Wednesday 23 October 2019

John Malkovich: The film industry is in flux and its economics don’t work

The Oscar-nominated actor said he has started taking more television roles.

John Malkovich plays Hercule Poirot (Ian West/PA)
John Malkovich plays Hercule Poirot (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

John Malkovich has said that the film industry is in a state of “great flux” and that its “economics don’t work”.

The Oscar-nominated actor added that he had begun taking more television roles because they offered him a better chance to develop his characters.

Malkovich, 65, stars as Hercule Poirot in the BBC television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders.

Speaking at a pre-screening of the drama, he said: “I did many movies and I like them but [television] just gives you much more time to develop a character, really.

“Movies now, you can have two main characters, then you have a secondary or tertiary character. But they are not really profound characters.

“When I started a regular movie was three months. Then I noticed it became nine weeks, and then eight weeks, and then seven weeks, and now its a month.

“You are supposed to do a two hour film in a month? It’s a business in great flux because the economics don’t work. It costs too much to make.”

The actor also revealed that his agent had encouraged him to turn down the three-part adaptation of Christie’s 1936 classic.

However, after reading part of writer and executive producer Sarah Phelp’s script he had decided to accept the role.

He said: “I hope they won’t mind me saying this, but my agency, which represents me, sent it to me and they recommended I pass.

“I always read 20 or 30 pages, and I loved it. Agents cannot of course read everything. They have readers etcetera, but I always read everything.”

The Oscar-nominated actor swapped the well-loved detective’s mustache for a goatee (Ian West/PA)

He also spoke of his and director Alex Gabassi’s decision not to use the accent generally associated with the Belgian detective, instead opting for a less exaggerated tone.

He said: “(Gabassi) really wanted the accent not to be that accent that we all know. He also didn’t want that look. I was working in Chicago.

“He had seen a photo of me. I had uploaded it from a couple of days before. He wanted me to look just like that.”

Malkovich added that he thought it would be a “mistake” to play Poirot’s foreign accent for laughs, especially in what he described as “sombre times”.

He added: “That’s also a very tough one for drama. To get some laughs out of (an accent).

“It’s one of the pillars of English comedy, that this person has an accent, and here’s why it’s funny. That doesn’t exist in many countries.

“But here it does. I think for (this programme), in these quite sombre times, that would just be a mistake.”

The ABC Murders airs over three consecutive nights at 9pm on BBC1, starting on December 26.

PA Media

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