That’s right folks, I am amongst one of the extremely lucky people who got to see the wonderfully talented Al Pacino at Jones Hall in Houston,TX. And woah… WHAT A NIGHT! They started with a montage of his works over the years and some clips of interview questions. All the classics were there, The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, Sea of Love, Scarface, A Scent of a Woman, etc. It was the quickest I have ever seen that many Pacino movies in 5 minutes.
The interview began and I was on the edge of my seat. You name it, they mentioned it. He told stories about Coppola, The Godfather trilogy, stage acting, and growing up as a kid. More specifically, when he was little and used to do The Lost Weekend scene where Ray Milland’s character, who’s a drunk, is going crazy trying to find his liquor. He said that he’d do this scene for friends of his father and he never understood why they would sit there laughing at him. He mentioned the Performing Arts school in New York, which he attended only for a short time. He talked about his early days in off-off-off-Broadway productions. “Great little coffee shops that gave great opportunities to actors,” He said. “Sometimes there were more actors on stage than people in the audience.” He called the theater, “an addiction.” Once you’re there, you’re stuck in this world of possibilities.
When talking about The Godfather, Pacino set some records straight. First, money was not the reason he didn’t want to do the third and final installment. In fact, Robert Duvall was the one who didn’t want to come back. Pacino explained that it was “a completely different script” than when it first started out. Second, the second installment was the one where “money” was an issue. At least, not so much for him as it was for the studio. He said that Coppola had not signed on to the movie yet. The script just wasn’t as good as it should have been and that’s when they started to offer him more money. It snowballed. Finally they got Coppola and he told the studio, “Stop offering him (Pacino) money! He just wants a good script.” And that friends, is it the cookie crumbles.
Pacino answered questions from the audience and talked plenty about his up and coming projects. One of which is with Adam Sandler. He mentioned wanting to play Iago in Othello, working with Robert De Niro again and his 4 year project Wilde Salome. It was like sitting in the living room with my uncle talking about the wonderful days past and the ones yet to come. The intimacy that was felt in that huge theater was impeccable. He made it known to many people now that “language” is very important to him. He’s all about the message a show sends and what the “words” say. And when he spoke, it was with both confidence and aggression that he made his point clear. It was, for lack of a better word, poetic.
And after all that, he still managed to muster up the excitement to present a monologue from Hughie, a scene from American Buffalo, and poems by Oscar Wilde and E.E. Cummings. The passion he showed and the flawlessness of his performances were something I will never forget. I could probably go on for pages about how vivid and engaging tonight’s “play time” was but that would be boring and make me sound like a drone. Instead I just have this left to say, it truly was a One Night Only occasion because I’m pretty sure, the whole thing will change tomorrow. Thank you Al Pacino.