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  • 1979年 LG访谈:Getting to Know You


LG: What did you imagine you’d grow up to be?
AP: I wanted to be a baseball player, naturally, but I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I just had a kind of energy; I was a fairly happy kid, although I had problems in school. In the eighth grade the drama teacher wrote my mother a letter saying she should encourage me. I used to recite The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. And I would read the Bible in the auditorium. That was the first time I heard of Marlon Brando. I was in a play and they said, “Hey. Marlon Brando—this guy acts like Marlon Brando.” Isn’t that weird. I was about twelve. I guess it was because I was supposed to get sick onstage, and I really did get sick every time we did this play. Actually, the person I related to was James Dean. I grew up with the Dean thing. My mother loved him; I loved him. He had that sense of passing through. Rebel Without a Cause had a very powerful effect on me. Remember that red jacket? Everybody wore one. I love that line: “Life can be beautiful.”



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LG: Did you ever shoot up?
AP: No, I never did. That is when we started separating. They were going into other worlds. I would say my mother kept me alive. I didn’t go for the needle at all. I never cared for drugs, because I saw what they did to most people. I thought that was the end of the road. I liked booze every once in a while. I was doing that when I was about thirteen—the way most young guys do. You would get the guy on the street to buy you a bottle because he was older. Drinking and smoking grass were a part of my life as far back as I can remember. I thought everybody drank. I started smoking cigarettes around nine. I chewed tobacco when I was ten. I smoked a pipe at eleven. But it was Cliffy who was always doing something original, something I had never seen.
LG: Such as?
AP: Such as getting off in my bathroom when we were older, after he had told me he wasn’t on drugs anymore. Such as hijacking a public bus filled with passengers. Or stealing a garbage truck and pulling up in front of my house with it. He actually got me into trouble once when he kicked in a store window to get me some shoes. A cop caught him at it, and there was this embarrassing scene in front of a crowd. My grandmother got me out of it.
I remember once he got called up in front of the class. He made the teacher so mad that she started to grab and hit him. He was laughing because he was getting a quick feel. So she threw him out and turned to the rest of the class. Naturally I was laughing, so she threw me out too. Those were great times. I often refer to my life back then as a New York Huckleberry Finn, because it was always something else. We would make something out of anything. The time was ours. Were we going to scale a roof? Run as fast as we could around the block?
There was always something going on in that neighborhood. One time I remember going down to where the buses used to be to get some transfers, which we used to use as play money. I was about ten, and this strange kid came up to me with a funny look on his face. He said, “Sonny,”—which was my nickname—“some strange guy just came up and peed in my mouth.” I thought, That was a weird thing to do. “You’d better go up and tell your mother,” I said. Things like that would happen every day.


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LG: What were some of the odd jobs you used to do?

AP: I was a mail boy, a janitor, a shoe salesman; I worked in a fruit store, a drugstore, a supermarket; I used to move furniture—that’s the hardest work I ever had. The first thing you look at when you’re a moving man is the books. Everybody has books, thousands of them. They put them in boxes. It is very deceptive; they have five thousand paperbacks in boxes. I’m the guy who would go to a moving job in a taxi. They’d say, “Al’s a little late,” and I’d come flying out of a taxi to lug pianos up the stairs for three dollars an hour. I used to move artwork, too. It’s wonderful when you’re carrying a very valuable sculpture and you walk into a wall. That happened to me—a head came right off its shoulders. A major work of art—and I heard the famous words: You pay for it.

I was also an usher. People would always ask me, “What time does the show start?” “What is the last show that went on?” They ask you all kinds of questions. “Is it good?” Finally, I figured, These people will listen to anything I say. You’re the usher, right? The Rise of the House of Usher. So I bet another usher that I could get them to line up across the street. Then I told the people that because of the crowds the line was forming across the street, in front of Bloomingdale’s.



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LG: Why don’t we talk about it? It must have something to do with the fact that you’ve been filming Cruising in New York City and the set has been picketed and harassed. Gay activists have claimed the story is antihomosexual.

AP: I feel I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t understand it. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been in this kind of position. I’m baffled. It’s a tough film, there’s no getting away from it.

LG: You play a cop who tracks down a killer of homosexuals, and some of the protests have been about the fact that the film shows scenes on thesadomasochistic fringes of gay life, rather than the mainstream of homosexual life.

AP: That’s the point! When I first read the script, I didn’t even know those fringes existed. But it’s just a fragment of the gay community, the same way the Mafia is a fragment of Italian-American life.

