Culture & Entertainment

Parenting, Malkovich style

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Parenting, Malkovich style

By: Guest Blogger
  I spent the afternoon with John Malkovich.  Yes, the John Malkovich.  And while, of course, we talked about acting  - blah, blah, blah exciting, blah, blah, blah creative, blah, blah, blah stage is better than screen –we really got to the core when we talked about parenting. But first off, he wanted me to know “I’m one of the least serious people ever.” Whaaaa??  Visions of Dangerous Liaisons, and Con Air, and Of Mice and Men, Places in the Heart, and a multitude of other intense roles come to mind.  Sure, there's The Hitchhiker's Guide and of course, Being John Malkovich, but even then, he's pretty...intense.  But we fall into an easy conversation, starting with his dad. “My father was a big influence on my life.  He was a fantastically interesting man who gave me some very good life lessons and I think prepared me, since the time I was small, to really not just intellectually understand, but to emotionally feel that I’m the one who has to decide if what I do is good or bad, right or wrong, worthy or unworthy.” Right, not serious at all. Keeping in mind that while he’s been nominated for everything from Academy Awards and Golden Globes and has won virtually every critics award possible, it’s interesting to note that, aside from acting work, the thing he’s most proud of is “raising children, which I think is mostly credit to my wife.” Wow.  Sort of sidelines his clothing line… But you have to wonder if having a dad  with such a huge list of accomplishments and accolades, maybe their own achievements are marginalized by his.  I mean, wouldn’t you feel a bit insignificant bringing home a little league ribbon while dad brings home another Oscar nomination? I asked him if he and his kids felt there was a sense that they had to be as successful as dad, or a sense of competition.   “No.  Well, they may have, but I don’t think about my career or what I’ve done.  I don’t think about myself ever.” As narcissistic as many actors often are, after spending an afternoon with him, I’d tend believe that self-assessment. Then how do his kids feel about their papa’s job, are they proud?  “No, they’re not interested.” But his face does lighten as he adds “they liked a film our company produced here in Canada, they liked Juno , and they actually even called me, which was a bit of a shock.  I don’t think it’s fun to grow up when you’re the child of someone who’s known, and they ignore it whenever they possibly can.” Did you ever feel that you missed time with them? “Sometimes, but really it was when they were in adolescence and didn’t want to be around me anyway.  They were enough trouble and for me it’s “sorry, I have to go to Istanbul for a week…” We laugh and I cautiously ask if he’ll dispel the “serious image” he has and make a wacky face. Without a word of acknowledgement he slides into this face, and I quickly snap away. 15 minutes later, outside the hotel where we’d done the interview and photo shoot, he helped save a man’s life. Another teachable moment from Mr. Malkovich.
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Parenting, Malkovich style

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