tv Charlie Rose PBS December 23, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight bradley cooper, the acker starring on broadway in the elephant man and in a new film directed by clint eastwood called "american sniper" >> there was a time when i realized, in order to be fulfilled in this business, i got to be in the trenches with the director. i love the story telling aspect. i won't be fulfilled if i'm just sort of coming in and out. so i knew very early on that unfortunately for me, there was either one small window that i would be able to go through to be fulfilled. and that was to be sort of in the place i was at now. and if that wasn't going to happen, that i would really have to take a serious look at what i was doing with my life. >> rose: bradley cooper for the hour. next. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following:.
additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: bradley cooper, the factor-- actor, has had an extraordinary word. he starred in and produced the new clint eastwood directed film, american sniper. "vanity fair" calls his film as navy seal chris kyle a story for the ages. here is the trailer for the film.
>> i got a military aged male on my cell phone watching the convoy, over. >> if you think he's recording troop movement, your call. >> maybe he's just calling his old lady. >> he stepped off. hold on. i got a woman and a kid 200 yards out, moving towards the convoy. her arms aren't swinging. she's carrying something. she's got a grenade. she's got an rkg russian grenade, handing to the kid.
>> you say a woman and a kid. >> you got eyes on this, you can confirm? >> negative. your call. >> they fry you if you are's wrong. -- >> bradley cooper is also starring as joseph meric in the new broadway production of the elephant man which opened this year. it was the role that first inspired him to become an acker. i spoke with him recently at the booth theatre where the play will run until february 15th. here's that conversation. >> what's it like? when you think about the fact that this role has meant so much to you for so long, to sit on this stage, to come to this stage, every
night. >> first of all, being with you here on this stage, that is the thing. that is-- thank you for that, by the way. oh, charlie, it's a good year, to be here in the booth theatre where it originated, where david bowie did it here in 1980 and it's the movie that made me want to be an actor. i think the first time i ever sat at your table we talked about the elephant man and to be here in 2014. and the response that we get from the audience every single night where it feels like it actually-- his story is being told. >> and it was the character that motivated you to want to be an acker. >> it was the movie, david lynch's film, i saw it when i was about 12 years old am my father showed it to me. and there was something about the movie, the way john hurt played him, the way it was filmed in black and white and anthony hopkins, it stuck with me, the movie, everything. adaggio in strings. and it basically was that
moment. i loved film, i saw raging bull, apocalypse now, deer hunter, but it was that movie where it crystallized for me, i remember saying to my father, i said i want to be an actor and got laughed at until i was about 25 years old. until finally he said yeah, maybe you should do that. >> rose: your father was a real influence on you. >> huge. he was a guy who grew up loving movies. and we lived across the street from a movie theatre. i remember when hbo and prism came to our town, comcast continuation was a huge thing that raging bull could be on at 8:00 and 10:30. and so he would just show me all these movies growing up. >> rose: have you thought about if things had been a bit different, you might have become an actor an loved the life of an acker. >> it's funny you say that. i remember there was an office party they had. he was a stockbroker. and i remember they went to it and he had written all these skits paging fun of all his coworkers and his boss. i remember them coming home. and he was flying high. he was so excited. my mom talking about how he sort of-- she had never seen
that side of him. we had always joked around it was very sort of brois truss, laugh-filled, arguing-filled family. but you know, i think so, charlie. i do. i actually think we have loved it. and actually before he passed, i did a movie called the a team and joe put him in the movie. so he is on the admiral court when we're getting court-martialed. so he had a day of being able to work on the film. >> rose: how much did he live to see? >> he died there january 15th, 2011. so-- . >> rose: he saw the emergence of his son who lived his dream for his son. >> yes, that is right. he had a good feeling. i remember he had a good feeling. limitless hadn't come out the question which was sort of the first movie that i had been in the center of and had actually paved the road for being able to do other films. but the hangover 1 had come out. so he saw hangover 1. >> rose: this is a transform difficult moment. >> yeah. >> rose: in a sense, "american sniper" elephant mans, other films to come
out. directors want to work with you. you can to you make films yourself. like american sniper. >> yeah. >> rose: a transform difficult moment. >> yeah, yeah. to play joseph meric and christopher scott kyle in the same calendar year is a dream fulfilled. >> rose: and to have sometng, some power. i mean you insisted on the booth theatre. >> yeah. >> rose: you knew who you wanted to direct. >> that's right, american sniper. >> rose: . >> and those were, certainly elephant man was a long shot and it took a lot of convincing. you know, oh, yeah, that say marketable entity with no problem. me definitely having to convince and share my passion with people. >> rose: from the moment you came out of georgetown to the moment are you now, was there ever a time in which you said i'm not sure i'm going to be able to do what i want to do. >> oh, all the-- yeah, for years. >> rose: years. >> yeah, well, because i came out georgetown. i went to grad school,
living in new york city, living in a bubble, basically, when are you in grad school. and then i was also, then i was sort of thrown into los angeles shooting a tv series, which was incredible. and i got to see the way shows are edited and all that kind of jazz. but i was not fulfilled because i wasn't a part of the every day telling of the story. so there was a time when i realized, in order to be fulfilled in this is about, i got to be in the trenches with the director. i love the story telling aspect. i won't be fulfilled if i'm just sort of coming in and out. so i knew very early on that unfortunately for me, there was either-- there was one small window that i would be able to go through to be fulfilled. and that was to be sort of in the place i'm at now. and if that wasn't going to happen, that i would really have to take a serious look at what i'm doing with my life. >> rose: and what makes you push past that so that people who maybe looking at that now will understand that everybody has felt that. >> right. you know, luck, opportunity,
