Interviewed by Camila Alves, JETSS
Father to Angelina Jolie and James Haven, father–in-law to Brad Pitt, out-spoken political passionate, Academy Award winner, multiple Golden Globe winner and brilliant actor Jon Voight has done it all in Hollywood.
On this sunny day in Los Angeles, Camila Alves from Jetss conducted a very impromptu, spirited and extremely delightful interview with the Hollywood icon. A self-proclaimed perfectionist Jon confesses to making many mistakes along the way including the breakup of his marriage to Marcheline Bertrand, Jon’s second wife. Angelina and her brother James were just toddlers at the time. “I had an affair and there was a divorce, there was a lot of hurt and anger.” After many years of estrangement, the two have reconciled at the encouragement of Angelina’s fiancé Brad. Voight says, “My children and my grandchildren, they are my biggest priority now.”
There were also many things he did right including winning the Oscar for his stunning performance in ‘Coming Home’ where he played a returning Vietnam Vet confined to a wheelchair. His breakout role was in 1969 playing the original American gigolo Joe Buck in ‘Midnight Cowboy’. Two blockbuster films soon followed, ‘Deliverance’ which Voight almost didn’t do because of a disturbing scene, stating “When I first read the script, I stopped at the rape scene and couldn’t get past it for several weeks” and the extremely emotional film ‘The Champ’. However according to Voight, it wasn’t until he played Oscar (Manny) Manheim in ‘Runaway Train’ did the types of roles he was offered begin to change. He was now being considered for roles as the twisted bad guy, much to his delight.
Countless films, countless accolades and nominations were to follow which brings us to his current TV project, Showtime’s Original Series ‘Ray Donovan’, where Voight plays the ultimate twisted character, Mickey Donovan.
At the start of this interview with JETSS, the offer was made to email Jon an outline of his questions (which many stars request) but he jokingly declined stating, “I’m in my 70’s I don’t email and I don’t type well so let’s get this interview started.” As well he was quick to say, “no questions about my daughter Angelina will be addressed.”
Camila Alves (Jetss) | In the film ‘Anaconda’ which also starred Jennifer Lopez you shot in Manaus, Brazil. What was your experience and was that your only time in Brazil?
Jon Voight: The location we shot was in the Amazon jungle which was absolutely gorgeous and the indigenous people were very kind and welcoming. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to visit the metropolis areas of Brazil like Rio or São Paulo but I would someday like to.
Camila Alves (Jetss) | In researching about you, there appeared to be a consensus that you are a little tough, would you say that is an accurate assessment?
JV: I’m a little shocked to hear that because I always try to go above and beyond to be kind to everyone, who said that? lol. I always take responsibility for my words and I never just walk up to someone and hoist my opinion on them nor do I have any interest in trying to change someone’s mind. Trust me, I’m a nice guy.
Camila Alves (Jetss) | You’re not shy about your political stance, why have you not entered the political arena?
JV: I do have strong opinions on how this Country (United States) is run and when asked, I am not hesitant to speak about my concerns and the battles we are facing. I do feel we are in a sad state of affairs and I think we are lacking strong leadership. With that said, our Constitution is built on very solid principles written by very great men with brilliant minds so thankfully we have that to fall back on. Like most governments including Brazil you must start with a strong foundation; laws and agreements that are written and set firmly in place to protect the society as a whole so that one person cannot come in and dictate his own agenda. To answer your question, I have no interest in being a politician. I enjoy acting too much!
Camila Alves (Jetss) | In the new Showtime TV series ‘Ray Donovan’, Ray is a professional “fixer” for the rich, famous and lesser moral celebrities in LA. His character Mickey Donovan is released from prison after 20 years and is determined to reclaim his family and settle old debts. What are your feelings about playing such a “colorful, extreme, politically incorrect” character and do you have similarities to Mickey?
JV: How fortunate and blessed am I to get to play this fun and dangerous character? I’ve never played anyone quite like this guy; it’s fantastic, it’s wonderful really! I’m very lucky to have gotten this role, I love Mickey he’s just so fragmented, unpredictable, yet charismatic, so yes, there are qualities in his character that I can personally relate to. I hope I’m doing him justice. The rest of the cast, wow! I don’t have enough words to praise this entire extraordinary cast, the writers and of course the crew. I think actor Liev Schreiber who plays my son Ray is absolutely an incredible talent, my god I’m having the greatest time!
Camila Alves (Jetss) | What profession would you enjoy doing if you weren’t an actor?
JV: I would have liked to teach. I studied with Sanford (Sandy) Meisner and I’ve always admired the other greats like Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg. They dedicated their entire lives to teaching and to do it well like they did, takes a huge commitment. I have one occasion visited classes and given talks but again, to do it correctly you need time. I’m so very fortunate to be a busy actor that I just don’t have that kind of time to give.
Camila Alves (Jetss) | How do you spend your time off?
JV: In between jobs there’s really not much free time but I’ve recently taken up golf again. Although it’s been 50 years since I’ve played and I have to say I’m quite enjoying it. I’m excited you told me our mutual friend Gerard Sanders is a scratch golfer, I just thought he was an actor, I’m really happy to know this.