Exclusive interview: Al Pacino on his visit to Yorkshire

The Godfather superstar Al Pacino says he’s been made an offer he can’t refuse - to entertain UK fans at a black tie dinner.

By Graham Walker
Saturday, 2nd May 2015, 7:15 am
Al Pacino
Al Pacino

Hot on the heals of Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rocky superstar Sylvester Stallone, he’s the next Hollywood legend heading across the Pond to Yorkshire.

And the offer he couldn’t refuse...that came from Bradford-born promoter and friend of the A-list stars Rocco Buonvino.

AUDIO: Listen to Graham Walker’s full interview with Al Pacino click here

Now fans are snapping up tickets, from £100 - with limited photo opportunities another £650 - for a once in a lifetime Olexy Productions event at the Centenary Pavilion in Leeds on May 16.

The Oscar winner, stage icon, director and king of the gangsters, admits one of his favourite Broadway roles is playing the region’s most infamous monarch, Shakespeare’s Richard III.

And he might bring him to life when he visits Leeds.

In an exclusive interview from his home in Los Angeles he said fans should expect the unexpected - including him acting out some of his favourite roles.

Al Pacino

He also plans to return to the West End and spoke about how his latest film roles show a different Pacino and how The Godfather and Scarface changed his life forever.

An Experience with Al Pacino, including an exclusive and rare Pacino memorabilia charity auction, aiding Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, will also feature a 20-piece live big band and stand up comedy from Britain’s Got Talent star Stuart Arnold.

Pacino has said he will never write an autobiography, so his Leeds date is an exclusive chance for fans to hear untold stories of his life.

But what can fans expect?

Al Pacino

“I would say to expect the unexpected, That’s a phrase from Bertolt Brecht,” he said, quoting the German playwright.

Pacino starred in his mobster Broadway play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Uni.

“I call them seminars for the want of another word because I don’t know what they are really.

“We talk about what I’ve done. I show some of my own personal pictures, which I’ve made with my own group - some haven’t been seen before. We show excerpts and I talk about my life and take questions.

Al Pacino

“I also act. I do excerpts from different things, I read poetry. Hopefully I entertain.”

Of his most famous Shakespeare role Pacino adds: “I continue to play Richard III.

“I’ve been to Yorkshire before. I’ve lived in Devon and all over the place. I’ve lived everywhere. Look...I’m 104 years old.”

He’s actually just turned 75 but still having young children keeps him sprightly.

He has a grown up daughter, Julie Marie, and teenage twins, Anton and Olivia, born in 2001.

Being a single dad has kept him away from the West End since getting rave reviews in American Buffalo 30 years ago, though wants to tread the boards again in London.

Al Pacino

“We are looking forward to bringing something there and I don’t quite know yet what it is.

“I’m always trying someway to get to London. I haven’t been able to galvanise myself to get there for any real length of time, mainly because I’m a single dad. I have younger children that I’m responsible to. I haven’t been going away for any real long period of time.”

What he has been doing, for five decades, is making hit movies, often playing heroic, formidable characters, who quickly burst into a rage.

But his latest roles show another side to him.

He plays an ageing actor in The Humbling and in Danny Collins he is an ageing musician, inspired to live his life differently after finding an old letter to him from John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“I don’t think you’ll see any of those rages in that. You’ll see a tap dancing ‘charm ass’.

Pacino, recognised as one of the greatest actors of all time, has been Oscar nominated for Best Actor eight times, and took home the award for his role in 1992’s Scent of a Woman.

His amazing career includes other classics like Scarface, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, And Justice For All, Sea Of Love, The Devil’s Advocate and Carlito’s Way.

But his breakthrough role was that of Michael Corleone in 1972’s The Godfather and trilogy of blockbusters.

Pacino said he didn’t think he was in with a chance of getting the part but it was thanks to director Francis Ford Coppola he was chosen.

He said: “He managed to stave off a studio that didn’t want me because I was a youngster, unknown and unproven and not the kind of person that you cast in a leading romantic role.

“But that was his choice - as well as Brando. And he stuck by both of us. Even though I was unknown and a gamble, so to speak, he was taking a chance and eventually of course they listened to him.

“I kept saying ‘why me?’ I didn’t understand why he wanted me so much. It’s so much a part of a director’s vision.”

It was another mobster, Scarface anti-hero Tony Montana who gave him his most famous and memorable movie line in the climatic shoot out when he pulls out the machine gun and rattles out the line ‘say hello to my little friend’.

Did he realise the impact that would have?

“No, absolutely not,” he says.

“Oliver Stone, who wrote the screenplay and who is in my opinion a great screen writer, wrote it with such alacrity, power and passion and sociopolitical projection or insight.

“Brian De Palma, a great director, took something that had this underpin of social significance into more of an operatic, over the top interpretation and somehow those two coincided in a way and I think allowed this movie to become what it is.”

- Tickets for An Experience with Al Pacino are now limited and available from roccobuonvinoproductions.com and olexyproductions.com

Al Pacino