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Interview With Al Pacino

Aired December 6, 2010 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight my good buddy, my best man. Al Pacino.

AL PACINO, ACTOR: I love the people I play.

KING: One of the world's greatest actors. And a very private guy. He's going to sit down for a rare and revealing interview.

We thought that "The Godfather" would bomb at the box office.

You ever turned down a role you regretted?

PACINO: Let me see -- yes.

KING: The Academy Award winner Al Pacino. We'll talk about George Clooney, Brad Pitt and others all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We're in Al Pacino's backyard in Beverly Hills. Yes. The last time he was with us after much begging and cajoling was back in 1996. We thought it would be the start of hundreds of interviews, and this is the second time.

We've become very close friends. We spent a lot of time together. This is only the second time on the show.

Let's show you a little clip of the first time from 15 years ago.

PACINO: No. No, don't. Don't. No.

KING: Watch.


KING: Why have you finally come?

PACINO: Come here?

KING: Yes, finally, after years of asking?

PACINO: Senility, I guess.


KING: Why do you dislike interviews?

PACINO: Well, I don't -- I think it's because it starts with the whole idea of being an actor, which is something that is kind of -- the anonymity of an actor. The more anonymous you are, the easier it is for an audience to accept you in the role. I think it starts -- it starts there. And it's also basically because I think I'm somewhat shy.


KING: You still feel that way?


KING: Do you still feel --

PACINO: Yes, I do. But I'm so shy now I wear sunglasses everywhere I go.

KING: I mean you play so --

PACINO: I sleep with these.


KING: You do -- you do so many things, you're so outgoing, why would you be shy and --

PACINO: I've often said there's two kinds of actors. There's a more gregarious type and the shy type. And both going to acting for the reason that they're able to access stuff because they have these big personalities and they're able to get involved in -- and they're open and they do things.

And the others go into acting because they can't do that. And in acting it allows them that freedom. So I think there's -- I'm sure there's people who are a little bit of both. But --

KING: Do you enjoy fame?

PACINO: This play I did, remember the local stigmatic, which you saw, the movie of -- I filmed it -- that the quotation in there from the author at the start was, "Fame is the perversion of the natural human instinct for validation and attention."

Can you follow that?

KING: Yes.

PACINO: I didn't make it up, but I just said it. It's a strange thing. When it first happened to me, it was quite daunting, and I got the best advice I ever got --

KING: Was it after "Godfather"? PACINO: Yes, after the big movie started coming out. It started early in the theater, too. It was escalating. And I got the best advice I could ever get from anyone, Lee Strasbourg. The great Lee Strasbourg said to me, "Darling, you simply have to adjust." About fame.

KING: All right. Al is currently starring on Broadway --

PACINO: I haven't adjusted, but I'm trying, you know?

KING: He's currently starring in Broadway in "Merchant of Venice." He played it in the summer outdoors in Central Park. That was free, right?

PACINO: That was free theater. Yes.

KING: You worked for nothing?

PACINO: Yes. Yes. Joseph Papp, the great emissary --

KING: Started it.

PACINO: He started it, yes. It's a great place. And they do it every summer. They do Shakespeare. They're even doing other things.

KING: Is it different when you're working without pay?


PACINO: No, of course not.

KING: No? I mean no?


KING: You don't even think of that?

PACINO: No, you don't think about that. I mean you don't think you're -- because again, it's a job. It's -- and again doing it in the park, it's so -- because you're dealing with all the elements in the park. It's not quite what you think it's going to be. It's outdoor theater. But it doesn't work out kind of the way you think it would be.

KING: And so like these planes go overhead while you're acting?

PACINO: Everything happens. Everything happens.

KING: It rains.

PACINO: And it rains. As a matter of fact, we were in the middle of a scene and it started raining.

KING: What do you do?

PACINO: You stop the show. But you don't stop until the announcement comes up by the stage manager. He announces, all right, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to stop the show for a while, and the audiences love it. They love it when that happens. You know? You go back --

KING: Why?

PACINO: I don't know why. They just do. They're like -- they're a part of something that's different. You know? And so -- but we did and we stopped for a full half hour and went back out again.

KING: By the way, the advance for "Merchant of Venice" was the largest on Broadway this year. It was $4 million as of weeks ago.


KING: Before you open so you should be very proud. The reviews were amazing. I want to touch a lot of bases.


KING: You play Shylock.


