Following his turn as the grief-stricken father of a murdered girl in "Moonlight Mile", the legendary actor goes for something completely different in James Foley's noirish thriller "Confidence".
The role of The King was rewritten once you came on board. Why?
The part was originally written for a much bigger guy - I mean a physically bigger guy, a kind of imposing guy. So when I agreed to do it, I had to figure out ways to be that big and that imposing. He had to be intimidating, and he had to be believably threatening so as to create tension in the film. So we started to construct the character, psychologically.
How did you go about doing that?
Well, they wanted his sexuality to be ambiguous, and I had been to the dog park with my labrador Lewis and my daughter Jenna. It was the first time that Lewis had been there and another male dog came over and mounted Lewis! I said to my daughter: "Doesn't that male dog know that Lewis is another male, or is that other male dog gay?" My daughter explained to me that this wasn't about sex but about power, and using a simulation of sex to let my dog know he's on his turf. And then I thought: Maybe that's my guy! Then, of course, I had done a lot of research for "Straight Time" and we all know that in prison, sex is not used for sex necessarily, or love, but for power and domination. So The King uses his sexuality to intimidate. That was the beginning of the character.
So you based your character on your dog being humped in the park?!
Yes, that is true!
How about working with Ed Burns? He seems to have been blown away by working with you..
Well, he's being modest. You know, you can't do this stuff by yourself. I mean, he threw it back.
You've had such a great career. How have you survived the curse of growing old in Hollywood?
Here's the thing. If you can get past the big crime in our industry, which is getting older, and once you embrace the so-called limitations of what we call life, then it becomes a part of your work.