Jon Bon Jovi: Between Rock Music and Film

Published September 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

By Ahmad Sarah 

There was a time when the name ‘Bon Jovi’ would conjure up an out-dated image of eighties rock and a plethora of blond perms. That was until the rock group re-launched itself, with a newer, sleeker image, more in tune with the new Millennium. Their music has still got some of that familiar sound, but to love Bon Jovi has became cool again in the year 2000. 

What’s more, the lead singer, Jon Bon Jovi, has become an extremely 

versatile performer. 

Indeed for some time now, Jon Bon Jovi has been following a double career of both musician and actor. Whatever he does, be it stand on stage with guitar in hand, or strut his stuff on a film set, he seems to be enjoying plenty of success. 

His debut in the cinema world dates back to 1995 when he made an appearance in the film Moonlight and Valentino, by John Duigan.  

Since then, he’s had minor parts in several films; the latest of which is U-571 by Jonathan Mostow, shown to the public at this year’s 57th Venice Film Festival. It’s a wartime submarine film, starring Matthew McConaughey and Harvey Keitel. 

The story is about a crippled German U-boat, the U-571. The Allies are aware that the submarine is equipped with an Enigma device, the key to unlocking Nazi ciphers, and possibly to winning the War. An American sub is sent out to reconnoiter with U-571, posing as a German supply ship. The American troops are to seize the vessel, capture the crew, and bring the Enigma back 

to their ship. Jon Bon Jovi has a small role as Pete Emmett, best friend of the leader of the mission Lieutenant Andrew Tyler, played by McConaughey. 

Bon Jovi, now 38, was born in New Jersey, and is married with two children. 

In a musical career that has spanned more than fifteen years, he has sold more than 80 million records, and is now busy on a world tour with his band. 

His latest album, Destination Anywhere, is also selling fast. He had just enough time, however, to drop in at the Venice Film Festival to promote U-571, arriving in his private jet straight after the group’s concert in Bremen in Germany. No surprise therefore that he only had time for a quick word about his latest project. 

Following is the full text of the interview: 


Q: Do you feel more like a singer or an actor? 

A: I do both jobs with the same amount of dedication and pleasure. Of course, I don’t do cinema for money, but for passion. Getting in front of the cameras makes me feel humble and brings me back to reality. As a singer, I begin to think I’m too good sometimes, and I need to get back down to earth. 


Q: Is it more exciting to sing up on stage in front of thousands, or to act in front of a film camera on director’s orders? 

A: The two professions are also passions for me, and they’re linked 

together, even if they’re carried out separately. Of course, nothing makes me excited like writing a piece of music, but I go through another kind of emotion even when I look at a film by John Ford, Mel Brooks, Sean Penn, or Paul Newman. Naturally, there’s also room in my heart for great singers like Frank Sinatra, Joe Costello or Bruce Springsteen. The most important thing in life is to do what you believe in. I believe in both music and cinema. 


Q: What can you tell us about your role in U-571

A: The most interesting thing that I could say about the film is that it’s a film about the War. I find it terrible that so many men’s lives are sacrificed for false conquests. I’m lucky enough to belong to a generation that hasn’t experienced war, and hope that the same will be true for my children, and that they don’t have to go through the horrors of conflict. 


Q: Other cinematographic projects? 

A: I’ve just finished playing a part in a film called Pay it Forward by Mimi Leder. It’s a beautiful story taken from a successful novel. 


Q: You often talk about how attached you are to your wife and your two children. How do you manage to find time with them with all this artistic energy of yours? 

A: “It’s my life”. This is also the title of one of my albums. The life of an artist isn’t as simple as some magazines would like to make out. All these activities, all this traveling, make you lose direction. My family is my compass, keeping me from losing my bearings. That’s exactly why I try never to stay away from my wife and children for too long. 


Q: You have Sicilian origins… 

A: That’s the reason why I’m so possessive of the people close to me! Joking apart, my Italian origins help me to be inventive and imaginative in my relationships with people, just as in my music. If you’re always playing the same kind of music, you get abandoned. This happens in concerts, and it happens in family life too - Ahmad Rafat (WNL, Venice). 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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