Alfred Molina on sex, Marvel and his experience with Weinstein
Alfredo Molina is considered by everyone to be a character actor. He is very happy about it. “It was about time [ممثل الشخصيات] It means someone who isn’t good enough for the lead,” a well-known actor with the best eyelashes in Hollywood told me. “I think it’s rubbish.”
Why focus on this characterization (character actor)? It’s probably a memory of the gracious word he gave in his final year of drama school, when the Spider-Man star was still “Alfredo”, and was later advised to drop the “o” in his name to make it more “English”. (He was born in London to a Spanish father and an Italian mother).
And Molina then starts asking his teacher for references to submit in his application file for a residence visa in Britain, and he gets old in the process.
And he narrates about this: “He said (that is, his teacher told him): [ألفريدو، أعتقد أنه عليك أن تتصالح مع حقيقة أنك لن تحصل على عمل قبل تخطيك (سن) الـ 40”. يسود صمت دراماتيكي، ثم تعود الحيوية، “أنت شخصية يا هذا”.
شعر الممثل بالانقباض وفكر في نفسه، “إذاً هذا كل ما في الأمر؟ بعد ثلاث سنوات (في مدرسة الدراما)؟” وقد جاءت تلك العبارة (عبارة أنت شخصية) بمثابة “جائزة ترضية”، وبدت كأنها تقترح شيئاً يشبه التراتب الهرمي. “رجل أساسي، رجل شخصية، خائب مطلق”، يروي مولينا ثم ينفجر ضاحكاً.
يضحك مولينا كثيراَ، وهناك تلك الافتراقات الصغيرة التي تتخلل قصصه، فتهدد بقلبها في الأذهان رأساً على عقب، ومن ثم يأتي الحدث الأكبر في آخر كل قصة ممتعة.
يعرف مولينا كيف يدير المغزل، فهو روى كثيراً في حياته والآن بلغ سن الـ 69. “عندما بدأت العمل انتبهت إلى الجمال …” – حتى بعد 30 سنة في لوس أنجليس لا يزال هذا اللندني يغفل حروف الـ “ت”
من ثم جاءت شخصية تاجر المخدرات بمزاجه العالي وقمصانه الحريرية وشواربه في فيلم “ليالي الرقص” (Boogie Nights)، والعمدة الكاثوليكي الذي يخشى السكاكر في فيلم “شوكولا” (Chocolat). ودوره بشخصية دييغو ريفيرا، أي زوج فريدا كالو، الذي رشح بفضله لجوائز “بافتا” عن فيلم “فريدا” (Frida). إضافة إلى أدائه الذي تكرر مرتين بدور الفنان مارك روثكو في مسرحية “أحمر” (Red) لـ جون لوغان، ودور زوج داون فرينش بمسلسل “روجر أند فال هاف دجست غوت إن” (Roger & Val Have Just Got In) لقناة “بي بي سي الثانية”.
أما الأكثر شهرة بين الأدوار التي أداها فهناك “دوك أوك”، صاحب المخالب المعدنية القاتلة، في أفلام “الرجل العنكبوت” (Spider Man).
يجلس مولينا قبالتي مرتدياً نظارات ذات إطار مموه وبنطال جينز وقميصاً مزداناً بأشكال مربعات مرفوع الكمين، فيظهر تحتهما وشمان على كلا ساعديه. وألمح (في الوشم على أحد الساعدين) النصف الثاني من مقطع باللغة اللاتينية يقول “totus mundus agit histrionem”، أو (بالإنجليزية) “All the world’s a playhouse” (كل العالم هو مسرح)، شعار شكسبير إزاء العالم.
يربت مولينا على بطنه “أنا رجل ضخم وعلى الدوام كنت أتجاوز الوزن الطبيعي بـ 10 باوندات وأنا طويل القامة. كنت دائماً بصغري أتخطى الحجم العادي قليلاً ولم أكن رياضياً”، يشرح لي.
