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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  August 23, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." >> mandy patinkin is an emmy and tony award-winning actor. he is one extraordinary singer. he stars in "homeland."
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his character is saul berenson and some say the show's moral center. here is a look at his performance. >> [speaking foreign language] >> [speaking hebrew] >> saul. >> [speaking hebrew] >> saul.
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>> his iconic role in the film "the princess bride" has gained cult status. >> my name is iniego montoya. you killed my father. prepare to die. >> i am enormously pleased to have mandy patinkin back at this table. welcome. you're just back from australia. doing what? >> i was doing a series of concerts there with my friend, but who just started rehearsals
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today for "the magic flute." we did three concerts and then we went to auckland and did one there. it was fascinating, i thought i was exhausted. i had to go to morocco and then l.a. for some family. i looked at my wife and said will i get through the first show? i just don't know. i thought i was plugged into a nuclear reactor. the sound of his voice was like being in one of those waterfalls that go onto your head and shoulders, drench you in joy and electricity. and then being with him is fun. i love it more than anything. >> singing is the first love. >> it is my first love. if you told me i could only do one thing, i would choose the live concert venue with the audience. there is nothing like it. the reservoir of material is endless.
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i never leave without watching the news because it informs how we listen to what is happening out there. songs that become classics you want to hear over and over again, they are usually written with such simplicity they can reflect every moment of our lives, joyous or terrifying. a song like "over the rainbow," it begins heavens opens a magic lane, when all the clouds darken up the sky, bleeding from your window pane. just a step beyond the sun, i forgot the last part. i was not singing it. >> how do you remember? >> every day i work out and i either take a long walk for an hour and a half or i go to the gym and i run a concert. i run it fast.
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i send it to somebody with earphones on and i run about an hour 45 minutes worth of material. because i have about 10, 13 hours of lyric in my head. i keep rolling it over and over again. and they also think it is the best thing i have a shot trying to ward off alzheimer's. they say learning something every day. when i have been away from learning for a while, i find it difficult. if i start "homeland," it will be a little rough in the beginning and all of a sudden my brain kicks in. i am learning quicker and quicker and quicker. i am convinced it is similar to other muscles. the brain is like, you build new cells. >> you are absolutely right. >> i have experienced it. >> there is also something you do, help me understand. i forgot about it. you recite the names of people in your mind who are dead. >> yes.
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my favorite line of anything i have ever heard was written by oscar hammerstein for the musical "carousel." you have heard it in other forms. the line is, as long as there is one person on earth who remembers you, it is not over. part of my meditation i have put together, before i go in front of the camera, is one of the parts of this meditation. i say out loud, every person name i knew who has passed on. it is my way of keeping them not only alive, but what i love is, part of what i love about your studio, i am looking at black drapes all around. when i look into the darkness, i can see everything. there is nothing that can't be there, including all of those souls. so it is very powerful to me.
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and i believe in einstein and the theory of relativity and that energy never dies. >> mandy who has some take on the way the world works, have you ever turned into a one-man show? >> this is what i do. this is what i just did in australia. >> you talk about life. >> when i do my solo concerts or my show with nathan, it is less structured. sometimes it is more scripted. the more free-form pieces, which is the basic concert i do, which is called dress casual. i also say what hits me. recently i was in australia and it was the day before thanksgiving.
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nathan said something about thanksgiving. it hit me. i went thanksgiving, yes. it is fascinating. we are in a country that said they were sorry to the native people. why can't they say that in our country? how come, we should give them the meal for thanksgiving. not ourselves. we should feed native americans. >> when some president decides we should apologize for something, something terrible that happened, you hear people, don't apologize for america. that becomes the accusation. you are apologizing for something. >> like it is a crime. i actually -- there is a part of it i find understandable. i do not think there is great value in saying you're sorry over and over again. i think there is value in saying it once and to recognize it.
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at the end of the day, change your behavior is really what i think. change your behavior. words are cheap. actions are everything. my brother in law is a zen buddhist monk in new york. he said a phrase to me once, our actions are the ground we walk on. >> my friend david brooks, at the time everybody was saying you have to find yourself, david brooks said that is not right. what you have to do is find something larger than yourself so you can lose yourself. lose yourself in religion, in the pursuit of an obsession, to do something. do something that is not about who i am. >> i think the rescue, what is that thing you throw out on a boat that is circular?
