[sixties-l] Steal This Actress!

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 09/28/00

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    Janeane Garofalo
    Steal This Actress!
    byJenn Shreve
    September/October 2000
    Janeane Garofalo disdains celebrities who stump for political causes, but 
    that hasn't kept the versatile comedienne and actress from tackling 
    political roles. In her newest film, Steal This Movie!, Garofalo stars as 
    the wife of '60s radical Abbie Hoffman. The indie biopicwhich chronicles 
    the turbulent life of the yippie leadergave Garofalo an opportunity to 
    showcase both her dramatic talents and her lefty credentials. She spoke to 
    us from a summer camp in Pennsylvania where she was shooting Wet Hot 
    American Summer, a comedy.
    Mother Jones: Steal This Movie! is your first overtly political film. What 
    drew you to play Anita Hoffman?
    Janeane Garofalo: My politics are very liberal, so I love the era for 
    obvious reasons. And I always had that image of Abbie Hoffman and the 
    American flag shirt in my mind when I was younger. But it was also the 
    role. I don't get the opportunity to play many principal dramatic parts. 
    And I've never played somebody who's still alivethough Anita passed on last 
    Thanksgiving. I figured it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up, so I 
    basically begged Robert [Greenwald], the director, to let me play it.
    MJ: Was he surprised that you were interested?
    JG: No, it was his labor of love. I think he'd be surprised if you weren't 
    MJ: You were a child during many of the events of this film. What do you 
    remember about the '60s?
    JG: I was born in '64. I remember my brother playing a prank on me and 
    claiming I had been drafted. I was so upset. I believed him. I remember the 
    Chicago Seven trial. I remember Hanoi Jane. I remember Nixon addressing the 
    country. And I remember that even though my parents were very young, they 
    were very conservative. They weren't swept up in the '60s revolution at all.
    MJ: How did you reimmerse yourself in '60s counterculture?
    JG: I was very well read on the topic anyway. I just read more: all of 
    Abbie's books, Tom Hayden's book, Anita's book. I got eight tapes from 
    Anita telling me about their lives.
    MJ: What about Abbie Hoffman inspires you the most?
    JG: Question authorityif you want a button issue. But the most important 
    aspect of it is the civil rights work that Abbie and his cohorts did.
    MJ: Hoffman was one of the first people to really understand the concept of 
    mass media and how to take advantage of it politically.
    JG: Abbie Hoffman welcomed any and all publicity. He would have killed to 
    have his photo taken all the time and to be interviewed. So a lot of things 
    he did were for ham reasons, and a lot of things he did were for the right 
    reasons. He was a player. He worked it. People like Tom Hayden and Dave 
    Dellingerwho was one of the Chicago Seventhey shunned that. Not all of them 
    got along with Abbie very well for that reason.
    MJ: Do you enjoy the exposure that your celebrity affords you?
    JG: I actually don't enjoy being photographed or doing interviewsno 
    offense. It makes me embarrassed to be under that kind of focus. I feel 
    like, Who the fuck cares what I think?
    MJ: But as a public figure, you must have to choose whether to use your 
    position to speak out about different issues.
    JG: I try to avoid it, because it actually has the opposite effect. I think 
    people are very cynical with actors trying to tell them what to believe in, 
    or lobbying for any kind of changing of government policy. Even I get 
    cynical about it. Like, Why is Sharon Stone telling me this? And there's 
    just something annoying about having Charlie Sheen tell me, "It's your 
    responsibility to vote," in an admonishing way on MTV.
    MJ: I always think of Richard Gere and Tibet.
    JG: Exactly. Mr. Enlightened. He's totally enlightened except that his 
    girlfriends are still 20 years younger and in the modeling industry.
    MJ: One thing you have been outspoken about is the way Hollywood portrays 
    JG: That's not grandstanding, because I live it. I am a victim of it. I'm 
    talking about my personal, negative experiences.
    MJ: But you don't see yourself as a role model for the young women of America?
    JG: I don't see myself as a role model in any way. I would be flattered if 
    anybody thought that I was, but I really don't think that's the case.
    MJ: Don't you think you're skirting the line a bit by doing such a 
    political movie?
    JG: I'm comfortable doing a political film for the left. If somebody cast 
    me in The Charlton Heston Story, I probably wouldn't do it.

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