KING: In a times Shakespeare -- was Shakespeare anti-Semitic, in your opinion, when he wrote that?

PACINO: In my opinion no, he wasn't. But it's hard to tell what was going on back then. That's 400 years ago. What -- what was being interpreted. There's a lot of interpretations of the play.

To me, I think there is anti-Semitism in the play, of course, but I also think Shylock is also a blatant cry against prejudice in some ways, when you think of what they do to this person because he's a Jew. And how he reacts to it and what he's become. What he is made into.

KING: So before you play him --

PACINO: Because of prejudice.

KING: Do you think about it a lot? Do you think about, how I'm going to -- how I view him? Do you have to like him?

PACINO: Well, yes, I mean -- you know, you don't -- you first of all, you think of anybody you're playing as a human being, and what his needs are, what drives him. Why he is where he is and what he's doing.

These are the things you focus on. And in that point of view, you are -- as far as I'm concerned, I'm looking at the play through Shylock's point of view, and he's defiant. He's defiant in the face of prejudice. He defies it. That's what I love about the character.

KING: You like playing Shakespeare? PACINO: I love playing Shakespeare, yes. Yes, I do.

KING: And I just saw "Salome." Another one. When is that going to come out? You directed it, you star --

PACINO: Well, one maybe knows. You know you -- you know this has been an ongoing thing for me for four years. It's sort of -- it isn't rare for documentaries to go on for a long time. You work on them, you develop them because there's no script to start with, so I had an idea.

As I did with "Looking for Richard." There was an idea I had. And that took me three or four years to do. And you do it while you're doing other things and it goes back and forth.

KING: Do you then -- by the way, it's a brilliant movie, whenever it comes, see it.

PACINO: Awesome.

KING: When you do Hollywood, sometimes are you doing it for money? Because you love theater so much.

PACINO: Well, I wouldn't do some of the pictures I did for nothing, I'll tell you that.


KING: That's a good way to put it.


PACINO: Sailors but men. There be land rats and water rats. Water thieves and land thieves. I mean, pie rats.





PACINO: Say hello to my little friend.


KING: When I look at your credits, just some of them, "Godfather", "Serpico", "Dog Day Afternoon," "Scarface." That great line. Do that line. The great lines --

PACINO: Every day -- every day above ground is a good day?

KING: No --

PACINO: That's an Oliver Stone line. KING: No, my little friend.

PACINO: Oh, say hello to my little friend, yes.


PACINO: Say hello to my little friend.


PACINO: My little son told me that. He said someone said that to him. What's that line your dad says? Say hello to my little friend. It's a catchy -- it's a catchy phrase.

KING: When you take an accent like that, a Cuban accent, do you keep it the night you go home for dinner, too?

PACINO: You sort of get involved. And you -- yes, it becomes a part of your fabric, it becomes a part of your life. But even after the movie is other, you're still a little bit in it. Your frame is -- you know. It was interesting because it was a relief for me to come home.

And I was lucky enough to be -- I had fallen in love during "Scarface." I'd fallen in love. Doing that 10, 12 hours a day, and then coming home and listening to my girlfriend's problems and her day would take me out of what I was doing. And it's -- because I -- you know, it's like you don't talk much when you're doing something like that afterward.

You're not in -- you know, it's almost tantamount to being a fighter, like a boxer, right? Who's in the ring. He doesn't fight much afterward. You know? He doesn't go out and get into a brawl in a bar. Usually, it's because it's -- you know it's what we do. And doing "Scarface" every day for 12, 14 hours a day, kind of -- I want to hear other people's issues and their problems.

"Scarface" was written -- people don't realized this -- by Oliver Stone, and directed by Brian De Palma, produced by Martin Bregman. But Oliver Stone wrote that text. So when you say, say hello to my little friend, I think of Oliver.

KING: When you see your films, are you very self-critical?

PACINO: No, I stopped being that long ago. It doesn't serve -- you know, let the others be because I'm going to have enough critics without it being myself, so what I look for is where the actor is working, where it's working, what I can do about it. I don't like seeing movies when I can do nothing about them.


PACINO: Who put this thing together? Me. That's who. Who do I trust? Me.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) KING: But it's that universally wrapped?

PACINO: Yes. Yes, it did. Yes.

KING: Yes, it's a cult, right? It's -- everyone talks about it?

PACINO: Well, there's probably -- yes. I would say it's the most successful movie I made. And -- for me, yes.

