“A Late Quartet” debuted at the Toronto Film Festival back in September and a publicist offered me a chance to sit down with two of the movie’s stars – Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener. Normally, I don’t do junket interviews, but the idea of the two of them together struck me as particularly fun and funny — I’ve been a fan of both for years. My first exposure to each of them was in two of my favorite movies of all time: Walken as the bizarre brother Duane who has the urge to turn his car into oncoming traffic in “Annie Hall” (see clip below!) and Keener as the sponge-sniffing, “ugly-guy” dating friend in “Walking and Talking.” So I took my turn in line behind other journalists for my allotted 20 minutes.
By the time I was up these actors seemed to have had their fill of well-meaning questions. But when I said I was from KCRW, Keener came alive – she high-fived me and called me her “home girl.” She told Walken about our humble basement digs and was incredulous that he’d never been here. He was a bit flabbergasted. It was cute.
I said I wanted to try to have a different conversation with them. Instead of focusing on the movie I wanted to talk about the business of acting. They were game, and they got right into why “A Late Quartet” was “a good job” (the fellow actors, the location, the director). Keener admitted that she’s often used “as bait” to help get a movie financed– though she didn’t seem to resent that. It’s just the reality of the movie business these days.
But my favorite part was after Walken talked about how he’s offered fewer roles now that he’s older. Keener turned to him and asked if he’d ever consider being a director. His answer was pure Walken. Listen below!