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Interview with James ‘Jimmy’ Woods [with translation]

September 11, 2011

We saw this in one of the UK film mags [Totalitarian Film] and had some time on our hands, so…here’s the ‘between the lines’ stuff [ie, what he really wanted to say.]

On turning down Reservoir Dogs twice – ‘I was up for ‘Pulp Fiction’ and I met him [Tarantino]. “Gee,” I said, “I’m so excited to be here and meet you guys”, and he said, “we almost didn’t have the meeting, because we thought it was kinda rude the way you turned us down on ‘Reservoir Dogs’.” And I said, “Guys, I hope you’re kidding, I never heard about ‘Reservoir Dogs’ until I saw it in the movie theatre.” And they said, “Oh no, no, we gave you an offer, twice, in writing…” I walked in and fired my agent of 17 years on the spot. That was the end of that.’

[Translation: ‘I didn’t wanna do it. Got my agent to throw it in the bin twice…who is this guy [Tarantino] ripping off other movies? [Pause] Fuck, people liked it. I think maybe I liked it. The guy’s doing a second film, I wanna be in it…but what do I do if he remembers what I did on the first one? [Pause] Shit, he does remember. [Pause] I know. Blame agent, get him blacklisted, make sure he never speaks again. Tell this version of things in interviews. It’ll work. [Pause] All these years gone, and still machinating with the best of them. Damn you, Jimmy Woods, ha!’]


On filming ‘Salvador’ with Oliver Stone – ‘I’d say that the difficulties were the kind of difficulties that happen when great films are made. In the old days, John Ford and John Wayne got into a…[trails off] I don’t know, guy stuff, just huffing and puffing, you know? A rutting stags kind of thing. But I always knew we’d end up being friends and we have. I love Oliver. I think he’s a character and he thinks I’m a character.’

[Translation: ‘Before I knew the film was any good, I hated the arrogant fuck. What did this fatty know about jungle politics? [Pause] When people said it was good, I took stock of things. Man, Oli Stone’s a fucking legend! [Pause] And so am I. No doubt from anyone. Best fucking actor in the whole goddamned playground! [Pause] Shit, don’t say it, Woodsy. Don’t…’]


On working with Scorsese on ‘Casino’ – ‘Not only did I call him up, he was in a casting meeting and I said, “Give him this message. Jimmy Woods called; any part, any price, anywhere, any time.” And the irony is he called right back. He was living with Illeana Douglas at the time, and she confirmed that the night before he’d said, “Jeez, I’d love to get Jimmy Woods to play Lester Diamond.” He said, “It’s only two days’ work, I don’t know if you’d want to do it.” I said, “I’m in.” He said, “Good.” And that was it!’

[Translation: ‘Man, he didn’t even know who I was. Thought I was James Caan. But he’s still an icon so I can’t rip into him. [Pause] What if I pretend he said he wanted me before I begged him for the part? Say it was Illeana Douglas who told me. Fuck it, can’t hurt. And who’s gonna ask her anyway? People don’t know who she is. She’s nothing, doesn’t even exist. [Pause] Man, I’m smart. Maybe I should play this up, say I’ve got an IQ of 184 or something?’]


On turning down the role of the Joker in Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ – ‘I wouldn’t say that I specifically turned it down – it went to that other guy that nobody knew, Jack Nicholson! I mean, I think that would be a little bit of hubris on my part. No, no. But I look sort of like the Joker looks and I think if Nicholson, the greatest actor alive, hadn’t done it, I might have been somebody who would have been maybe right for it. I don’t think I’ve turned down Burton. I don’t know how these stories get out. I wish he’d ask me again, if he asked me the first time.’

[Translation: ‘Should’ve fucking asked me, Burton. [Pause] You fuck.’]


On still working today – ‘I just shut my mouth and stayed away until I became a good idea again.’

[Translation: Actually, the quote itself is pretty straightforward. And funny too.]

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2011 6:06 pm


  2. Stavrogin permalink
    September 12, 2011 4:32 am

    Videodrome. Once upon a time in America. Casino. Best Seller. The Specialist. Salvador. Another day in Paradise. Virgin Suicides. Not Batman or Reservoir Dogs.

    You seriously don’t know him?

  3. October 4, 2011 10:40 am

    I know Robocop but he’s a robot. I didn’t know his name.

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