Listening to Hollywood legends reflect on their careers is a treat that provides a perspective wholly other from what we, the audience, have come to know.
Today, in anticipation of The Irishman’s Netflix debut, GQ has posted a conversation with Al Pacino, where the star discusses what many consider his four most indelible roles. The 79-year-old actor talks Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, and The Godfather (with a nod to his excellent early turn in The Panic in Needle Park, which won him the Michael Corleone part).
He reminisces about growing up with a difficult mother and a father who was rarely there, the great John Cazale, whose five-movie resume is better than anyone else’s (Cazale died of lung cancer at age 42), and what it takes to make it in this business. According to Pacino, success is “a combination of application and luck.” Anyone who’s had any success in entertainment can attest to that. Sometimes it’s just being in the right place at the right time, or, in his case, being liked by the right guy. It was Francis Ford Coppola who believed in Pacino when no one else did—Paramount included.
As he’s grown older, Pacino seems to have become more introspective. “You start thinking about those pivotal moments in your life that literally save your life,” he says, as he remembers doing a play called The Indian Wants the Bronx with Cazale way back when. This was the catalyst, he says, to the career he forged. “Theater is the great teacher,” in his view.
You can have a look and listen below to Pacino remembering those great films from another time, and his current musings on life as a whole. And if anyone comes across a script on Pablo Picasso at age ninety, get in touch with Al’s agent; that’s his most coveted role at the moment .