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the lifesaver. when you throw that out, that rescues you. it it is not about you. get your face and your head out of your navel and pay attention to someone else. pay attention to your wife, children, coworker. when i am working, i work so hard to prepare for one reason, so that when i am in front of the audience, or in front of the camera, i can forget about everything. milos foreman said to me when we were doing "ragtime," he would tell me everything. he said what is the problem? i said you told me to do this. i was told to this. he said everybody is going to tell you everything. listen to them and then forget about it. forget about it. i forgot what the question was.
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>> losing yourself in something larger than you. rather than finding yourself, lose yourself in something greater than you. it could be your child, a thousand things. >> right, and the key is, so you do all of that homework so you can forget about it. now i can be there with the other actor. i can be there with the audience and be in the moment. i can see not the words i learned but what is in your heart. what is the temperature of your nature of your tone? so when these people go to places where they are having wars and finally a general has the good sense to have a cup of tea and he realizes it changes the temperature of the whole room. and once you break bread with a human being, everything is different. we are no longer enemies. >> we're all the same. we believe, we die, we care about kids. >> it is not the equation, it is
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what is in between. and remind me what is between the white and the black notes. >> is it true in preparing for saul, you talked to some cia people? and what broke it for you, you were looking where do i hang saul. that was your question. you are talking to these guys and when he talked about family, you got it. >> yes. brennan echoed what i had found earlier. i had read all of the books. i asked, what can i read? i had a window of opportunity. so i read all of these books. most of them disgruntled about the cia. they really can't tell you anything that is going on anyway.
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it is all kosher in terms of the cia anyway. so i am looking for that hook to hang my heart on. the heartbeat of that human being i'm going to play. and i went down, they called -- i find this guy they hooked me and i went down, they called -- i find this guy they hooked me up with, who was one of the heads of the middle east. we are talking and everything. he is telling me he is this than that. i am not believing a word of it. i said to him do not schmooze a schmoozer. i am paid to lie, you are paid to lie. we make the leap we believe it. i said, on. and then at one point he says, i am not getting what we need. he said something about his kids and daughters. i said where are your kids? how old are they? they are here, right in langley. can i come over? the kids come over and the girls sit down and the nickel dropped. i realized this was all about
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family. the girls were talking about what it was like growing up in these embassies around the world. being with other people. fathers and parents with the cia. and what life was like. at that moment, i learned it from doing henrik ibsen with the gerald friedman, who was my mentor and my teacher. and all of these ideas the great classics hold, so complicated you can be overwhelmed in the cia. and then one day he said about these brothers on this journey, it is a play about family. as we go through our lives, i think we find a few songs which are the ones we like to sing. triggers, they are the ones in our pocket. they are the ones we are looking for. they are not the same. they are who you are. and the family one is the game for me. i loved it so. and all of the dimensions of it. when it works, when it doesn't. when we break it, ignore it.
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when we wish for it. >> "homeland" is about family. the american family. the family of saul and carrie. brodie and his family. the family of you, and his wife, the cia. >> the humanity and the populace of the united states of america and the world at large. the world community as a family. and how we listen to each other. to me that is the nervous system of the piece. whether or not we are listening. >> as we talk and look at the arc of your own professional life, and personal life, do you sometimes think, damn it, i did not listen. and you know you made a mistake. >> yes, sir. those are the most painful moments of my life and i do not know who i would do with all
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those moments as well. >> they are shaping influences. >> yes. you do not get to pick and choose. you pick and choose everything. it all shapes you. but when i think back on the most painful, you know, you know how we are as human beings. all of these wonderful things happen. we ignore them. we ignore the fact we breathe. all of these things. and then one tiny thing happens, you can hardly see it. some negative thing. you go tumbling down. it takes you a month to build up. those mistakes. i referred to them as mistakes. troubles. those moments when i did not listen to myself. >> what is the highest? >> not letting my father know that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and listening to my elders, his sisters, the doctor, and family who said for
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various reasons he would freak out if he knew this in 1972 before cancer became more discussable. so we had to lie to him and tell him he had hepatitis. that 18-year-old mandy has been recovering from that lie the rest of his life by needing too much truth. >> people always want to know. you think he wanted to know? >> yes. i think so. i am a jewish buddhist. they call me a jew bu. i love them both. >> what does buddhism bring? >> i think it brings the best parts of all religions. it is also a practice, i love
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the word practice. how do you get to carnegie hall? practice. how do you get to the carnegie hall of your soul? you practice. you change your behavior. every day. it is very difficult. you are constantly falling down. you have to try to change it again. what i love about the practice, you sit and you meditate and you try to do nothing but listen to the sound of your breath and not have a thought. a teacher had a beautiful saying he said to me, he said of all of the creatures in the universe, the only one from the house fly to the rhinoceros, they all rest in a waking state. except man. mankind is the only one that does not rest while he is awake. we were talking earlier. taking the five minute nap.