you know, watershed moment for me, charlie, was three days of rain, a play i did here on broadway about seven or eight years ago. i was at a point where i had done a tv show that got canceled. and i thought, you know what, if this doesn't succeed f i don't suggest sood at this, i may have to hang it up and try something else with my life. i was 31 at the time. and you know, i felt very comfortable on stage. and it was a very fulfilling moment. you know, you have these little moments or somebody like robert de niro looking at your audition tape for a movie that you're not going to get and calling you in and saying hey, i wanted to let you know that you're not going to get the role but keep doing what you do. that is when you realize the influence you can have on somebody. >> rose: for him to give the encouragement. >> exactly. >> rose: i know how tough this is. i don't have a role for you-- but stay on it. >> yes. >> rose: i'm telling you you have talent. >> yeah. >> rose: even clint eastwood said he sees himself in you, in directing you in american sniper. there's something about you
that he sees in himself. >> wow, that's nice. i mean, we-- it was easy, you know to work with each other. i got to say. i mean he-- i love him to death. and it definitely-- he is a jazz musician and the set was like jazz. and maybe me coming off two david o russell movies, although he is much more verbose, it has that flowing energy to it and i sort of seamlessly just went right into clint's wave. and. >> rose: there was a moment they thought that steven might direct this opinions yes. >> rose: and then something, after the death of countries kyle. >> yeah, basically the reason why the movie started getting the third year with steven spielberg, chris was murdered and a couple of weeks later a got a call, i was on the set of american hustle. and steven said i will make this my next movie. dow want to do it. >> after chris was murdered. >> yes, chris was killed on february 2013. and i think steven called me, i think maybe in nafern, i
believe. and the minute steven spielberg is interested in doing a movie. >> rose: it gets made. >> everything changes, yeah. so you know, script, budget, i mean everything. you know, everybody just sarts-- starts getting into gear. so that was the real reason which lead us to clint eastwood. >> rose: and so what, steven decided no to the do it. >> he decided not do it and he was a total gentleman. he called me. he said i want to help anyway i can. he already had worked out. we had already worked on the script quite a bit and the story. and he and clint had worked together. he produced flags of our fathers and letters from iwo jima. he had met for-- . >> rose: clint was a hero. >> oh, massive hero. there were two guys,-- three guys, i wanted to be on the charlie rose show, i'm not even kidding. i wanted to work with clint eastwood and i wanted to work with robert de niro. that's the truth. so-- so yeah, and hi put myself on tape for flags of
our fathers, played the priest, the irish priest in grand turino, and the gay lover of jay edgar hoover. all movies i didn't get. i thought maybe it wasn't going to happen. all of a sudden steven dropped out. peg said what about clint. chris kyle said that the one he wanted to direct the moviest was clint eastwood. but he was doing jersey boy. he had read the book, so i talked to him on a friday and he said yeah, let me-- call me on monday. and then so i called him on monday. and he went, yeah, let's make this-- and that was it. and next thing you know, we're in rabat two months later. >> rose: but you went to see his parents. >> yeah, smart thing. he said let's go to-- let's just go to midlothian, let's meet his children, let's see if wayne and debi's parents
will drive out, and jeff and amy and his brother, his brother's wife. we spent two and a half days there. great story about that. so i don't know clint that well. i don't know if it will be a huge entourage. we arrived there. it was just him, just me and him. and taya pyxis up, we go to the house. we are staying at a day's inn, i keep waiting for the person to come to help, and it was just me and him. i will remember, it was about 11:30 of night, we get out of her minivan, walk fooing into the day's inn, me and clint eastwood checking into the days inn. >> rose: she just have went crazy. >> he was like mr. jones and i was mr. meric. >> rose: from here. >> yeah. always my aliases. and then he-- i remember getting the phone call from like 8:00 in the morning from the hotel. he's like yeah, you up. yeah, all right, let's get some breakfast. and just like,. >> rose: but you met the father. >> yeah. >> rose: chris's father. >> and i just spoke with him this morning, actually. >> rose: he had saw the film. >> yesterday. >> rose: but he had some concerns when you first said
we want to page a movie about your son. >> understandably so i mean think about it. your boy's killed and a year later these two men from hollywood are sitting in the very seat that chris had dinner in every night telling you that they're going to make a movie about your child. i mean, that was not lost on me how surreal there was. >> rose: there was a special connection between chris and his father, you see it from early on. >> yeah, very close family, and jeff. >> rose: didn't he say something like i done know if you pretty boys can do it. >> he said something about hooking me up to the back of his truck and dragging me to take the pretty out of me. and i actually thanked him. i hadn't been called pretty since i was about eight years old. oh, thank you. i'll take. >> rose: and now he's seen it. >> he has seen it. >> rose: what de say? >> well, i want him to speak for himself. but i will say this. it was-- it meant everything to me the call we had this morning. kuz i looked him in the eyes he and debi and said look, i will take care of your boy. i know i'm 185 pounds and i don't sound like i'm from
