About this Episode
Episode 15: Kevin McNally
In this exclusive 2-hour special episode, Kevin McNally reveals the latest news about Pirates 6, meeting the “cold and calculated” Amber Heard while filming Pirates of the Caribbean 5 in Australia and speaks out in support of “beautiful human being” Johnny Depp whom he’s known for 22 years.
Kevin and Greg (Joshamee Gibbs and Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves in The Pirates of The Caribbean film series) discuss Judge Andrew Nichol’s recent ruling in the high court libel case Johnny brought against The Sun Newspaper in London and the resultant appeal, and they share their opinion regarding Johnny Depp’s chances of success in the upcoming $50million libel case against Amber Heard, set to be heard in a Virginia, USA courtroom on May 21, 2021.
The ‘Groves and Gibbs’ actors also share anecdotes (and personal videos from set) about what it was like filming the Pirates of the Caribbean movies on location around the globe; the first read through at The Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, the creation of Jack Sparrow and Disney Studios nervousness, behind the scenes shenanigans with Bill Nighy at the Disneyland premiere inside Club 33, the creative differences between Ted Elliot (screenwriter) and Johnny Depp, and Kevin’s epic table-topping karaoke performance on location in Kauai.
The actors also discuss politics, cancel culture, divorce court, false accusations of domestic violence against men, advice for young actors and a whole lot more in this riveting 2-hour episode of The Respondent.
Greg Ellis: Kevin McNally, welcome to The Respondent. Thanks for being on the show.
Kevin McNally: It's my pleasure, Greg, how are you?
GE: I'm well, thanks, mate. How are you?
KM: Well, bearing up under the circumstances. You know.
GE: It's been rather an unprecedented 2020. I don't think we were all expecting the 2020 vision to be this confusing and crazy, right?
KM: No. It was so sudden for me, I was about to do a convention in Dublin. And it was great because it was two days before St. Patrick's Day. And I thought great, paid to go to Dublin gonna do St. Patrick's Day. And I literally landed there and suddenly there was this stuff on the radio, you know... I'd sort of known about COVID but you know you can't have more than 500 people... that seems so generous now. And St. Patrick's Day was cancelled. I mean, it was the weirdest thing to be in Ireland, and to be nobody on the streets. And it was only at that point, I thought, Oh, this is serious. I mean, this is a serious shift for us. Of course, I feel it was easier to take then because we all thought oh, well, then maybe in a few months, it'll all be better. I think the tiredness that's set in now after this period of time is making it much more difficult or when there's a new lockdown now or a new raising tier, or as we have, or your phases in America. You can feel the audible sigh of people just completely adrift. You know, and I say that as somebody who is fortunate enough for it not to destroy me. When it's destroying many people's livelihoods. So yeah, quite a year, as you say.
GE: Yeah, indeed talking about the devastation, the financial devastation on personal level and then on businesses, small businesses and big businesses in our industry. I have to ask you about having done a movie with Tom Cruise, did you hear the audio from on the set of Mission Impossible, where he chastises some crew members for not taking COVID protocol seriously?
KM: No, I saw that that happened. I've had actually rather busy lately. So I haven't actually listened to it yet. Like the responses to it, I read and of course, like everything in the world, at the moment. It's completely divided between those who can't stand him for doing it and those who congratulate him for doing it. I will listen to that tomorrow and try to get a view of what he was trying to do. I mean, I've worked with Tom and he regards himself, which is quite a good thing, as a sort of leading man and a leader and driving things forward. So I can imagine him doing something like that. I think maybe the most interesting thing I read about it was maybe the tone might not have been that good.
GE: I listened to it. And I think it's important to to your point about the reactivity of people being on one side or the other. I think it's important to separate the man from the stance, how I feel about him, as a human being can be separated from what he said, how he said it and why he said it. And I know it was it was the headline or it was Tom Cruise's rant. To me, I think he was extremely justified. It's like a man who was at the end of his tether, who was really, like you said, the leader, truly championing this movie, shepherding it through a very difficult time with all the new protocols in place for the industry, with Hollywood and the studio system watching from afar, because the studio of this movie had already been locked, shut down while filming in Italy. It starts up again in England and as I understand it was a couple of crew members and they'd had their masks down. And as I'm sure you're aware, we get call sheets - for people who don't know - we get call sheets every day as actors and crew members. And it's got all the information of when the scene comes up and what scenes were filming and where your location is, and the base camp where the trailers are kept for makeup and hair and for the actors. I would imagine that right in the middle of that at the top between asterisks in bold, was “Follow COVID protocols”. And I do know a couple of movie directors that would have just fired those people on the quiet. I wonder whether the UPM and the executive producers were in terms of that, because he was basically saying look, people are watching as I speak to the producers back in Hollywood. And the studios are watching us. We have to follow these protocols. And if you don't, you're going to get fired. And he was just really frustrated.
KM: Well, I think the big thing is, is I was about when this came out, I was about to do a movie in Montana. And obviously, that went south and I directed a short film in England, during this time. The thing to remember about our industry is it's not actually directly a problem about COVID because every producer can take a course, my producer on the film I directed, had to take a course and we have to do the rules. What Tom was probably and I say this without having listened to it... was probably pissed off about is the delicacy of insuring things nowadays, that it's really, really hard to insure projects nowadays. And so people seem to be not adhering to the conditions of insurance, it endangers the production and therefore endangers the livelihoods of everyone involved in
GE: A movie has to have has to be bonded, has to have insurance. And if there are people who are breaking the protocols, and God forbid, then COVID breaks out and they have to cancel or postpone movie or shut it down. The insurance company won't pay and the burden of is on the studio.
KM: We all know that an insurance company... insurance companies employ people to discover reasons why they shouldn't pay. That would be a very easy one to prove. So, you know, I, as I say I haven't listened to it. So I shouldn't pontificate too much. But I would imagine it's not a moralistic stance, it's purely, you know, a financial, a financial consideration that you can't afford from, can you imagine how much those films cost? For that to shut down and then to be no compensation. It would just be disastrous. But that's another thing to talk about COVID. You know, when I was directing my short film and going through, my producer was going through the classes, the online classes and certificates to produce the film. I'm not cynical person, per se. But I think there is an element of box ticking that goes on around this pandemic. And I think it's one of the reasons why it's been handled so badly because there hasn't been a sort of a serious, certainly not from my government, a serious look at how we can just stop it in its tracks and get on with life. I'm also very disturbed by the wonderful meme going around on social media, of trying to explain what it was Boris Johnson was saying, and somebody came up with him saying, if there's a cash register, go ahead. If there isn't, don't do it. So theatre, and film and leisure and things like that have been very badly affected. And in fact, it is bizarre that our lockdown at the moment means that there are no restaurants or bars. But retail is literally packed with people doing their Christmas shopping. So I think people are getting annoyed that the confused signals and the hypocrisy of a lot of the response to the to the to the virus.
