17 Things We Learned from John Malkovich’s Reddit AMA

Because John Malkovich has played such a wide variety of genuinely strange people in films and on stage, it’s all but impossible to read the odder responses in his recent Reddit AMA — arranged to promote his upcoming Red 2 — without hearing his distinctive vocal stylings. (It also helps that, per a Redditor’s request, we got to hear that voice; guys named Ben will want to change their outgoing message now.) Add in questions from Redditors who took the “Anything” part of the equation to heart, and you’ve got one of the more oddly entertaining AMAs in recent memory. A few lessons about the famed actor/director:

1. He has given some thought to other possible careers. Were he not an actor, Malkovich says, “it would be nice to be a florist, I think. I would have liked to have been a baseball pitcher, also.”

2. He could have also been a sommelier, apparently. Asked for his favorite French wine, Malkovich offers up the knowledgeable choice of “Bandol. Domaine Tempier.”

3. But there are rules to drinking. “I would say at least you have to wait until 7:00 pm,” he advises, with regards to day drinking. “I mean if i can do it, so can you. Cowboy the fuck up!”

4. He will occasionally partake of the marijuana. Mr. Malkovich enjoys a few others vices as well. “Sometimes my best friend Russ makes me smoke ganja,” he confesses, “but I become a bit insane and normally eat a couple hundred dollars worth of say, ice cream sandwiches or dilly bars or what have you. Even worse, I won’t share any of it.” Considering what we’ve seen of Malkovich going “a bit insane,” maybe he wouldn’t be much fun to smoke with.

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5. He’s a Faulkner man. His favorite book? Simple: “The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner.”

6. He has a strategy for fighting Crispin Glover. “I suppose I would pull his hair. No?”

7. He has no clear preference among underwear. To a Redditor asking the inevitable “boxers, briefs, or commando” question, Malkovich says, “depends on my mood. I don’t like anything too tight.”

8. He has concerns about space travel. Given the opportunity, “I suppose I would. But don’t you have to go to the bathroom in your space suit and everything? I’m just not sure I could do that?”

9. Here’s the John Malkovich Diet: “I lost seventy pounds eating nothing but Jello for 4 months,” he confides. “But of course there is great variety in the colors! I think, if I remember correctly it’s 230 calories for a whole bowl. Maybe 270? In the 5th month I added fruit.”

10. Here’s his advice for getting rid of a bat in your apartment: “I had one in my house once. I think I just opened all the windows and kind of gently broomed it out. Just make sure it’s in your apartment and not in your head.”

11. He’s sanguine about all of the money he lost with Bernie Madoff. “I only met Mr. Madoff once, many years ago. He seemed very pleasant.” But he doesn’t have much to say about the matter now. “For me, in all honesty, it was a good life lesson. And it also must be said that the vast majority of in the world live with nothing and with the hope of nothing their entire lives. I was lucky, as I’ve been my entire life. I could go back to work and make my way in the world.”

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12. Mary-Louise Parker is “my hero,” but he’s not sure what pick-up line to advise using on her. The Weeds star, who co-stars in Red 2, is “sharp, sad, funny, extremely gifted and quick. I love to be around her and I adore working with her. We had a beautiful vomiting in tandem on the car windshield scene in Red 2, ungratefully removed by the powers that be. For the pick-up line, I’m not too sure. I would counsel the direct approach. I wouldn’t use the Schwarzenegger pick-up line ‘baby your bangability is very high tonight.’ On 2nd thought, if you have a good Styrian accent, maybe it would be perfect.”

13. The worst scripts he’s ever read sound scary. “I was given a script in France,” he recalls, “by a seemingly rather disturbed young man. Let’s just say it was not good. Also, one night, a woman came in to our yard in France around 2:00 am. I was outside on the phone talking to my producing partners in Los Angeles. She gave me a script called Elle Tue (She Kills!), which was about the lead character killing a movie star. It was written like it had been done with a butcher knife in red ink. aAso, it wasn’t very good.”

14. Given the luxury of hindsight, he’d do all of his roles again. “All of them,” he insists. “In that I only know what the director wanted to do with the film after I’ve seen it, and by then, sadly, it’s too late.”

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15. He had no qualms about playing a “fictional character” in Being John Malkovich. The logic is sound: I kind of am a fictional character….”

16. He’s always involved in the costuming of his period characters. There are three reasons: “partially for it’s impact on character, partially because I’m a fashion designer, and partially cause I’m so fucking vain.” Wait, John Malkovich is a fashion designer?

17. He thinks privacy, for both celebrities and regular citizens, is “finished.” “No such thing,” he says. “If you’re a known person, you learned to live without it long ago. That’s very, very unfortunate, but such is life. I think there’s no going back as that particular horse has left the barn. I have at times spoken with my peers and the head of the actors union about why we’re not paid when we appear in, say, a TMZ production, but there seems to be no real interest in combatting it.” As far as the recent NSA revelations, “I’ve always assumed they listen to everything and read everything and see everything. France, where I’ve also lived for a number of years is exactly the same-possibly worse. I think it’s too late.”