Pacino Premieres New Directorial Effort in Toronto
Al Pacino, eight-time Oscar nominee, winner of an Academy Award for his role in Scent of a Woman and director of Chinese Coffee said on Tuesday he is glad he kept his Italian last name, otherwise the honors would belong to Sonny Scott, reported ABC online.
I'm just so grateful that I was able use my name because when I was a young kid, and you were going into acting, you weren't supposed to have a vowel at the end of your name," Pacino told a packed news conference at the Toronto International Film Festival.
"In the old days, I was going to call myself Sonny Scott. That's the truth. It was just a natural thing that you'd have to change your last name," he said.
Pacino is at the Toronto festival for the premier of Chinese Coffee, a conversation that takes place one night in a single room between struggling novelist Harry Levine, Pacino, and his mentor Jake Manheim, played by Jerry Orbach, star of television's Law and Order.
When Harry asks his best friend Jake for a critical appraisal of his latest work, their friendship is tested, as Jake feels the novel shamelessly exploits his personal suffering and professional failure. The film is based on the play of the same name by Ira Lewis, said ABC.
Pacino said he would not have attempted to translate the role into film had he not acted in a 1992 Broadway version of Chinese Coffee first.
"I would do movies of plays I've done before, but would I just do a movie without working on the role first? I don't think so," said Pacino, who noted that there was added pressure with directing and starring in the film.
"Acting in a film and directing it at the same time is a strange job because, you as an actor, you have to be working from your unconscious; you're operating spontaneously...As a director you have to be conscious of what's going on. So you're in a constant conflict, so you have to figure out a way to do that," he said.
The movie is the second foray into directing for Pacino, who made his debut with Looking for Richard in 1996.
The actor said that Chinese was a personal project and it was a chance for him to return to his theatrical roots, performing in off-off-Broadway shows in the 1960s.
Nonetheless, Pacino said he is still not entirely comfortable behind the camera and is an actor first and foremost.
"So far, I just don't respond to material in that way. I look at material, I just think about how I can act it, not how I can direct it," he said – Albawaba.com.
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