GE: I certainly see that one of the things I mentioned recently about a month ago with regards to the presidential election here in America. With both sides, President Trump and vice president elect Biden were both messaging on both from both parties was vote for us or die. And it's fear mongering and it's worse on both sides, frankly, and I'm not making excuses. I just think that everyone is a human being everyone is struggling with something personally, and no one really foresaw this. And of course there are going to be mistakes. Of course there are going to be moments where decisions are made. I remember talking with Steven Fry on the first episode of The Respondent about COVID. He was talking about behavioral science and how we can never predict how an individual's going to behave and what what he was concerned about was how groups of people, we can always predict how groups of people will behave and what I found astonishing was that soon after a global pandemic that was taking people down where we had no vaccine for. There were these mass movements on the street. Now I'm all for peaceful assembly and coming together and protest. But I didn't hear a lot of public outcry, a lot of pushback on perhaps this maybe isn't the best idea. I know, we found out later that protesting and being outside is actually not as harmful in terms of picking up the virus. And the other thing, I think, to the hypocrisy, I did see, I mean, I've seen a lot of moral superiority in the press and punditry, particularly in England recently, with people like I think it was Kay Burley was caught recently. It's that sanctimonious gotcha, hypocritical journalism that's calling everyone else out, all the politicians out and all the, you know, the odd celebrity, who may may fall foul of the protocols or the tiered, structured recommendations or advisories. And then she does exactly that, and is then off for six months with full pay.
KM: And in her case, it was exactly the hypocrisy that has been called out. But it comes down to and I'm sure this is, this is something that you have commented to me personally in the past about this divide, I mean, I have always been of the left. And so I am very conscious of the right's, failings. But I have found in recent times, I've had to look at the left's failings too. And none of it's a very pretty picture. And none of it's a pretty picture because it seems to me, and this is what hasn't helped the pandemic at all. That just at this present moment, the left is driven by its opposition to the right and the right is driven by its opposition to the left. So when you look what you can't really find is somebody who's telling you what they think. I mean, I think that's always been a bit of a sickness in politics, you know, the negative advertising. Vote for me, because this guy did this. You know, it's always been a little bit of the case, but it's very extreme right now. And I don't think we've seen everything cyclical, I don't think we've seen anything as extreme as this since the 1930s. I don't think. We seem to have lost all sense of consensus. So when that happens, in the midst of a pandemic, you're looking towards your leaders to do something that's constructed so we can get back to some sort of life again. And all they're doing is it's handbags at dawn, you know, I mean, they're just bitching with each other. And I think people are getting very, very tired of that, wouldn't you agree?
GE: Yeah, I think, you know, it reminds me of back in the day, particularly in America, they used to be and probably in England, too, they used to be at least, when there was a vote on something, there would be cross across the aisle voting. So you wouldn't necessarily... they'd be a few, maybe 4, 5, 10 or 15. I think in the UK Parliament, they're called rebels, and they would vote for the other side, and I think that's democracy, and they would be ‘whipped’. In England, it's called, the whip, you know, they whip the back benches into place and get them to vote along party lines. And I think we now live in, particularly in UK and USA politics, where the fear is so great that you will lose your funding, your lobbying, money, super PACs, all of the influence and power will be removed from you, and you will no longer be a politician. So it's zero sum game and fear-based voting, and that troubles me. To your point, I think we should talk about this. We should get into this. Obviously, we're talking about it later in the show, about the politics, particularly maybe the identity politics or the inability it seems to self-critique within one's own party, which I think is really important.
KM: Well, I mean, that is a huge problem here. I mean, in the 80s, I was quite involved with trying to... I mean one of the problems about England and America is we have what we call the first past the post system and you have the electoral college. And I've always quite admired countries that have proportional representation, because then every voice has a chance to be heard in the parliament or the Senate or whatever it is. And people argue against that, because they say that nothing gets done. Well, I don't know, I think things do get done these countries exist to live and thrive and prosper. What happens in England and America is it's just the endless pendulum. He wins, he wins, and then he wins. And then he wins. And then nothing gets done. And if anything does get done, it gets reversed by the next guy. I mean, Trump will seem to be overly wanting to dismantle everything Obama had done. I'm sure Joe Biden will only want to dismantle everything Trump has done. So it doesn't serve us as voters very well. And that means when you, you know, if you're a conservative and you lose to the Democratic Party, it's like your vote didn't mean anything. It doesn't have any representation. Although partially it does if they win, if they retain their lead in the Senate, I suppose.
GE: Well that's the checks and balances, I think of the Senate, the house, and then the Oval Office. What's interesting here is right now there's a move to recall the governor Gavin Newsom. And to your point about, you know, does my vote really count? You know, in California, I would imagine that for registered Republicans who vote Republican, they might think that their vote doesn't matter. But, you know, people fought and died for the right to vote. So I think we have to use it, even though...
KM: Oh yeah, absolutely .
GE: I don't even know about what happened, Gavin Newsom, but he was caught recently in the French Laundry, which is one of the if not the most exclusive restaurants in San Francisco, or maybe even California, actually, I think the bill came to, you know, 10,000 plus dollars for wine alone or something exorbitant, and he's out there having dinner with all his, you know, lobbyists and the healthcare, people with all the big money and while telling everyone to lockdown. It's that sort of hypocrisy, and I get it, I get it's not easy. And I get there's going to be the odd situation that needs we need to have a little understanding, but it's the people who are preaching their moral superiority and have been elected into power who should know better, and people the people... Kay Burley, or Piers Morgan. You can't preach that moral superiority. Or if you're going to you have to be holier than thou and who's holier than thou? I do know, before we get into the nitty gritty which we kind of started. I do want to say you're probably best known for those who don't know, and if you don't know, where have you been? You're probably best known for your portrayal of Joshamee Gibbs in Pirates of the Caribbean and you're married to Phyllis Logan, who played Mrs. Hughes from Downton Abbey. So do you ever role play at home?
KM: That would be interesting, wouldn't it? No I don't.
GE: But if you were to what would the scene be? I can see you conjuring up in your mind right now.
KM: Yes. Rum, bum and the lash. I think is what it would be. I don't know I don't think she is particularly attracted to smelly pirates and I certainly don't like housekeepers. So...
GE: All right. Well, let's do a very quick, tiny bit of trivia for those, for those who maybe don't know you, too. Let's get to know Kevin McNally. Do you have a favorite movie?
KM: I have several favorite movies. My favorite comedy movie of all time and has been the go-to choice during the pandemic is the Odd Couple. My favorite movie of all time, because I am a geek. Is 2001: A Space Odyssey.
GE: Fantastic. I thought you were going to say because I'm in it, which would have been very poor. My favorite movie because I'm in it.
KM: I was talking to someone about this recently and my favorite war film is a film by Elem Klimov called Come and See, which I recommend.
GE: Well I've not seen that.
