GQ Responds to Francis Ford Coppola

Friday  October 26, 2007

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In a Q&A entitled "The Conversation" in the November issue of GQ, currently on newsstands, Francis Ford Coppola spoke with staff writer Nate Penn about his new film, Youth Without Youth, and the vicissitudes of his remarkable career. Along the way he made some controversial remarks about three great stars with whom he has worked: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Jack Nicholson. Mr. Coppola said the three men, in their prosperous middle age, have lost interest in challenging themselves artistically. His comments about them made headlines around the world.

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This past weekend, however, at the world premiere of Youth Without Youth in Rome, Mr. Coppola told reporters his remarks had been taken out of context. "I was astonished, because it wasn't true," the director said. "These are the three greatest actors in the world today and they are my friends. So I have nothing but affection for them." With all due respect to Mr. Coppola, whose work we admire immensely, we must point out that the audiotape of the interview shows that GQ did quote him accurately. Herewith the unedited transcript of Mr. Coppola's remarks on Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Jack Nicholson:

I wonder if you could comment, it seems like the sort of leading actors of your generation, the guys who—I think the three big ones, Pacino, De Niro, and Nicholson, you all worked with at one time or another and more than one time or another—and I wonder, do you think that their success has sort of altered them artistically? Certainly Pacino has never been as contained and as intense as he was for you. Maybe since Scent of a Woman, he's become sort of overbearing and a bit raving as an actor. De Niro is sort of returning again and again in this almost parodic way to the sort of menacing sociopathic character that he plays. And Nicholson is almost inseparable from the sort of comedians' impressions of him. What has happened to those guys? Do you have a sense?

Well, when I met them, they sort—you know, I met Pacino and De Niro both when they were really on the come. They were really young and insecure. Now, Pacino is very rich, maybe because he never spends any money; he just puts it in his mattress. De Niro, kind of, was very inspired by Zoetrope and created an empire and is very wealthy and powerful. Nicholson was a—when I met him and worked with him, he was always a kind of joker, you know. He's got a little bit of a mean streak. He's very intelligent and, you know, always wired in with the big guys and the big bosses of the studios and stuff. You know, he knew Brando and was influenced by kind of—well, I think, by Brando. He was always a unique kind of guy.

I think none of them—I don't know what any of them want anymore. I don't know that they want the same—I think in Pacino's—I don't know what he wants. Pacino always wanted to do theater. He wanted to do Peer Gynt. So he always wanted to do Shakespeare.

I don't know, I think if there was a role that De Niro really was hungry for, he would come after it. I don't think Jack would. I don't know, I think Jack has got money and influence and girls and I think he's sort of a little bit like Brando, except Brando went through some tough times, I think. I guess they don't want to do it anymore. But I think De Niro would. Maybe Pacino.

You know, even in those days, after The Godfather, I mean, I wanted—I didn't feel that those actors were ready to, "Let's do something else really ambitious. " Like a guy like Javier Bardem is really excited to do something really good, just really excited: "Let me do this," or "Let me do that," or "I'll put stuff in my mouth and I'll change—"you know, I don't feel that kind of passion to do a role and be really great, because if it was there, they would do it! [laughs] I mean, they're all in a position…

You know, maybe it all became—you know, like Pacino, he'll say, "Oh, I was raised in a—next to a furnace in New York and I'm never going to go to LA," and they all live in the fat of the land. I haven't seen, I want to, I wanted to see it on film, The Good Shepherd, and so I delayed seeing it on DVD. I'm going to get that print, because sometimes when someone has worked really hard on it, you really feel you want to watch it on screen. So I haven't seen it. But De Niro's not really in it very much, is he? I want to see it. He's very talented.

Photograph by Paul Jasmin

Pick up the November issue of GQ to read the complete interview.

Lance Bass's Gay Adventure

Saturday  October 20, 2007

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With the arrival of his new memoir, the former 'NSYNC warbler—a.k.a. Princess Frostylocks—talks to Mickey Rapkin about his public outing, his boyfriends, and why everyone in 'NSYNC thought Justin was the one who liked dudes

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In July 2006, ending months of speculation, 'NSYNC's Lance Bass finally came clean about his sexuality and his romance with square-jawed Amazing Race cheese-zilla Reichen Lehmkuhl. Bass's inevitable coming-out memoir, Out of Sync (get it?!), is in bookstores now.

Tell me about life before coming out.
The only thing I thought about was: No one can find out that I'm gay, because it will ruin 'NSYNC. I was with women. I had girlfriends.

Who was your wingman back in the day?
I used to hang out with Marc Anthony in New York and Miami.

J.Lo's husband?
We were boys. We had a good time—before he was married. He was surprised when I came out.

Really? It's not like you were a pro quarterback. You were in a boy band. You wore gold lamé. Why the secrecy?
At the beginning, 'NSYNC went to boy-band camp in Germany. I was 16. The record company told us so many things: You can't say you have a girlfriend. You cannot be seen smoking. You cannot be seen drinking. It was all about the fans; it was all about that 10-year-old girl.

