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The night was set as a tribute, and in perfect form, Jeff Goldblum delighted the audience at the Deauville Film Festival in France with a meandering 15-minute recount of his career from a high school Marcel Marceau obsessive through leading the audience in songs from Jurassic Park.
The Oscar and Emmy nominee, who took to the stage in a white tux jacket and silver lamé shirt, ditched the podium and usual scripted thank-yous in favor of a 15-minute stand-up speech that could have doubled as an audition for a one-man comedy show, complete with song, dance, mime and a quick game of “Six Degrees of Jeff Goldblum.” (Why let Kevin Bacon have all the fun?)
Turns out you can get from Jane Fonda to Jeff Goldblum in just four steps via Barbarella, Roger Vadim and Into the Night. Quotes from George Bernard Shaw and a verse of the French national anthem La Marseillaise (via Casablanca — this is, after all, a film festival — rounded out the routine. If anyone deserves an EGOT, it’s this man.
Next up, hopefully, is Entertainment director Rick Alverson’s The Mountain, which is set to shoot next month if financing can be secured, Goldblum said. The Jurassic Park actor said they are “trying to cross the T’s and dot the I’s” on the financing for the 1950s-set script.
“It reminds me in tone of P.T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood or The Master, metaphorical critiques of the American psyche, in the vein of Death of a Salesman.… It’s not for everybody, but I really like it, I keep working on it, and I like him.” He’s been running the script daily.
As for his upcoming turn as the gladiator guru Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, he said director Taika Waititi was a “real improviser” on set but that audiences should not to expect anything too over-the-top that isn’t classic Goldblum.
“We talked early on and he said, ‘I think instead of anything really theatrical or comic book-y we need something that is familiar and in your vein,” Goldblum said.
While he said that Hollywood is “starving out the adventurous, independent, smaller” films, he noted that those in charge have been plucking indie directors like Waititi to helm blockbusters like Thor. Waititi had just a few TV episodes and one feature film, the New Zealand vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows, under his belt before he was handed the Viking’s hammer.
Outside of Hollywood, the current political climate in the U.S. is a cause of distress but not concern for the actor, who strongly campaigned for Hillary Clinton. “It’s with no small amount of disturbance that I’ve been following along and hoping it all turns out for the best,” he said, framing it through the perspective of his Jurassic Park character Ian Malcom: “It’s just been a blink of an eye — cosmically speaking — that our species has had the power to destroy itself. We know that a misguided character could do something really bad, so we all have to make sure to focus on what we can do in our circle of influence and make sure we each do as much as we can to move the ball in the direction of progress, and hope that things work out.”
He also credits the book The Moral Arch, by Michael Shermer, which deep dives into this long-view philosophy — “I just read this book.… Well, I haven’t read it yet, I have it in my hotel room, but I read the back!” he said — of giving him perspective and hope.
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Cannes Film Festival