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Interview with Danny Glover of "Age of Dragons" on Syfy
Unfortunately, I missed this chat due to family reasons.
I love Danny Glover, though. He has been on TV a lot lately, too, in
some of my favorite shows such as "Leverage". He is an awesome actor.
This is an interesting chat!
Syfy Conference Call
Age of the Dragons Original Movie
July 26, 2011
2:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and gentleman, thank you for standing by. Welcome to
the Syfy Age of the Dragons conference call.
During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode.
Afterwards we will conduct a question-and-answer session; at that time
if you have a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your
If at time during the conference you need to reach an operator, please
press star 0. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Tuesday,
July 26, 2011.
It is now my pleasure to turn the conference over to Gary Morgenstein;
please go ahead sir.
Gary Morgenstein: Hi, hello and welcome everyone to Age of the Dragons
call. I'm going to turn it over to Danny Glover who's the star and a
film icon. The Age of the Dragons premieres on Syfy Saturday, July 30 at
Danny Glover: Thank you, how are you doing?
Gary Morgenstein: Pretty good. (Tina), you can start putting the calls
Operator: Thank you, ladies and gentleman as a reminder, it is the 1
followed by the 4 if you'd like to register a question or a comment. And
our first question comes from Reg Seeton of TheDeadbolt.com, please go
Reg Seeton: Hi Danny, it's a pleasure speaking to you.
Danny Glover: Thank you.
Reg Seeton: Can you talk about what it was like to play Captain Ahab and
how you identified with his obsession?
Danny Glover: Well first of all, there's so many who have read
Melville's book or we saw the performance greatly affect, you know, it
seems like eons ago. It's a film classic.
Certainly, the idea of not simply just playing someone who is physically
mantled or dismantled, or physically just torn apart, the idea of it is
emotional part of it which is what - which really attracted me to it,
the idea of the kind of emotional torture as opposed to the physical -
I'm trying to find the word - I'm going to say, it's just that he's
crippled by that; he's crippled emotionally.
So all those kind of things that were important to me. And bringing that
back to his childhood, Melville's book certainly focused on his
obsession with the whale as a result of the fact that he has been - this
is who he has been and the whale was his obsession, kind of need to kind
of conquer this whale.
The same with him as a boy; he had panicked - the idea about him being
afraid and panicked at a moment of crisis and trying to redeem himself
as a result of that.
I think those are the kind of things that I think were enjoyable for me
in trying to find a center for the character in the story.
Reg Seeton: Great, thanks Danny.
Operator: Thank you, our next question comes from Lisa Steinberg of
Starry Constellation Magazine.
Please go ahead.
Lisa Steinberg: Hi Danny, good afternoon. Thank you for speaking with us
Danny Glover: You're welcome, thank you.
Lisa Steinberg: I want to say I'm a huge fan, I mean who isn't a fan of
the Lethal Weapon film.
Danny Glover: Thank you; thank you so much.
Lisa Steinberg: My question for you...
Danny Glover: Hello?
Lisa Steinberg: Can you hear me?
Danny Glover: I hear you, go ahead.
Lisa Steinberg: Okay, my question is kind of a little bit of a follow-up
to the last journalist as to was that - what you found most challenging
for you or was there something else that you found really challenging
for you about that role?
Danny Glover: Well the combination of the two things; certainly the
physical part of that and the finding the kind of physical language for
the character. There's a physical language for a character and finding
center and yourself in it.
And the emotional language behind that, because as a point was revealed
at the end was not only the obsession itself with the reason why and all
the fear that is masked by the kind of - I guess you would say ugliness
of the physical scar, the ugliness in the scene of that part of it.
And the fear evoked because of that; his authoritativeness comes from
somewhere else that is centered his emotional pain. Always hiding his
emotional pain is the one thing that I focus on and because there is the
physical danger that we have of the beast itself - there's that physical
danger of the beast itself.