texas but i'm telling you, i am going to do everything i can to do right by him. and it was a wonderful call we had today. and i any, and the great thing is he sees that this movie can continue chris's work of healing vets. and so i think we're going to talk about doing as much as we can together. >> rose: like tragedy he was killed wile helping vets. >> yeah. >> rose: tell me about him. how you saw him. >> you know, the whole thing, the whole investigation has been so interesting. and that's how i almost look at it like an experiment. charlie, i looked at all the footage. de tons of interviews because he was promoting his book, american sniper. so there is all this footage out there taya took all this video because every tour he went on, you never knew if he was going to come back. >> do you want to die? is that what it is? >> no. >> just tell me. tell me why you do it. i want to understand. >> babe, at this do it for you, you know that i do it
to protect you. >> no, you don't. >> yes, i do. >> i'm here. your family is here. your children have no father. >> i have to serve my country. >> you don't know when to quit. you did your part. you sacrificed enough. you let somebody else go. >> let somebody else go? >> yeah. >> you find a way. you have to. okay, i need you to be human again. i need you here. i need you here. >> she wanted to make sure she documented their lives. i so i have a plethora of material i could swim in for months. so i got to know the way he breathes, the way he moves his hands, everything. you know, and i just fell in love with the guy. i got to to say. and i just had mad, mad
respect for him. humble, utterly humble and just a great sense of humor. and for being such a huge presence, and you could just tell the way he changed the energy in a room. he has the ability that clint eastwood has, quite frankly, which is to make everybody feel at ease. even though you feel like you're in the presence of, you know, the legend. >> rose: how did you get prepared for this, beyond being able to study him, the physical things you had to do. >> yeah. it was brutal. >> rose: to add 30, 40, 50 to pounds. >> i think at the end of the day it was 30 trz it is muscle. >> it is to the body building, it was weight training. there is one scene that he learned he had three weeks before he had to go homement and they basically deemed him impotent because they're not letting him fight any more. there is that tracking shot. and he's dead squatting, you know. and i just love that. because it's so, i mean that was real weight, that was 400 pounds. and i said to clint, you know, let's not do him bench pressing. let's see him doing his
thing. we realized just how strong the guy was. and that was real, that was me doing it. and that was just by the nature of all the work we did. you know, i grade people, charlie. this guy jason walsh, this trainer and this other dialect coach. >> rose: but you had an incredible schedule. you would get up, do a couple hours. >> about 5 a.m.. >> rose: and then come back and dot physical stuff again in order to be physically ready. >> that's right. >> rose: and it helps you inhabit the character. >> everything. first of all. >> rose: to feel his physicality. >> it was invaluable. better than if i had done an acting workshop for a monthment i worked out to his play list. so it was all his muskic all the time. and i had blown up these photographs of chris and one was giving the came rat finger. so he was always sort of smirking at me as i was trying to become him. >> rose: when you-- did you feel that you had made the movie that you meant to make at the end of shooting? >> yes. very proud of it. oh, yeah. yeah. and i got to tell you something, man. i was worried that i wasn't-- i wasn't going to
be able to do it i was really terrified that i wasn't going to be able to believe i was chris. and that was the thing. but once i believed i was chris, charlie, i got to say, i know it sounds crazy, but when we were shooting the povie t wasn't very long shoot because clint eastwood does it fast. i felt chris's presence. i really felt that he was taking care of me. and a lot of people would come on set who knew chris and just, you know, initially thinking like the balls of this guy to think he's going to play this i goo. but i could feel the minute they came up to me, they actually started to believe it too. i mean those two guys at the end of the povie, one of them was a marine corps sniper knew chris. and coy just feel that he-- he felt like chris was there. >> rose: the interesting thing too about him is, i ask you about him as a shot. it was much more than just simply being a great shooter. >> that's right. it was about-- . >> rose: what was it? >> a couple of things. he just happened to be at the right place at the right time, number one am but the other thing is he was very savvy in terms of where to set up his gun. and he always sort of had a
knack for that and he also had a knack for fleshing out what was a possible target where somebody else their eyes would have passed right through it. >> rose: and could see the target better than most? >> that, i don't knowment but he sort of sensed the target better than most. wince tell you something these marines rushing in like they're doing, they're going to have their asses shot off. >> they're marines, half these guys were civilians six months ago. >> let's coach them up. >> we can't do that we need you on overwatch. >> if i'm on the street, mark. >> the-- is deadliest job here. you have a saviour complex. >> i just want the bad guys but if i can't see them, i can't shoot them. >> all these guys know your name and feel invisible with you up there. >> they are not. >> they are if they think they are. just keep banging on the long gun and let the dogs sniff out the collars. >> rose: and the idea of a competitor on the other side. >> yeah. >> rose: is that part of his life or something that was a
great dramatic device in. >> there was that guy that he hunted. but that to me what i loved about the movie, about the framing of the film was it was set up like a western. the fact you have this moustafa character and did the fourth tour sot inform a sand storm like the end of a western. i loved that, almost unforgiven like structure. >> rose: when clint made unforgiven you had the same sense and we talked about it a the lo. there is that scene where he is taking his boy hunting and he says it is a hell of a thing to stop a beating heart. and it is the same thing when william money takes that swig when he learns that morgan freeman has been killed. and he says the hell of a thing killing a man am take away everything he has and everything he is going to half. >> rose: when you work with eastwood and you wanting to be a director at some time, are you watching and observing a guy who has been able to combine the two as well as anybody? >> acting and directing. >> oh, yeah, i was like-- i was like this the whole time. no, i took it all in. oh, yeah.
