He has shot it out in Reservoir
turns writer-director for Trees Lounge, and tells it all to Nigel Floyd.
One of the hardest-working actors around. Steve the past three years. During this period. he has
for indie directors like the Coen Brothers. Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino. achieving his breakthrough as Mr Pink. the gangster who expo
born actor knows. this typecasting is down to his
over-ripe lips. He‘s even wondered why nobody’ ever cast him as a vampire. a role for which his pallid. wasted looks would seem ideally suited. In real life. everything about Buscemi is a little softer at the edges. He speaks slower. twitches ha at all. and sports a neatly-trimmed goatee that‘s h
played the manipulative Richard Cross in TV’s Murder One. has astutely characterised the gap between Buscemi‘s perceived and actual
eyed. tall. handsome guy. so he winds up playing quirky bad guys. But that’s America. that‘s not Steve.‘ This irony is not lost on Buscemi either.
where I play a killer.’ he says. ‘they just laugh.‘
Dogs and stumbled through murder in Fargo. Now actor Steve Buscemi
Buscemi has made half-a-dozen movies a year for
established himself as the character actor of choice
his philosophy on tipping in the opening scene of It’s this role that best exempliﬁes his being typecast
as the creep. psycho. scumbag or loser who. more
often than not. meets a violent end. As the Brooklyn-
unique appearance - bulging eyes. irregular teeth and
rather than weasely. However. Stanley Tucci. who
personalities: ‘Steve is not your blond-haired. blue-
‘When my friends from Long Island see me in a ﬁlm
Trees Lounge. Buscemi‘s ﬁrst feature as actor and
writer-director. is a modestly budgeted. semi- autobiographical ‘bleak comedy‘ that centres on 3 l - year-old unemployed Long Island mechanic Tommy and the regular clientele ofa seedy Long Island bar. Nevertheless — as beﬁts a ﬁlm inspired by a retrospective of the late John Cassavetes‘ intensely naturalistic. character-driven ﬁlms — Buscemi‘s
s painfully accurate portrait ofthe bar‘s disappointed misﬁts. oddballs and drunks is never cruel or
‘The old guy. Bill - there‘s guys like this in every one of these bars.‘ Buscemi reckons. ‘guys that just ip are there to drink. They don‘t really socialise too much. but you know that ifyou really put in the time. you could get to know their stories. But most people just look at them and say. “Jeez. look at that guy. Hope I don‘t end up like him.“
For Buscemi. it was the stories behind these careworn faces that drove the plot forward: ‘People aren‘t always what you think on ﬁrst meeting them. and there‘s often more to their lives if you take the time to talk to them. In most ﬁlms you‘re only allowed to get close to the leading characters — and the supporting players — who are oftentimes. in
my opinion. more interesting than the leading characters - you don‘t really get to know.‘
Since ﬁnishing Trees ernge. Buscemi has dipped his toe into the mainstream with his role as dangerous convict Marion Mangler in Con Air. an action movie from Top Gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The part wasn’t much of stretch. acting-wise. and after years of modestly budgeted independent movies. Buscemi had a little trouble adjusting to ﬁlmmaking Hollywood-style.
‘The most difﬁcult thing isjust the waiting around.’ he says. ‘Everything takes a lot longer. The scenes are more fragmented. so you would shoot a piece of a scene. and then another piece. and then a reaction shot. Or sometimes you‘re just required to be standing in the background of a scene. which is ﬁne. but it‘s certainly not as stimulating as doing something like Trees mege. or a Coen Brothers ﬁlm like Fargo. But I did have a few days where it wasjust me and Nic Cage. and I had a nice scene with a little girl. And when it came down tojust pure acting. it wasn‘t really that much different.‘ Trees Lounge opens at the Cameo. Edinburgh. on
Star gossip, hot news, who’s making what with wh
TIIE SCOTTISH FILM IllllllSTllY lallout continues. As reported last issue, director Bill (Gregory’s Girl) Forsyth’s c'rlticlsm ol the Scottish Film Production Fund’s selection panel and its allocation of lottery Fund millions to panel members has stirred up passions usually seen only when Mel Gibson turns himsell Into a walking saltlre. John Mclirath is the latest to resign, handing back the £1 million he was given tor a production of The Silver Darlings. Then he decides to keep the money and go ahead with the project. Behind the
About tumr Brad Pitt changes tack on The Devil’s Own
scenes a drama brews. Internal rivalries, naked ambition, a low glamorous names. It would make a great movie. As long as no one on the SFPF selection panel submits a script.
TllE llEVll’S own is one of the most dubious trailers around at the moment. The lilm stars Brad Pitt as an IRA hitman who charms his way into the home of Irish-American cop Harrison Ford and, lrom the few scenes on show, it seems to embrace the same misty—eyed, uninformed view of Irish politics as Patriot Games. Pitt agrees: ‘It was the most irresponsible bit of tilmmaklng - it you can even call It that - that I’ve ever seen.’ At least this is what he
told Newsweek in America, claiming he was threatened with a $63 million lawsuit it he pulled out. A couple ol days later, however, the actor issued a statement saying he’d been misunderstood. The Devil's own is now officially ‘a film lam very proud oI’.
Glllllloclt’ll is a gritty urban comedy that has just opened in the States, starring Tim lloth and Tupac Shakur as two guys trying to break tree from heroin addiction and get Into relu. The casting is perfect: as the Tupac conspiracy continues, maybe Mr Orange can let us know it the same guy who shot the rapper also pulled the trigger on lllce Guy Eddie. (Alan Morrison).
20 The List 7-20 Feb 1997