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>> you can feel the fatigue leaving you. when i go to bed, i hit the pillow and i am asleep in under one minute. >> our brains are cellular material. if you take a weight, you put it down, you can do another one. >> let me talk about "homeland." bring up some of these other things. did you appreciate what it was when you first saw it? what was it for you? saul? >> i got the phone call on my birthday. said you're going to get an offer tomorrow morning. read this. i knew the pedigree of the writers. i knew it was written
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extraordinarily well. and i knew claire was involved. i gave it to my wife, who is the smartest person i know. and one other friend. i said tell me if i am wrong, but i think this could unravel as a slow onion peel and never stop. to me, it was a mirror, as shakespeare says, to ourselves. our country and our world. the family nucleus and every metaphor that springs from it. and they agreed with me. and then i went to work to do the pilot. you never know. it is show business. you make the pilot. maybe i will never see anybody again. it is picked up. and we arrive to do the first episode of the season. nobody has seen it. each episode is coming in. they are extraordinary. no one talks about it. the makeup trailer, everyone. >> because they don't want to
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jinx it? >> but also it was so wonderful, my concern was, it is too good. when things are this good, sometimes they want something a little dumber. tracy letts said this is television for grown-ups. this is smart television. he is one of the most gifted people on the planet. and so the joy he was, i did not want to break it. we would have wonderful dinners together. i have been around a while. i knew this does not come every day. my soul was telling me i want every second of this. i do not care whether we are here 15, 16 hours. i don't want the day to end. you do not get days like this. you do not get writers in the writers room like this. you do not get a crew like we
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have. everything does not always come together. it is going to come to an end and i do not want it to happen too soon. and then the day comes when we are about five or six shows in the can, the first show comes out. and i use the analogy it is like meeting the love of your life. you know how you feel about that love. you bring them home to the family. you do not know whether the family will respond. the family feels the same way you do. and when the culture, when the world populace embraces it, the way we were privately. it was unbelievably moving and humbling. gratitude is beyond. there is no word to express how thrilled i am, was, and continue to be. >> in preparation, did you watch the israeli series? >> i had heard about it. i heard there were differences. a in the second year, we filmed
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part of the show. we were there about a month in israel. they showed us a compilation because it was the premiere of the first show of the second season. we saw this compilation and then the first show of the second year. it was -- it was not that similar to ours. the basic premise. it was much more psychologically oriented without the ticking bomb aspect. much more psychologically involved. there was a scene that gideon wrote and filmed in the first episode, one of the most beautiful things i have seen on film everywhere. following the little boy in this building, who is witnessing something happened to his father. and the time they take with "homeland," my wife and i were catching up. because i like to see what changes. she turned to me and said the time they are taking.
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claire had sat down in a room. they had not been together. before anything was said, alex and her editors waited. they let life happen. they know it is about silence and breathing in time. time. you were saying earlier, i had a thought. i did not want to let it go. i lost the dearest person in my life, my cousin marvin. i am on this planet because of marvin. i breathe because of marvin. i got married because of marvin. i had children because of marvin. marvin was my cousin. he was a lawyer who changed the disability laws in california. never raised his voice except one time in a parking lot at a chinese restaurant. a little old lady pulled into a disabled space and she did not have a sticker.
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she should not have been there. i thought the sky was going to fall. i never saw marvin lose it. he was also the most beautiful soul i ever knew. darrell has had alzheimer's. and all of a sudden in january of last year, he got 4th stage lung cancer. we got him a second opinion. he got chemotherapy. we thought a miracle was happening. he was having fun. and then boom, i literally arrived in morocco to film a scene and they called me and said, it is happening. i filmed and then i got an airplane, i flew 25 hours and i got there, my wife calls and said he left. he left an hour before you touched down. i come over to the house and the family is there. this is my family. my children were there. his children were there. he had a smile on his face lying on the bed. it is before they took him away.