الناحية التي كانت تبدو فيها فكرة “ممثل الشخصيات” بمثابة “صفعة على الوجه” يراها الآن “أفضل شيء” كان بوسع أستاذه التفوه به. “أنت لا تعول على مظهرك، ولا تعول على شخصيتك. ولا تعول على أي شيء له علاقة بذاتك. يمكنك أن تكون أي كان أو أي شيء. يمكنك الاختفاء، عبر التأثيرات. وهذا الأمر يمثل هدية عظيمة”.
أما أداء الاختفاء الأحدث لـ مولينا فقد جاء (اليوم) من خلال دور التحري آرماند غاماتشي في فيلم “ثلاثة صنوبرات” (Three Pines)، الاقتباس الباذخ الذي قامت به (استديوهات) “برايم فيديو” لروايات لويز بيني البوليسية. تدور أحداث الفيلم في قرية ضئيلة في كيبيك (كندا). المكان بارد وريفي محدود يشبه الأجواء التي ابتكرتها HBO في “فرس إيستاون” (Mare of Easttown)، كما يستحضر العديد من العناصر الملغزة التي تسم قصص أغاثا كريستي، ويرسل غاماتشي إلى قرية “ثري باينز” للتحقيق في حادثة صعق كهربائي تعرضت لها مرشدة حياتية غنية خلال مباراة في لعبة الـ “كيرلنغ”، بيد أن مهمته تنحرف عن هدفها الأساس إثر اختفاء امرأة من السكان الأصليين واتهامات للشرطة بإهمال القضية (الحلقتان اللتان ركزتا على هذه القصة تحديداً أخرجتهما ترايسي ديير، وهي من قبيلة الموهوك، إحدى قبائل السكان الأصليين).
يحتوي هذا القسم على المقلات ذات صلة, الموضوعة في (Related Nodes field)
بداية عندما جرى الاتصال بـ مولينا في شأن ذاك الاقتباس، تحدث عن كتب لويز بيني أمام إحدى صديقاته، “وقد جنت تماماً، [يا إلهي إنها كاتبتي المفضلة. قرأت جميع كتبها]He wrote it lyrically (ie in a lyrical style). He slammed his hand on the table, evoking his girlfriend’s enthusiastic invitation to accept the role. “She said, [يجب أن تقبله]For his part, realizing that the project would take a long time, he wanted to be more than just a “hired actor”, so he also suggested that he take on the role of executive producer (on the project). “only by the power of its own quality”.
As for Gamatchi, he is a gentle giant who likes to protect and defend “lame ducks” (people in a state of weakness and helplessness). He’s a detective with a bit of wisdom he’s gleaned over the years at one point suggesting we all tattoo “I might be wrong” on our arms. And when I ask him about the motives and background of this character, Molina tells me with a twinkle in his eyes that his 16-year-old granddaughter has always prepared him for these kinds of questions. “She said, [حسناً أعطني وصلة صوتية، ما القوة الخارقة في هذا؟]He laughs. “I think it’s about empathy. A lot of detective stories are about ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’, but Gamachi is more interested in ‘why’.” Why is someone pushed to such a horrible extent and to such a place that anyone in them is now capable of doing something horrible?”
A creamy leading role in a police drama would suit Molina like a glove fits his hands, but he never planned such a role. In fact, he admits, “My only plan was to keep my job.”
Before that, in drama school, he trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, he always heard from his colleagues how they “develop strategies and plans related to their next steps and what they want to become”, and they would say: “I want to be in [الـ RSC (أي مركز الخدمات المحلية)] When I’m 30, and I want to play this role when I’m 40.”
