New Again: Eric Stoltz

By
Photography John Dugdale

Published May 12, 2015

On Monday night, Christian Louboutin and Bergdorf Goodman celebrated actor Darren Criss and his return to Broadway at the Jane Hotel in New York. Amongst the crowd were expected guests like the honoree’s brother, Chuck Criss, as well as Glee alum Jane Lynch, Idina Menzel, and Eric Stoltz. A former ’80s teen idol, Stoltz has appeared in everything from Say Anything to Little Women to Pulp Fiction to Mad About You. Over the last 15 years he has also directed a range of television shows, including Glee, Law & Order, and Grey’s Anatomy. After a brief chat with Stoltz, we decided it was time to revisit an article Interview published before Stoltz became a household name.

Notes on StoltzBy Kevin Sessums

With three films about to be released, actor Eric Stoltz returns this month to the New York stage in Our Town.

—Late 20s.

—Hair: red.

—Face: freckled.

—Demeanor: skittish.

—A European’s idea of the all-American boy.

—The kind of guy Godard would go after if he were turning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn into film.

—The kind Bob Zemeckis fired from Back to the Future and replaced with Michael J. Fox.

—The kind Gregory Mosher hired to play George in this month’s Lincoln Center Theater production of Our Town.

—One of George’s Wilder lines: “I do.”

—One of Eric’s: “I have control over nothing.”

—Episcopalian.

—”I thrive on insecurity.”

—Past films: Mask, Some Kind of Wonderful, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

—Ambidextrous.

—An uncle.

—Reason he loves to act:1.     “A chance to reinvent myself.”2.     “I know what’s going to happen next.”3.     “It’s migratory work—town to town, era to era.”4.     “I get to scream into the void.”5.     “It’s an assault.”6.     “There are epistles to be grasped.”

—Plays the guitar.

—Vegetarian.

—Parents: teachers.

—Nomadic childhood: American Samoa, Paris, London, New York, Santa Barbara.

—Politics: “I am wrestling with the dilemma of whether it is good for an artist to be known for his beliefs. I don’t want people to go see me in a play or a film and have their reactions colored by my politics. What I really like to do is stuff envelopes.”

—Drinks only bottled water.

—Attended USC.

—Fought with Sue Simmons on Live at Five: “I was publicizing an Off-Broadway play I was in, Horton Foote’s The Widow Claire, and Sue and I had this heated argument right there on live television. When I got back to the theater later that night, there were two letters already waiting for me. One was a love letter praising me to high heaven for not simply jumping through the hoops. The other was a hate letter that practically said I should be shot for my rude behavior. I put them both up on the wall in my dressing room because that summed it up for me. It just reminded me that you can only do the work and not worry about whether people will like you or not. I just want them to respond to what I do. If they hate it—fine with me. At least it’s a response.”

—Keeps a journal.

—Baby brother of two older sisters.

—”I think it’s possible to be both innocent and knowing, evil and good. That’s what separates us humans from the rest of the species out there—complexity.”

—Upcoming film roles:1.     The postal clerk in Dusan Makavejev’s Manifesto.2.     The human insect in Fly II.3.     Percy Bysshe Shelley in Ivan Passer’s Haunted Summer.

—Post-performance: “The effects of the work linger—like malaria.”

—Reads from Conclusion of Shelley’s “The Senstive Plant” at the end of Haunted Summer:

…in this life of error, ignorance, and strife,Where nothing is, but all things seem, and we the shadows of the dream,

It is a modest creed, and yet pleasant if one considers it,To own that death itself must be, like all the rest, a mockery.

That garden sweet, that lady fair,And all sweet shapes and odours there,In truth have never passed away:‘Tis we, ’tis ours, are changed; not they.

For love, and beauty, and delight,There is no death nor change: their mightExceeds our organs, which endureNo light, being themselves obscure.

—”I am not a cynic.”

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY RAN IN THE NOVEMBER 1988 ISSUE OF INTERVIEW.

New Again runs every Wednesday. For more, click here.