>> rose: what did you learn from him? well, i will tell you a couple of things. one is i will always shoot the rehearsal if i ever get a chance to direct. and that is what he does. and-- . >> rose: always shoot the rehearsal. because you may get something there. >> yeah, because all we're trying to pretend is that we're saying it for the first time, right. well there is one time that it will be the first time. heck, you might as well get it on film. and so that-- and it's an economyization of energy. it's just, he doesn't boast, you know, it's just like let's do it. >> rose: does he try to motivate or he basically says, you know, i hired you because i knew you knew what to do. >> it's the latter. yeah. he-- you better bring it. but if you do bring it, and then you -- and you have some ideas, he's going to come right back at you. you will ignite him to then collaborate even more. that's what i found. i mean if i-- if i sort of came with a certain energy or idea about something, it would ignite, what collaboration should be. one person influences another. but if you come with nothing, he's to the going to hold
your hand and take you through to the role, no. >> rose: when you look at other actors your age, i mean who do you respect? >> a lot. michael-- huge respect for him, leonardo dicaprio, massive respect, ryan gosling, tom hardy, great actors. i think i'm living in a time where there are some really fantastic male actors. >> rose: and also films that you want to be in. >> that i haven't been in, you mean. >> rose: no, you look around. people are making movies that you like. and you say there is a movie that i admire. >> yeah, leonardo dicaprio is doing a movie right now, that sounds amazing. that's filmed very much like birdman was filmed. >> rose: with the one camera and long shot. >> yeah, exactly. >> and michael fastbender finished a movie, about a lighthouse in australia that is really incredible. there is always great projects. >> rose: after you did elephant man as an actor, did you know you wanted to bring that to stage? i mean you did that as your -- >> thesis in grad school, yeah. are you kidding, it was a
dream. >> rose: take this with you for yu life. >> i remember thinking, i graduated 2000. i think billy crudup they did a revival of elephant man in 2,000 or-- which i missed. but i remember thinking in the back of my mind, you know, because you don't usually have to wait awhile to do a revival again. i thought oh, man, maybe i will never get to do it again. so in the back of my mind, even though i knew its with a pipe dream, i would just love to do it because i fell something when i played him back then in 2000. i fell like there was a connection, my instinct about there guy that i had a connection to him was correct. >> rose: what is the connection beyond you saw it as a film that you loved? >>. >> rose: was it something about him. >> yeah, something about him, something about him. there is something about his spirit, something about him, charlie. i know it sounds craziment but there is just something, i mean have you ever had that where you met somebody, and you just-- it doesn't make any sense. there is something there, yeah. and i felt that way about chris once i started learning about him.
initially i thought there is no way coy play chris, i thought chris pratt should do it even when we acquired the product. i said i would do did to warner brothers but in the back of my mind, i thought i will never wind up playing it. >> rose: you thought chris pratt. >> i just didn't think -- i'm from philadelphia, i'm a buck 85. how will i play this guy. and i started to get to know him, and there was something about his energy in these intervows that i started watching where i just sort of, there was something about him. and i thought oh, i can tap into that. >> when you saw meric on stage, and you go through this transformation on stage, how did you come to the fact that you're not going to wear prosthetics. >> right. >> in the play. >> yeah, he says that,-- no one, you know, and it's part of-- . >> rose: you physically can't do this, you better not do it. >> if you have back problems, don't do it. >> rose: but you go through a transformation that, you see, you come out in the beginning. >> that's right.
>> rose: and then you move into it, was that your idea to get at the character that way or had you seen that on stage somewhere else? >> it's set up that way. the only time i have ever seen it on stage was at lincoln center archives. i saw the original production. and he didn't do as much of a contortion but there is that scene where the doctors describing the affliction. but in terms of the specifics, it just over the years it started to happen. but the breath was the main thing, the way he breathes. that's the key. that's my way into him. because when he puts the cane on-- . >> rose: why is that the way into him. >> first of all it is always the way into everything, if you think about it how you breathe determines everything, no matter what your emotional state is you can always tell, athletes, make sure you are breathing. you always have to to make sure you're breathing to be connected, you know. so when i sort of figure out how, it was-- how arduous it was for him to even breathe, and figure out what that would be like, that was my
key into him. and even hearing it. when i hear him breathe, on stage, it helps sort of-- it's almost like juggling, it feels like oh, yeah, i'm reminded that i'm him, and the breath is so different than my own. >> rose: who is john meric. >> john meric's real name was joseph carey meric, born there 1863, died in 1890, grew newspaper england and moved to london. and he was a man who had a horrible affliction that started to come on from the five years to 12. and they still to this day aren't exactly clear what it is. it's neuro-- protea syndrome but his skeleton to such a degree they can't get a dna sample. he is a man who had this affect on london at that time. because he started to exhibit himself as a freak show artist. and then-- . >> rose: it was his idea. >> it was his idea. different from the play, yeah. he grew up, his mother died when he was ten. his father remarried the
landlord. and her children tortured him. he left there, lived with his uncle for a while am couldn't make any more money as he rolled si dars-- cigar yous about hi hands got deformed and couldn't do did any more. but he was educated. 1901 was the ed case act. in order to be educated as a child you had to be religiously affiliated and his mother was baptist so he knew the bible by heart and he also knew the book of prayers. that was real. and he loved jane use ten, his favorite writer. >> rose: so rewe are talking about an il ten-- intelligent man. >> rose: you describe him as innocent and beautiful and effortlessly benevolent. >> yeah. >> rose: that is the man you saw. >> that's right. >> rose: and did he see himself that way? >> that's a good question. that's a very good question. i don't know. i mean. >> rose: he must have appreciated his intelligence i think he loved the fact that-- oh, for sure. but he did grapple with religion, you know. >> rose: and what happened to him in london that made him-- i mean to have the friends that he had, to have a doctor whose brilliantly