KM: Anybody. It's a Russian film. It's quite extraordinary. It's one of the most transcendent films about war that I've ever seen with images that will never leave your brain. Come and See Elem Klimov, a wonderful filmmaker. That's about it really. I mean, a very obvious one, you know, I grew up as a student and actor in the 70s. So I'm very, very keen on American independent films of the 70s. Which I keep on watching. In fact, I watched A Panic in Needle Park a couple of days ago with Al Pacino. I grew up on American independent movies, you know, as a grown up, and so those are the films that I love, and I can watch them in this game. What is wonderful. It's nice to be able to say this at this time, about the world we live in is that they're all accessible whenever you want them. During the 80s, and the 90s, you really had to search or find out some cinema 10 miles from you that might be showing it at 11 o'clock late at night, but the fact that you can go, I really, really want to watch Dog Day Afternoon now and I can just lay on my bed, pour a glass of wine and watch a fantastic film like Dog Day Afternoon
GE: Get the VHS out of find the... all those DVDs that we have, what do we do with them now?
KM: Well, you know, I have a wall full of DVDs and I have I go into my living room regularly and look at it and go they've got to go and I just can't do it. I can't do it. But one day, it's gonna have to be dealt with… It's gonna have to be.
GE: Well, we dealt with CDs, we have to deal with DVDs. Books, I think is it... that great corpus of literature. I have a really hard time throwing away books. I've thrown away a few.
KM: But there are a lot of… no and I agree with you. My house is like a library. I mean, If I want to go science fiction, if I want to go biography, I know exactly where to look them. My shirts are color coordinated. You know, that's how I.... But, you know, there are the occasional light read that you have. Why is that hanging around with Stephen Hawking and that can go down to the charity shop and someone will enjoy reading that. So... yeah.
GE: What's, what music wise. Do you have a favorite song? Or is there a song at the moment that you can recall?
KM: Yes. I've actually funnily enough I've been watching a number of very good recent documentaries of the making of. I watched a wonderful documentary about the making of Tommy, by The Who because my three favorite bands are Pink Floyd, The Who and Led Zeppelin. You know I'm permanently stuck in my early 20s as you can tell. So watching, watching those guys as older guys now talking about the inspiration of the how they made those albums is great, something they couldn't have said in the 70s probably because they were too out of it. But now you know, in retrospect, they're old enough to look back. Oh, yeah, the reason I did that. So that's my favorite song is Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. I guess Pinball Wizard would be a good one and Kashmir by Zeppelin would be up there.
GE: And what's the most fun role you've ever played? Which which role do you look back on and go, that was... I had a good time playing that role. I'd like to play that role again, or that was just a great experience?
KM: Well, I had a great experience in 2017, which might have been the last time I saw you in the flesh. I was doing King Lear at the Globe Theatre. That was pretty amazing. One of the most exciting things that I've done recently, have been recreating old comedy in England, I did there was a comedian called Tony Hancock in the 50s and early 60s, and I guess for American audiences, he's probably the equivalent of Sid Caesar. And I got to recreate a lot of lost radios and a couple of TVs of his. And then last year, this was very exciting, we have a comedy show called Dad's Army, which has been showing and constantly repeated, you see it all the time for the last 40 years. Well, no, actually nearly 50 years. And there are three last episodes that I managed to play one of the lead characters you know Captain Mainwairing in three recreations of the television show. So that was brilliant, extraordinary. I enjoyed it so much. And also risky, because these are people who are loved. And so you feel a burden on your shoulders to do it well, because you could come in for a lot of criticism if you if they feel that you haven't done it with the right love and respect.
GE: Yeah, I'm sure that is challenging, because the expectation, I mean, for those that for those in America who are listening or watching. This is probably a terrible comparison. But I guess it would be like in 20 years’ time you were an actor and you got cast in... you hadn't seen or heard Friends for a while. And then Friends got remade and you were playing the lead. in Friends had the lead patriarchal kind of character. You got to play that expectation. Impersonate the voice and the look and all the rest of it, but just to honor and hone the mannerisms of Captain Mainwaring.
KM: Or even for today, if someone says, you know, I'm going to, I'm going to redo last episodes of the Phil Silvers show or I Love Lucy, you know, I mean, that would be like whaaat.
GE: Yeah. Yeah, that's quite a that's quite a task. If you could go back in time Kev, which movie/TV show would you choose to experience again? Was there was there a... or a play or I know you mentioned King Lear in terms of the role...
KM: I do get asked this sometimes and I'm very lucky not being a star and being, you know, a working character actor, because I can always answer 'What's your favorite role?' I can always say, 'I hope the next one'. You know, I think as character actors it's a very lucky thing. You know, I've been quite a quiet year. Actually, I was inspired by you this year, because and it was a very happy accident. In January I was thinking to myself over lunch one day, why isn't this fantastic, wonderful instrument, which is my voice. Why don't I do more voiceover? And so I installed a small recording pod in my, in my study, and, of course, the moment the pandemic hit, advertisers, cartoons and voiceover people were phoning all the agents up saying, 'Who have you got, who's got professional equipment and can work from home?' And I was like me, so I did a lot of narration, adverts, cartoons and things, which sort of didn't make me rich, but it's certainly paid the wine bill for a while. So that was a very fun thing to happen. I've sort of forgotten what your question was. Going back... well, it's being a character actor you know, the next thing that comes up. And after a quiet year, I'm very pleased to notice that production in America and England is starting to pick up again, and I am being... people are talking to me about our projects. The sadness for our industry is that what's happened to theater. That's very, very sad. And the other sadness about it is in March of last year, I was mentoring a couple of actors at my local drama school who were going to leave in March. And both of them did very well and I worked with them a lot. Both got offered great jobs and it was literally ripped away from them. And I tried to imagine when I left RADA in 1975, with two job offers, what psychologically that would have done to me to suddenly have it disappear. And it's devastating. It's devastating to those young people and it really makes me sad that that's happened to them.
GE: It really is... a friend, an old friend of mine, got what he considered his dream job, and then COVID hit and he returned home. It was abroad, it was a job abroad in America and he returned home. And I got the awful tragic news after he'd been home for a couple of weeks that he taken his own life. And I think the psychological devastation of just in so many different areas, not just the entertainment industry, small businesses. My sister is she's a nurse at Preston Royal Infirmary hospital and she's you know, for the last 30 years, I think nearly, she's she's been dealing with terminally ill patients. And then suddenly Covid comes and then her father in law passed away from covid... and my auntie passed away... like so many virtual funerals I've attended this year and everyone is suffering somehow. What would… what was one of the funniest things that's ever happened to you on set or offset on your downtime? is there is there a funny moment from set where you go 'Oh God'? I remember for me it was I was doing I was doing Beowulf with. Bob Zemeckis was directing and it was a scene with Angelina Jolie, Sir Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Brendan Gleeson, and I was halfway through the scene. I got knocked over and then there was a dramatic scene, there was a big pause and I farted. And I think I think Tony just turned to me 'Very nice Greg, you want to keep rolling Bob?' What about you, there must be some funny moments.
