By Todd Gilchrist
HollywoodNews.com: For most entertainment journalists, there are only a handful of times when an actor or filmmaker is unguarded enough or unafraid to tell the truth about their experiences in Hollywood. Mind you, it’s understandable that these folks would not want to bad-mouth projects or jeopardize future plans, but as a result, things can occasionally get a bit prosaic on the reporting side. But at a roundtable this week for the new film The Lightkeepers, iconic actor Richard Dreyfuss offered a wealth of unvarnished truth about himself, his career, and the industry at large.
Speaking to the actor during a roundtable in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dreyfuss was passionate, perhaps slightly unfocused, but always amazingly candid as he talked about his experiences on past films, his current obsessions including a civic initiative, his feelings about the Screen Actor’s Guild, and his future in and out of show business.
[Note: Although “Hollywood News” is used to distinguish questions from answers in the text below, our journalist was just one of many reporters asking questions of the filmmakers.]
Hollywood News: Are you at all like your character in The Lightkeepers, who doesn’t like to be asked or answer questions?
Richard Dreyfuss: It’s the difference between me and the character, because I have opinions about things I know nothing about. I always feel a kind of blessed relief when I don’t have an opinion. It’s like an addiction that’s finally gone away. Really, I have opinions about just about everything.
Hollywood News: This is a film very much about the dynamic between men and women – men want to escape them but can’t live without them. How much could you relate to the character you play?
Dreyfuss: In those days, there was a society of men – academics and professors – who were so shy and anti-social that they didn’t know how to deal with women. They were the original ancestors of nerds. They became known as women-haters, but they were never women-haters. They were just men who didn’t know how to ask a woman out on a date. That’s it. At the same time that this story happens, in one town over, was the Provincetown Revolution of Eugene O’Neill and John Reed, the journalist who’s buried in the Kremlin. That’s where Mamie Gummer’s character comes from. She’s a modernist, and she would take the same offense at women-hating as any woman now would.