Larry Hankin has been a leading figure in the entertainment industry for over 50 years now. With over 175 accredited roles and even more to come, we spoke with Hankin about his filmography spanning from Eastwood blockbusters to some of his most memorable TV cameos.
It didn’t go as well as I’d planned. I wasn’t an actor. Never wanted to be one. I’m dyslexic. Remembering lines, plus nerves made it hard. Still does. I went because I was asked to go. I was a stand-up comedian and a Second City / The Committee improviser. Both: No line memorization. So, at the actual audition I remember feeling suddenly unprepared. It’s probably normal kind-of nerves plus dyslexia is wily. I didn’t get that job, but I loved watching films and I thought if I could audition and get jobs, I could get on sets as an actor and see how movies were made like 4 years of film college plus get paid to hang around movie sets”. I didn’t know about actor-things: like, “Just help tell the story and protect your character, or “intent”, “Arc”, etc… I just knew, “Put on a different hat, use a different accent and listen”. I had to be taught to take it down a notch. Be honest. So, I was coming in too hot is all I remember. Acting wasn’t on my list, ever. I got hooked.
All of them if you put them all together are like me. I just take a part of me that most fits the specs on the page and make that all “him” and he always moves from that spot whereas, I only move from that spot depending on the wind and if it’s Tuesday. The one most unlike me – which I loved playing – was the junky convict in the Charles Van Damme prison movie (an “Alcatraz” wanna-be) I don’t remember the name. But that was fun. Plus, I had a great death-by-fire scene. No, I’m not as devious or hated as my junky con. I can tell you also, Old Joe (Big Joe in “El Camino”), he was mostly based on an uncle of mine. So, Joe was easy – Uncle and me. Charlie Butz is my favorite because he was so focused on not belonging where he was imprisoned - me in first year in high school. The third part I like is an undercover cop I play in a Michael Douglas film called “Star Chamber”. Smart but a slow learner. And lastly, I have to give a nod to Mr. Heckles. I thank the writers for him. I totally understood where Heckles was coming and how he thinks. And, so did the writers.
I really don’t watch anything I do more than once. In a few instances I may check once, after ten years. Except to for “Escape from Alcatraz”. Because I can see beyond the frame and understand where the camera is and how the story is cinematically told in real time. Don Siegal cast me in the right role for me and he and Clint were very chill guys, so the awe was dispelled really quick and I see that in the performances, like mine: I was relaxed and paying attention.
Well, I’m working on a Documentary Audi-Book about My Life in The Show Business. And I just finished an outlaw biker Road Comedy screenplay called “The Outlaw” so hopefully somebody will read it, laugh, greenlight it, get it made you can watch it on Netflix very soon.
The most profound and lasting was a film I saw when I was young, probably made in the 60’s, a Black & White German Student film: “Man Bites Dog”. A Mockumentary that’s as real as it gets and made by three film school college students for their senior theses. It entails 2 documentary film school students in a bar, who meet a friendly drunk who admits to being a serial killer and agrees to let them document his vicious crime-spree so his fame will live on. Plus, “The Wild One” (but only because of Lee Marvin’s “Chino”), “The 400 Hundred Blows”, “Jules and Jim” and the entire French New Wave of the 50’s and 60’s.
A) Don’t. We have enough people. Thank you. You’ve been warned.
B) Do. But you’ve been warned.
C) Start your own Production Company
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