Al Pacino on being a ‘Stand Up Guy’

Peek-a-boo! "Stand Up Guys" hits theaters on February 1.

“Stand Up Guys” finds Al Pacino playing an aging criminal released from prison after 28 years and taking stock of his life while trying to prove he’s still got some life in him. So it seems like a perfect time to check in on Pacino himself and see how he’s holding up. Here’s what we learned from our chat with the 72-year-old actor.

He has no plans for retirement:

“I don’t even know what that means, really. It’s all about retiring to what? What is retirement about? Sometimes I wonder, why am I doing this? And then sometimes I don’t think about that. I think it’s understanding what you’re capable of doing. If a role interests me, excites me or challenges me, then I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t try it. If the roles become far and fewer between, then that’s OK too, because then I’ll find other things to do. But there’s [directing] ‘Salome,’ doing ‘Looking for Richard,’ those things are sort of extensions of myself and my life. I could be doing that while I was retired, you know?”


He feels far from accomplished as a director, though:

“I feel that I’m doing the wrong thing. Sometimes when I do a movie and I’m sitting seeing a preview of the movie I’m thinking — because the film is some place else, usually in the editing room, miles away, and they’re bring it to the theater — I often think, I hope that somebody grabs hold of that film right now and recuts it and makes it good. (laughs) I’ve made about four or five of my own films. Only one has seen the light of day, but I do have other films I’ve made, with my own money. Spielberg once said to me, ‘Never put your own money in a movie.’ And he was right. But at the same time, it was fun to do and I’m glad I did it. And I’d do it again. I’m trying to put together this thing on Modigliani, and now I will either direct it or I’ll produce it or something, but it was my idea to do it. I’ve wanted to play it for a long time, but I’m too old to play Modigliani now.”

He admits he wasn’t always easy to direct:

“There’s no doubt that I’ve gotten easier to work with. There’s no doubt. They tell me that. (laughs) I think that when I was younger I was much more difficult. If I learned anything from directing, I learned what directors go through with actors. A certain amount of empathy is gotten out of that by doing it yourself.”

The joys of poker:

Throughout his career on stage and screen, Al Pacino has had one hobby that keeps him happy: holding a regular poker game. “What I like more about poker more than anything else is it’s a game. It’s for very low stakes, and there’s a friendliness in it,” Pacino says. “And I enjoy the guys that I get, the group, because a lot of them are old friends. I like that gathering. There’s something comforting about it. Sometimes I just lose track of the game. People confer, and sometimes things come out and people talk. And I enjoy that. And when I focus on it, like anything else when you focus on it, you forget everything else. So it’s very zen. It’s like meditation.”

And his “Stand Up Guys” director, Fisher Stevens, was a one-time fixture at those games. So how good was Stevens’ poker face? “Fisher wasn’t very good,” Pacino says with a grin. “But the good thing about Fisher was he thought he was, so we liked to encourage him. If he reads this I’m in trouble.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

Rangers unlikely to change lineup, Steve Mason in…

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say much, but don't expect any lineup changes.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NBA

Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.

NHL

Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.