casted here, by the way. and patricia clarkson is wonderful. >> yeah. and anthony healed. >> it's been inside of bradley for so many years, in man. and he reminded us every night, charlie, that we are doing it to honor joseph meric, to honor-- . >> rose: the photograph -- >> there is a very, very large photograph of him in his dressing room. and we lock at it, we both, all of us. we do it to honor him. but it is a stunning moment for bradley right now. and i'm thankful to be a part of it. he is a dear friend and he is someone, es a a con sum at actor and professional. >> rose: was that you the director. >> yeah, scott ellis and i. we went through everybody. >> rose: so this is a collaboration between the two of you in william town. >> and by the way, all the ancillary characters, a lot of them were interns at williamstown that weren't
even equity actors that are now on broadway. we took everybody. >> rose: you went in the sum tore do it in williamstown. >> that's right. >> rose: having always dreamed of playing the part, knowing that you would be able to bring this to broadway. >> no, no, oh my god, no. knowing that maybe it would be the last thing i ever do. because-- go to williams town,. >> rose: but was that a challenge for you? from were you concerned? >> i was-- . >> rose: or would you say i will do it over here, nobody will know. >> that was my hope. >> rose: give me a chance to do. . not a lot of fanfare. i remember getting e-mails saying come up, i am going to do this number of shows. >> that's right. >> rose: did you learn a lot about it be, so when you come here now on this stage, the booth theatre where it has been, i mean, produced so many times before, did you come in to broadway saying damn, i'm so glad i did that. because i've got this character inside of me. >> that's right. 100 percent, yeah. not only the character but how we wanted to do it. it is a real stripped down
version of the story, as you saw. you know, there's no bells and whistles. and that was really, we wanted to make it really between the relationship of meric, treefs and mrs. kendall. >> rose: how does meric maintain this kind of innocence, you know, and beauty that he has? >> inside? how does he do that? >> in the play or in life. >> rose: in the play. >> in the play. by his curiosity and his huge wanting to be a part of society. and to be a part of humanity. you know, that is the thing. you know, as described, he desperately wants to long. and that's one thing. he wants to belongment but also he sort of has this understanding above everybody elsewhereas he really does see the beauty in everything. >> rose: yeah. >> and that's the thing. he really does just love the moments of life. and a lot of people have a hard time doing it. i think that's why the play is so successful or has been. because it's infectious to watch a guy so afflicted,
yeah more than any of us, love the moments of life. >> you can see on stage. you see your character. he's enjoying it. >> yeah. >> rose: there is a certain pleasure in being. >> oh, yeah. >> rose: having the life that he has, the opportunity to have, a sense of being adopted by. >> never a victim. the guy was never a victim where it could have been so easily. >> rose: even when he was in a sideshow. >> even then. never a victim. and in life, obviously as i said he solicited the help of that guy to exhibit himself. never a victim. >> rose: when you get ready to do this role every night, how do you prepare for it? >> i have a picture of joseph in my room. we share a dressing room and i sit there. >> rose: of -- >> of meric, of meric that was taken right very soon before he died in 1889, i think he died in 1890. and he has a suit on. and first of all you can tell how long he must have sat for the photographs. and there is something about testimony i look in his eyes and i just sort of sit with him in the room for about
ten minutes. i just sit with him. >> rose: i'm not going to let you down, you say to him. >> a little bit. i may give him a little kiss. and then i come down. but the great thing about the play is i stand on the stage every night, me, not as him. nd with the audience we do take that journey to become him together. that's-- so i don't have to do anything off stage in terms of becoming him because i do it on stage. >> dow it on stage. >> but there is a physical rigor about this. >> oh, yeah. >> oh, yeah. >> you got to be ready. and you do things to your i have to be loose, a there is an inversion table, coming every day an basically puts pie body back together. >> what was the relationship of its character that clarkson plays to him? >> in ream life, she was a woman. she was a leading acker of her time imagine kendall. and shi took a real interest in meric. oddly enough she never met
him. but that church at sainted philips cathedral which was a toy, because there is no st. philips church in london. he made that for her. and she did give him tickets to the opera. and all that kind of thing am but she never met him. in am this play, in the play version, she is-- she represents first of all he falls in love with her. she sees him as a man. and he begins to believe this illusion that maybe you know, he actually can be with her, you know, he starts to actually believe it. and it's that beautiful thing we talked about romeo, when the illusion ended he had to kill himself. it's almost like in some ways he was like romeo. at the end of the play he's never going to come back. the chump is there still, he never picked it up. alone in this room. >> and the relationship with the doctor. >> complicated. you know, a mentor, a father, a brother. a contemporary. and enemy. you know.
it was a real love story and a real sort of brotherly, farrell love story. >> being on stage, we mentioned a couple of times, you have been on stage before. and what influence that has on who you are today. now you are this too. you are a movie star as well. and getting great notices for american sniper. but when you look ahead s there a balance you want to make between this kind of place and the kind of fills you want to make. >> yeah, of course t is all under the same umbrellament i want to work with the best people i can, on the best material i can. and there's got to be a reason that i feel like i should do it. you know what i mean? i'm sure like with you. if you are going to do a story, you have to have a point of view. there is a reason we are sitting here today. we have a relationship. you are invested in me. so there is a reason. it's the same thing. i love joseph meric. there is a reason we are doing this right here. i grew to love countries kyle, so there is a reason. as long as i feel like i have a point of view.
