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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-08-16 07:30:41

tatler man al pacino

alpacino
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8687 IRISH TATLER MAN

ME THAODMOneoftheundisputedtitansofcinema,

Al Pacino has perfected his own
masterful blend of intensity, coolness,
and control on the stage and screen for
over four decades. And at the grand
old age of 75, he’s still hungry for more,

Nwrites Patricia Danaher

ALfirstperson
Pacino is sending me mixed signals.
Above: “I don’t think of myself as anything but an actor struggling
One minute he’s delivering fiercely intense stares from those to find the next role and when I do get it, to see if I can find
penetrating brown eyes that suggest he has a low tolerance for Pacino at the 2014 my way into it.
the media; then seconds later, he’s all flirtatious charm, full Venice film festival
of chat and surprising anecdotes, and showcasing a wit and “You have to read and you have to observe and you have to
sense of humour that he honed all those years ago when he Facing page: educate yourself. He who persists in his folly will one day be
began his professional career as a stand-up comic. wise. I’m waiting for that day to come!
Pacino in a scene from
It is mid-morning in Beverly Hills and we are seated in the The Godfather: Part II, “Somebody said to me the other day, “Why do you act?”
shade, drinking coffee. Dressed in a long, navy blazer over a 1974 I don’t know why. I’m going through a pretty good patch right
grey T-shirt, Pacino’s suspiciously dark brown hair is teased now. My children are getting a little older and my temperament
and backcombed dramatically, adding about three inches to has changed vis-à-vis my relationship to what I do. I still have
his compact stature. the appetite to do this.”

Deeply tanned and sporting a trim goatee, flecked with THE PERENNIAL bachelor?
grey, it’s hard to believe that the man who so terrifyingly
embodied Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 A renowned player in his heyday, Pacino has enjoyed a string of
classic The Godfather could really be 75. relationships over the years. Actresses appear to be a particular
weakness – he numbers Diane Keaton, Debra Winger, Jill
Pacino’s New York accent sounds unmistakeably the same Clayburgh, Marthe Keller, Kathleen Quinlan and Penelope Ann
as it does when he’s on-screen and the changes in mood, Miller amongst his former lovers – and is currently involved with
which seem to be many and frequent, flash across that the Argentine actress Lucila Solá, who is 40 years his junior
instantly recognisable and very lived-in face. and his co-star in his Wilde Salomé, the 2011 documentary-
drama film which Pacino wrote and directed.
MAKING HIS OWN RULES
Marriage, however, has eluded him but it’s not something
A beloved cultural icon and easily one of the most that would appear to be giving the father-of-three sleepless
accomplished actors of his generation, Pacino – who, along night. His eldest, Julie Marie (24), is the daughter from
with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman, was part of a new Pacino’s relationship with acting coach Jan Tarrant, while his
generation of unconventional stars who ended the long- 14-year-old twins, Anton and Olivia, live with their mother, the
standing Hollywood diktat that all leading men had to be actress Beverly D’Angelo, on the West Coast.
over 6ft-tall and conventionally handsome – has been doing
things on his own terms for decades, whether as a stage and “I wish I knew why I never married,” he says with a baffled
screen actor or, when the mood takes him, as a director. shrug. “I don’t think about it too much and I’ve learned to live
with it. I don’t exclude it from my life. If it comes, I would do it.
It’s little wonder, then, that his CV is impressively eclectic I’m more likely to do it now. I’d better do it now! Pretty soon, I
and vast in its range. He may be best known for his iconic won’t be around to do it!
mobster roles — Michael Corleone, the college boy turned
Mafioso, in The Godfather trilogy (1972-90); and Tony “Maybe I’ll go into that unknown country from who’s
Montana, the Cuban drug lord, in Scarface (1983) — but bourn, no traveller returns. Maybe I’ll try it and see if it perks
he’s played everyone from a bisexual bank robber (Dog Day things up. I know I had young children and that certainly
Afternoon) and an undercover cop (Cruising) to an aging, perked things up!”
suicidal stage actor (The Humbling), a police whistle-blower
(Serpico), an American football coach (Any Given Sunday)
and Satan (The Devil’s Advocate), and given complex shape to
each and every character. Stereotyping, suffice to say, is not
an issue.

He may have a cabinet groaning under the collective
weight of gongs and wracked up as many as five Oscar
nominations during the Seventies – for the two Godfather
films, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and …And Justice for All –as
well as picking up countless Tonys and Emmys, yet, almost
40 years later, he remains as in-demand as ever.

Pacino is not one for resting on his laurels, though, and
is unlikely to be found contemplating his navel. Indeed, he
insists that, despite his stellar career, he’s just like any other
actor – waiting for his next gig.

