Mr. Malkovich, I checked the Internet Movie Database encyclopedia: there are 140 titles listed under your name as an actor, and eleven under that of Lilly Krug, the lead actress in your most recent film, Shattered.
(laughs) Well, she’s young.
Clear. As a veteran of the film business, when you work with such young colleagues, do they sometimes ask you for tips on crafts or career planning?
Yes, sure, that happens from time to time. Especially if you are interested in working internationally. But I also think acting is a business where you can hardly give reliable advice. I always say: the camera likes what it likes; you have no influence on that. Either the camera likes you – then it will probably work. Or she just doesn’t like you – then (laughs) you will not have a very happy career.
You play a supporting role on “Shattered” and are listed as a producer. How did you get involved in this project in the first place? I suppose, Veronica Ferres – the mother of Lilly Krug – has something to do with it.
Yes, the two main producers of the film, Veronica and Claudia Bluemhuber, are both old friends of mine. About a year before we started filming, they came to me with the project, said Lilly was going to be the lead, and asked me to do it. Mainly because they had never produced a film in America. I said: I will help wherever I can.
Had you met Lilly Krug before filming began?
Oh yes, I’ve known her since she was a little baby. I’ve known Veronica for a very long time. We did a small film together in 1999 that wasn’t very successful, Ladies Room, we were both in a French TV adaptation of Les Misérables, Casanova Variations and Klimt. We have always been in contact and I also know Lilly’s father Martin.
Did you also talk to Lilly about the craft?
Yes, I speak to her often. We also went through the script of Shattered and discussed what her goal in this or that scene is, where she is going with it. She is very smart and takes her job very seriously.
Not bad: John Malkovich as an acting coach. Is there also the case that young colleagues – or actually colleagues of all ages – are intimidated because they work with “the” John Malkovich?
I do not think so. I just saw a film I acted in, On the Creation of Earthquakes, about Seneca, the Roman Senator, with a top-notch cast and most of the cast were decades younger than me. I didn’t feel like they were intimidated. I think – I hope – they enjoyed it. I sure liked it.
If they were good actors, maybe they were good at hiding it in case they were a bit intimidated.
(laughs) Maybe. In general, good actors like to work with good actors. If people consider me a good actor, that’s nice for me. Even if someone is intimidated, I don’t think it lasts long.
When you were the age that, for example, Lilly Krug is today, 21 years young: were you sure of your abilities as an actor at the time?
I had certain ideas about the profession and how I would find my place in this profession, and I still have them. Many years ago I was shooting in Tangier. . .