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catherine said he is not there. i said he is everywhere. you asked me about death. talking about your mom. i'm not a fan of death. in buddhism they say embrace suffering. be aware of it. learn to let go. i can't stand it. i do not think there is anything good about that. i hate it. i hate it. i think it is the true flaw in the system. >> you are dylan thomas. rage. >> what is good about it? why shouldn't we be here forever? i don't want people suffering. i want everybody to have fun. have fun. when my buddy martin left this planet, he looked at us before the morphine kicked in. he said have fun. and try it. it is not so easy. you get so many sunrises and sunsets.
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and you waste one, you do not get it back. it is not like a credit card. it is gone. what we spoke about earlier, it is complicated. i also believe, i believe in einstein that energy never dies. my belief in god and the way it works for me, how i connect. connect is the word i love. i believe i can breathe in abraham and moses and jesus and buddha and marvin and my father. that energy is not what we are familiar with. but this energy, every cell is morphed into another form so the possibility of breathing it in, which as why i love meditating. if you say these people's names and if you are lonely or scared, there is a possibility they might be with you. >> take what you and i believe in what you believe and have articulated better than i do, and put it in saul. here is a man that lives in a world where everything is what it is not.
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part of it is a lie. nobody knows what is true. how do you see this extraordinary idea you have about life and this character? >> i love him. i love him because he is filled with hope and optimism. he will do anything to meet his wishes and desires. >> even take life. on both sides. he will give life and take life. >> he will. he has the words from the torah, which i love. if you take one life, it is as though you destroy the world. if you save one life, it is as though you save the world. he is a realist and practical. he understands -- >> is he the ends justify the means?
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>> he hopes to be that person. that is why he is devoted to carrie mathison. the reason why that relationship is powerful, when he found her, by accident,, he met her and his sensibilities were, this is a gifted human being. she has a passion and a compassion and a sensitivity toward humanity. and her other gifts and senses are so cute what he fails to do before the end of his lifetime, create peace in the middle east, for one thing. change the world for the better in every possible way you can imagine. she is the best shot he has ever found to carry on his dream.
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which we hope for all of our children. >> he sits in front of a congressional testimony and gives her up. >> that is a planned game. >> you have been very brave. >> you should not have left me in the hospital. >> it is almost over. >> i can't keep going. >> yes, you can. >> see, that is what is interesting about the kind of thing you can do with "homeland." where does the game end and where is reality? how do you understand what is perceived to be a means to an
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end and not the reality of itself? >> we have lost patience in our society. these writers created this brilliant scheme. i do not read everything but i heard people were inpatient. all of a sudden by the fourth said, they find out this brilliant scheme our writers created. well, you have to be a little patient in this world. it is like reading a novel. you have to go through, learning these characters and then all of a sudden something happens. and then you go through some more. it is just like our life, for god sake. you can't handle it if it is always at that pace. you are going to burn out. i remember. god, i remember when i was in college everybody was dropping acid. i said i had better experience this. i did drop acid once. i was a jewish prince so i made sure somebody tasted it. we had a big meal. we dropped acid. my heart is going so fast, i finally understood the word burnout. it made me escalate. the next morning, i am on a plane. i never touched another drug.
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i took one and that was it. i think it did enough damage my whole life. [laughter] it is just wild. >> where are we in turns of the dynamic of how saul sees the moment? >> saul understands humanity. he understands humanity operates as an anxiety ridden entity. i was exposing the information about the plan of what is going to go on.
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i was clarifying the plot. there was this beautiful speech. she said, how do you know this is going to be able to happen? the possibility of 12 countries -- except through terrorist actions and threats. sit down and talk. the possibility of something changing the dynamic. i think it is one of the most
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hopeful things that has happened in history. how can you ever eradicate the possibilities of two hurt nations or souls to heal the hurt? all the lives that might be saved by that action? the people going to the table to talk? >> where are we in term of the moment? >> nations are made of humanity. humanity operates as an anxiety
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ridden entity. most actions by human nature are driven by anxiety. >> anxiety is fear. >> anxiety, but trail, desperation. hurt. >> my wife has the expression which is a model when our family. -- motto in our family. hurt people hurt people. to think you can come to the table, whether you are the americans or native americans and think only you are right and the other is wrong? that you hold no responsibility for the history of your relationship is madness.
