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Jon Voight Interview

This is an interview by Bart Carteur, which he generously sent me to post for all of you Voight fans! It is from May 1, 1998 and was conducted in Belgium while he was filming "A Dog Of Flanders". I hope you enjoy it.

Jon Voight: 'I'm always trying to do the best work I can.'

In Veurne (Belgium) we went to the filmset of 'A Dog of Flanders'. There, we spoke to one of the leading actors, Jon Voight, who's best known for his roles in films as 'Coming Home', 'Midnight Cowboy', 'Mission Impossible', 'Anaconda' and recently, 'The Rainmaker'.

Carteur: How did you get involved in the project of 'A Dog of Flanders'?

Voight: "I was sent a script and it was a very beautiful script. It had many wonderful things to say for children. And I would do anything for children. This piece might seems to be important for kids. So I said yes."

Carteur: Your father was a golf-pro and your brother Chip Taylor was a famous musician and songwriter. Did you never have the ambition to become a sporter or songwriter?

Voight: "Well, my dad was a wonderful teacher of golf and he hurt his back when he was very young (he couldn't play from the time he was 20 years old really; competitively)and so, really, I think I lefted golf because I wanted him to be the golfer in the family and leave it be. But I played quite a lot when I was a young man and I was pretty good. But I left it behind. And in terms of music, Chip was really the talented one in that area from the time he was very young and we always supported eachother in our interests. I have another brother who's an expert on volcanoes, who's from Penstate University, name Barry Voight, and he's also a person who has had the great succes in his career. So, each of us had his own areas of expertise."

Carteur: What is your greatest moment in your career? Was it winning the Oscar for 'Coming Home' or something else?

Voight: "Well, I think the greatest moment is in the work itself. The things that happen after the work; the Awards that you win, they don't really teach you anything and they aren't really moments of achievement. Those are moments that simply come afterwards and you're always grateful for a little attention for good work. I certainly am grateful for those moments that I've had some attention for the work that I did, but the work itself is the reward."

Carteur: Your daughter, Angelina Jolie, is an actress too (seen in 'Hackers', 'Playing God' ...). What was your first reaction when she told you: 'I want to become an actress'?

Voight: "Well, I hoped that she would have the talent to do it. I knew she had the drive, the energy to do anything she wished and I'm very proud of the way she went about it. She went to classes, she graduates high-school early in order to get to classes. That took a lot of work. When I saw how much work she did to finish high-school early and to get to class, I said: 'Well, she probaby has the stam and the dicipline to do it'. And she's proven to be a wonderful actress, probably one of the most talented actresses of her generation. Already, we've seen that. I'm very proud of her."

Carteur: You've made a movie in november, directed by Tony Scott ('Top Gun'), called 'Enemy of the State'. What's it about?

Voight: "I just finished it before I came into this film. It's a political thriller and stars Will Smith and Gene Hackman. I play a very bad fellow."

Carteur: Do you like to play bad fellows?

Voight: "I play anything that makes the story work. It's the movie that I'm interested in. If I think the movie got some value, then I take whatever role I'm right for."

Carteur: Do you have a favourite movie or part during your career? Most of the people think it's 'Coming Home'.

Voight: "Well, I have to wait a while till I finish up and take a look back. Certainly, 'Coming Home' is a very high moment, and the work on 'Midnight Cowboy' was a very high moment. And there are several other moments that impressed me after I did them, so, I'm always trying to do the best work I can."

Carteur: In the 70's and in the begin of the 80's, you were seen a lot on the movie-screen. But then, you only made tv-movies till 'Heat' came. Since then, you were seen again in a lot of films. How come that you were so long off the screen?

Voight: "Well, as you said, I worked, but I did other kinds of movies and I was doing a lot of work for different causes during that time. I did work for the ViŽtnam-veterans, for the American Indians, for the homeless, ... so I did a lot of work that was related to helping people and I did a lot of films that had themes that were in the same area. And recently with 'Heat', 'Mission Impossible' and the films after that, like 'Anaconda', I'm back on the movie-screen."

Carteur: Are you proud of 'Anaconda'? It was a succes, but received a lot of negative critics.

Voight:"I am. Well, I'm proud of it, because I think I was very good in it and it was a fun story. It was a lot of fun. Just a silly thing. I had a lot of fun making it and I still laugh when I see the performances overall."

Carteur: How was it to be eaten up by the snake?

Voight: "It was everything I thought it would be ... and more (laughs). It was fun. It was a fun movie."

Carteur: What are your future projects?

Voight: "Next week I go back to America, where I immediately start on another film, called 'Varsity Blues', a movie about American Football." (Bart Carteur, Belgium)

Photo courtesy of Bart Carteur :)