And certainly in trying to find it where the deeper part of his
emotional pain beyond the scars that were left from not only his - this
attack on him as well as the scars left by the fact that his sibling had
been murdered by the beast; all those things and he is his own fear and
his own pain. All of that was the rich part that you have to play with,
you know, and the script allowed you - the story allowed you to most of
that - to find that too.
Lisa Steinberg: Well thank you again for speaking with me.
Danny Glover: Hello?
Lisa Steinberg: Yes I'm here.
Danny Glover: All right, I don't know sometimes when I'm answering the
question, I'm answering as an actor who's trying to kind of like figure
out, you know, going through the steps that I need to go through to get
to where I want to get to in the story itself.
If I'm not clear about what I was trying to say, just let me know
because an actor deals with - I think in most characters, I don't care
Gary Morgenstein: Hi Danny, I think that white dragon got you.
Danny Glover: Okay ready.
Operator: Question comes from the line of Joshua Maloni, please go ahead
Joshua Maloni: Hi Danny, thanks for your time today.
So Danny, at the start of the call Gary called you a film icon and
obviously you are. I spoke recently to your Leverage co-star Beth
Riesgraf and she couldn't say enough good things about your acting
You know, obviously if we looked at your career; if we just look at
those two roles in particular, Leverage and this movie Age of the
Dragons, I mean the characters couldn't be more different. What would
you say is the key to your versatility as an actor?
Danny Glover: Well I don't know, maybe I don't take myself seriously -
could be part of it. And I think when I see the play mapped out on the
board and the Director and Writer, Athol Fugard; that's A-T-H-O-L Fugard,
F-U-G-A-R-D. Athol Fugard said that the one thing that he appreciated
about me was that I gave whatever I had to give to the moment itself, to
the truth of the story; that's what I gave, you know, all of that.
And that simply means that the story exists in itself and the story is
bound by the character's relationship, emotions, et cetera like that;
his relationship with himself and his relationship outside out that.
What I try to do is find as the story - the story's art focuses on that
essentially through the characters and who they are, who they think they
are who they are in real life...
Woman: I'm just going to keep it open, just in case, (Tina).
Danny Glover: ...and the relationship between each other; so that made
the story and certainly redeems itself. So the idea is that I fit in to
what that is, you know, I don't try to be bigger than the story, I don't
try to dominate the story, I don't try to use myself in some sort of way
in which it now circumvents what the story is about; I try to be right
within the story itself whether it's "Sergeant Murtaugh" or whether it's
"Mister" in The Color Purple or whatever it says.
Or whether it's Leverage or whether it's been the "Captain" in Age of
the Dragons. So those are the kind of things that I think when I think
about prying myself to think about who I am as an actor; those are the
kind of things that focus on me whether I've been able to work, whether
my face is the kind of face that is manageable in many situations, many
characters or whatever it is.
But there's some part of it that - and I think that comes out and Sammy
Davis Jr. said, "You remind me of the guy who lives next door to me"
which killed me. I don't know whether it's a compliment or a compliment
to my versatility or my ordinariness.
Joshua Maloni: Well you are a fantastic actor and we're looking forward
to seeing you in this. I appreciate your time.
Danny Glover: All right, thank you.
Operator: Thank you, one moment please for our next question.
It comes from the line of Amy and Nancy Harrington, please go ahead.
Amy Harrington: Hi, thanks so much for your time today.
Danny Glover: Hello, how are you?
Amy Harrington: Good, thanks. It's a pleasure to speak to you.
So we were wondering how you actually got involved with this particular
Danny Glover: Well they came to me; they came to me and I read the
script and an actor likes to work and an actor likes to feel that he's
capable of needing the test of many challenges and everything else so I
said, "What about this?"
It's kind of deformed - and that's the word I was looking for -
deformed, mad; was not only deformed physically, but deformed
emotionally, and some of those characters within stories themself are
really dynamic to me.
So this deformed man; he's defined to some sense by his physical
appearance of this deformity, but there's another emotional deformity as
well. Fear - all those things are part of it. Fear, guilt -all those
things of my part that I'm allowed to explore in this role; so that's
how I got to it, they came to me.