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and what has gone on in this world in these troubled areas, whether at our dinner table or in our fellow nations, when they are troubled, usually that trouble is not sustainable. and the only way to create a sustainable system is to sit and face our fears, walk directly into the fire, speak with who you are terrified with -- >> your friend benjamin netanyahu, who has been in that chair, and will again, he would say i have responsibility. i carry on my shoulders my father, my brother, who was shot. i can't trust. it is hard. until i am sure. and when i tried to trust before, when we left gaza, see what happened?
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>> i love israel. i want it to be there forever. i care about israel. i care about the palestinian people. i care about both people equally. i care about netanyahu. i respect his fears and concerns. >> because if i am wrong, it is not just to me. >> and i believe, like netanyahu or obama, you can't be naïve. there are people who are mad, insane, angry. greedy, whatever label you want to put on it. they will not go according to your plan. you had better have defenses and you had better be ready. i agree with that. but you must be as energetic and active about the peace process at the same time until you have not a breath in your body. why do you think saul has such patience for carrie's bipolar issues? because he has them. >> depression. >> absolutely. he went through these things. saul berenson. >> do we know that yet? >> we do not. it is undeniable. whether the writers divulge it, i do not know. i create my own scenario.
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my script that was his father that had these difficulties and he watched the father-son relationship and his family, or it was himself, or a combination. when another human being comes to the table that is gifted the -- but troubled, he's compassionate. he is very sensitive. he will die for them. and wished others maybe had died for his father. >> as well as something that was not missing. something was damaged. she would've had less appeal. if he had been there. >> there is a musical group i have been working with, it is a palestinian violinist, a syrian drummer, and israeli cellist, a
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baptist piano player and a chicago jew. we call it bridges.
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we have not launched it yet. the most beautiful thing i heard, which carrie mathison has this in her nature, the palestinian who plays arabic violin. i did not know what that was. he said to the cellist, are you in arabic tuning? he showed the places. he said it is the sound between the black and white keys. so you can do that on a string instrument. carrie mathison hears the sound between the black and white keys of life. she knows that potential. she is also incredibly brilliant at following through at her choice to the greater good for humanity. and it might be the wrong choice. i found it fascinating -- >> she believes in herself. >> people would say to me, how could you not to know whether you are the bad guy or the good guy? i say to them our actions are the ground we walk on. whether i am playing hitler or gandhi, the actions are the same. i believe my actions are going to make the world a better place. it is you the listener who makes your choice whether you want to go with hitler or gandhi. >> do the creators, do the creators of "homeland" want us to assume that just as saul has turned this iranian, sent him back, hoping to achieve power, how do we know that somehow there is another plot twist in
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which iran may have turned saul and will achieve his own ends in the way we were led to believe that brody had been turned?
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>> every time you think you know what direction it is going, it changes. you don't know. you the viewer do not know. and i'm not going to tell you. >> you don't know. >> i do not know. i have my own scenario, as i say. when i sing a song or i say words, whether it is shakespeare or alex gansa, i have my own story underneath why. because i need to connect. >> do you think the directors of the show, have said to themselves we want mandy because he will tell us who saul is. we have text and plot. but we want an actor who he is by the way he sees him. >> i hope so. >> that is what acting is about. >> i do not want to be hubretic -- >> is that a form of hubris? >> i make up my own words. hubretic. which is similar to hebraic. which i also am. what i hope is is that if they see, if they see a man who listens in a deeper way that somehow that will become a fabric. it was an improvisation i said the mourners cottage you said. i improvised that. >> you did?
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>> in the first season, the man who cut his wrist was killed. i was sitting against the wall. the camera was on me. i looked at this person on the ground and the camera was quiet for a minute and i started to sing the mourners kaddich. a human being was gone. it is about your reaffirmation in being alive. and your belief in life. and i will tell you something else, sometimes i would put them in e-mails to the writers. sometimes i don't. but there is something else that i mentioned, that i'm hoping will sometime come into the fabric of our piece, whether through espionage -- this is a fictionalized version of america. >> i'm talking about my hope. what drives saul berenson and mandy patinkin is hope and optimism. i feel that is who saul berenson is and i'm able to infuse unlimited hope and optimism in that human being.
