Anjelica Huston takes on Hollywood actors and critics in controversial new interview
Hollywood icon Anjelica Huston has said Bill Murray was a 'sh*t' to her, revealed that Oprah won't speak to her, and backed Woody Allen and Roman Polanski in a wide-ranging – and controversial – new interview.
Speaking to Vulture, the 67-year-old Oscar winner didn't hold back in a free-wheeling discussion about cocaine, being broke, why Jack Nicholson doesn't work anymore, and while De Niro and Pacino do, it's not any good. She also has not forgotten a harsh review she received 50 years ago for her first film.
Critic John Simon wrote of the actress's debut performance in 1969's A Walk With Love and Death, directed by her father, John Huston: "There is a perfectly blank, supremely inept performance by Huston's daughter Anjelica, who has the face of an exhausted gnu, the voice of an unstrung tennis racket, and a figure of no discernible shape." (A gnu, in case you're wondering, is a type of antelope.)
"It sticks with you. And now that you've reminded me, it will stick with me for another ten years," Huston explained to Vulture's Andrew Goldman. Told he wouldn't have even brought it up had she not included it in her memoir, Huston retorted: "No, I completely accept that. I think the news there is he's dead and I'm not."
Simon, however, is still alive. He's 93 now, Goldman informed Huston.
"He's dead as far as I'm concerned," she shot back.
Huston has a right to be peeved. Read the quote again and you'll notice Simon – considered one of the snider critics of his time – is taking aim almost entirely at her physical appearance, rather than her actual performance.
Despite, yes, some obvious nepotism involved, Huston went on to become one of the most respected actors of her generation, making indelible marks on films like The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Prizzi's Honor (1985), Enemies: A Love Story (1989), The Grifters (1990), The Witches (1990), The Addams Family (1991), Buffalo '66 (1998), and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). She won an Oscar for Prizzi's Honor, one of three times she was nominated.
The interaction about Simon's snub was hardly the only eyebrow raiser in the must-read interview, which was reminiscent of a similarly frank, pull-no-punches conversation with Quincy Jones from early 2018.
Houston also revealed that Oprah has never spoken to her, and never invited her onto her talk show, most likely because she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Prizzi's Honor, beating Winfrey's performance in The Color Purple.
"She never had me on her show, ever. She won't talk to me," Huston says.
"The only encounter I've had with Oprah was when I was at a party for the Academy Awards, a private residence. I was talking to Clint Eastwood, and she literally came between us with her back to me. So all of the sudden I was confronted with the back of Oprah's head."
Asked if she thinks it was over the Oscar, she replies: "Well, nobody else would dislike me so much as to literally, physically come in between the person I was talking with that way. But I admire Oprah. God knows, she's made some big steps."
She's less charitable about Bill Murray, however.
"He was a sh*t to me on [Wes Anderson's] Life Aquatic," she says. "The first week I was there, we were all in this little hotel, and he invited the entire cast to go and have dinner, except me. And everyone came down for dinner, a little dog-faced about my not being invited, and they were all like, 'Oh, you know, we don't really want to go.' That was worse than anything.
"I was really hurt. And then I think we met again in Florence, because that movie was shot all over Italy, and we were doing a scene at Gore Vidal's house in Ravello, and he said, 'Hey, how've you been? I missed you.' I said, 'You're full of sh*t. You didn't miss me.' He looked all confused for a moment. He's been a little nicer to me since. He showed up at my husband's funeral. He couldn't have been nicer that day. He showed up. A lot of people didn't."
Asked about Roman Polanski – she was at Jack Nicholson's house when the director raped a 13-year-old model, before fleeing the US – she said: "Well, see, it's a story that could've happened ten years before in England or France or Italy or Spain or Portugal, and no one would've heard anything about it. And that's how these guys enjoy their time.
READ MORE: Tarantino says sorry for defending Polanski
"It was a whole playboy movement in France when I was a young girl, 15, 16 years old, doing my first collections. You would go to Régine or Castel in Paris, and the older guys would all hit on you. Any club you cared to mention in Europe. It was de rigueur for most of those guys like Roman who had grown up with the European sensibility.
"My opinion is: He's paid his price, and at the time that it happened, it was kind of unprecedented. This was not an unusual situation. You know that movie An Education with Carey Mulligan? That happened to me. It's about a schoolgirl in England who falls in love with an older dude, Peter Sarsgaard. My first serious boyfriend I met when he was 42 and I was 18.
"But these things happen, that's what I'm saying. These things weren't judged on the same basis that they're judged on now. So you can't compare them."
Houston is then asked about Woody Allen, with whom she's worked on two movies.
Allen has been effectively shunned by much of Hollywood over claims he abused his daughter Dylan as a child, though he always denied the claims, and was cleared on two occasions by the courts.
"Two states investigated him, and neither of them prosecuted him," Houston says, and asked whether she'd work with him again, she adds: "Yeah, in a second."
She then comes on to Jack Nicholson, her on-off boyfriend from the 70s to the early 90s, and other screen legends, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
On their recent movie work, she says: "You don't want to see Jack do that. I don't want to see Jack doing Meet the Fockers. I already get depressed if I see him in perfectly good Nancy Meyers movies. I like to see Jack in full rebellious feather, and that's how I love him best on film. I loved him in Terms of Endearment, where he plays this incredibly romantic no-goodnik. I guess [De Niro] has maybe a couple of ex-wives, right? Not many, but what does this fellow spend his money on? He's got Nobu. He's got the Tribeca Film Festival — he's not spending the film money on that.
"Pacino does some schlock. But in some way he's forgiven, because he always goes out on a limb and does Salomé all by himself. Pacino is more experimental, I think. But Bobby, I don't know the last thing that I've seen him in that I thought, Wow, he's really cracking it."
Elsewhere, she also discusses cocaine: "Bad cocaine makes you feel shitty. Probably makes you run for the loo because it's laced with laxatives. Pure cocaine gives you a very light, airy, clear, and extremely pleasant feeling. But really, there's no such thing as good cocaine. I don't believe that people should take it recreationally. [Nicholson] never took overt amounts. He was never a guzzler. I think Jack sort of used it, probably like Freud did, in a rather smart way. Jack always had a bit of a problem with physical lethargy. He was tired, and I think probably, at a certain age, a little bump would cheer him up. Like espresso."
Houston is next up in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, out on May 17.