KM: Well, not a funny moment but this is something I'd thought of when Maximilian Schell died, I think last year. And many years ago, about 30 years ago, I went to Russia, to make a mini-series called Stalin with Robert Duvall. And I had a big commission to write something for British television and I had like a weekend's work and then a week's work, and like three weeks in between. So I thought well I go and do that and I'll come back and write the script and then I'll go and finish the job off in Moscow. Well I got there, I said 'great, I'll be ready for work tomorrow what time and I flying on Monday?' and they said, oh no, visas don't work like that here, you've got to stay here for the entire job. And I was like, I can't do that I've got all this stuff to do and this is before computers and email, I mean, there was perhaps three fax machines and yeah a pager maybe. So, I was in a terrible state actually. One night, they were all filming late night at this station in Moscow and I was in a shocking state and I got terribly drunk I remember and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to... I was so lonely there, I bought a bottle of vodka and a bottle of scotch, and I thought... and it was a freezing cold night and I went down to the set with a load of plastic cups and I thought well I'll offer everyone a hot toddy to cheer them up through the night. Well the director saw me, plainly a very drunk young man, with two bottles of spirits going around getting the cast and the crew drunk, and came up to me furiously saying 'what the fuck do you think you're doing on my set?' Anyway Maximillian Schell, bless his heart, came up and said, 'Oh, Evan, this is a wonderful European tradition. Do you not know about this European tradition that the actor who isn't working on a cold light will come and give everyone just a shot just one just to keep them going through the night? Evan went... it was really confusing because Evan was a Czechoslovakian so he should have known this wasn't a thing. He said, it's very good of you, now go home. It's the nearest I've ever been to being fired on a set.
GE: Years later, you found a role that you could be on the side of the set with the rum and then just stroll into work with the rum. What unique advice would you give to an actor starting out who wants to break into the business?
KM: Well now it would seem irresponsible but I do teach classes both in America and here in England. My two watch words are always preparation and flexibility. You know, you have to come prepared but then be prepared to throw it out when you do what you do and the director goes hmmmm I'm not sure and think of something pretty different to do quickly. I think... I often say to my students don't ask me because what the business was like when I started was so incredibly different to what it is now. There's far more of a focus on becoming famous now than there ever was, certainly when I started out. We just wanted to work. I meet wonderful young actors but I meet a lot of your actors who always just have the look of the big break in their eye and it's such a rare thing I don't think they realize how rare that is. And I certainly say to them if you want to know what my definition of success is that you'll still be working in five years’ time.
GE: Yeah, it's the love of the love of the craft and the process of acting, whether it be, you know, in front of 2000 people at the Globe Theatre or Broadway or wherever it may be or just at the local community center can be found anywhere. I think social media probably plays a part in this propensity for people to want that 15 minutes of fame and really how to define success.
KM: Social media does but I have a friend, an internet friend too. He's a collector of TV guides and...TV Guide to American, Radio Times, TV Times and he'll often on an anniversary of a show that I've done, he'll send me a photocopy of the page announcing that the show was on that night, and I was very... so I looked through them and you know, back in the 70s, most of what went on television at night was drama. It was cheap, multi-camera drama but drama nonetheless. There were no reality shows, there wasn't a 24-hour news cycle. Nowadays on television there is very little drama. Now that has been turned around by streaming. And in fact, some might say, there's too much content. I know I talked to my agent recently, saying, I can't believe I've got all of this stuff recorded or I've got all this stuff on my hard drive or whatever and so it's a very popular show but I bet 50% of the people who started watching that series have never finished it. So only to demonstrate that the world is completely different from the one that I that I started out in, and I just fear for people, for young people who just want to get on and do it as much as possible because when I started, the thing that happened is I did it all the time. I constantly did... I wasn't waiting for a year to do three days on The Man in the High Castle. So I don't know how people practice their craft anymore.
GE: Yeah that's a good point. I you know I think there's so much you can learn from the technical aspect of being in a university or college or performing arts school. And I'm not suggesting that everyone who is a teacher or a professor at these schools are actors who couldn't make it. Far from it. Many of them, I think, are teaching the methods that have been taught for a long time, and it's very different when you get out there, you know when approaching the craft and learning the technical aspects of the craft and how to become more masterful is one thing and also learning your process because everyone has, you know as well as I do we've worked with enough actors to know that every particular actor will have their own particular process of how they approach it. But I think, I think that when, when you get out there and you for the first time and you, you know what's a sign in sheet, what's the protocol of getting to, driving on a studio lot, parking and walking and how to conduct yourself in the room how to own the room and ask for another take all the things that are on hand on set too. That comes with experience. I don't think that's necessarily taught a lot in the colleges.
KM: No, I mean it's like you know there's people who say, you know, school, why don't we teach people about taxes, why don't we teach people about cooking. All the things they're going to face when they go into the world. And it's absolutely through drama schools... they don't teach things and they're things that have to be learned, and of course if you're not exposed to that on a regular basis, you're not gonna, you're not gonna learn it. But I, I do find though. Oh one thing I was gonna say was one of the things people ask me is what is your method? I... you know I've, I went to a Stanislavski school, vaguely, I met a lot of students who are Meisner and I say to them, 'Listen, if you want to hang your boat to one of these particular things. You're just denying yourself, many other things. You should take what you can from everything. And if it works for you it's fine, if it doesn't do not pursue it anymore. There's no point beating yourself up, because basically all you have to do is go on set and imagine that you're another person and learn some technique to put that across and whatever it is that gives you that. Then use it. I do know, I've worked with some other teachers. There's a wonderful show called The Kaminsky Method. Have you watched that?
GE: I have not. It's Michael Douglas right?
KM: Michael Douglas, yes. It's really brilliant, it's really brilliant actually, I think every actor should watch that. But, you know, these people who are trying to make themselves gurus, you know, what it does, it becomes about them, not about the student and I really, I really resent that.
GE: I've worked with actors who from the moment they arrive on set, or are in character and are not their personal selves. I've worked with actors who, through the process of arriving on set, getting some food and getting in the hair and makeup trailer and into costumes, slowly organically become the character and I've also worked with actors who are just themselves and having a laugh and they show up and they've already done the work beforehand, and click the switch goes on. I've also worked with those who haven't done the work beforehand. Click it doesn't ever make it out and then we rely on the editors, and the post-production teams to bring out that performance. But who would you say is the most versatile actor you've worked with?
KM: Well, it's a very good question actually because I was speaking to a bunch of students, the other day about the difference between a film star and actor. Film stars on the whole, now I have to be very careful when I say this, but a lot of American actors I've worked with try to hone a thing that they think is saleable... and that's great.
GE: Yes, someone said to me the other day Tom Cruise is brilliant at playing Tom Cruise playing a movie star. And they were actually quite earnest about it.
KM: Exactly and brilliantly put and that's true, and perfect viable because people want that. The most versatile actors I've seen that they usually the three I'm sitting with in the car park, who are all playing sporting roles, you know, because they will go from having to play an old tramp one day to then playing the head of a corporation the next and they've got two scenes as that and they're playing the gay uncle or... I mean, his name's escaped me at the moment, but there is an actor I worked with on a show called Turn who is... Steven his name is. Oh I can't remember his name. And he's in everything. He's not a star, people don't know his name. Even I don't know his name and I've worked with him. But he's in everything and the most versatile actor you will ever find. Bill Nighy, I think, as, as a star. He is a star. He sort of has a leg in both camps I think.
