Robert Duvall, Raw

The legendary actor talks about his Oscar-nominated film "Crazy Heart" and what inspires him as an actor.

BY: Dena Ross


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You're a big country music fan. What is it about country music that you love so much?

I just like it. I have always liked it. When I was in the army, way back, I listened to Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Carl Smith, all the old-time singers—more like [my character] in "Tender Mercies." Jeff was more like the modern guys--Billy Jo Shaver and Kris Kristofferson, more country-rock. I've always liked country music. It's a certain aspect of America that goes back to the British Isles and the influence is very native to America. It's one of our appeals. They say Hank Williams used to stand on the corner in a small town in Alabama and sing with a black man way back in the '50s.

Do you like the sound or do you like the message?

I don't think the message—it's all corny. A lot of it is corny. But opera can be corny, life can be corny, melodramatic. I like the music. I like the…

The sound?

Yes, it's an American thing.

I'm reading a book now on the 95 existing Congressional Medal of Honor winners. They're going to present me with an award at the end of the month here in California. I'm very honored about that.


Yeah. These guys, some of them prayed, some of them didn't. They had to react out of such a quick, impulsive thing, whether it's metaphysical or animal. You don't know what it is these guys did, but what they went through--it was amazing--to make this nation a better place.

Speaking of praying, do you have a spiritual practice that you follow regularly? Do you pray?

Yeah, I have my own ways of doing things. Definitely.

I read that you were brought up in the Christian Science religion. Do you still practice that?

Yep, I do.

What inspires you as an actor? What drives you or leads you to pick certain roles over others?


You're so honest. That's great.

It's money. [Also] if it's a good part, if it's a quality part, the director, who I act with, if it's a worthwhile project, then I select it. You're always looking for things. You're looking for different people. A guy approached me to play Don Quixote de la Mancha, one of the great parts in literature. When they get the money—it's always the money--I'll be doing that and whatever else comes around.

You never know, something comes at you from around the corner and surprises you, and then you go do it. Then you plan other things. It depends. What drives me is I love my profession. I love to do it.

What is your dream role? What is a role that you haven't played that you want to one day?

Don Quixote de la Mancha, right now. And I'd liked to play Devil Anse in "The Hatfields and the McCoys." That's a great part. "The Hatfields and the McCoys" is like American Shakespeare.

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