Robert Duvall: “Unless I lose my inspiration or there is too much drool to wipe, I will keep going”

If you’re only knowledge of Robert Duvall is from the first two Godfather movies, you’ve missed out on some incredible performances by one of the screen’s most gifted actors.

In a nearly fifty-year career, Duvall has turned in vivid performances in every decade and shows no signs of stopping.  His latest project, Seven Days in Utopia, reunites Duvall with his Get Low co-star Lucas Black, and Duvall had a lot to say to the Los Angeles Times about not only working with Black again, but how he keeps going at his age.

If you’ve ever heard Duvall talk, you know that he’s very open and can be really humorous — especially in his old age!  In fact, when asked what attracted him to Seven Days in Utopia, Duvall answers, “It was low-budget but they paid me well! The overall package was excellent and it was working with Lucas again, which was attractive, and it was a nice story — different. It was faith-based but I think Get Low was more spiritual. I hadn’t worked in a while and this sprung out of nowhere and I got to go to Texas to work. I love working in Texas anywhere.”   Still, the paycheck, co-star, and location weren’t enough to convince Duvall to take the part, as he believed his character needed to be deeper.  As a result, the character in the finished film has recently lost his wife and is battling with the bottle.  Duvall explains, “You see, when I first read the script it was too white-bread. There was none of that in there. I said, if you want me to play this part, give me some faults — there is only one Jesus Christ. So give me some obstacles. To have real drama you have to have obstacles. Initially in the first script those things weren’t in there. So I asked that they put them in.”

But when Duvall isn’t on camera he can be a very private person — in fact he admits that he doesn’t have many friends in show business aside from James Caan and Bill Murray.  He chalks this up to the nature of the business, saying, “It is a very fickle business anyway. You work with people for eight weeks and after the eight weeks expire you never see the people. It’s a strange thing.”

Does the 80 year old Duvall have plans to retire?  Of course not!  He explains, “I am getting some good offers still. Some nice things are coming my way just as they always have, so unless I lose my inspiration or there is too much drool to wipe, I will keep going.”

As long as he keeps captivating us on screen, I don’t think anyone has a problem with Duvall making movies for another few decades.

Seven Days in Utopia is currently in limited release.

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