Alan Alda Interview

No Longer Hawkeye, Alan Alda Still a Hit

Alan Alda Exclusive Interview

A generation of television watchers remembers Alan Alda as Hawkeye, star of the hit shows M*A*S*H and The West Wing. Others remember him for his numerous silver screen contributions as both actor and screenwriter. In recent years, Alan Alda has revealed yet another talent: a flair for book writing.

Alan Alda photoHis memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, captured his charm and wisdom, making it a New York Times bestseller. In the fall of 2007, Alan Alda released his second book, a follow-up to his autobiography in which he shares his search for meaning in life. It’s an engaging book that addresses heavy topics with a light touch that is always highly readable.

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself reveals another of his talents: that of engaging speechwriting. The book revisits many of the speeches he’s made throughout his life, excerpting them and then framing them with his preparation for the events.

Alan Alda also has three movies either coming out or in the works: Resurrecting the Champ, Diminished Capacity, and Nothing But the Truth. Despite this busy schedule, he still found time to talk about his book and upcoming projects.

Movie Rewind: What one thing would you want people to take from your book?

Alan Alda: I hope they have some fun reading how I chased after the impossible question I asked myself the book. If they wind up asking themselves the same question, I hope they have a happy adventure and then tell the rest of us about it. I’d like to read their book.

Movie Rewind: Of all the speeches you’ve given in your life, which one is the most memorable? Which one received the most memorable/warmest audience response?

Alan Alda: Probably the talk that’s had the warmest response is the one I gave at my oldest daughter’s graduation from college. I was surprised when it was reprinted all over the world and some of it even wound up on coffee mugs and plaques in gift shops. It came from the heart, so I guess that appealed to people.

Movie Rewind: You’ve written two very well-received books proving your expertise in writing for a multitude of mediums. Are there other book projects in your future? If so, what are they?

Alan Alda: There’s probably a book getting written in the back of my head right now, but I haven’t even seen the coming attractions yet.

Movie Rewind: In your book, you talk far more about your live theatrical experiences than your recorded ones. Is there a particular type of performance you prefer? Why?

Alan Alda: I think all actors who were brought up on the stage have a special longing for it. There’s a kind of ecstasy to stage acting.

Movie Rewind: You have a new film out, Resurrecting the Champ. How did you get involved in the project?

Alan Alda: Rod Lurie sent me the script and I thought it was terrific. He’s written a new one we’ll be shooting this fall called Nothing But the Truth. It’s an exciting story and I’m looking forward to it.

Movie Help Web: You also have another project, Diminished Capacity, in post-production. Are there other movies in the works?

Alan Alda: Diminished Capacity is a charming comedy I shot this year with Matthew Broderick. Should be out some time next year. And I was in a movie with Greg Kinnear called Flash of Genius. Very well written script.

Movie Rewind: Even though you’ve played Republicans (in The West Wing and The Aviator) — you’re a Democrat. Who do you like for president?

Alan Alda: I don’t talk about politics in public anymore. Whoever we get for president, I hope it’s someone who can bring us together. There’s a lot of name calling now and not much working together.

by  B. Redman for Movie Rewind’s first incarnation, Movie Help Web
Alan Alda photo courtesy of Random House
October 2007

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