Why is that letter so pronounced? When the throat is opened, then you know you have the ventriloquist’s voice. That’s why I call myself a ventriloquist. I don’t want to be in the business anymore of doing nothing, so I went back to my voice. The only things new in this vent-riloquism are that I speak to people, I write my plays in pen and typewriter, and I play the “M” in ventriloquism.
“My whole life is ventriloquism.”
I remember going to a theater and seeing Iggy Pop’s play, Man On Fire. I was in middle school and it was the only play I’d seen. I remember sitting at the back and taking off my shirt. The theater director said, “You don’t have to get that embarrassed.” I remember saying, “I think it’s too sexy.” I remember being put in front of the audience. I think they didn’t want to see it. So I went back to my room and started writing my song that I thought I would have a part in.
[on the criticism, in 1985, that he’s not really an actor who is just “a writer of screenplays.”] Well, I like people to write me in movies.
A lot of directors think I’m a writer who’s just a writer. But I’m anything but. It’s just not true. I write a lot about people I don’t really know. But what’s more important to me than anyone else is the people. If I get to hear them tell their story, then that’s even more important to me. The more I hear them tell their stories the more I get moved to speak.
A few years ago I went to see some music videos for the Stones and it reminded me very much of the lyrics. I’ve always been fascinated with these strange and wonderful music videos in which people are dancing about in what’s ostensibly a studio as if they are trying to make music. I really found that to me like what I did in Man On Fire. I’ve always found it very important to just sit and listen to music because it’s the only way I have. It’s how we talk. A lot of people talk a lot but it isn’t even a language, it’s a language of rhythm and energy. When the dance energy passes, we can talk.
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