"PLAYING THIS PART IS THE KIND OF THING YOU BECAME AN ACTOR HOPING TO BE ABLE TO DO"
Antonios Papantoniou searched his tapes and found a companion piece (above) to the CNN Raising Cain piece he posted last week. In this video, again from 1992, CNN's Jim Moret talks to John Lithgow about working on Raising Cain (which Moret calls a "quirky, satirical psycho thriller"), and also gets some words about Lithgow from Brian De Palma. "Most movie stars have such a strong physical persona that they're always John Wayne," De Palma tells Moret. "But John Lithgow has the ability to be many different people, and he can literally change his persona on screen without any make-up."
Lithgow tells Moret, "You're in a strange sort of isolation booth when you're acting in a film. You don't really have a sense of all the things going on around you. You only really see it when you see the whole film." [Al Pacino said something very similar about working on Carlito's Way. Seeing what the camera was doing while watching dailies, he would say, "Whoa, something's going on there."]
"One thing that really limits you as an actor," Lithgow tells Moret, "is to worry too much about whether you're likeable or not. Actors who worry about how they're coming off, how they look, whether they're sympathetic, those actors are really attaching shackles to their ankles."
Moret follows up, "Well, if not liking them, then what about understanding this person?"
Lithgow: "Yeah, that's what you try to do. You try to understand him, and trace the motives."
Moret: "Do you look to Brian to pull in the reins, so that you don't give a performance that's almost over the top?"
Lithgow: "Yeah, he modulates it. And chases me when I'm too... doing too much, and edits my acting."
After another clip from the film, Lithgow says, "People who see this movie, you know, the questions I've been asked, so many people say, 'God, wasn't it difficult?' Difficult parts to play are the ones where there isn't enough to do. This one was just so much fun. Playing this part is the kind of thing you became an actor hoping to be able to do."