GE: Yeah, and a delightful human... I remember when we were at the... was in the Pirates 4 premiere and do you remember that after the first one we... before the first... Okay so quick anecdote, and you maybe don't remember, we're at the Pirates 1 premiere, and they drive you up in the limo and you get out and it's behind the scenes at Disney, which is less than salubrious, and then you literally walk through the door and then suddenly it's the theme park and the fans, and they shut down the first one they shut down the theme park for us so we had all the rides, and we were at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, And we got some food and you said, the guy was like... 'hey, are you guys having a great time today?' Like, yeah great! And you said it'd be better if we could have a beer or a drink, and he went 'Oh you guys need Club 33' and you went 'where's Club 33?' down here, turn right, there's steps you go up you go through this broom closet and then it's... So next thing you know, you, me, and Steven are walking out of this closet and we walk into Club 33 in this place of sushi and roast beef and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc on silver trays and there's no one else there so we were blissfully unaware that Johnny Depp had hired Club 33 for a post screening party for us all. But we found the place early and kind of crashed the party without realizing, and then afterwards, we went up there afterwards, because no one had spread the word and Bill was wandering off, and I think you yell 'Bill, Bill the party's up here' and he's like 'Oh right...' So we were kind of flagging people in to come up to Club 33, rounding up everyone together but...
KM: That's right. But it must be said that after that on the next premiere they kept 33 firmly closed.
GE: They realized that the band of pirates... M: That was an amazing night, I met Marilyn Manson that night.
GE: And how was that?
KM: Oh he was fine. Then I also met... who's Angelina Jolie's father? I met him too. That was weird. He was...
GE: Jon Voight
KM: Jon Voight. Yes. Yes, I think maybe he'd had a few, I don't know... Anyway
GE: So, who's the most difficult actor you've worked with and why?
KM: Well, I am not going to mention names but I have worked with one woman in particular, in the theater who... I didn't like it. I'll tell you the story just to explain it. I don't want to tell you her name. I'll tell you what happened I was doing a play at the Almeida in 1990 I think, and the play started with us naked, simulating sex to orgasm. And then I had to get up and look for my trousers, naked, I remember one I tripped one night and I fell bare assed into the lap of Arthur Miller, which was one of the weirder, weirdest experiences I've ever had. Considering whose lap has been in that lap before. On the first night... I'm very nervous about this, I'm not keen on doing this it's a horrible start to a play, it's very effective dramatically but I wasn't keen on doing it and I wasn't particularly fond of the woman in the first place. And so we're about to go on and I hold her shoulder and I go to peck on the cheek. And she goes, 'only when I'm paid', which I thought was the rudest, nastiest thing that anyone has ever done, particularly in a vulnerable position like that. So I've hated that person ever since.
GE: Wow it just... that took me back in a slightly less egregious way to when I did a musical called Miss Saigon, the original cast, many years ago and the understudy for the lead female character was on and she had terrible halitosis, and then I found out that she was she was going to be performing twice a week, and I was the alternate for the lead character and was performing the role two or three times a week so the best I could come up with was just leaving breath mints in a dressing room when she wasn't around. It was... well… what do you do?
KM: Well Michael Caine famously has an answer to that he says whenever her finds someone, a woman maybe he's done love scenes with halitosis, he would just meticulously eat mints annoyingly until the person said, 'What are you eating?' and then he'd go 'oh try one'
GE: Do you know what it reminds me of talking about sex scenes and love scenes. I've told this story before where I was doing a movie with Malcolm McDowell. Max Beasley and Susan Lynch the lovely Susan Lynch, Red Roses and Petrol that's right yeah, based on the Irish play, book. And so there's, it's the night before and Susan's playing my husband. And she's Susan's play my wife. Good grief. I'm playing her husband, and scene we're about to film the next day is us making up and falling into bed and making love. So Max. Max Beasley and Malcolm McDowell know this, they know I'm about to film the scene the next day I'm a little nervous, because it's always a bit tricky how to approach those things and getting naked with another actor and how you... So, and the conversation wasn't, you know, I remember sitting in the makeup trailer the night before getting my makeup off. Max going 'So brother, so you've got Susan tomorrow... Suzy she's brilliant man and have a great time. Boshing 'er; it's gonna be...' you know all of this and he goes, 'You know what she did tonight, brother?' He goes, 'you should watch Ned' there was this movie I think she played James Joyce's muse, with, with Ewan McGregor playing James Joyce. SO he said 'Oh, you've got to watch this movie, half way through the scene it's she's just extraordinary and Malcom Watson goes 'absolutely watch that scene it's brilliant, you've got to do it, it's great research.' So I'm thinking, okay, I've got to watch this movie so get home, I'm stressed I'm nervous about the next day and I put this movie on and halfway through there's a scene and it opens up with a close up of this back calf muscle and toes and feet and then it moves up the body and pulls back and then suddenly, as you get to the thigh, it pulls back more. And there's this massive wide bush of pubic hair on Susan Lynch's... and it's unseeable, and I just quickly turn it off and I get to work the next day I'm sitting in makeup and of course in comes Max and like 'how was the movie? Did you see the movie? Anyway, good luck with the scene today'. And so I ended up on set with Susan, and I'm, you know, a bit nervous and the thing that broke the ice was me saying so I watched. I watched a movie last night with Ewan and it was great and she goes, it was, it wasn't real. I think there were all in on the joke.
KM: Right, right.
GE: Well let's talk about Pirates of the Caribbean, okay, because it's such a huge part of your career, I know you have a long career.
KM: Transformative. Yeah absolutely.
GE: We've worked together on four of the five Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Do you remember that very first read through? Okay so I remember the very first read through at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip. What was your recollection of that because I just remember a group of six or seven pasty English people who looked completely jet lagged and joined us at the table in the middle with Johnny and Jeffrey and...
KM: Yeah it was an extraordinary experience. I remember how sticky, the carpet was, and I'd never been in a club in the daytime, and Johnny had sorted this out because he didn't want it to be at Disney and he wanted everyone to have a drink and relax and stuff. The funniest thing I remember about it was, is that I have the first line of the movie, because a little girl sang at night I went 'Quiet missy pirates sail these waters you don't want to bring them down on us now do ya?' I did this, and Jeffrey went ashen faced, and I said, 'what's the matter?' he said, 'that's exactly the performance I was gonna do.' 'We'll just have to make sure we never speak next to each other so, so nobody notices.' And indeed we never did speak between. And then I think in three. We had a couple of lines next to each other and we decided that Lee Arenberg had to speak in between us so that you wouldn't have his voice and my voice exactly next to each other.
GE: I remember, like you said you know Johnny had arranged for it to be in the Viper Room. And I just remember all the Jerry Bruckheimer and the Bruckheimer people and the Disney execs sitting kind of around on the outskirts one big long table, and the casting director had asked me to read, I think was about 14 well because people like Jonathan Price couldn't be there and weren't there and other people prized and rewrites. And it was, you know I had Johnny opposite me, Jeffrey kind of next to me and then people smoking and drinking at 9 o'clock in the morning and all you could hear in the back in the darkness of the club was all the, all the super uber fit, healthy, you know, vegan, execs who were just coughing. But what a journey. Do you remember the infamous karaoke performance where you, where you went... When you climbed on a table. It was
KM: I nearly decapitated myself on one of those fans. I have a video that I show you a video..
