The pop culture site Vulture has published a long and wide-ranging interview with actress Angelica Huston. It’s a great interview from a reader’s point of view, candid, funny, revealing. It is also an interview given either by someone with no ethics alarms at all, or someone so steeped in an unethical culture that she no longer comprehends such concepts as loyalty, fairness, confidentiality, kindness, decency and the Golden Rule. That’s not all: the rationalizations also come thick and fast.
Huston reveals private, unflattering and uncomplimentary facts about friends, relatives, colleagues and ex-lovers, living and dead. The interview could be used in an ethics course to illustrate how you don’t talk about people behind their backs. Here are some of the many points that made me wince…
—On the recently departed Penny Marshall, once a close friend: “Frankly, she took a lot of coke.”
—Rationalizing Roman Polanski’s rape of a 13-year-old girl: “Well, see, it’s a story that could’ve happened ten years before in England or France or Italy or Spain or Portugal, and no one would’ve heard anything about it. And that’s how these guys enjoy their time. It was a whole playboy movement in France when I was a young girl, 15, 16 years old, doing my first collections. You would go to Régine or Castel in Paris, and the older guys would all hit on you. Any club you cared to mention in Europe. It was de rigueur for most of those guys like Roman who had grown up with the European sensibility…My opinion is: He’s paid his price, and at the time that it happened, [prosecuting someone for that] was kind of unprecedented. This was not an unusual situation.”
—On working with Bill Murray: “He was a shit to me on Life Aquatic. The first week I was there, we were all in this little hotel, and he invited the entire cast to go and have dinner, except me.”
—On actor Ryan O’Neal: “He head-butted me. He took my head in his hands and hit it with full force against his head because he couldn’t find me at a party. He’s a deeply disturbed — or at least was then; I can’t vouch for now, but I think he was — deeply disturbed person…I think you also get the face you deserve. Have you seen [O’Neal’s face] lately?”
—-Knocking Robert De Niro for doing “schlock movies” for the money: “Although, how big can this nut be? I guess he has maybe a couple of ex-wives, right? Not many, but what does this fellow spend his money on? He’s got Nobu. He’s got the Tribeca Film Festival — he’s not spending the film money on that.”
If you can’t say anything nice about someone, it’s best to say nothing at all….