“I’ve played characters I would never want to meet and
then I’ve played characters that I’ve met and got to know
and you’re always looking for that thing that connects you
humanly,” he says.

8889 IRISH TATLER MAN

I don’t think of
myself as anything
but an actor
struggling to find
the next role

firstperson

Clockwise from top left:

Publicity shot of Pacino,
c.1980; A publicity still
issued for The Godfather
Part II, 1974; Pacino as Tony
Montana in Scarface, 1983;
As a brooding cop in
Serpico, 1973; Dog Day
Afternoon, 1975

9091 IRISH TATLER MAN

I wish I knew why
I never married.
I’m more likely to
do it now. Pretty
soon, I won’t be
around to do it!

Al Pacino with Marthe Keller, THE START OF A stellar career
c.1970, New York
As every movie buff will confirm, Pacino dominated both Godfather
THE EARLY YEARS movies, maturing from a cherubic war hero to a cold-blooded mobster
who coolly orders executions, including that of his own brother, with
Born into a family of Italian emigrants in New York’s rough East a volatility that had viewers entranced. He was twice nominated for
Harlem neighbourhood in 1940, Alfredo James Pacino has frequently an Oscar for the role of Corleone yet, criminally, left empty-handed.
described his childhood as “complicated”. His insurance salesman However, in 1993 he eventually took home the coveted award for a very
father, Salvatore, walked out on the family two years after his son was different role in Scent Of A Woman.
born, leaving an infant Pacino to be raised by his mother, Rose, and
her parents, James Gerardi, a plasterer who was an illegal immigrant “I’ve been fortunate enough to get some honours and at the ceremonies,
from Corleone, Sicily, and his wife, Kate, in their cramped three-room it always seems kind of daunting when you look back,” Pacino says. “You
apartment in the South Bronx. think, ‘Where was I when that was going on?’ I think not so much about
the role I played, rather than where I was in my life at that time you were
Money in the Pacino household was always short, but his mother, making them.
unwittingly igniting the fire of what would become her son’s long-
standing love affair with the silver screen, would take him to the cinema “It’s interesting when you see the reactions of people who come to
when finances permitted. Once home, the young Pacino (affectionately your house. They look for an Oscar or a Golden Globe and say ‘where is
called Sonny by family members) would act out parts from the films it? Where are they?’ It’s sort of like paintings you have around the house,
they’d just seen – by the age of five he had nailed an impression of Ray but you don’t have a room just for paintings.
Milland’s hopeless alcoholic in The Lost Weekend, entertaining relatives
as he would dash about the family kitchen, opening cupboards and Pacino’s sizeable collection of awards are, it transpires, “all in different
doors, pretending to search for a hidden stash of booze. places in the house”. Despite their importance, the actor, in an unexpected
display of tenderness, seems to place far greater value on one particular
Pacino’s career path has been well documented over the years. photo of one of his awards, rather than the gongs themselves.
A lucky break through drama classes at school coupled with the
encouragement of his grandmother led the then teenager to seriously “One picture I love is of my oldest daughter when she was about three
consider a career in acting. After being inspired at the age of 14 by a holding my Oscar after I’d won it. I like that picture. That’s in my office
production of Anton Chekhov’s play The Seagull, his mind was made up. where I can see it.”

After dropping out of high school at the age of 17, Pacino worked A FAMILY AFFAIR
relentlessly at a string of low-grade jobs, including messenger boy,
janitor and postal clerk, in order to fund his acting studies. He gained Family, it seems, is of immense importance to Pacino. He might be based
valuable experience by acting in basement plays in New York‘s theatrical in Manhattan yet he ensures that he regularly sees his three children.
underground before joining the Herbert Berghof Studio, where he He mentions how, as an only child, he remained particularly close to his
worked with the legendary actor Charles Laughton. mother (who passed away in 1962 at the age of 43) and how he learned
all he knows about women from her.
In what would prove to have a long-lasting impact on his later career,
Pacino enrolled for lessons at the Actor’s Institute in 1966 under the The Pacino family roots are in Sicily and as the clock ticks on his life,
world-famous coach Lee Strasberg, where he got to grips with the he thinks more and more about his origins.
technique known as The Method. Pacino would later act alongside his
mentor, who appeared as Hyman Roth in The Godfather, Part II. “Those days growing up in the South Bronx were so valuable to me,”
he recalls. “The relationships I formed back then were extremely valuable
Following small-time parts in coffee houses, he eventually secured to me. I think about that and my Sicilian roots – I grew up in what was
more significant roles on Broadway and by the end of the 1960s, he had called a melting pot, where you’d hear all these dialects and accents from
won an Obie award for stage work in The Indian Wants The Bronx, and Europe and Asia. The tenement building I grew up in, we’d go up on to the
a Tony award for Best Supporting Actor in the Broadway play Does The roof at night and I took it for granted that this was the way the world was.”
Tiger Wear A Necktie?
He continues: “I come from a broken home, which is very different
A bravura lead performance in the film The Panic In Needle Park from the tradition of the Italian family. I was raised by my grandparents
in 1971 was enough to catch the eye of legendary film director and and my mother. My grandfather instilled in me a great thing about the
producer Francis Ford Coppola, who subsequently cast him as Michael
Corleone in The Godfather, opposite Marlon Brando and James Caan.