LG: What does the film seem to you to be about?

AP: It’s a film about ambivalence. I thought the script read partly like Pinter, partly like Hitchcock, a whodunit, an adventure story.


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LG: Sounds like you had a good time.

AP: Actually, except for Francis, I really felt unwanted on the set. And except for Al Ruddy, who was incredibly helpful and good. With Francis, although I had personality differences with him, those were his performances, he made them. And he knew it. He’d say, “I created you—you’re my Frankenstein monster.” Another time, he put me in elevator shoes and said, “What’s wrong with you? You’re walking like Donald Duck.” I said, “Get those lifts out of my shoes and I may move straighter.”

 LG: In fact, you did walk and move differently as Michael, didn’t you?

 AP: I had to move in a different way than I’ve ever moved before. All heavy. Especially in [Godfather]II.


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LG: Backtracking a bit, what was it in your childhood that really decided you on acting?

AP: One of the things that made me want to be an actor more than ever was seeing a Chekhov play, The Sea-Gull, when I was fourteen in the Bronx. This traveling troupe came and performed the play in a huge movie house. There were about fifteen people in the audience. It was a stunning experience.

Another time, later in my life, I was sitting in a restaurant across the street from The New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater. The actors were sitting around a table with a red-and-white checkered tablecloth and an umbrella. The sun was coming in from the shade—it looked like a Renoir painting. There were seven or eight of them, talking. I said to my friend, “You see them? I can’t get my eyes off that group.” It was as though they had existed hundreds of years and you could see their roots, their background, how much like a family they were; how that was something I always wanted…I was drawn to them. Maybe that is what I want…I don’t know.

LG: So we can credit Chekhov with igniting you?

AP: Chekhov was as important to me as anybody as a writer. Brecht, as well as Shakespeare, has really helped me in my life. Also Henry Miller, Balzac, and Dostoyevsky. They got me through my twenties, gave me such a raison d’être. The relationships that we have with writers are quite a thing; they’re different from the ones we have with actors or musicians or composers or politicians. Everything for me is the writer; without him, I don’t exist. So he is first. The actor gets all the fame and glory, but I don’t know about endurance.

LG: What are your three favorite plays?

AP: Forgetting Shakespeare, The Iceman Cometh, The Sea-Gull, The Master Builder. O’Neill, Chekhov, and Ibsen.





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LG: So how do you adjust to fame?

AP: When I first became famous, it was as though, to paraphrase Pasternak, the lights were pointing in my face and I couldn’t see outward. People treat you differently. So you learn to see only a certain side of people. And one loses touch with the way people really are with each other. Not that they are mean, but they carry a lot of weight with each other, they sniff each other. There is that whole thing that takes place between people. Nobody is that accessible or ready to do something for anybody. So what happens is, when you are constantly treated like this, you forget. And the idea is not to forget. People are basically heavy. Sometimes you start to get a little light-headed. I love the line Brando said, “You’re a one-eyed Jack in these parts, Dad. I’ve seen the other side of your face.” I often feel like saying that.





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  • 1996年 LG访谈:Looking for Al


LG: Are there things you want? I mean the way the character in Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King had this nagging voice inside him saying, “I want, I want, I want.”

AP: Yeah, I’ve heard that voice. It said, “I want, I want, I want—pizza.” [Laughs] I don’t know…We know nothing. If somebody wants—I don’t know what the hell that is. Want what? It’s all relative to me. So Saul Bellow’s guy goes into the jungle—I don’t envy the guy. Where is he now?

LG: Still on the pages of Bellow’s novel.

AP: Did you ask Bellow if he ever went into the jungle?

LG: Only in his mind—he wrote the book never having been to Africa.

AP: He probably never goes out of his house. See what I mean?


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LG: What is love to you?

AP: “Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee, and, when I love thee not, chaos is come again.”

LG: From?

AP: Guess.

LG: Richard III?

AP: Othello. Sometimes it’s hard to articulate it, and that’s why Shakespeare’s so great. You hear it and you go, “That’s exactly how I feel.” Think of it: You’re in love, and all of a sudden life comes into focus. Before that person was in your life, it was chaos. And when that person is gone, chaos returns. With love there is a wholeness; you eliminate the chaos. It’s the highest form of civilized life. That’s Shakespeare. You understand? That’s the beauty. That’s how you relate to it.


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LG: If you could have selected your biographer, what writer would do you justice?

AP: Dostoyevsky. Though he’s not a lot of laughs.