Amy Harrington: Excellent, thank you so much. Best of luck.
Danny Glover: Thank you.
Operator: Thank you, our next question comes from Lindsay Turner, Pop
Culture Madness, please go ahead.
Lindsay Turner: Hi Danny, thanks for talking to us today.
Danny Glover: You're welcome.
Lindsay Turner: So I was wondering what do you think is the biggest
challenge that comes along with doing film remakes for classics,
especially one as huge as Moby Dick?
Danny Glover: I'm sorry, go that question again. I'm sorry, what you say
Lindsay Turner: What do you think is the biggest challenge that comes
along with doing a film remake of classics; especially one's as big as
Danny Glover: Well, Melville's theme in the story is a tragedy; it's
Shakespearean in some ways. It's such a great tragedy of man against
nature, of man against beast, of man against himself.
Finding himself, and responsibility because there's a responsibility too
as someone who's taken his role, but the obsession with this dragon or
obsession with the whale itself, you know, clouds his degree of
And it really announces his madness now - this is one, as the beast he
is conquered by the beast. He isn't conquered by the beast, it's the
beast in himself basically and that's what man is always having to deal
with, the beast himself. It's the beast in himself, that part of him
where he teeters on the edge of madness and sanity, or stability.
Or chaos, all of that; all of those are kind of the emotion - the human
emotion and great classics come out of that. So whenever you're trying
to remake them or reconfigurate them in some sort of way; it's always
interesting. You find it in every single one, you can do it - you get a
classic, every single one.
Everyone - whatever generation you put Macbeth in, it still works
because the same human emotion; it could be post the (unintelligible) or
it could be as its own period in time. Or it can be in a modern time -
in modern time it all works, the same emotions come up there.
So I think trying to find the connection between those emotions, that
humanness in it; that human frailty is a challenge.
Lindsay Turner: Okay thank you so much and congratulations on the movie.
Danny Glover: Thank you.
Operator: Ladies and gentleman, as a reminder you can press the 1
followed by the 4. If you'd like to register a question of a comment,
that is the 1 followed by the 4.
Our next question comes from Chris Boyd of the Hollywood Junket, please
Chris Boyd: Hi Danny, I've really enjoyed your work over the years.
In your previous films such as the Lethal Weapon, there were a lot of
great special effects, you know, such as explosions and car chases and
from viewing the various trailers online for the Age of the Dragons, it
seems like there's some pretty amazing video special effects. And I'd
like to know, how has this modern technology changed the movie-making
process for you?
Danny Glover: Well I'm an actor, and it seems that as itself special
itself dwarf the role of an actor, dwarf the film itself to become -
it's so amazing, I mean some of the things that we did in the first
Lethal Weapon 25 years ago, and the way in which it's done now; it's
like (unintelligible) in another age and time.
So certainly, I think the challenge of it is that in what is 3-D or the
format that it's placed on - you see the film on, or whether it's just a
pure, amazing technology; amazing development in technology in terms of
special effects bring you closer - bring an audience closer to feeling
in a different other kind of way.
But those things don't affect me because I love to know I'm to blame and
I'm always kind of dealing with the nuance of language and the
relationship that language has to what we're doing - what we're trying
to convey; and that's still real.
Whatever the Lethal Weapons were, they were still the relationship
between two men or the relationship that gathered between those two men
and the people that they came into contact with; their own human
frailty, their own - all the special effects came out of that and off
chance creates that. The special effects create a degree, for the most
part, a physical danger; that's what special effects I want to see.
And we're looking at Transformers, Iron Man, to Consumer Man to Spider
Man, whatever it is; we're looking at those special effects and the
creative - the emotional - they physical danger created by that. It's
still the actor's role to find the emotional danger within that and the
emotional danger is what connects the people to the stories self and
Chris Boyd: Excellent, I'm really looking forward to seeing you on the
film this weekend and thank you very much.
Danny Glover: Thank you, all right.
Operator: Thank you, our next question comes from the line of April
Decheine; please go ahead.
