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Gene Hackman: On Top of His Game

At 70, the consummate actor shows no signs of slowing.
Alysse Minkoff
From the Print Edition:
Gene Hackman, Sep/Oct 00

(continued from page 3)

"And that makes it harder because I care more now than I used to, because you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know how many more of these they're gonna let me do. And I have to admit that there's something compelling to have this idea that you've maybe worked on and take that in and have 90 people standing around waiting for you to do something. It's seductive. I like putting myself in the position where I have to come up with something. Because there's still a sense of, 'When are they gonna catch on?' I've always felt that. That's why when I have to watch part of a film I've done, I think, 'Holy shit. I'm getting paid to do that? Why would somebody do that?'"

Hackman has toyed with retirement. But life without the challenges of an acting career just isn't something he's particularly good at. "I keep saying that I want to retire, and the business is very stressful and long hours and all that, but I've tried it before and it just doesn't work," he says. "So when I talk about retirement, it has to do with if I can get out of bed in the morning. It's in very simple terms of the physicality of the work and being drained in some ways after a film. One of the things that happens is when you come off a tough film, four or five months of really working your butt off with nights and long hours, you're finished. You could quite easily walk away from the business because you're drained. I suppose it's like being pregnant. You get over it. And then you want to go back and do it again."

A frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado, Alysse Minkoff lives in Beverly Hills, California.

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