GE: The video I have is you, literally, from the hero angle, looking up, you on a table, the entire bar just mesmerized by this performance of what you're singing with the mic in hand, you're playing New York, New York, you're on the stage, the table but it felt like a stage. And then I remember swinging the camera around on my phone because Geoffrey came in with a couple of the other actors and Geoffrey said, "Oh my God, it's McNally, look at him go!' So we were all giddy with excitement. Then suddenly, like a needle scratch on a record the music stops and you hear 'Get down off the god damn table!!'
KM: Which apparently she'd been shouting for 30 seconds but nobody could hear...
GE: Do you think that Gibbs will be written into or out of Pirates six?
KM: Well, I mean, who knows. I get asked this on social media all the time. I'm at the very bottom of the pecking order I don't know. My dream is that some sort of link will be needed between what has been before, and whatever bizarre incarnation of it, there is to come. But I, I sincerely think that my fate is so tied in with Johnny's that I will go with it. If indeed he does go,
GE: Well talking of which, do you think Jack Sparrow should be in Pirates of the Caribbean six and should the role always be played by Johnny Depp?
KM: Well I certainly don't think any... Yes is the simple answer. I don't know that anybody suggesting that Jack Sparrow will be played by somebody else, I think they're suggesting that there would be another leading character. I mean, my feelings about this are very complex because in a sense, there was a slight feeling that the franchise itself had played out a little bit, so a reboot is a reasonable idea. I don't think a reboot, if you concentrate on younger characters should still exclude Jack Sparrow. I came up with an idea that it should be some young person searching for Jack Sparrow with Mr. Gibbs helping find him, and then we find Jack Sparrow at the end, it wouldn't involve too much work from Jack Sparrow, but who knows, you know, having some experience now I don't know why they make the decisions that they make these executives they're too corporate. Too many people have a voice, you know the best films are... like the first film was when a couple of great writers are given a gig, and then everyone's left to get on with. So I don't know. I don't know what the answer is, but it seems that they don't have an appetite to work with Johnny because of all the shenanigans that's gone on. And I would like to say about that. Who knows what's, what goes on behind closed doors, but I have never in 22 years of working with Johnny Depp seen anything that would indicate to me he is anything other than a beautiful human being. And I would also, I think about canceled culture, Johnny Depp has not been convicted of anything. He sadly lost a libel case against somebody who used a rather nasty and unproved phrase, the idea of distancing yourself from that just seems cowardly to me, and I don't like it at all.
GE: It's really heartening to hear that because I don't know if you're aware, Kevin, but recently I've been quite vocal in my support here…
KM: No, I am very aware of that...
GE: I did many interviews a couple of months ago while the libel trial was going on I spoke to many of the journalists of the tabloids and the compacts and a couple of broadsheets knowing, knowing as much as I know about the case. And I've just, you know, in terms of cancel culture, in terms of family law, in terms of the vilification of men, in terms of the bias. If you know, men are wrongfully accused of domestic violence, people just kind of hunch their shoulders and go well he's a man. If you know, a woman... there seems to be this hypocrisy, that doesn't seem to be fair across the sexes or genders. Having worked with, with Johnny on five movies and hearing you speak publicly in support because I've said recently it's been a little bit deafening out there in terms of the people who've profited - not just the people or the actors or the directors or the departments, everyone involved with with studio movies over decades from a, from a star's ability to greenlight a movie, and make it successful, not the only reason but a major part of the reason is, is the star's bankability and how quiet people have been about, so it's it's lovely to hear you speak in support with him and of course no one's morally obligated to speak out. But I think to your point about what you just said. It's lovely to hear you speak to the character and the moral compass of a man that I've worked with closely, you've worked with closely, who has been, has been vilified, and reputation savaged and is seen as this horrific horrible person and I don't know if you followed the did you follow the High Court libel trial The Sun newspaper, basically published Johnny Depp wife beater. And I talked with a journalist and the journalist they were shocked... for a competing newspaper... they were shocked that The Sun hadn't even got an affidavit from, from, from Amber Heard. And that, that also that they, two newspapers said that their organizations were concerned that The Sun would lose the case, and every journalist who had met him on mass said we believe Johnny Depp.
KM: Absolutely. It was an extraordinary trial and an extraordinary result. One of the problems was, was, was it wise to bring the case? I think, very often we you know we want to engage in conversations that sometimes we should just ignore because one of the worst aspects to me, was the moment he did lose case, in which one must be reminded, he wasn't accused of anything, he just lost the argument that they shouldn't have used that phrase. What happened the next morning is all of the gutter press felt able to use that phrase again. So Wife Beater appeared on three different newspapers so, you know, it's hard to know that because we are not stars. We don't know what pressures there are we don't know what influences there are. I would have thought, leave it. I mean I think public opinion was on his side, and
GE: I don't know. Yeah, I don't know, I think maybe, not necessarily every time, but the notion of the celebrity comes into play. I think he's a human being, he's a father, his reputation, his ability to look his children in the eye without them having feel or second guessing they obviously look at social media, his reputation, and I think it all started in family law. I've seen and I've lived through the hearsay or ‘Heard-say’ evidence as I call it now, that's presented in family law. Criminals get a presumption of innocence and in family law, men and most in particular fathers do not get that presumption of innocence, the jurisprudence in western civilization is completely upended, those who position themselves as the petitioner and write the declarations first and come out with the most outrageous dramatic inexplicable stories about the other and parts of it might be true. And once that starts, I mean I saw in 2016 when it went haywire when it first kicked off I tweeted, all I tweeted was, I stand beside Johnny Depp because I knew having been through what he went through different details but exactly the same in terms of family law court, and the battle, and the affliction of attorney addiction on one side and the propensity to spend money and vilify the man and castigate and write up declarations that are the worst possible invented versions usually encouraged and whipped up into a frenzy by these attorneys about the other person. And when the press gets hold of that, what is presented as declaration, evidence in family law which isn't evidence, it's just someone writing a declaration but in family law that bar is the presumption of guilt. I do believe firmly that Johnny Depp is fighting a battle, not only for his reputation but it started in family law, and it's very difficult when you have these hit pieces and sensational articles, because frankly he is a global movie star. And she is not. And what I find really galling is Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of domestic violence, she was allegedly physically abusing Johnny, in fact there's evidence out there during the filming of Pirates 5 while at the same time acting as a spokesperson for domestic violence. I mean, we should be calling out this hypocrisy, shouldn't we?
KM: Yeah, no I think so yeah absolutely. You do remember Johnny is appealing the case.
GE: And the likelihood of winning that appeal in the UK is extremely slim...
KM: Doesn't he also have a similar thing going in the United States though?