In context, Molina evokes the title of American actor Lee Grant’s memoir, “I Said Yes to Everything,” as his motto. “All I cared about was continuing to work. I think it’s a legacy. In my opinion, this happens a lot with the children of al-Muhajiri because there is a work ethic for them. They work to provide a better life for their offspring. “
Molina’s father came to England at the beginning of World War II, while his mother arrived when the war ended. Her father was a waiter, and her mother worked as a hotel cleaner. When Molina graduated from drama school, his first agent (who guided him to find work opportunities) told him that if he didn’t change his name, “you’re going to spend your life playing Spanish waiters,” and “It hit me hard, because my dad was Spanish and he was a waiter. I remember it kind of bothering me.” He regrets it now, but admits, given the attitudes of people in the mid-1970s, that his agent was right.
“Of course, now that I’m approaching 70, I think maybe I should redefine myself.” And burst into that deep laugh again. And then it’s all over, [فات الأوان يا صاحبي فات الأوان!]”
Molina is currently reading Alan Rickman’s memoirs, and has also released some notes he previously kept hidden. Jokingly, he gives a sample of those memoirs.[ذهبت للعمل. ألتقيت بهذا وذاك. تناولت الغداء مع فلان وعلان. عدت إلى التمارين. رجعت متأخراً إلى البيت. أحسست بالتعب. ذهبت للنوم]. After about four pages, I say [هذا أضجر ما قرأته في حياتي!]”
Molina reads the memoirs of many actors and “they talk about their sense of the importance of this work and the insignificance of another work, and that always seemed very perfect to me,” he explains. Molina was doing some job that he hated so much, but he needed money.
In fact, I didn’t start making acceptable amounts of money until I was 40, and before that I spent it paycheck to paycheck, and I’m not saying that to brag, but if I had the chance to be proud of what was coming to me, I would not let you down. A lot of what I did I had to refuse!”
Last year, a clip of Molina giving a candid answer about why he returned for the latest Spider-Man movie went viral on the Internet. “For me, it’s all about money,” he replied, not without humor. Today, he says that some works compensate for others, “it’s a factor that is always present in the life of every creator”, but he does not see that the superhero film industry is not able to give those who do it a sense of self-satisfaction, because unlike Christian Bale who plays it in described the “Green screen” films (that is, paranormal films that depend heavily on effects and technology) as “the definition of monotony”, Molina remains fascinated by working in an atmosphere full of technical elements, and tells me in this context how he used to have lunch on the set of the film “Robbers of the Lost coffin”, rehearsing On a way to walk again and again, which sometimes required him to walk in front of the cameras. In the end, Steven Spielberg shot the scene in a different style, “but I was very proud of it”.
“For me, it’s important to balance the technical demands, like working with a green screen, with the creative demands, and that’s a great equation to solve.”
Likewise, Molina disagrees with Martin Scorsese’s criticism of Marvel films, which he considers to be the destruction of cinema. He (Molina) believes that cinematography is “a very broad church and there is room for every genre in it, and the problem in the end is not in these films, but in the unfair distribution of available budgets.” For the film industry. Do movies really have to cost $300 million? Do these movies have to spend $150 million to get an audience Because whatever the people in charge of the budgets say and whatever their economic calculations are, it’s a kind of injustice,” Molina likes to say. Look at some of that money that’s been allocated [للفئة الممتازة] He goes to lower-ranking jobs. He says of this: “In fact, despite the glow of equality that we wish there were in this industry, that glow remains insignificant.” But Molina doesn’t see the Marvel movies as “inferior in the cinematic industry,” and he doesn’t make much of a difference between them and other works, because “you can do better for the benefit of a certain third party, but movies (or cinema) ) are essentially one thing. “
But is it still possible to make films like those of Molina’s early works, such as Perceived Ears and Letter to Brezhnev, two 1980s romances about the inner-city working class? Liverpool during the Thatcher era?
Molina hopes so and believes that these discussions are not new. “We’re forgetting our history because the film industry has always represented this kind of conflict between art and commerce from the beginning, and that distinction has always existed.” And tell me the old joke, no actor ever said, “The show must go on.” Whoever said that is a movie producer, and the whole sentence says, “The show must go on because I’m losing money!”