firstperson

I still have It took the success of Sea of Love (1989), the story of a cop in a midlife
the appetite crisis who falls for a woman who may be the killer he’s pursuing, to
to do this restore Pacino’s box-office clout and, in the process, his love for acting.

Pacino in The Humbling, 2014 Despite his seemingly modest stance, he remains a major box-office
draw and was named in a Channel 4 poll last year as the number one
work ethic. He loved his work. In those days, he was involved in plastering movie star of all time.
and I remember seeing him mix the plaster with a kind of focus that I
thought was very impressive. He was always doing odd jobs for the THE next step
landlord to try and keep our rent down.
With so many era-defining roles under his belt, the temptation when
“As I get older, I see how much he gave me and I completely believe discussing Pacino is always to look back, rather than forward. The future
that I’m only here because of him and my mother. He had a tremendous is certainly looking rosy, though, and there’s little chance of the actor
influence on me, the image of him working or reading the paper and swelling the numbers of cruise ship retirees any time soon. It’s not that
picking out a horse with that same focus. He was the head of the family, the thought hasn’t crossed his mind, though. He has admitted in the
but it was also a very matriarchal household. As Rudyard Kipling said, past that he sometimes asks himself, “When am I just gonna sit back
‘I learned about women from her.’” and smell the golf balls?”

Céad míle FAILTE Pacino has confirmed that he will return to the London stage in 2016
in a production of Wilde’s Salomé, some 31 years since he last appeared
Although he has only visited on a few occasions, Pacino speaks highly of in the West End, and will also be treading the boards in New York in a
Ireland and has good reason to cherish his memories of the Emerald Isle. play written by David Mamet, the title and plot of which are still a secret.
A visit in 2006 saw him receive honorary patronage of the University
Philosophical Society at Trinity College. On screen, he’ll next be seen in the Dan Fogelman-directed Danny
Collins, an amiable comedy-drama in which he plays an ageing cokehead
Further honours were bestowed on the actor in a subsequent visit in pop star trying to reconnect with his family and find musical inspiration.
2012 when President Michael D. Higgins presented Pacino with a Volta
Lifetime Achievement award at the Jameson Dublin International Film There’s even talk of the actor teaming up with Marvel Studios, which
Festival. He mentions how he was thrilled that the festival showed his has enjoyed huge success with critically-acclaimed films such as The
critically-acclaimed documentary Wilde Salomé, an exploration of Oscar Avengers and Iron Man 3, over an unspecified role in a future comic book
Wilde’s notorious 1891 play, Salomé. movie.

For the record, I wonder why Wilde means so much to Pacino and why So, might we be seeing the veteran as an ass-kicking superhero?
did he feel the need to revisit the scandal of Salomé, which was banned Pacino is keeping schtum. It might be stretching the imagination but
for its blasphemous depiction of Biblical characters. then again, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. After all, this is an
actor who has always marched to the beat of his own drum.
“Oscar Wilde is a prophet. As soon as I saw Salomé for the first time,
I didn’t know who wrote it,” Pacino said. “As soon as I found out, I had Whatever his next move, though, it’ll be worth watching. As Pacino
to devour everything of Wilde’s. To come to this place where his roots invariably is. It’s safe to say that he’s not going to be smelling golf balls
are and to be allowed free reign, it was very beneficial to the movie and I any time soon. ITM
am just deeply grateful.”
Pacino with his partner
PEACE – AT LAST Lucila Sola in London, 2014

Having just celebrated his 75th birthday, Pacino is a man who appears to
have finally found contentment, although it has been anything but an easy
ride. When he was monopolising awards and being hailed as the star of
some of the era-defining films of the Seventies and Eighties, he found it
difficult to deal with his new-found fame, turning to drink and drugs.

Indeed, it seems hard to reconcile the septegenuarian with the angry
man who took a four-year hiatus from the film industry in the late Eighties,
following a dismal reaction to the 1985 historical drama Revolution, in
which Pacino starred alongside Donald Sutherland and Nastassja Kinski.

9293 IRISH TATLER MAN


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