An Unforgettable Evening with Al Pacino
June 7, 2015
On May 22nd, the Eventim Apollo Theatre in London, filled to the brim, received Al Pacino live on stage. This event was part of the tour he is sharing with us in Great Britain this year.
An overwhelming crowd had gathered outside the theatre, waiting with eager anticipation, hoping to fulfil the dream of hearing and watching Mr. Pacino in person.
Al Pacino is an icon and symbol for many actors who want to emulate his career and try to achieve his success and status. The talent and the passion he shows in each of his performances – either on stage or in a film – are an inspiration for those who want to become great actors one day.
Pacino is famous for his memorable roles as Serpico, Michael Corleone and Tony Montana. In every role he plays, his talent knows no bounds. He goes from pure evil and anger in “The Devil’s Advocate” to the intense tension – and dual talent with Robert De Niro – in “Heat”.
The evening started with a video of Mr. Pacino’s career – ranging from his early movies up to his latest roles – which showed that his talent was evident from the very first part he had to play. The audience clapped enthusiastically when Pacino was shown in the role of Michael Corleone and Tony Montana.
And then … Mr. Pacino appeared on stage and the whole theatre stood up, clapping and cheering him. He has as much charisma live on stage as on screen.
The interview started with him telling us lots of anecdotes of his early beginnings as a movie star. He told us that he hadn’t been very sure about accepting the role of Michael Corleone, the youngest son of Vito Corleone, a mob boss in New York whose businesses were dangerous. Pacino told us that he wasn’t the least bit enthusiastic about flying all the way over to LA as he hates to fly. And he also said that he considered Michael not to be such an interesting character as Sonny could be, the oldest son – who was more passionate and conflicted. But Coppola was determined; he wanted Pacino for the role of Michael.
Whilst speaking about this particular role, Pacino told us that he had to face the indifference and refusal of producers from different movie companies because, as he put it, his face and looks were quite different from the typical American idol (Robert Redford, Paul Newman, etc.). On a humorous note he spoke about the time when Dustin Hoffman starred as main character in “The Graduate”, which turned out to be the beginning of something new and interesting in the movie business.
The interview carried on and Pacino explained the catchphrase “Yoo-Ha” in his role – which won him the prize for Best Actor. Acting as Lieutenant Frank Slade, a blind man, he came up with the term when he was rehearsing how to assemble a gun. He said one of the movie assistants was from the army and each time Pacino managed to assemble it without mistakes the assistant said “Yoo-Ha”, so when Pacino asked why, he answered that it was something they did in the army as a way of approval. Pacino picked this up and added it to his character in the movie.
Later on, Pacino explained his role as a producer and as a director, describing it as one of his most difficult roles in life. This is also because he not only needed the mind to plan, direct and create but to act at the same time. We saw part of his movie “Wilde’s Salome”, a project on which Pacino has been working for the last 4 years and which has become an obsession for him.
After the interview finished, the audience was given the opportunity to ask him questions about different topics. Unfortunately, the time allocated to this was so short that many questions weren’t able to be taken- something I think that the organisers should take into account for future events like this one. Someone in the audience mentioned to Mr. Pacino that he has a very intense glare that can petrify you without the need for words, and asked how he could do that. Pacino explained he had watched many silent movies with Lionel and John Barrymore and was impressed by the way they acted and interpreted their characters without speaking so he tried to emulate them with his glare, focusing on his emotions – passion, anger, etc. He said inside all of us there’s this power and we can bring it up for everyone else to see.
When the time was over Mr. Pacino thanked us for attending and went backstage where, together with those who carried “a golden bracelet”, he spent a few more minutes with his fans enjoying some canapés and champagne.
More information about the event can be found here
Lucía Vázquez Bonome