KING: In dollars taken in?

PACINO: Yes. Yes. It's really -- and it's been that way for -- it's gotten all this -- and it's across the board. When I go to Europe, when I go around, that's the picture they --

KING: Have you ever turned down a role you regretted?

PACINO: Let me see. Yes, I did.

KING: Without embarrassing the actor, what did you turn --

PACINO: I don't want to embarrass anybody, that's the problem. Because, you know, you mention a role you turned down and -- but I realized about this role that I could have -- when I first read it, I said, no, this is -- I'm not right for it. But later when I saw it, and I -- when I saw a comic, I gave it away now. Anyway, it doesn't matter.

KING: It was a comedy?

PACINO: I saw somebody doing something in a club, and I suddenly saw what I would want to do with this part.

KING: Plenty?

PACINO: And what happened -- it's going to -- that was a great performance by Dustin Hoffman, it was amazing. It was amazing.



PACINO: I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.


KING: "Godfather I & II" may be the best movies ever made. Many consider that now, right? Ranked with "Citizen Kane."

PACINO: Wow. I know. I know. I know.

KING: Did you like Michael Corleone?

PACINO: I loved him. I loved the people I play.

KING: He killed people -- PACINO: I loved -- you know, that's like saying to a painter, when he paints a painting that, how could you -- you know, how could you paint this painting of who ever? Do you -- you know, you don't feel as though, you don't do that? You see always looking at the metaphor, you're always looking at what the character is, what is the deeper -- what is being said about our life and our world through this character.

You know? And one can make the argument that Michael Corleone -- why did the audience like him? Because it was couched in a drama so it had a different -- it comes at you differently, it comes out of the drama.

KING: Do you agree "Godfather" is about a family, basically?

PACINO: Well, that's what I mean about this -- that was the thing that turned people on so much at the first one. I remember I was there, and, you know, the reaction was so universal across the board. Had a lot to do with family, the family structure. And people related to it. You didn't have to be an Italian American or -- you just related to the whole family dynamic.

KING: When he goes into the bathroom, gets the gun and comes out and shoots the cop, was it your idea to throw the gun in the air?

PACINO: I guess it just happened.

KING: It was very effective.

PACINO: Yes, I think -- I think --

KING: You tossed it and out.

PACINO: Yes, it had that -- the way it was going, sure, it was in the script. I can't remember that far back. But it's sort of -- yes, I think it was in the script.

KING: Well, we're all over the board tonight because I'm just so happy to have you.

PACINO: I don't mind.

KING: No, I'm going --

PACINO: I'm glad to be here.

KING: I'm going everywhere with you.


KING: Do you ever watch --

PACINO: You want to stay here tonight?

KING: Do you ever --


KING: Do you ever watch other movies and say, I would have liked to have played that?



PACINO: No. As far as I can see, any part that anyone's doing, I couldn't do. So I just look at it and say -- you know, because I look at all parts, movies, as an audience looks at it.

KING: You do?

PACINO: Yes, it's like going to a baseball game or something. You watch them, the pitcher pitch the ball. The hitter hit it. You just -- you know, you don't want to go out there and do it yourself. But you know --

KING: But you were at a film?


KING: Your own craft?

PACINO: Yes. I don't see it that way.


KING: You don't cry?

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: There's no crying in baseball.

KING: No crying.


SEAN CONNERY, ACTOR: And I'm inclined to agree with that but --

SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: They know when he or she is missing the mark.

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: I can't tell you anything more than it just felt right.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Apparently now I'm in big trouble.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: We start training now.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: Well, we're humble guys, Larry.

MARLON BRANDO, ACTOR: I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.

KING: Good-bye.

BRANDO: Good-bye.




PACINO: "Godfather" is a term that was used by his friends, one of affection, one of respect.

BRANDO: Michael, why is it not done?

PACINO: We'll get there, pop. We'll get there.

In my home, in my bedroom where my wife sleeps? I know it was you, Fredo, you broke my heart.


KING: Working with Brando, what was that like for a young guy?

PACINO: Well, when you think of growing up with the image of Brando as your sort of source of inspiration, because I remember seeing him in a movie when I was 16. And I went into this movie house and I saw the "Waterfront", I was alone.

