Monday, July 27, 2009

Gene Hackman Remembers an Iconic Michael Jackson Performance

Michael Jackson has been dead for over a month (time sure does fly, doesn't it?) but there is an aspect of his career that has been sadly overlooked. We all know the King of Pop was a transcendent musician, but we often forget just how great an actor he was.

This simply will not stand. The man could sing, sure, but his acting chops were simply off the charts. Shame on all of you for remembering his music career (the profession that drove him to seek surgery after surgery) instead of looking back on his true passion: acting. In front of a film camera, the King of Pop transformed into one of the greatest actors of the 1980s. I recently sat down with Lowe's Home Improvement spokesman Gene Hackman to discuss what was perhaps Michael Jackson's greatest role: Myra Fleener in Hoosiers.

Common Vents: Gene, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to remember a forgotten part of Michael Jackson's career.

Gene Hackman:
Oh, it's my pleasure. I've worked on many, many projects in my career, but working with Michael in Hoosiers will always be one of my most cherished acting memories.

Vents: Why's that?

Hackman: His talent was so obvious, almost tangible. He made me re-think acting methods that had been a part of my repertoire for decades. That, and he made a really, really convincing woman.

Vents: Whew! Thank you for acknowledging that! For 23 years I've been wondering why we refuse to talk about the fact that Michael Jackson was your love interest in Hoosiers. It's almost as if everyone has been brainwashed.

You're right. I've sensed that very same thing.

Vents: So why the cover-up?

Hackman: Isn't it obvious? Every family member, friend, colleague and hanger-on told Michael to stick with music. It's what he had done since he was a child. But think about it: if you had to do one thing every single day since before you got hair on your schmeckel, wouldn't you eventually want to do something else? Michael was no different. He loved to sing as a child, sure, but he grew out of it. Acting was his adult passion. When he was forced to stifle that passion, he reverted back to his childhood state, which led to all of the unfortunate allegations. And surgeries.

Vents: That makes a surprising amount of sense.

Hackman: It's simply a tragedy that he wasn't allowed to continue his acting career. He and I had such a powerful on-screen chemistry, as he surely would have had with his future co-stars. He was that good.

Vents: Funny you should mention the word chemistry. I've always felt that your on-screen kiss with Michael in Hoosiers was a huge pile of awkward. It looked as if you were trying to fit your entire head into his mouth, and vice-versa. But after hearing your recollections, maybe you two were so caught up in the moment that you just couldn't help yourselves. Is that accurate?

Hackman: You nailed it. It's as if we were both hypnotized. We heard the director screaming "CUT! DEAR GOD, CUT!" in the playback, but neither of us heard anything when we were rolling. And Michael and I were so satisfied with the shot that we refused to do it again. David nearly shit his pants, but we got our way in the end.

Vents: As much as I'd love to discuss the bowel movements of your director, let's go back to that kiss. Michael may have been playing a woman, but this was still a man kissing another man. Why wasn't there a bigger deal made out of this?

Hackman: Is that a joke? When were you born?

Vents: Uh...1983.

Nineteen eighty...let me tell you something about the 80s, son. We were doing lines of coke off-camera from sunup to sundown. And this was in the middle of cornfed Indiana. You know those barns and farmhouses that we shot? What do you think their crops were? Corn? Soybeans? Cattle? Wrong. Straight up white gold, son. I remember Chitwood daring me to-

Vents: Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Hackman, but I'm not sure where you're going with this. Also, you're scaring me.

Hackman: The point is, this was the 80s. Everyone was too stoned to care if two male actors had a kissing scene. Do you get me?

Vents: Yes, thanks for enlightening me. Looks like we're out of time. Anything you'd like to plug before you go?

Hackman: OOOOOOO!! Yes! Thanks for reminding me. Lowe's is having a monster sale geared toward the college student. Just visit the Lowe's home page or visit your nearest location for the details.

Vents: Wow, you went with a Lowe's plug? Do you even have a film career anymore?

Hackman: You up-and-comers are all the same. Always telling me to get back into movies. You know what I say to hotshot directors and actors nowadays? "I see you guys can shoot, but there's more to the game than shooting!" I then clarify that I'm talking about the game of life. There's more to the game, young man. Michael knew that. Maybe one day you will too.


  1. Wow - you must have been bored

  2. I was indeed. Did you notice my sick Photoshop skills? Barbara Hershey has a great pair of shades on.

    Yeah, I was really bored.

  3. What was it like talking with Gene Hackman? Why didn't you ask what it was like commanding a submarine? Do these pants make me look fatter?

  4. He's really effing old now. Very scary looking. No wonder he only does voice work.

  5. I think a greater example of Gene Hackman's acting chops vis-a-vis playing a love interest is the immensely forgettable "Welcome to Mooseport" where he was paired with Maura Tierney (of all people.)

    Maura = 44
    Gene = 79


    oh, and btw, this was the last movie GH made (according to IMDB)