GE: Well, this is where I think everything is moving to and this is what I think, you know I've talked about this on The Respondent before. I think Johnny Depp is the Respondent currently, Jeremy Renner is the Respondent Brad Pitt has been the Respondent Alec Baldwin, many men caught up in this family law system with the cancele culture of all men that toxic masculinity smash the patriarchy. We now have institution psychologically conditioned to believe that men are more likely bad than good and good men and good fathers who may be caught up in it. So May 21st, Johnny is taking Amber Heard to court, I believe it's for defamation. And it's a 50-million-dollar law suit. I think it's in Virginia. So, all eyes will be on that, because I've been doing a, I just started a live stream live stream Q&A series of live stream Q&As with very high profile attorney over here in Century City who's learning about the case, as we're doing the live streams, just to understand the... some of the nuances of law and the differences between the Bar of proving that someone was guilty of defamation or libel law and how that is and how it's decided who decides it. I think in England the judges aren't aren't voted in like they are here in America.
KM: You know, judges here are sort of more patriarchal figures, you know, and I mean by that they see themselves as father figures to the country. I just think that judge took a little bit of a shine to Amber and when he's not there in the appeals case, and there's somebody else who may be of more rational mentality, we might see a very different outcome.
GE: Well I hope so I hear the bar is very high to win on that kind of appeal but I do hope so there was talk about your Judge Andrew Nicol's son I think he works for the Rupert Murdoch group, and the connections there. I'm not saying that suggesting there was anything in those theories…
KM: Yeah we've all seen those things floating about and I think we take note of them don't we?
GE: Well we have to. When you were filming Pirates 5 did you ever witness anything? Did you meet her, talk to her? Did you see a sense of the... I'm not gonna go salacious and go deep into it. But did you...
KM: I'll tell you two things I saw was that when I did finally meet her. She was rather cold, calculating, I thought, and we all said ‘how long have they been married?’ And I wonder when the divorce papers will come through but it did seem to be pretty soon after one year and one week, he did come to work with a smashed finger that had been supposedly smashed in a doorway, he had to have it reconstructed. He insisted it was because the doors slammed shut in the high Australian winds. The other time was, he didn't come to work because Amber Heard was very upset because one of the dogs was ill so he seemed to be very sweet in that way but, obviously, in retrospect, it was a marriage that wasn't going very well for whatever reason.
GE: To your point about the finger caught in the doors and if that was in fact just a presentation of the story I think it's hard for men to talk about abuse and domestic violence if they are victims of that because, you know, at that time you want to work it out. The ego takes a dent and you want that privacy, particularly if you're a big star. Who do you trust and and anything gets out to the press and how it's sensationalized.
KM: Well, I mean, I was in a relationship once where the woman was quite violent towards me, and it's embarrassing to say nothing else if, indeed, anybody was in the situation where there was abuse coming from a woman to a man it's embarrassing for a, and I'm not a particularly macho man you know, I'm pretty open and in touch with my femininity, but it's not something you want to talk about necessarily.
GE: Have you been following any of Geoffrey Rush's trials and tribulations with the press in Australia?
KM: Oh I followed it completely. I was very glad of the result that he got because I think one of the problems is... and I absolutely condemn sexual harassment, and any form of abuse. Just to put a slightly rational take on it, there are some men of a certain generation, myself included, who are flirtatious and I can't imagine Geoffrey being anything other than slightly flirtatious. And indeed, it was found to be the case. I must say, just to take a slightly lighter tone on this, the last five years we've had a lot of celebrities from the 70s going down, particularly here in England, and I remember once sitting in front of the television, and watching the latest 1970s DJ had been convicted of sexual indiscretion, and Phyllis was watching this, and she turned to me and went 'it's only a matter of time... it was the 70s, I wouldn't remember.’ To be fair, there are a lot of women who also, I talk to say that while utterly supporting their sisters that there are some very, very flippant cases brought against some people. And in a way that should be dealt with as harshly as the real perpetrators. It's a waste of court time, it's a waste of money.
GE: Not just a waste of time and money and ruining someone else's reputation with a false allegation is despicable. Some fans have asked me recently. Do you think that any in fact the press has asked me as well, what do you think should happen to Amber Heard? Should she be canceled and I say no, no one should be canceled, we have to unblock the apology pathway, social murder and tit for tat is not the way forward. However, having said that, we need to call out lies we need to call people out and there needs to be repercussions and accountability, when people, when people do commit acts of domestic violence, and then they report that the other person is the domestic violence abuser, and then they go on to become a spokesperson for the very cause that they're purporting to represent when they've been committing it. Do you know what I mean? It's like, it's, I think that's so important especially, especially having been targeted as well myself wrongful and false allegations, knowingly and knowing how this system that judges first in the court of public opinion and then in the divorce court in the family law court rushes to judgment and you can't undo that, even if you have a war chest. You can't undo that because the damage has been done, and people who believe to story, have a very difficult time coming to terms with undoing their own sense of guilt and shame that they they believed the narrative that clearly wasn't true, they believed the worst aspects about someone. Ok. Johnny Depp. It's #Deppcember and all the Depp heads are mentioning their favorite movies. I'd posted on Twitter It's Deppcember, what's your favorite Johnny Depp movie? And there were a few... at least a few hundred responses to their favorite movie. The support and the loyal fan base, which I've only recently become connected to, to be frank, given the subject matter of The Respondent dealing with the legal system, the nepotism that's rife within the legal system, particularly in family law and what Johnny went through, which is similar to what I went through in some to some degrees, obviously, on a completely different level in terms of celebrity. What's your favorite Johnny Depp movie?
KM: Well, there are many of them, because I remember being sort of blown away by him and Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? And obviously, there are some iconic things like Edward Scissorhands, Cry Baby, you know his early films. But you know that the first Pirate film and what was extraordinary to be involved with that and given that my last 18 years have been so much part of that, you know, doing podcasts and doing conventions and stuff. To be there when somebody creates a modern legend from nothing. Well, not nothing from a script, but largely... 90% of it is what Johnny did. To see an actual filmic cultural legend being formed and made is absolutely extraordinary. And to go back to what we were talking about, you know, any future plans for anyone to want to throw that away seems to be criminal. Because I know, because I meet people all the time. Fans of the franchise and fans of the film can't get enough and want to see it again. I know there's a big groundswell that a lot of people will not go and see a Pirate film Johnny's not in. I'd have a hard time doing that it would just seem a bit weird. Why do that anyway? Why not just create a new franchise? Why not create something new?
GE: To your point about the 90%. Maybe that 90% was Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio. Because they did, you know, create those words on the page. Wonderful. You know, I'm reminded as well after the success of any successful movie that, you know, there hadn't been a pirate movie made by a studio for at least a decade. Cutthroat Island, directed by Rennie Harlin and starring Gina Davis was the last one and that took the studio down. It was a huge gamble to do a movie based on.... and so to take that on and I know the studio was nervous when they heard Johnny had this kind of, you now, the stumbling, slightly drunk, slurring, effeminate pirate with lots of makeup and the hair and the jewelry. And so I mean that...
KM: I think a lot of suits came down and tried to change things. Foolish the person trying to change what Johnny wants to do.