Molina recalls director Stephen Friars, who directed his acting when he directed “Hang Up Your Ears,” as the director wondered, “What makes you want to make a movie when the circumstances are too difficult to make the movie you want to make.” A person who was definitely difficult to make movies with was Harvey Weinstein. Molina starred with Salma Hayek in the film “Frida” produced by Miramax, which appeared in 2002. Since then, Hayek has written and spoken several times about her experience during the filming of the aforementioned film, which she has been trying to achieve for years, in an article in the New York Times. In 2017, Hayek alleged that Weinstein sexually harassed, blackmailed and pressured her to film a live gay sex scene for inclusion in the film. “In his opinion, I was not an artist, and not even a person but a thing, and I was not a person but a body,” Hayek wrote.
Molina did not witness any assaults (by Weinstein), but he did witness extortion, and he mentions the time when Weinstein came to Mexico where they were filming (“Frida”). “We were sent one by one to his (residential) apartment, and he just recited the ‘sedition law’ to us, and Weinstein saw some of the clips[koji su snimljeni]and he was not pleased with what she drank.”
Molina was the last to come to Weinstein’s ward, and as he tells it, he laughs remembering what happened and it was “totally senseless.” With a sharp New York accent,” he said [ألفريد ماذا يجري بحق الجحيم؟ لقد وظفت أفضل الممثلين. لقد وظفت سلمى حايك. إنها واحدة من أفضل الممثلين في العالم. ماذا أشاهد على الشاشة؟ لا شيء سوى فريدا، فريدا، فريدا”!
ويتوقف قليلاً عن الكلام في إشارة إلى صدمته. “أذكر أنني فكرت في نفسي: [حسناً هذا جوهر الفيلم اللعين، أليس كذلك؟] What Weinstein was talking about, of course, is that she (Salma) wasn’t acting in a “sexual” way, and wasn’t playing the role of a flamboyant Latina and coquette, but the role of Frida.
However, “despite that, Salma Hayek managed to make a great movie,” he added.
Since he is “faced with great resistance which he shows [ميراماكس] As for the actors Hayek wanted with her in the film, the star faced everything and fought for every actor, including me. She was very loyal.”
After the film was made and before the MeToo campaign and her stories broke, Molina came out publicly in 2015 and said, “If Selma were white and male, she would be older than Harvey Weinstein.”
Molina recalls an incident that occurred during a dinner after an article by Salma Hayek (in the New York Times) was published. “There were four of us sitting at a table. Sam Rockwell, me and two other great actors. And Harvey Weinstein came in. He shook hands with everybody. Sam, then the next guy, and the next. And when he got to he continued with me (without shaking my hand). He completely obliterated me. Sam Rockwell is on one side and I’m on the other, and Sam says,” Molina reconstructs in a horrible way, “What the hell have I done?”
Molina chooses not to talk about his personal life and understandably so, perhaps because his wife of more than 30 years, actress Jill Gascoigne, star of the 1980s cop series “A Gentle Touch,” died in 2020 after an intense battle with Alzheimer’s disease in more than a decade, and in 2021 he married Jennifer Lee, the screenwriter and director of the movie “Frozen”.
Molina has portrayed the roles of gay characters, as, in addition to Halliwell, he played John Lithgow’s partner in the film “Love is Stranger” in 2014, and in 2015 he said that “sexual orientation has nothing to do with playing this character”, and this is something that he holds to today.
“I’m not trying to claim something I’m not, and as you know I’m a white heterosexual person, and that’s a question I find inappropriate.”
He recalls what actor Terrence Stamp might say when asked about his sexual orientation: “There are normal people, there are gay people and there are British people,” and his laugh lines return to his face. “So when people ask me about this, this is my answer. [ما هي ميولك الجنسية؟] I’m British”.
His face crinkles (from laughter), and at the end I guess it’s one of the actor’s characters, Alfred Molina is a character actor.
Three Pines premieres on Prime Video on December 2, with two episodes airing each week.