And I had seen "A Member of the Wedding" came first with Julie Harris and Ethel Waters. It was a great movie. She was great. You know? And then I saw this movie, and those days these two movies -- so I'm sitting there, and this movie comes on, "On the Waterfront," and I'm just -- you know, I'm just locked because of the degree. Kazan directing it.

It's over and I just sat there. Did not move. Sat through the whole "Member of the Wedding" movie again. Just to see "Waterfront" again. So that's how it impacted me. And it truly -- it -- it's -- it was a -- you know, today when you tell young people today about it, the response isn't quite the same.

You have to understand, this wasn't that period, it was a revelation. It was a breakthrough. His acting on screen was different than anything we had all seen. So it was a -- so playing with him in the movie. I'll get to that answer.

KING: What was that like?

PACINO: It was a little --

KING: Nervous?

PACINO: A little -- a little unnerving, and you don't know. And Marlon would play that a little bit. You know he was -- he was always -- he was --

KING: Very sharp (ph). PACINO: Yes. But he was so good to me. He was so sensitive to the condition that I -- because I was in a precarious condition to say the least. Because they were going to let me go, I think.

KING: They were going to let you go?

PACINO: Yes. Yes. They had made a mistake.

KING: They thought you were wrong for Michael?

PACINO: Well, they did. Yes. Because I started out slow. And that was my plan. My plan was to do Michael Corleone slow. And discover it. He discovers who he is in this thing, in a way. He really doesn't know who he is by the end of the picture, he could be anything.

And I wanted to see if I could get to that, so that when the moment of whatever comes, we know that this guy, where did he come from? That's what I was trying to get. Because he's kind of a schlep during the thing a little bit. He's a kind of he's here, he's there. We get a sense that he's an independent kind of guy. But he's the kid. You know? He's the kid. And eventually he becomes the don.


PACINO: Then I'll kill them both.


PACINO: And I thought, you know, if you start like this, you got nowhere to go, really. And that impact of that moment of change won't be strong.

KING: Was it difficult for --

PACINO: But you know what kept me was that restaurant scene, you see? When they saw that scene, they kept me in the movie because I would have been gone.

KING: Wow.

PACINO: Even Francis said to me, you know I had a lot of belief in you when I hired you, I wanted you, I just felt you could do this thing. And now there you are. You're not cutting it for me, kid. So I want you to see some of the rushes. I said, all right. By that time I didn't want to be in the movie any more. I just -- you know, you get the feeling you're not wanted so you don't want to be there.

KING: So you're thinking like, you might not be in a movie when you did that gun shot scene?

PACINO: Yes. But I saw the rushes. I went it and saw what he was talking about. And I looked at the movie and I thought, wow, I don't know. I seemed to be doing what I wanted to do. But I'll just pretend like -- I said, oh, yes, you know you're right? I can see it. But I know I was into something right. But I didn't say anything. But they kept me after the -- after the shooting.


PACINO: "Scent of a Woman" playing -- you are wearing glasses now, sun glasses. You wore glasses as a blind man, right? No, you didn't. You had them off a lot too.

PACINO: I had them a lot too. I didn't wear sunglasses that much.

KING: When you're playing a blind person and you had to do that scene of the dance --


KING: -- what do you see?

PACINO: It's the oddest thing, you don't see anything.

KING: What do you mean?

PACINO: You don't focus your eyes. And what happens is, you just go into a state. As a matter of fact, I had an eye injury during the shooting of the film, because I fell into a bush. And the worst kind of eye injury is when plant life gets into your cornea. It stuck into my cornea. As I was falling, my eyes weren't focusing and the thing went into my eye. So it's also dangerous to do that.

PACINO: So you're saying you were blind during that movie?

PACINO: Yeah. You know what's so interesting is because I asked my little daughter at that time -- she was at that time about three -- I said to her, Julie, could you show me -- if you were doing something, how do you do a blind person?

She was spot on. She was just perfect. I said, bam, no work, no preparation, no nothing. She just did it. So it's -- I didn't -- I did a variation on that theme. But --

KING: Was it difficult?

PACINO: No, it wasn't. Having an affliction of something, it's sort of like having an accent. It gives an actor something to feed into. It feeds you. It serves you as an actor.

KING: How did you come up with Hoo-ah?

PACINO: Well, I had this guy who was teaching me how to assemble and disassemble a .45 blind. And I would spend countless --

KING: You did that yourself?

