Gothamist writer John Del Signore has posted an interview with Elliot Gould to discuss Richard LedesThe Caller, a Tribeca Film Festival pick in which Gould costars with Frank Langella and Laura Harring.
“I spoke with Jack Nicholson and told him I didn’t want to see The Bucket List,” Gould tells Del Signore. “I’m not a big fan of Rob Reiner. I respect Rob Reiner to some degree but, you know, Rob Reiner, whatever. I just didn’t want to see The Bucket List. It seemed so formulaic to me.
“But I told Jack I saw it anyway and I loved it. He was pleased to hear that and said to me, ‘I’m trying to change my attitude.’ And I said, ‘Oh?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, people are dying every month, every week.’ And I said, ‘Every day, Jack.’ It’s so mournful. There’s so much remorse and so much sorrow and I was so impressed because Jack’s very well read and I felt remorse.
“I really can’t consider being sorry for someone else because the only one you can be sorry for is yourself. And he said, ‘Oh, yeah that’s true.’ And I am never going to be sorry for myself. If I’ve done something that isn’t right I’ll make an adjustment. But to feel sorry for myself? Never. You know? So sometimes I get depressed but I won’t accept it. And I was depressed for a very, very long time; way before I got into movies. It is the way it is.
“When I was about 32 I was a very hot movie commodity, not knowing how it worked. I’ve realized that my problem when I fell out of favor in Hollywood was that I was unwilling and incapable of compromise. But I couldn’t come down and there was really no one there for me; everybody was just in business. But that was an opportunity and I can’t say that I have any complaints.
“This was during the early `70s. When I fell out was in February of 1971. [Note: a date concurrent with the release of Alan Arkin‘s Little Murders.] I didn’t know I had no perspective and I didn’t know I had no judgment. I just thought, ‘Here I am. I’m batting a thousand. I’m not going to fail. Why don’t you just follow me?’
“I didn’t know how political it was, that it was an industry, and that if I didn’t play ball on that level then that was that. I was so out there. You think you’re important? You think you have meaning? Boom. You’re dead meat. And you’re fucking crazy. I didn’t drown. I almost drowned in The Long Goodbye but I made it. I found my balance.
“There’s nothing of value other than what we have to share. And it’s one thing to share goodness and accomplishment and another thing to share a problem. And once people are willing and capable of communicating here like we are, then we can see that no one of us can have a problem another one of us didn’t have before. Therefore what we need to do is revolutionize and reorganize government so our government can evolve and really be what it was supposed to be at the beginning.”