Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsGuy Pearce

THE SUNDAY CONVERSATION

Facing his number 39

March 25, 2007|Choire Sicha | Special to The Times

GUY PEARCE is finally staying in the Los Angeles apartment that he bought after starring in 2000's "Memento"; it's been under renovations for ages. He recently completed playing Harry Houdini for Gillian Armstrong's "Death Defying Acts." This year, he played Andy Warhol in "Factory Girl."

He stars in "First Snow," the directorial debut of "Children of Men" co-screenwriter Mark Fergus, which opened Friday. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, Kate Mestitz, and their animal friends.

How does 39 feel?

My father died when he was 39. I was 8 when he was 39. All my life I've wondered about 39 and never wondered about 40 at all. 39, 2 months and a day was how old he was when he died. I got a bit obsessive about that. The sixth of December it was, and leading up to it, and still now, it's a very odd feeling. A lot of it was connected to figuring out who my dad was. I think I've projected forward all my life this idea, this image of what it will be like when I'm 39. Also, it makes me realize how young he was.

*

Of course.

Quite a lot when I was younger, I looked forward to being in my 30s. I was quite anxious as a kid. I felt insignificant and didn't have a great value of myself. Once I got into my 30s, I felt I'd climbed some sort of mount and that everyone could hear what I have to say. Even though I might have had nothing to say. And I don't mean that on a level to do with work or fame. The other thing too: I have a sister with an intellectual disability, and this book a psychologist friend gave to me, it's called "Siblings" in Australia -- the author came to the conclusion that other siblings of people with special needs ... they feel left out. A certain amount of attention does go to the child with special needs. It was something I had no idea of. I have a lot of guilt about my sister, and getting attention, or any kind of fame. Why should I have stuff when she can't?

*

Right.

It's been a good couple of years. I got myself in a bit of a bind, I think, mentally and emotionally, leading up to about 2001, 2002. I didn't have a "breakdown," but I couldn't tell what I liked, what was good or bad, I was irritable with everybody, I didn't know if I wanted to work or not. And I've been acting since I was a kid! But I was making decisions based on being an 8-year-old. I took a year off and learned to meditate and sorted myself out.

*

And you just had your 10-year wedding anniversary.

The Ides of March! We didn't realize. We were going to get married on March 8, but the Grand Prix was that weekend -- we live right by the track. It's a nightmare by our place, and we moved it to the following week. My history wasn't great, and Kate's wasn't great, and someone said, "Uh-oh, it's the Ides of March." Unfortunately, I got [to L.A.] on the 12th. But we spent some lovely time before I left acknowledging it. It was great. I have to say, like all relationships, you have your tricky times.

*

It's hard to see you getting along with the director of "Factory Girl." He seems more like the sort of fellow who likes his limos packed with girls.

George [Hickenlooper] does like his entourage -- which kind of goes hand in hand with the story of the Factory. He's a sweet guy. I think he got carried away with the excitement of directing a cool film that a lot of sexy chicks wanted to be a part of. He really showed me -- if you're a director, that's how you get the girls.

*

Do you have a religion?

I went to a lunch with some guy who ran a studio years ago. He was quite an obnoxious, loud, really brash, sort of gaudy kind of guy. His house was filled with expensive art. Not my kind of person at all. We were sitting there and he started talking about the asylum-seekers in Australia -- we get lots of Middle Eastern or Asian people. He was talking about religions, and I could see he was going to get on an anti-Muslim thing and he said: "What about you, Guy, what religion are you?" And I said, "I'm just a dirty rotten heathen." I swear his eyes fell out of his head. I wasn't brought up anything. I'm a big believer in nature. I'm a big believer in all of us being connected energetically.

*

You've referred to yourself as a man happiest in the company of gay men. And last year you said that "I see violence looming at any moment." These things seem related.

I have plenty of straight male friends I feel comfortable with. But sometimes you find yourself at a corporate event or a sporting thing, you find blokey-blokes. And they wanna talk about things and go, "Oh, that's weird, man."

*

Men are trained to be inarticulate.

I've got a gay friends, and they can be kind of hard work as well. When they get in a gaggle and get bitchy, I'm not into that either. Group-think happens, where the majority rules and that extremity gets cultivated and takes over -- it makes anyone who's not part an outsider. Whether it's bitchy women or anti-men women or a bunch of queeny guys or a bunch of straight guys, I try to shy away from a group that's on fire.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|