LG: Do you see yourself as a Dostoyevskian character?

AP: No more. A couple of years ago, yeah. Now I’m more a Chekhovian character. I was brought up on many different writers, from Balzac to Shakespeare. I know I come from the streets and had no formal education, but I read this stuff, and it’s the Russians that I really felt. Reading saved my life.





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  • 1998年 LG访谈:The Censure of the Which


LG: The Devil’s Advocate opened big. Congratulations. Where did you go for inspiration?

AP: There wasn’t any particular person I could go to. What was challenging was deciding the kind of devil he would be. We all have an idea about pure evil, but how do you make him into a character?

LG: Watch old movies?

AP: I looked at a lot of them. There was The Witches of Eastwick, Angel Heart, Angel on My Shoulder. But the one that gave me wings was Walter Huston’s performance in The Devil and Daniel Webster. He was brilliant. He didn’t have to do anything, yet you felt his power. That helped me.

LG: Did you look to literature as well?

AP: I looked at Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost. The devil, after all, is a classical character.


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  • 2002年 LG访谈:Al’s Calling


LG: Did you see that play the other night with Mike Nichols?

AP: Yeah. Really, really good. Topdog/Underdog. It won the Pulitzer. I thought I was in the presence of the next Waiting for Godot. It had that kind of power. The first act did. The second act went in a slightly different direction. It’s definitely a new voice, a new set of characters. We haven’t seen these people on the Broadway stage before. You gotta see it when you come here.

——Suzan Lori Parks《Topdog Underdog》(生肉)

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  • 2005年 LG访谈:“You Can’t Do Gone with the Wind with a New York Accent”


LG: Could you have done The Local Stigmatic in a different way? Making the character different than a Cockney wise guy.

AP: Not by me. People tried to change me in it a couple of times, but I saw it the way I did it. I translated it that way. When different people translate Pushkin or Pasternak, one can work better than another. It’s all about how you see it, how you hear it.

LG: Could you imagine doing the Stigmatic without the accent?

AP: No, because that’s what it is. Can you imagine doing Mozart’s piano concerto without the piano?



——《黑桃皇后 普希金中短篇小说选》冯春译本


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LG: Moving from your youth to where you are today—you’re planning on taking Salome on tour. What is it about playing King Herod that you want to keep doing it?

AP: I can’t explain it in terms of character. I can only say there are certain roles that instinctively you connect to, like a note of music or a painting that you see. You have a sort of symbiosis with it. You feel you understand it on a certain level. There are various levels of understanding. Some things you understand but don’t feel you want to express. Other things, you strive to go further and further into a role and you can’t go far enough. You can’t! It isn’t over when it’s over. It’s not like a painting, where you can say, that is now a painting. With stage acting it’s ever changing and evolving. That’s the beauty of doing things over and over again.


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  • 戏剧改编电影、电视剧

——1992年《Glengarry Glen Ross》改编自:


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——2003年《Angels in America》改编自:

——Tony Kushner《Angels in America》(生肉)

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——2004年《The Merchant of Venice》改编自:




  • 2006年 纪录片《Eugene O'Neill: A Documentary Film》




  • 2006年《Inside the Actors Studio》



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——Margaret Landon《Anna and the King of Siam》(生肉)

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  • 2007年 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Al Pacino


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——贝托尔特·布莱希特《The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui》(生肉)

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——贝托尔特·布莱希特《Brecht Collected Plays 1~8》(生肉)

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  • 2013年 Massey Hall —— The Ballad of Reading Gaol


——《王尔德全集 诗歌卷》杨烈、黄杲炘等译本(扫描PDF)

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  • 参演戏剧

——1965+2015年 斯特林堡《Creditors》


——1972+1977年 David Rabe《The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel》(生肉)


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——1972+1979年 莎士比亚《理查三世》


——1975+2002年 贝托尔特·布莱希特《TheResistibleRise of Arturo Ui 》


——1979年 莎士比亚《哈姆雷特》


——1979年 贝托尔特·布莱希特《The Jungle of the Cities》


——1979年 莎士比亚《奥赛罗》


——1980.82.83.84年 David Mamet《American Buffalo》

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——1982年 奥尼尔《毛猿》


——1986年 莎士比亚《裘力斯·凯撒》


——1990+2002年 王尔德《莎乐美》


——1990年前后 斯特林堡《父亲》


——1996+1999年 奥尼尔《休伊》


——2002年 索福克勒斯《俄狄浦斯王》


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