Gala Magazine Interview

No. 116 Issue: August 31 - September 6, 1995


C
oming all the way from San Francisco, between two films, actor Peter Coyote is lending his charm to the role of the elegant man. He plans to direct his screenplay, Crimes of Opportunity this winter and complete his autobiography. When it is time for his photo meeting with Gala, Peter Coyote shows an eclecticism, and not without humor. He is an actor who is not afraid to reveal himself.

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At fifty-three years old, he has made 50 films playing troubled characters such as those in Kika and Bitter Moon. He started out spending ten years of his life wandering between anarchistic communities and street theater, and then went on to serve under the Governor of California as president of the State Cultural Affairs finally ending up in Hollywood. Some might be satisfied, but not him. His dreams are elsewhere, dreams of writing and of excellence.

GALA: Does it amuse you to model for these fashion photos?

Yes, but it is difficult! It is necessary that the photographer gives me freedom to perform in my own way, so that I can stop to think about my physical flaws and what I can bring into play. After we agree, I find there is pleasure in becoming this object of desire...

GALA: Do you consider yourself a seductor?

If by seduction, you mean one pretends to be what one is not, no. I prefer by far to be desired for what I really am. But if, by seduction, one understands it as a dance between two people who are attracted each other and who reveal themselves slowly while making it last a long time, I adore that.

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GALA: You live alone?

Yes, although I am not, therefore, celibate. I have a friend, but we have deliberately chosen to live apart.

GALA: Why?

Because it is much better. I have already been married fifteen years. I have been divorced for five years and I like to live alone. The ideal for me is to have two separate apartments, but on the same floor of the same building.

GALA: How is it that your friend is not known? Do you keep it a secret?

No, it's simple. She is not an actress or celebrity and her name would not mean anything to anybody.

GALA: Do you prefer an annoymous woman?

When each one is a public figure, that can lead to failure.


GALA: What do you think of women?

They are incontestably more intelligent than men, more subtle. I really like them and I listen to them a great deal. I think they realize that.

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GALA: And you, what is it that seduces you?

For a long time I have, first of all, been a greedy fellow. But now, I am tired of the quantity and the diversity. My only greediness now is for a genuine and deep intimacy.

GALA: Why do you live close to San Francisco, far from Hollywood?

Hollywood can amuse me for one week and then I am bored. People talk only about movies. I choose to live elsewhere because I don't want to be a worker in a worker's city.

GALA: You are an atypical actor. You've worked with Roman Polanski, Pedro Almodovar... Is that by choice?

I would like that! But I have made fifty other films, which were not done by those directors unfortunately. It pays the rent. No, if I'm atypical, rather it is because I always consider myself a writer who earns his living by being an actor.

GALA: And you write?

Yes, I always write - articles, essays... I just finished my first book, The Free-fall Chronicles, and I am negotiating with an editor. It's my memoirs of my life and that of my friends during the Sixties. Crimes of Opportunity is what I hope to direct this winter.

GALA: You're an actor, writer and also a director?

I did several scenes for the theater, but I haven't yet directed anything for the cinema. This film will be my first. My objective for the next ten years is to especially devote time to writing and directing and have the pleasure of people who really interest me.

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GALA: If you had to define yourself, what would you say?

I continue to discover myself day after day, to fight against my own imperfections, to train myself to be even more human

GALA: Train yourself to be a human being is a definition?

Yes, it is true, and also that life is too short.

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