PACINO: Yes. And I spend hours just learning how to take it out on. He was there and he was a real lieutenant or one of the guys, I don't know what his rank was. One time I did it right and he went Hoo-ah. Hoo-ah (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PACINO: Hoo-ah.


PACINO: I said, what's that? He would do it every time I did something right. It's an expression that's used in the Army. So I thought -- and it worked its way into the movie.

KING: That was a hell of a movie. "Sea of Love."

PACINO: "Sea of Love."

KING: That sex scene.

PACINO: Yes. I thought you would never ask, Larry.

KING: You and Ellen Barkin, one of the sexiest scenes ever filled. I don't want to bring up names.

PACINO: That's because I had all my clothes on.

KING: Marcello Mastroianni (ph) told me that sex scenes are the hardest thing to do, because it's hard to be sexy when there's 43 cameramen around.

PACINO: Yes. Well, you know, I think that had to do with Harold Becker's direction, because he had orchestrated that in such a way all you had to do was show up. He had just moved it in different ways. Yeah, it's not the hardest thing in the world to kiss Ellen Barkin. That you do.

But at the same time, if it's orchestrated, if it has a purpose, if it's made to do something, and it's orchestrated, literally planned and worked out, moment by moment, step by step. And that's what Harold Becker did. He knew what he wanted. He knew how to get out of it this quality, this sexual --

KING: Did you get excited?

PACINO: Well, you know --

KING: Well, do you or don't you?

PACINO: I'm excited now. I'm always excited.

KING: You're kind of passionate.


KING: "Godfather," "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Scarface."


PACINO: I'm done with this cockroach. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PACINO: It's like you don't talk much when you're doing something like that afterward. You're not in -- you know, you've -- it's almost tantamount to being a fighter.


PACINO: I'm going to get him.


PACINO: Like a boxer who is in the ring.


PACINO: Inch by inch, play by play, until we're finished.


PACINO: He doesn't fight much after. You know, he doesn't go out and get into a brawl on the bar.


PACINO: See, this is how we keep score.


KING: Are you easily directed?

PACINO: Well, yeah, kind of in a way. If the director knows what they want, yeah. Sure. I kind of like -- as Sidney Lumet once said, a director directs. He says, go here, you go there, you go there.

KING: You follow it well? But have you --

PACINO: Well, I don't know if I follow it well -- well, look, with a guy like Lumet, he tells you this is where you go when you come in the bank. You go here. You go there. You go around there. You do that. You do this.

And you know what, you're in a bank robbery. You don't have to act. You're just doing what he tells you and you're there. There's the bank robbery. That's genius. So when you work with a genius, that's what you -- that's good. That doesn't happen often, but sometimes you get lucky.

KING: One of the great movies ever made -- you made so many of the great movies ever made. "The Dog Day Afternoon."

PACINO: "Dog Day," yeah.

KING: And that actor you worked with --

PACINO: John Cazale.

KING: He was a great actor.

PACINO: He was a great artist.

KING: When he was Fredo, was that different? He had to play such a weak character, yet the oldest brother. That was quite a job he did, because -- yet you were sympathetic to him.

PACINO: Yeah, I tell you. Nobody liked John. How about the guy in "Dog Days".

KING: Yeah. That guy -- you were two gay guys robbing a bank?

PACINO: Well, that's what he -- he wasn't. Remember when that moment comes?

KING: He wasn't? You were gay.

PACINO: I was gay. Well, I was AC/DC. So it was this moment where they say two gay robbers in the bank and John's character says, I'm not gay.


JOHN CAZALE, ACTOR: I'm not a homosexual.


PACINO: John Cazale says to Sidney Lumet, why do I say I'm gay? Why do I say I'm not gay? And Sidney looked at him and said well -- they started talking. Knowing John, I know this is going to go on for a while, right. Because I know John. I worked with him. And Sidney starts to satisfy his question, but it won't get satisfied.

And he goes on and on. But I knew enough to go off to the side and sort of practice whatever I wanted to --

KING: He didn't want to say I'm not gay.

PACINO: He didn't understand why he said it. Then Sidney finally -- you hear Sidney say, you're saying it because it's in the script and I'm telling you to say it. He said, oh, you should have told me that in the first place.

KING: That was a hell of a movie.

PACINO: But the thing about movies that's so interesting is that you can -- and I've heard Dustin Hoffman talk like this -- is you can suddenly do something in a movie that's absolutely spontaneous and right there. Like in "Dog Days" when I was going to say Attica, Attica.