April Decheine: Hi, I'm wondering - your role looks like it could be
really strenuous. Do you follow some sort of exercise and eating habits
because you look - I mean you're in incredible shape?
Danny Glover: Well I'm - the role itself is in some sense it is, you
know, a great deal of what we do as actors; I mean in some ways it's
child's play, you know, I work with my grandson in it. He plays a
certain role. I had to find somewhere where I lived inside his body; I
had to find somewhere where I feel that this body and his physical
torture and emotional torture comes at some point.
I want to walk with this man who feels this pain physically and
emotionally all the time, and you have to contort your body in such a
way to find the story - the script in that. And also find (incentive);
I'm trying to feel this physical pain, it's painful to drag that leg
around and yet it is in some sense it drives me - the fact that I
dragged that leg around and dragged that body around keeps me upset and
moving toward my obsession.
And so I try to find the place where the physical - where I'm going to
do something - the physical is (unintelligible) the pain - and it does
feel painful, it does feel awkward in a sense; if you're walking on
sand, you're walking on sand. It's the physical pain of walking on sand
is different than the way you feel physically if you're walking on grass
or if you're walking on sidewalk or walking on dirt.
Because walking on the sand and having to lift your legs in a certain
way and the weight of your legs from walking on the sand for a long
time; and those are the kind of things that I use for my own kind of
like memory. I want to be physically in pain when I do that and you got
to be in shape to be physically in pain, you know what I'm saying; to
experience that, change your body so your body reverts back to what it
Imagine someone who is already, really physically in pain and imagine
they're alive when it's constantly in pain so that every movement
whether because of age or by some accident or by some physical
abnormality. But to be physically in pain was a portion of that.
Hiding behind that pain, feeling that pain and watching other people
recognize and know that you're in pain. That everyone is spying on you,
everyone looks at you with contempt because of that; because you could
have a certain (unintelligible) because of what you experienced as well.
You experience something that no one else as a dragon (unintelligible)
has experienced, you (fault) and survive; at least they think you have.
You survive whatever his wrath was.
April Decheine: All right, thank you.
Danny Glover: All right?
April Decheine: Yes.
Operator: Thank you, our next question comes from Aaron Noblock of
Blogomatic3000.com; please go ahead.
Aaron Noblock: Hello Mr. Danny - Mr. Glover, how are you today?
Danny Glover: All right, thank you.
Aaron Noblock: In the movie, the writers saw fit to give an explanation
as to why your character, Captain Ahab, was chasing his white whale in
the form of he dragon in the way of flashbacks which is somewhat in
contrast to the plot of Moby Dick in which the reader never learns the
source of Captain Ahab's lust for revenge.
Do you think the addition of these flashbacks helped the movie-goer
connect with Ahab on an emotional level, taking the story in a somewhat
Danny Glover: I think you have to reduce altering human behavior is
demystified through knowing something about what the person's past is
and how that past is - I don't care what it is. You can look at a
hardened criminal man and he can tell you a story about what had
happened to him as a child that could bring you to tears and you could
understand who he - why he is - who he is.
So or we can flashback - in fact I have experienced with (Mr. Armani)
who was doing right and some time in the state prison; and had
(unintelligible) come and told his story. This is why I heard his story,
he had some sort of empathy for them and you can only have empathy for
people despite who you may think they are or see how they are by knowing
So the flashback what I think were could in that vantage point - because
that vantage point is it allows us to understand who Ahab was more than
just this vile or deformed, angry human being.
Aaron Noblock: Okay, thank you.
Danny Glover: All right.
Operator: Thank you, ladies and gentleman; as a reminder you can press
the 1 followed by the 4. If you'd like to register a question or a
comment, that is the 1 followed by the 4. We do have a follow-up from
Reg Seeton at TheDeadbolt.com, please go ahead.
Reg Seeton: Hi Danny, thanks again.
Danny Glover: All right.
