In 1962, the smallest things were upsetting to authority. It wasn't the Civil Rights Movement. It wasn't the Anti-war Movement. It was something else, but it was a harbinger of what was to come.
I got to learn from the American audience. Hearing what it is they're not getting. These are audiences, 35 to 40, an older demographic that controls seven to 10 trillion dollars. And the producers and distributors have convinced themselves this group doesn't go to the movies.
There are movies I've seen or books I've read that attach themselves in a way that's greater than the ability to understand why. How do you explain that kind of connectedness?
I apply the three gag rule, which is if I can read a script without gagging more than three times, then maybe I can say yes to this job.
I did 'Animal House' in 1978, then 'Local Hero' in 1983, and then in '88, 'Crossing Delancey.' And I realized that every three to five years, you need a big role to put you into the national psyche.
Ease is something that I think many admire in other people, in sports or whatever it may be.
Obviously, any time you're closer in terms of what your knowledge is to a character, you can add something. But an actor's job is not to play only people he can identify with.
I adapted an O. Henry short story called 'By Courier,' which got nominated for a Best Short Subject Oscar.