>> you have to feel like you can bring something to this. >> absolutely. >> minute could do it a different way but i have a point of view as to why i think i should be the one doing this. >> how do you track your growth as an acker? >> i mean do you know you can do things you couldn't do five years ago? >> yeah. >> do you know that your power of understanding character is much better than it was before. >> yeah. >> you know that there is a sense that my own presence is different. >> i'm not sure about the last one. but-- is that shall did --. >> but definitely, it's marked by this play, you know, i think about when i did this play in 2000, i was completely inundated with the breathing and the physical contortion. i didn't know what the heck i was saying. do you know what i mean? when i did it at williams town two weeks ago, i was sort of elated that i still felt him in me. but when we got here, every night i just feel like i'm talking to these people. i fell like gi away i don't ever think about the
breathing or contortion. i feel like i'm actually making sense of the words more. >> does it vary from night to night. >> oh my god. >> what's that about? >> it's about these people the audience, or the character or the play. >> they influence you. >> they set up the rhythm of the play. they are a part, they are a musical instrument. >> it may not be like -- >> i hope not. >> because they give you energy. they give you insight. >> and rhythm, yeah, it's rhythm. i mean they there were three performances where i realized, my friend was coming. so robert de niro was going to show up. ri thinking he's the bestment i don't want him to see me acting ever. so what i started to do was i realized here's the audience. and you know, i started to realize that i wasn't facing the audience at all am i was constantly like moving away from them. and i started to talk really low because i was trying so des operately not to act.
and it was like-- i couldn't hear you. >> i nouts. >> that say lesson. >> so you know, be bold, trust yourself. >> yeah. >> it was funny. >> when back to eastwood. >> yeah. >> and what he has done for you. and how this film became what it has become, is there anything that you learned about chris the man that you know you take with you? >> well, i'm still wearing his shoes today. yeah. >> what dow mean still wearing his shoes. >> these are the shoes he wore on three of his tours. these are what i wore in the movie. i still find myself wearing them. >> what's that? >> i don't know. >> i don't want to let go, maybe i felt like he was a real man that we don't see much of. and the fact that for four months out of my life i started to believe i was him, that gave me a lot of
confidence and courage. >> it was all about country for him. >> he really did have a sense. mi doing this because those people are the enemy and those people want to kill me. and if i don't kill them, they'll kill me friend. all of that was a warrior mentality. >> and i think even more than that was, we got to protect our own. it's that whole thing of the sheep dog, you know. you got to protect your own like i protected my brotherment and i'm go stock of service. at the end of the movie, it's not-- what he says is you haven't really seen the movie before, what he says, you know, the doctor says do you regret what you did over there. i mean no, no, what i regret is that i'm willing and able here and i didn't help more guys. and you think whoa, i haven't seen that. >> why did he keep going back, four tours? >> well, i think that sense. that sense of obligation. that he's back at home. there is a war going on over there. and you know, people on their cell phones and he's driving to mall. he thinks i'm willing and able, i have the skill set,
i need to go back there. >> but once you have bucked up with all that muscle and you had a dialect coach that helped you understand southern speak. >> yeah. >> texas. >> texas speak, and chris's texas speak which is, i'm sure as you know, the draw comes out of you depending on who you are with. he was the same way. >> did he guy a happy man because he had understood and found a role after iraq? >> yes. >> that gave him some sense of peace? >> absolutely. i mean the research-- . >> rose: that's part of the story. >> oh, yeah that last scene, where you see, the way we sort of signified what you are talking about is he starts to wear the cowboy boots again, the belt buckle, pleats his jeans. and even the six shooter, this weapon, this sniper rifle that you have seen cause so much damage, we watch him use it as a mythical figure now. and like a toy the way that he did when he was a kid. so he sort of found that joy again in his life. which is very true, you
know. chris talked about when he first came back after he was honorably discharged there were a couple of years where he was almost catatonic. stopped working out, was drinking a lot it wasn't until he-- . >> rose: he found purpose. >> purpose in helping the vet its. he would drive them out to the range. >> rose: this is a you watch the story and read the profile in "the new yorker" magazine about him, there were several things that gave you insight into him. he was a crucial part. >> major. >> she was a crucial part in why he left. he just said, you know there is a 90% divorce rate with seals. and he saw the relationship going farther and farther apart and made that decision at 37 years old after the fourth tour saying you know what, i got to -- reacquaint myself with my family and get to know my kids and be with the woman that i love. and you could see yment. i mean the family is incredible. and she was a major role, a major way as to how myself and siena miller who i thought just was amazing. >> rose: killed the roam.
