Actor Steve Guttenberg's insane interview in today's Observer kind of creeps up on you. In the beginning, you're thinking he's an amusing 1980s movie star with a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his faded fame. A once-deferential maitre'd is depicted shoving the actor aside to make way for Tom Cruise, "and I'm like, 'Holy fuck.'" A 120-year-old club for actor types sparks in Guttenberg's head the status-anxious thought, "Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, who cares? ...it's like time, the great equalizer." Guttenberg is shown haunted by the memory of his peers shunning John Travolta when it seemed he'd never live up to Saturday Night Fever again. The actor says, referring to his dating exploits, "the Goot is on the loose," and you figure he must have been making a joke. But then he starts sounding weirder and weirder, and maybe kind of like a jerk, and the next thing you know he's talking about his compulsive drinking, lying and womanizing.
The interview, for me, went clearly haywire right about here:
"I've tried to stay fit, you know, because it's my instrument, this is my violin," he said, gesturing over his body. "I play the violin. So I want to keep it tuned up …. So I work out there during the day, and then I write."
This is my instrument? Surely profile author Spencer Morgan left out a "with a chuckle" or "jokingly" somewhere. Like, say, at the end of this:
"I go in spurts," he said. Upcoming Goot pictures include Mojave Phone Booth, about a phone booth in the middle of the desert, and Major Movie Star, in which he plays Jessica Simpson's dad. "I guess that's just an artist's life," he said, gazing out over the park [and making that jack-off motion with his fingers?? and ironically holding up a copy of Police Academy 4: Citizens Patrol and grinning like a maniac?].
Guttenberg also says, seemingly appropos of nothing, after calling himself a "seducer," that "the meek will inherit the earth... so be nice to the meek. The old man spitting on the corner. The janitor cleaning up. The man behind the counter at the convenience store. Those are our people-that guy driving that truck-they make the world go."
That non-sequitur is still ringing in your ears (along with the cheesy, swelling orchestral score you'd expect to accompany Guttenberg's soliloquy at the end of some cornball flick from, yes, the 1980s) when the actor starts spilling his guts about his drinking:
"I indulge in wine, and I love vodka, I do," he said. "And I love scotch, you know. And I love weed. And I love women. And I do have, you know, those … Addiction is such an overused word."
I'll go out with women, because it'll make me feel better. Women that I shouldn't be around, but maybe they'll make me feel better."
He estimated that he's dated some 600 women, but still hasn't found Mrs. Right.
Steve, maybe you should end the interview before you dig yourself in any dee...
"I'll lie to make myself feel better," he said. "If I feel shitty, and someone says, ‘What are you working on,' I'll get really pissed off and go, ‘Yeah I'm doing a thriller with, you know, George Clooney.' I make myself feel better by that-that's an addiction to whatever that is, to make myself feel better, to take the pain away."
OK, well, it's time to update Wikipedia or something, because none of this is in there. Anyway, Steve, it's been nice catching up, great seeing you, catch you maybe at the 30-year reunion and, hey, don't ever change old buddy!