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Fame & Fortune
Randy Quaid
Plucked from acting class, first movie made lasting imprint
Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Randy Quaid

Bankrate: Along the way, you've worked with some very big directors: Alan Parker in "Midnight Express," Walter Hill in "Long Riders," John Hughes in National Lampoon. What do you think you bring to the table that directors seek you out for their films?

Randy Quaid: Well, I'm a pretty good actor, I guess. The more I'm in this business, the more I appreciate my talent, and the talents of other really good actors because there are a lot of good people who act, but there are very few who are really able to go deep within themselves and reveal themselves through the role. That's something I've always strived to do. I don't always have the material to do that.

Bankrate: In the last few years, you've done some important movies in supporting roles, such as Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" and Harold Ramis' "The Ice Harvest." Are you secure enough now that you can do smaller roles with a huge impact, rather than a larger role in a lesser quality film?

Randy Quaid: Lately I've been looking to work with really good directors because that's something I started out doing early on in my career and then things happen. I got away from doing work maybe that you shouldn't be doing, but everyone has clunkers ... I have bills to pay, college tuition to pay. You have to work concessions in life, but for the last three or four years I've been focusing on working with really good directors again and finding parts that are really challenging to me. I've done "Goya's Ghosts" with Milos Forman and I play the King of Spain, which is a different role for me.

Bankrate: What movie got away from you?

Randy Quaid: Years ago, I wanted to play Buddy Holly, and Gary Busey got that part.

Bankrate: You would have been a great Buddy Holly.

Randy Quaid: He was already an established musician and I was just fumbling along, but I thought maybe I looked the part. Gosh, there are a lot of things I don't get. For the last few years, I've been in a really good place creatively and acting is something I took for granted. Now I really appreciate it more. It's something that I want to get better at and I want to get as good as I can.

Bankrate: Maybe acting before was just a job while now it has turned into a passion.

Randy Quaid: Yeah, it started out as my passion. Then the business side of it all kind of got between me, as an artist, and creativity. The business side of acting can really be a difficult one and you lose sight of what you got into the whole thing for. Now I think I really strive to be more creative.

Bankrate: In "Bloodhounds of Broadway," you met your wife Evi, so certainly this was a pivotal time in your life. Can you cite a few other turning points in your life where art intersected life or vice versa?

Randy Quaid: I have to say when I met Peter Bogdanovich and he cast me in "The Last Picture Show." I think going into the drama room in high school. I just went in it because the room was air-conditioned (laughs). In Houston, starting school in September always meant hot and humid with no air conditioning in school. The only other places in school that had A/C were the principal's office or the chorus room. I didn't want to be close to the principal and didn't have an affinity for chorus, so I got in the drama room and something clicked immediately.

Next: "It wasn't until I met Evi that I learned what true splurging was ..."
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