>> just killed the role. >> rose: you have been really lucky. you are doing these really command performances on stage and then this film. but are you surrounded by -- >> i'm not surrounded by-- . >> rose: i don't know how they enhance my place. >> oh, yeah, you got surround yourself with the best, for sure. >> rose: what about this now. this whole business of stardom. how, tell me how you feel about that? the notion that you are not only a acker but are you also a movie star and every magazine wants you on the cover. and when "time" magazine or whatever it is, people says the -- >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: whatever the list is. >> it must be an issue. because i know i get a lot of solace at the fact that i take the subway to work. which is a pretty mundane thing do. but for me, i cherish it. so obviously it has had an effect on me. by the fact that i absolutely love taking the
subway. that means that i-- . >> rose: it keeps your feet on the ground. >> i just feel like i'm a normal person. si have to say living in new york city, doing this play, you know, i take the subway every day everywhere. i never take a car. i absolutely love it. so much. the fact that that is a big thing in my life means that stardom has had an affect on me, for sure. >> rose: i mean when i know about you, you are a guy that before you turn 30, you like to drink. you liked to party. was there a moment in which you said if i want to be here, i got to stop. >> 100 percent. that was it. >> rose: what was the moment though. >> there were a couple moments. but you know, it was people, there was one dear friend of mine, i still remember, came, i was living in an apartment in venice and he came and said hey, man. how are dowing. great, i'm doing great. he said yeah, really? well, 4 p.m. i was like-- hi two dogs at the time. how are your dogs doing. taking them out. >> well, you know reasons hi dinner with the the other night.
>> yeah. >> how did you think that went. and i just thought like well, maybe i'm not so great. you know. i knew that i wasn't fulfilling my potential. i knew i was sort of coasting and i never had that personality in my life. and it was really friends, charlie, friends just saying you sure this is the way you want to go. because you're about 30 years old, you know. time for messing around kind of coming to a close, you know. you talk about what your desires and dreams are. but if you don't put the work in, it's not going to happen for you. >> rose: were you angry at yourself. was there anything that had to do with your sense of frustration or anything. >> no, i think it was more about just ease with who i am. i think just growing up and realizing that instead of me trying to figure out who i want you to think i am, or it's just, i just got to embrace who i am and just be at peace. >> rose: not only at peace, but be happy about who mi. >> and by its way, be happy with who i am. i think it's just go about growing up. i got to say, i stopped doing all that stuff at 30.
but it truly was not until my father got sick and that whole experience in my life, that's when things really changed in terms of the way i walk through life. and this idea of stardom that we're talking about. you know, everything got put in perspective. >> rose: did you come home to be with him? >> yeah, yeah, yeah. i mean luckily limitless shot in philadelphia so i was with him then. he stayed with us. and then i just stayed there after and took care of him. >> rose: you watched him take his last breath. >> yeah, i was with him when he took his last breath. we had to shoot hangover two in thailand. i had to leave to do that for ten weeks. i was just preying. because it was the only time i was apart from him. and then i came home on new year's eve. i came home and then he died two weeks later. but i was, yeah, i was blessed enough to be home. >> and the take away from that in terms of watching your father spend his last few days on earth is -- >> i mean first of all, the reality of mortality. i mean just that above all.
oh, wow, it does end. oh, wow, i'm watching. it's over, he's gone. it just-- once that becomes a reality, everything changes. just everything changes. just everything was put in perfect did-- perspective. i didn't sweat so much. and i don't. i don't sweat so much any more. the things that i used to. now the highs aren't as high but the lows aren't as low. and i just feel like i appreciate every day much more, much more. and i just miss the hell out of him, so much. that it-- i don't know it kind of changes my day every day, you know. >> rose: so when you look ahead, what do you see? >> i hope to be healthy, that's number one. that is the other thing, an appreciation for health is what i learned from his illness. i hope i just keep growing and that's what i do. i just hope to god-- i just
want to keep growing. >> rose: do you understand now why it was acting was so powerful for you, that what you wanted to do. >> i think stop. certainly right now i do. i feel so fulfilled. i got to till. so many of my people are-- . >> rose: are you so lucky. it's lucky to do something you've always wanted to do. >> yeah. >> rose: and to do it well. and in acting, to have an opportunity to do it. >> i know. >> rose: and multiple opportunities. >> it's current incredible. >> but yeah,. >> rose: it both. >> but no, it feels very fulfilling to feel like i'm telling a story that is potentially helping people to heal. that is like-- it's the reason i wanted to do it in the first place. it's what was done to me. and if i could keep doing that and for example this guy joseph meric who in the late 1800s had an income on people until now, if i could be part of the latter as people climb for that and chris kyle too, if someone could watch american sniper who is a vet and think wow,
i have never heard my story told that way. i don't feel so alone. there is purpose in my life. >> rose: this will run through february. >> i think, yeah, maybe if we're lucky, march 1st. >> rose: and what movies are you looking forward to? because i look at what is coming up. either you are already finished at least two. >> yeah, that's right. >> rose: so they will be coming out. >> yeah. >> rose: you start shooting a new film. >> i'm going to probably do a little fill number david o russell movie, a couple weeks on that. and maybe, maybe, maybe we'll see, maybe take this play to london for the summer. >> rose: all right. >> i don't want to let go yet. >> rose: but when you work with someone like david o russell this is not the first time. >> no. >> rose: do you develop some sense of this is-- that a director speaks to you in the same way -- >> yeah. >> rose: that he gets who you are. >> oh, yeah. >> rose: he understands you. >> in ways that he i never even knew. >> rose: that was-- that was a major thing. doing-- going through a process of making two movies with him.