Reg Seeton: Having felt this physical and emotional pain of various
characters over the years, what type of insight does that give you into
Danny Glover: I don't know - it's I think the inside of the people come
from a desire to be able to have empathy for people; the inside for
people comes beyond just acting, you know, we have an opportunity all
through our lives - in our lives sort of with family members, of friends
or even strangers to hear somebody's story.
Every time I look at and look at a homeless person on the street, and I
think about what is the story, what is that story brought him to that.
You can even look at him and try to find it in his eyes or try to find
the (unintelligible) in whatever it is. Is it the fact that he - and
there's some people that I've seen repeatedly in the same place.
There was a man that I saw and every time I would give him a couple of
dollars or $5 bill, he'd be in the same place everyday; and then at one
point in time I said, "What is your story?" You know, you have a
gracious smile, being gracious with him and everything else, then I'd
listen to him talk about his story a little bit and then I had a
different understanding with him.
So I think on the one hand it begins with a desire - you have to be - I
think in order to be - to do what we do is honored as actors, you know.
I think there's one or two choices that you make, that you're able to
gather from people vicariously in some sort of way their - what happens
in them and know what they are simply by that; and utilizes that,
utilize yourself and your own senses within yourself in projecting, or
immersing yourself in the character and projecting that character's
On the one hand and so for me wanting to know - hear people's story is
not so much about acting as looking at a picture; and looking at a
picture and dividing something from that picture and seeing a story in
the picture, you know, whatever it is, and being moved by that picture
and everything else, you know.
One of the most incredible moments was looking at Dr. Martin Luther King
and I hear what he says, but all you have to do is look at his eyes; if
you look at his eyes in the picture, you see something so deep in his
eyes, something so if you could imagine, that what is in his eyes, what
he feels, what he believes, this feeling and everything else; what he
believes and the idea that that is so - it manifests itself in what he
talks about and it manifests itself to the point that he moves people by
what he talks about so all you have to is look in his eyes, you know.
Reg Seeton: Great, thanks Danny it was a pleasure.
Danny Glover: Hello?
Operator: Thank you, we also have a follow-up question from Aaron
Noblock of Blogomatic3000.com; please go ahead sir.
Aaron Noblock: There have been several movies over the years, actually
since the 1950s, that have reinvented or tried to retell the story of
Moby Dick; how well in your mind in Age of Dragons reinvent the classic
Moby Dick tale and in which ways did it succeed and which ways...
Danny Glover: I don't know, I'm an actor in it. My role - my purpose is
to kind of find a center and try to be that. I didn't try to tell or
retell the story of Moby Dick; of course, I'm influenced by it, I mean
you don't get away from the fact that the physical and emotional
deformity that you find in the character itself there.
But I mean, the idea of that is a classic story because it lends itself
to so many different interpretations; is a classic story that in some
sense is captured at any particular point - this particular point in
time, not only the issue of allowing this man's obsession, but the
issues around what happened and what is happening at this period in
time, you know, in the whaling industry; an industry where men come from
all around the world who've become a part of this experience.
The treasures - the bounty of this - not only and the value of what they
do; the value of this is at a point of time in oil and whale oil and the
use of the oil itself is quite, you know, it is what this is about so
they have value in itself. These men have value and yet they are men who
(unintelligible) the full spectrum of benefits of the value that they
bring to the situation so there's so many different other things about
Like I said, you can play the classic story in any time, in any period,
as long as you - if you're able to kind of lend or translate those same
values - temporary values or post-contemporary values to the story
itself, then you fall within the framework of doing justice to the
original novel - original story.
Aaron Noblock: Thank you.
Woman: Gary I think...
Gary Morgenstein: Yes, Danny's got to go.
Woman: Danny's time is limited so I think he's got to go.
Gary Morgenstein: Thank you.
Woman: Is that okay?
Gary Morgenstein: Danny, thank you so much for taking the time to
promote the movie Age of the Dragons, July 30.
Danny Glover: All right then.
Gary Morgenstein: Take care, best of luck to you. Take care.
Danny Glover: Thank you, bye now.
Woman: Thank you guys, bye.
Gary Morgenstein: Thank you everyone.
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