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Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

“I’ll be pregnant by the time I’m 30…hopefully.” Kim Kardashian interview By E.C. Gladstone Many see Kim Kardashian as ...

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Jon Cryer

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John Waters

“I feel like Uncle Remus every time a kid comes up and says, ‘Tell ...

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Tommy Lee Jones Pt. 3

Tommy Lee Jones Solo

Tommy Lee Jones
By E.C. Gladstone

EG: Music has a lot to do with cultural identity in that part of the world—
TLJ: “Yeah, I guess it does.

EG: What kind of music did you listen to growing up in Midland?
TLJ: “When I was a little kid I’d listen to Hank Williams, Lefty Frizell, Bob Wills. I think sometime in the middle ‘50s we started like everybody else listening to Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, and all those sappy romantic high school songs.

EG: Everly Brothers?
TLJ: “Oh hell yeah.

EG: Buddy Holly was from north of there, right?
TLJ: “Buddy Holly was from Lubbock. We loved Buddy Holly, every thing he did. He and Roy Orbison both used to come do live television shows at the Midland television station. I saw Johnny Cash one time at Ed McLemore’s Sportatorium. He was pretty skinny.

EG: What kind of music do you listen to now?
TLJ: “I listen to anything Willie [Nelson] does… Blues retrospectives on NPR… I’ve gotten to the point that I can recognize Glenn Gould’s playing without being told. I have the greatest admiration for his musicianship.

EG: In your supporting cast, you have two musicians (Dwight Yoakam and Levon Helm), and I always think it’s interesting when people have musicians act. As a director, what do you feel you get out of casting musicians?
TLJ: “Nothing in particular. I had worked with Levon before in a movie and knew that he’d be able to read the role. A lot of people read those scenes and don’t really understand what’s going on. I thought Levon would catch on pretty quick, and he did. I didn’t have to teach him anything. Felt the same way about Dwight, I’d seen his work before and I knew that he could read.

EG: You said you didn’t have too much trouble selling the film—any feelings about the environment for films like this right now in the marketplace?
TLJ: I don’t know much about trends or fads in the business. I sometimes read about them in the magazines, and there certainly are people who make a living pretending to identify trends, and more power to them!

EG: The film came out in the US just for a brief award qualifying run late last year. Are you hoping for it to get some of that attention, on top of the Cannes prizes?
TLJ: “I hope it wins every prize in the world! What am I supposed to say? No! No awards!

EG: Let me rephrase: are you looking to put a lot of energy towards that effort?
TLJ: “Uh, no. I’ve done a lot of traveling in the last 8 weeks to film festivals around the world and spoken to a lot of journalists around the world, mainly in order to make myself available as a marketing tool. It’s been exhausting.

EG: What kind of receptions has it gotten in different places?
TLJ: “The reception has been uniformly positive. In Cannes they gave the film a 15-minute standing ovation. Very rewarding. They gave it a standing ovation in Toronto, in Mexico, and in Tokyo. And those people don’t even raise their voice much less stand up and beat their hands together.

EG: And based on your discussions with journalists and with festival audiences, what’s the most common thing people have focused on?
TLJ: “What’s it like to direct yourself? The most common questions are the ten dumbest questions you could ask. What is the dumbest question you could ask me?

EG: That’s about it, and I hope you notice I didn’t ask it. So what else is on the horizon for you?
TLJ: “Nothing. I did two days of work for Bob Altman on A Prairie Home Companion, just because he asked me to. Back to business as usual, reading screenplays and books. You have to read a lot of screenplays.

EG: Any particular interests artistically that you feel you still haven’t had a chance to do?
TLJ: “No, I just like being around a movie camera. Whether it’s acting, directing, writing, whatever. I love movie cameras.

-FF-

copyright 2007, ECG

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