and to have him believe in me so much. you know. it's such a crucial way that was vital to him. there is something for someone to say hey, i see it. there is something for someone to say see t i am going do this for you and put myself on the line because of what i see in you. that is the biggest compliment you can get and privilege. and we did it twice with american hustle and silver lines playbook. and i think he's one of the best filmmakers of our time. he is one of the best filmmakers in our time. maybe ever in american sin machlt he is really a beautiful story teller. >> how does he work? >> well, he loves-- when we were talking about that collaboration. >> rose: it different. >> different than clinton, yes it is. he demands you binge it. and he demands that you come and you share your soul. he needs it. and when he sees it, he can then do something. and it sparks a creativity in him. i mean he casts a movie before he writes the roles, you know. he went to jeremy redders and said here is this idea, i want to you do it. let's spend time together
and i will write it same thing with jennifer, christian, richey demasso. >> rose: it's great to you have here to sit on this stage with you, knowing that this elephant man is part of a dream that you have had to know that there is a film that is being released, i guess around christmas. >> yeah. >> in which you feel so good about. and to look ahead and think, you know, i have a chance now to use all the skills that i have developed. all of the things that i have learned. and to apply them with interesting directors and with interesting people and choose the people that i want to be working with. nothing wrong with that. >> no, it sounds good to me. >> rose: thanks. >> thanks, charlie. >> rose: great to see you. >> thanks. >> when they're blasting through, are you blinded. are you totally blindment you could always see the first two rows, always am but it's very rare that are you sort of did -- >> but for me, when i'm in that tub, so when i'm in that tubment i'm not lit. so the light is not in my eyes because the scene is coming, going here between the doctor and the bishop.
so i sit in that tub here, and i can see everybody. like last night, for example, david gregory was right there. >> rose: oh, yeah. >> yeah. i went oh there's david gregory. so you actually can see everybody. because i just happened to be the way we've staged it, on the stage while other scenes are going on am you keep meric there. but i-- it's almost like i'm the audience also. so that's a unique thing. i love it. because i-- because i'm not me, i'm really mer anything that moment, i don't know, i just kind of feel this synchronicity with the audience to some degree, because i have done that transformation right there with them too. there is something, i really love that aspect of being in the tub with the audience during that scene. >> rose: how is stage acting different from film acting? >> i don't know, one said it is the same thing but the-- the proceedings is here in the movie and here on the stage. >> it is the same thing. it is all about telling the
truth. the dince with a film is you just capturing moments of truth. because you're not doing it sequentially. it's all about let's get a couple of moments of truth and then piece iting to. with the play, the moment you start, you know, it's all about rolling with it. you get on the train, it's moving am are you not piecing the storying to afterwards. >> rose: is it easier to do film acting because you don't have to remember the entire thing at one time or for any acker that becomes secretary nature. at some point as an acker, the serious acker, the idea of having that play or that film in its entirety in your head is there? >> no, you are right. i mean mem orization of lines is definitely different. that say skill that as a play you have to be able to have down and the movie you don't have to. >> rose: how do you do it as a skill for a play? opinions is it technique? >> i mean some people show up to rehearsal everything mem orized. that's not me. i like to sort of have the book in my hand and it just starts to happen, you know. but not everybody is like that everybody is different.
>> rose: so part of it is simply you are absorbing it. >> when i do that carlie, like when i remember text and prayers or whatever it is, i see it on the page, you know what i mean. i will actually see what's written as i am mem orizing it am but if are you mem orizing it in your body as you are doing things, it becomes-- that is how your brain starts to process, at least for me, as opposed to oh, yeah, the page turns there and the next word is there. you know what i mean. >> rose: of course. >> yeah. so that is a big difference. but the billing thing between theatre and film is all about energy and in conserving energy because are you doing eight times a week. that's the thingment you can-- the art of reputation. can you walk on a stage eight times a woke and tell the story in a truthful way. that is what is so hard about theatre. >> rose: you have said that several times, telling the story in a truthful way, that acting is about getting at truth. >> yeah it is a complicated term. >> rose: tell me more about that, the sense of how you find truth.
>> yeah but knowing what you are and really listening to them. that is when behaviour is going to just happen as o poised to you manufacturing it, and you know when are you doing it, sometimes i think about, i will be-- the thing about eight times a week a lot of moments are you not telling the truth it is just the way it. >> i was talking to all sanz ra the other week, was that a best of performance? well, i said this response maybe eight different ways. >> but tonight it was better, the way i said it. >> you think maybe i will just throw this one out there because i remember that worked eight shows ago instead of just talking to him. so you see, you start affecting with an a, basically, rather than actually talking, it would be as if i'm talking to you right now and we have had this conversation before. i remember there was one thing i said that she laughed at. so i will think maybe i will do that again. >> and the way you said it to. >> so i will do that again. that's not really being truthful because i'm actually completely breaking
out of it because i want some reaction from the audience. that's when you get burned. the audience will burn. if it works one night -- >> for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us on-line at pbs.org and charlie rose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> the following kqed production was produced in high definition. [ ♪ music ] it's all about licking your plate. >> the food was just fabulous. >> i should be in psychoanalysis for the amount of money i spend in restaurants. >> i had a horrible experience. >> i don't even think we were at the same restaurant. >> and everybody