man that age but the united states was the only country would so he broht his family to iowa and went to medical school for eight years, went back to india and treated people there and he's sort of a hero of mine for having done that. then, yes, i lived... i started life in nigeria... i was born in england but my parents took me when i was a few days old to nigeria, my sister was born there and i was there for my first four years. >> rose: and then came back to... >> back to the u.k. we moved around the u.k. quite a bit. i spent one year in st. louis in a high school. >> rose: when did you know you wanted to be an actor? >> shortly after that, i was about 12, 13 then. around 14... it hit me like a bombshell, actually. i was doing amateur dramatics and really enjoying it and i was... it threw into relief the extent to which i was not
enjoying my daily school life. and there were certain aspec i liked about it which would be obvious looking back now. i was definitely going down the arts route, i enjoyed music and i enjoyed literature and story telling. it was basically the story telling thing that was the bug. and i didn't like getting up in the morning and that's no way to live. >> rose: (laughs) >> the mornings were painful. because everyday i had to face... >> rose: well, there's a story about you on the morning you were supposed to take your admission to school am some level you turned over and went back to sleep and said "it's not for me." >> actually, that was probably one of the most critical turning points in my life. >> rose: (laughs) >> i'm very grateful to myself for having made that lazy adolescent decision. i just thought actor? wait a second. if i wake up in the morning and i know i'm going to do that, i think i might want to get up. even if i'm actually washing dishes in the back of a restaurant, knowing that i'm
aiming at that, that's something to get up for. >> rose: but you hadn't done much before you got the opportunity to be in another country, had you? >> just drama school. three years of drama school. i had done nothing. i mean that was my first job. i didn't even graduate because i left in my final torpl go and do that. so it was an incredible opportunity and i've been dogged by the idea that i haven't really paid my dues. >> rose: (laughs) you'll be all right. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> rose: and congratulations. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org