Tom Skerritt has had a five-decade career in both film and television, but Skerritt — who just celebrated his eightieth birthday this week — is finally making his Broadway debut in A Time To Kill, an adaptation of John Grisham‘s 1989 novel (which was previously turned into a 1996 film starring Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, and Kevin Spacey). Though the play doesn’t begin previews for a month, Skeritt tells The New York Post that he is both excited and terrified about making his debut on Broadway.
Skerritt admits that living in New York while doing the play will be a major life change for him. He explains, “I never lived in Manhattan. I’m from Detroit. I went to UCLA to be a filmmaker and been in Seattle, an outpost with NYC influences, 25 years. Simple life. Immersed in civic activities. Go to the movies once a year. It’s outdoors, up early seeing water, mountains, an eagle overhead. Staying up late, dinner late, sleeping late will be difficult.”
On the surface Skerritt wasn’t sure if the offer was worth it. He confesses, “My agent said, ‘You have this offer.’ I’m thrilled but terrified. I’ve worked lots in films but couldn’t see eight months on Broadway for little money.” However, Skerritt admits that while he doesn’t have much of a background in theater he loves the idea of having a live audience. He says, “I experienced a live audience. I recall that surge of energy. But Broadway?! Holy shit.”
But even looking forward to the reaction of live audiences doesn’t make Skerritt any less nervous. He says, “I’m terrified. Rehearsals start now. And memorization? My heritage is Irish. I’m the type who’ll just go at it. Grab it by the throat and deal with it. Having never seen the movie, I’ll fortunately come at this with a fresh view.”