Perez Hilton outed you. Did you consider denying it?
I was not hiding the fact that I was gay. I had a boyfriend. I didn't think people cared. I didn't need to make an announcement. But no one likes a liar. It would have gone on—people saying they'd caught me here or saw me there. I wanted to stand up. In a way, I'm glad I was outed.

Clay Aiken is in a similar position now—the speculation is rampant.
Did he come out? Or is he still in the closet?

Diane Sawyer asked him point-blank, and he refused to comment.
Really? Oh. [pause] Hey, maybe he's not! But it kind of gets embarrassing. People want you to tell the truth.

Do you regret missing out on the homo groupies?
I don't have any regrets. We were rock stars. We partied like rock stars. And I had companionship with my friends.

That's not the same thing.
I know that now!

You've segued into acting. Does being out affect your career?
The sad thing is, it really does. I've auditioned for movies, television shows. And casting directors come up to me and say, "We can't put you in it because you're gay." They flat out tell me that. People can't separate the two.

I'm surprised you haven't done a reality show yet.
I get offers all the time. I was offered a dating show.

From a major network? Fox?
Yeah. From most networks. Donald Trump asked me to do Apprentice: Celebrity last week, but I'm doing Hairspray on Broadway. It would be fun as hell. Supposedly, they're negotiating with Britney.

Are you and Britney still in touch?
I tried. I tried. She's my neighbor in Beverly Hills. She lives next door. I tried to get in touch with her—I wanted to be that friend to help her. I don't think she's having any of her old friends anymore.

When was the last time you and Britney spoke?
It was the night of her first wedding, actually. I was in Vegas with her, her dancers, her manager, and my boyfriend at the time.

This is the marriage she annulled a couple of days later?
Yeah. His name was Jason. That was the night I actually came out to Britney. Her manager had already gotten rid of Jason—they'd flown him home. Britney was upset about what she had done. I felt bad for her. I knew she was about to go through a lot of crap. I felt the need to share something. So I sat her on my bed, and I'm like, Well, I'm gay!

Was she surprised?
Oh yeah. I was always the southern gentleman. People never expected me to take home women. I was always the nice guy. The one you wanted to date, but not go home and fuck. That was a good thing.

Justin Timberlake told Rolling Stone that he always knew you were gay.
Everyone says that. When we were in the group, we thought Justin was gay.

Why?
Because he told us he wanted to do a gay part in a movie. We thought Chris was gay because he used to hang out with a choreographer.

How did it feel to sit around while the members of 'NSYNC accused each other of being gay?
I went along with it. I had to.

Amid all this, you set out on a much publicized mission to go into space. You even went to Russia to train. In the extensive psych evaluations required for space travel, none of your sexuality issues came out?
They thought I was straight. The doctors in Russia did a colonoscopy—no anesthesia, no sedation. I had tears coming down my face, and they started laughing. I said to my translator, "What are they saying?" He said, "Now they know you're not gay."

Ouch. Bam Margera from Jackass has a mural hanging in his house. It's a painting of you in your astronaut uniform.
I saw that. It's hilarious. I'm the first to laugh at myself.

Do you still hope to go into space?
Absolutely. I want to work on a documentary. A couple of sponsors have come in the last year to say, "We'll do the whole thing." The money is there. The Russian space program needs the $20 million. NASA doesn't need space-tourism money. They will spend that much money developing a pen that writes in space—when you could just use a pencil.

When was the last time you spoke to your old manager Lou Pearlman—who was recently extradited from Indonesia to the U.S. on bank-fraud charges?
In court. Karma is a bitch.

Put it in perspective: How much money did you put away from those days? 'NSYNC sold more than 30 million albums.
You make more off of merchandise than you do from touring or the music. Merchandise is the moneymaker. I don't know how much money I have. I know the ballpark number.

Justin's solo turn ended 'NSYNC. Is it hard to see his career take off?
I'm proud of him. There's no anger, but there's disappointment. We were starting to get respect—and Grammy nominations. And he kind of took that respect to get past the boy-band stigma. Hopefully, he'll throw us a bone and do another 'NSYNC album or a song, because the rest of us loved it. It was our life—touring, making albums.

You come across much angrier in the book. You write that he strung you along for two years, claiming he would come back to 'NSYNC.
Feelings change. I wrote the book two years ago.

You were dating Reichen Lehmkuhl when you came out. There were tabloid reports that he cheated on you, yes?
Of course. It was embarrassing, because everyone was right. I was madly in love. I was so happy. People would talk so much shit about him. I thought, Why does everyone hate him? At the end I'm like, "Okay, everyone was right."

The blogs recently posted photos of you with a male model named Pedro Andrade. The guy was dressed in a leather jumpsuit.
I don't read blogs. But friends, fans on the street, they feel like they have to tell me everything. Like, "Did you read this? They said this!" Pedro and I are not dating anymore.

Are you a modelizer?
I'm lucky enough to run into some really good-looking guys. I like nice guys. I don't like egos.