Javier Bardem's Comment on Into the Wild's Hal Holbrook
Despite Sean Penn's indie flick Into the Wild arrived in theaters a couple of months ago, that doesn't mean it still doesn't deserve some extra recognition and praise, especially as we start nearing the awards season. Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor who recently rattled the cages as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men and first hit it big in the Oscar-winning The Sea Inside, commented on 82-year-old actor Hal Holbrook's performance in the film. His comment was one of the most accurate and moving statements I've ever heard one talented actor make about another and is truly worth a read.
In Into the Wild, Hal Holbrook plays Ron Franz, a single, lonely elderly man who takes in "Alexander Supertramp" before he leaves on the last leg of his journey to Alaska.
"In 'Into the Wild,' that scene in the truck where Hal Holbrook is asking to adopt the young man, that is one of the best performances I've ever seen. It broke me into pieces. In life, as you grow and become comfortable in your own skin and create who you are, you can escape from what you are. Then the whole disguise falls apart and you are just a human being. With a mature actor, you see a face totally naked, someone who is just speaking and being in front of the camera, and that is so powerful. That explains why performing is an art, when somebody shows us the sculpture of the human soul. It hits you and makes you wonder what you are."
Although I wasn't fond of Into the Wild, I will say I loved the scenes with Hal Holbrook. He brought such a wonderful charm and sensibility to the screen and I felt as emotional as he did at the end. If anyone this year deserves an Oscar nomination and a win for Supporting Actor, it definitely is Hal Holbrook. And I commend Javier for publicly stating how profound of a performance Hal gave, as this kind of thing makes me respect both Javier and Hal much more.
If you haven't seen Into the Wild yet, you better hurry up and see it while it's still playing in theaters. You won't want to miss it on the big screen.