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just as i infuse it into myself. and we feed each other. and one thing -- >> because of hope and optimism. >> i need it. i need an unlimited amount of it. one thing i suggested to the writers, i sent it to several of them, whether it will find itself in the future of the piece because of whatever direction it goes, not only whatever is going on in iran, but if you go visit his office, there are three tables with things going on in the world. all over the world. what i'm hoping for is that somehow saul berenson will become involved in the economic
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world. i hope they will shower the palestinian with education and health care and road systems and everything else. bombard them with kindness and hope. i do not know how you end up hating somebody that does that. if i can get saul berenson to manipulate the fictional version of the middle east of the israeli and palestinian people to somehow, both the united states and all israel to shower gaza and the west bank with aid and education and kindness, i find it interesting to see who is going to get angry about that. if it could become to the real world, great presidents read shakespeare for ideas. they read ibsen. the classics come from people like our writers. people like you and me. >> do you wish you could have this conversation with the president? >> i'm hoping he is watching. [laughter] of course i wish it. to me it is a thrill i'm in a piece watched by presidents. both clinton and obama admire it.
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>> i think there are a number of mandy's.
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i am having fun, charlie. >> is this the best time? >> i was just 61 on saturday. if you told me that would be the best time in my life, i would have thought you were crazy. but it is the best time. because of what we learn to read the good and negative choices we make. because of everything. i say to my wife, how come i didn't know these things when i was 30? it would have been easier. she says because you didn't. you were not ready to. you know them now. >> i want to come over and have dinner with your wife. [laughter] >> you will love it. >> it is the best time of your life. >> it really is. partly the best time, you know, there are numbers. my grandma used to say on certain birthdays, that is a number. and i do think when you're 50, that is a number. 60 is another number. i am hoping to get to 70. i don't want to get there if i don't have it all. i want my faculties. the clock, you are more aware of the clock. now if i have an idea or 10 ideas, i want to get them all going before the sunset. >> because one of them might be
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earthshaking. >> not because it might be earthshaking. because they mean something to me. i want to get them out there. i want to work very hard at not being superman. one of my teachers said to me, spending too much of my early years trying to be superman. trying to be perfect. trying to serve mandy and not the team. when you talk about individuals, as opposed to serving the team, serve the whole cast of "homeland." everybody in the concert. the writers and the publicist, the audience. my children, my wife, everyone. and nations. don't just serve your own ideology. serve the whole nation. which means the people on the far right in the far left and everyone in the middle. that is why it is a tough job. i could not do it. i don't know how. i said to mark rosenblum who explained to me 1000 times, because i have been involved in the peace process. all good causes. he is explained the peace process to me a thousand times. he says it is in the drawer in oslo. i said when? when will this come to be a reality? and the man -- this is several years ago. what he feels right now is it is
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not sustainable and it is not morally and ethically sustainable what is going on. and we must change that. what he said years ago, i said when will it change? and this man said to me, when they have exhausted the killing. they. >> they meaning everybody? >> they who kill. which is both sides. >> we started with music. when you cross the river for the last time, what do you want from the stephen sondheim or from hammerstein or every hebrew song you have ever known to be singing in the hearts of the people who watch you cross? what song? what voice? >> i want the sound of harmony. >> do you really? >> yes. i want to hear the music. i want it to in a light filled room. i wanted to be harmonious.
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and it is universal. and it is spiritual. it is undeniable and it connects everyone. that is why i think music is powerful. it heals. there's too many wishes and the pot. when you think of your family, your children, peace in the middle east. climate change. >> harmony. >> harmony. the ability to sit with your fellow man and woman and talk and listen. to accept your mistakes. say you're sorry enough. do not over say it. certainly admit it. and then move on. sondheim wrote that song "move on." move on, stop worrying where you are going.
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if you could know where you were going, you would be gone. keep moving on. and look into the classics. look into the great writers and poets and lyricists. they have left us with their wishes. not only for themselves, but for the world at large. and there is great value to the art of their reflection of human nature. and we are fools not to drink it. >> thank you. ♪
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