PACINO: Attica! Attica! Attica! (END VIDEO CLIP)

PACINO: I have to go out there and talk to a mob and this guy, Bert Harris, a great AD, assistant director to Sidney Lumet, comes up to me and says, why don't you say Attica? Just say Attica? Because it just had happened where they went into the prison and killed all those prisoners. And it was really in the air, hot and heavy in the air.

And I just got it. And I thought, OK. And I went out there and said, you know, Attica! And the crowd just went Attica! I said Attica! And there was like this -- you know, it was a cyclical thing. It came back and forth, and before we knew it, we were in the zone together.

KING: Working with De Niro.

PACINO: Oh, my, Bobby -- Well, Bob is --

KING: The two of you are like -- he doesn't do theater?

PACINO: No, he doesn't. You know, Bob is a kind of artist who has always been connected to movies. That's his art form. That's where he expresses himself. And it's a different kind of thing. He's -- there are actors who find their art through film. A lot of them today, most of them today.


PACINO: Now that we've been face to face, if I'm there and I've got to put you away, I won't like it, but I'll tell you, if it's between you and some poor bastard who's wife you're going to turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.




KING: How did you defeat alcoholism?

PACINO: Well, I didn't defeat it. One doesn't look at it that way.

KING: How long are you sober?

PACINO: All I can say is I'm never sober. I don't want to be sober. But I have to say, I don't -- just don't drink, but a part of being involved in alcohol and the way of that life and all, which is today -- it's extremely interesting to see the way it's dealt with today. Mainly because of the DUI's, because of drunk driving, because that's -- that's just -- that's not permissible.

But aside from that, people drink and -- it's a different world today because of the scrutiny and the attention being paid to us. In my day, it was an old part of being -- as they used to say to Lawrence Olivier -- Sir Lawrence Olivier, what's your favorite part of acting? He'd say the drink after the show. That's his favorite part.

So it was all part of a world. And then when it started to replace -- when the cart was in front of the horse and it sort of replaced the work and all other parts -- I was reluctant to stop, but my great friend Charlie Lawton, who I have talked about so many times --

KING: Not the actor but the same name.

PACINO: The same name. He was a real influence on me, because he was my mentor, my closest friend. Really begged me to stop for a while. Just to take a look at it, and ask me if I would -- he had stopped for about a year, and I was continuing. And he was quite worried about -- it was during one of those episodes of drinking in London that I turned down "Dog Day." I actually turned it down. I said I don't want to go into a bank, rob a bank and do al of that stuff.

I was talking like this. And I actually turned it down after I said yes. And I was very lucky I had someone like Marty Bregman and Sidney Lumet around.

KING: Made you do it.

PACINO: They didn't just make me do it. They understood I wasn't going to do it. I quit and they got somebody else. During the course of this time, Bregman was on me, on me, on me. I said, Marty, I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this. He said, if you stop drinking for a while -- could you just stop for a while. I said, OK, for a while, and read the script.

I said, OK. He said, no, I mean it, just don't drink. I didn't drink for a couple days and I read the script. It was clear. I said, why am I not doing this? I should be doing this. And I called him, I said, you know, Marty, you're right, this is a great script. He said, OK. Talk to you later. Boom.

And he got on it. And he somehow wangled and wiggled as only he can -- and he knows how to do it -- and I was very lucky I had him there.

KING: How did you stop drink something.

PACINO: I didn't just stop dead-on. It's a gradation, you know. You gradate (ph) from one stage to the another. It takes a while to even -- like as they often say, unscramble your brains. You have a certain period of time. And then slowly I got to understand what it was and --

KING: Are you ever tempted?

PACINO: You know, as Norman Mailer once said, why he keeps drinking and he know us how difficult it is for him to do it -- he said I can't give it up because it would be one less way to relax. And the truth is, you know, we need our anodynes. You know that word, anodynes? We need that in life some times. A good warm bath can be one for you, or a whatever.

And a nice glass of wine is an anodyne. You know, at the end of the day, you have something, sit back, drink it and enjoy it?

KING: Are you tempted?

PACINO: As we speak I am. No, I'm not. I'm not. It's been a long time. I don't see the need for it. I don't think about it.

KING: Could you ever act while drunk?

