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Andy Garcia Talks About "Modigliani"

Andy Garcia on the Famous Painter's Life and Filming "Modigliani"

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Andy Garcia Modigliani

Andy Garcia as Amedeo Modigliani in "Modigliani"

© Bauer Martinez Studios
Sharing Writer/Director Mick Davis’ Passion for Modigliani: “I do, not to the madness of Mick Davis but, yes, of course. I was always enamored with the legend of Modigliani who was clear to me before even this movie existed. I’ve always thought it had all the makings, in a way all the clichés, of the tortured artist who lived fast and died young in that world set in that time in Paris. I thought it could be a very interesting film.”

Andy Garcia’s Take on Playing the Famous Painter: “What did I bring? It’s in the eye of the beholder ultimately. I brought all my baggage to it. Everything I am is in the movie, you know? So as a golfer the terminology is, ‘I left nothing in the bag.’ I tried to live as fully, within the perimeters of time that we had to explore the material, I tried to live as fully as possible and as freely as possible and as deeply as possible that I could. At least I walked away and said I left nothing in the bag.”

Andy Garcia on Jeanne Hébuterne’s Love for Modigliani: “There was madness. These are people who live life differently than most of us. There’s that classic thing about being attracted to the one thing that will destroy you. There was a madness to their love. Or as Mick liked to say, ‘a beautiful madness.’ A lot of people are in abusive relationships, you know? And you say, ‘Why is this woman with that man or that man with that woman?’ But there’s a co-dependency there that you have to be a psychologist to begin to decipher why people get into those situations - and die for them, in her case.”

The Film’s Portrayal of Modigliani: “I think it’s an accurate one. There are certainly things in the movie that did not happen, like the competition didn’t happen. But in terms of the Modigliani I learned from, it’s not made up. The way I interpreted what I researched is what formulated my characterization.

My interest is not to make him flattering or pathetic. It’s not a popularity contest, for me or for him. It’s an interpretive art form. Everyone will play Hamlet differently and will relate to Hamlet in a different way. Someone else will play Modigliani and might see him a little different or completely different. But that’s what it is. I’m there to interpret the man and bring my idea of him. From what I researched, that’s the impression I got from all the things that I could muster.”

Sharing Modigliani’s Physical Flamboyance: “Everything you see in the movie exists within me. My job, and what I always try to do for better or worse, is that I want to be Modigliani. I’m not trying to act like Modigliani. That’s my goal in any characterization. I want to be that person.”

Working with Director Mick Davis: “He let me improvise a lot. I think we both understood that there was a certain appetite and freedom in the way Modigliani lived his life and in that way we had to approach the work, which I like to do anyway. But very specifically in this movie you have to have the freedom to approach the work in that way because that’s the way this man lived his life. Modigliani never designed his life and therefore you can not design a performance. You just have to live the performance.”

Modigliani’s Journey: “I think he stopped growing because of the way he chose to live his life. I think he had a fairly prolific life as an artist. He created a lot of paintings. But think about how many paintings he did not create because he was busy recovering from the extraordinary hang-over or detoxification of the previous three nights or whatever. Think of how many days he was not able to paint because of his condition. That’s the tragedy. He was a very self-destructive individual. And yet he did manage to get the work done as much as he did. You think with that kind of lifestyle, you think how much can he really get accomplished?

Unfortunately when he died he was 35 years old. When you have tuberculosis and you’re not living in the South of France – he did go for a little period of his life – but mostly he was in Paris living an impoverished life under very difficult conditions. The winters in Paris are extremely cold and he’s got no heat. Then you’ve got tuberculosis and you’re drinking and smoking hash and doing cocaine and opium. How long is that going to last?”

The Key to Chemistry Between Actors: “I think good chemistry is hard. It’s such a delicate thing. How many times have you seen a married couple be in a movie and have absolutely no chemistry in the movie? They might have good chemistry in real life but in the movie it’s like watching paint dry. So it’s a delicate thing. I feel that maybe a secret to it is – and this comes from Sanford Meisner – is to have good chemistry with a fellow actor is to be completely available to them and completely generous to them. Give them your full and complete attention. And likewise from the other side. And when you have that then there’s an energy that’s happening between you.”

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