PACINO: No, I didn't like that. And I've done it. And I did it with John Cazale on stage. And he said to me what are you doing afterwards? I said -- he says, what are you doing? And I realized I had a few beers, that's all, before I went on. And it changed things for me. But the great actors of the past and all, they would be -- they would drink in the wings on stage. They'd done the part. And it was part of the trade.

But in our way, our approach to it, drinking wasn't a part of that day.



PACINO: I don't know how to do anything else.


PACINO: I'm in love with you. I love you. I am totally, completely mad for you.

Love you! If you was a broad, I'd marry you.

Somebody trying to shake me up? Huh? Huh?


KING: Working with Johnny Depp.

PACINO: I love him.

I love Johnny Depp.

KING: What makes him special? You did "Donny Brasco" with him.

PACINO: Yes. He's done so many things. He's gone from A to Z. It's his gifts. It's really his gifts. As a personality and as a person, I just loved him. I loved him. I loved being with him because he made me laugh every day I was there. He's nuts, too.

KING: He's nuts?

PACINO: He'll say I'm nuts, but he's really nuts. But he's nuts in that way that he's just fun to be with.

KING: When you're doing a scene with him, are you aware while acting that he's great?

PACINO: No. No. I mean, you lock in with your partner. It's as though you were playing tennis and you just hit the ball back, and you are going this way and that way, and you're in sync as much as you can be. And you're playing with each other. You're not observing the other person. That's really for the director to do and watch. You're in it with him.

"Frankie and Johnny," that movie --

KING: Oh, "Frankie and Johnny", and you were obsessed with her, crazy in love.

PACINO: With Michelle Pfeiffer, yes.

In "Scar Face II," I was in love with her too.

KING: That's right. But in "Frankie and Johnny" that was like --

PACINO: That was a Terrence McNally play, which was a great play. Kathy Bates had done it. She was great at it. So was Michelle, by the way. Sometimes people were a little hard on her because she was so beautiful and she was supposed to be playing a plain person.

KING: A waitress.

PACINO: But the truth is, she was a plain person. She was in this movie. She's quite good in this movie. You can see she was a very sad person. And it shows. You don't see her glamour in the movie?

KING: why did you do one of the Ocean's movies for our friend Larry Weintraub?

PACINO: It seems like a good idea at the time.

KING: "Ocean's 12?"

PACINO: "Ocean's 13"

KING: You were the hotel owner?


KING: Was that for fun?

PACINO: No. No. I don't -- I don't think that was for fun. That was because it was there. They're a great cast. They do these great films. They're a franchise that does fantastic with all these great people in it. And there offering me a part. And I thought, one of the main reasons I did it is because I was here in Los Angeles to see my kids and it was like given to me on a platter.

And it was a good script and I thought, well, OK, I'll try it. But, you know --

KING: Clooney, Pitt --

PACINO: I love George Clooney. I love him.

KING: what makes him special? He's our Carry Grant.

PACINO: Well I think what makes him special is he's different. Believe it or not, he's not Carry Grant. He's different than Carry Grant. As individual as Carry Grant was and as great as he was, George has his own place. You could say in a way, in a manner of speaking, he's sort of falls into that pantheon, but he's very special.

KING: What are you going to do after Venice?

PACINO: What's he talking about?

KING: After "The Merchant of Venice."

PACINO: Oh, "Merchant of Venice?" Venice, I thought where am I going, Venice? I'd love to go there.

KING: Did I lose your train of thought there.

PACINO: After Merchant, I'm going to probably do a movie, I think, with Adam Sandler.

KING: Adam Sandler?

PACINO: Yeah, I think so.

KING: I heard about this.

PACINO: You don't want to go into it.

KING: You play yourself?

PACINO: You don't want to go into that though. It's not a done deal yet.

KING: But it's a very funny concept.

PACINO: It's very funny. And Adam is great and he's very funny. And not only is he a great actor but he's a great comic writer. I want to go on stage again, too.

KING: Why do you keep working?

PACINO: Because I'm here. Because I still, you know, have my health. And you know, I had a few setbacks, as you know, that people have heard about in my life, financially and --

KING: Guy took all of your money?

PACINO: Not exactly.

KING: He took a lot. He's in jail.

PACINO: He's in jail, yes.

KING: You have to work?

PACINO: In a way, I do, yeah. And maybe that's good. You know?

KING: Al, an honor to have you here.

PACINO: It's an honor to be here. Congratulations for everything. Congratulations.

KING: Al Pacino.