GE: Yeah, I guess there's a lot of nervous... It reminds me of The Godfather with Al Pacino and the studio were gonna fire him and Coppola was... And then the day before the studio said 'No Francis, we're done' they saw the dailies of the scene where he walked into the restaurant, picked up a gun from the toilet and walked out, shot two and then dropped the gun on the way out. They were 'Oh sold' and I wonder if we would like that with Jack Sparrow, in Pirates of the Caribbean because it is that opening scene, the entrance so beautifully written by Ted and Terry. It's so beautifully shot by Gore. And it's so heroic, and it's the quintessential turn. That just brings the laughter when you think he's atop the crow's nest holding the mast of this pirate ship. And he looks so brilliant and beautiful and handsome and deadly. And you just love, love the bad good guy, the good bad guy. And he steps off onto the dock. The sinking ship. And so much fun making it. We had so much fun making that movie as well, didn't we? But those who have dearly left us, as you know when you work in a movie for so many years on a franchise, particularly two and three, you get used to the births of crew members and actors and the deaths. People like the lovely Trevor Godard, who's not with us anymore. So many wonderful memories. Talking of that...
KM: To me, I don't know about for you but I was 46 years old, and I'd sort of given up on any idea of ever working on a Hollywood... so to work on that, it was a baptism of fire. I was really nervous most of the time, because it wasn't my area of expertise. And I remember they didn't pay me very much. But they offered... this is how I found out how successful it was. My agent.... I thought I'd get offered a lot of money... and I didn't... because I had no cash flow. But he did say, well, I've got you a back end, which was more money than I was being paid, but he said before you get excited, this was just me trying to be a good agent. He said, the money that it needs to make for you to this has only ever been made by nine films in the history of cinema and I went 'well, I won't be seeing any of that then' and the check arrived two weeks after the film opened, and I went, 'Oh my God, this is a massive hit.' I happened to have stumbled into my first American film into a massive hit. I mean, I was in a blur for about two months after it opened, because I have no idea as I'm sure you did. Maybe you did. I don't know. I had no idea this was going to be a success.
GE: No, I didn't either. I remember going to a... I think it was an Oscar's party. And I bumped into Steve Dontanville, who was an agent at the time, the agent at ICM and I think Terminator was coming out on the same weekend. And I had I'd seen Steve a couple of weeks beforehand and had a bet with him. Because at that point, I was feeling kind of quietly confident. And I'd seen the movie at a screening. And so I bet him $100 I bumped into him, actually just on the red carpet, and I went... and he dipped into his pocket and went well I would never have... Congratulations. Well done. And to your point about Hollywood. I came to Hollywood 25 years ago, I stumbled 24 years ago I stumbled... my first movie in Hollywood was Titanic. So and that was on location. It wasn't a studio set, but I went on to work in movies and TV. So the studio system and Hollywood... I'd become acclimatized to it and that's why I think at that Viper Room read through, seeing Lee and McKenzie and you and Angus and a few others Mike Berry and just looking you know sort of pasty faced and jet lagged and kind of like... I remember we stood there after the read through inside and Jerry, Jerry Bruckheimer came and introduced himself and said hello. And there was that typical kind of I remember McKenzie kind of looking down and being kind of fumbling with his hands. You were a perfect gentleman, and... then cut to outside, the British mob are all smoking cigs on the street, you know, with the, with the hunched shoulders as if it's raining even though the sun's shining and that was the adventure, where it began.
KM: One of those extraordinary... It's an extraordinary journey.
GE: Yeah, it really is. And I think, to your point I mentioned about Terry and Ted, it all started with screenplay and character development and dialogue structure and all of that. And what they went through in terms of rewrites. I can only begin to fathom the notes that they had pre development and then in pre-production and in production,
KM: The great thing that they did, and I've talked to Terry about this, and it wasn't a conscious thing. And I do this a lot at conventions, they accidentally followed a sort of attempts at a cast that was completely like Star Wars that most films have a baddie and a goodie and a woman. The thing that Pirates did like Star Wars is that it had a baddie and a goodie and a woman, a young guy, but it had this a moral lead in the middle of it. So I mean...
GE: Like Han Solo? Are you equating Jack Sparrow to Han Solo?
KM: Well, I'll tell you exactly what I'm equating it to. You have Barbosa who's Vader, you have Jack Sparrow's Han Solo. You have Luke Skywalker, you've got Princess Leia, Elizabeth Swan, you have C3PO and R2D2 - Pintel and Ragetti. Which leaves me. I am Chewbacca. They are all there.... and you're probably the guy who gets fucking choked... So yeah, I mean, it's the spread of characters that makes it more interesting. Particularly for children to have a sort of a naughty, selfish, amoral character at the center. They really like they don't like goodie goodies.
GE: Yeah you need the goodie, you need the baddie but you also need the bad goodie or the good baddie, who's kind of just... Yeah, wonderful character. And I hear that which you will probably be able to read into some of this, given the history of the movies and what we've talked about what we know and how they've been made. When I think about after the first movie came out what that meeting must have been like between Johnny, Jerry and Gore and Terry and Ted. When it was a huge success, and you're now you're doing two back to back and the tension of the power plays of the business. And now I hear Ted is back with Pirates 6.
KM: Yes. I'm interested in that, because without talking too much out of school, I think that might only be the case because Johnny isn't there. I think they had their differences. So that's interesting. I'm very interested to see how Terry, who remained a friend of ours over all these years. They haven't worked together in a long time. I wonder if that was just a drifting apart. Very interesting to see if that can bring back some of the old magic.
GE: Do you think that Ted is back because Johnny's not there, or Johnny's not there because Ted is back?
KM: It wouldn't be the latter. No. Writers are not that esteemed in Hollywood. I think they had quite serious artistic differences. From what I gleaned, I mean, I wasn't firsthand at this, but they seem to have had some artistic differences about the direction you should go in. And so I think Ted withdrew, so maybe the vacuum that's left by Johnny not being in it if that is indeed the case, which I'm not 100% sure is the case. Might have given room for them to sort of go back to basics a little bit. And go back to Ted and Terry, and think of something new. But I just like everyone else, I read what I read on social media. There has been an intention, certainly from Jerry Bruckheimer, I read, to do a sixth pirate with Johnny, I don't know why they can't do that.
GE: They announced it with Margot Robbie, Margot Robbie apparently is the...
KM: Well, yeah, but is that not like the Marvel Universe? It's like, the one thing that people have said about Pirates is that it's incredibly linear. Rather than exploiting the universe like Star Trek does like Star Wars does like Marvel does. Isn't there room to that with Pirates? To create the pirate world and to pursue Jack Sparrow and to pursue Margot Robbie's character to have different one-off stories or continue the saga... I don't um...
GE: So I guess the spin off series would be called The Rum Diaries.
KM: Yeah, that would be good.... No I would call it The Continuing Tales of Mr. Gibbs is what I think.
GE: The continuing. Okay, The Continuing Tales of Mr. Gibbs... Where would that take you I wonder? Maybe people watching this episode, they can prevaricate on that and come up with some ideas might be quite interesting to read.
KM: I've got a few ideas myself. I had a great idea at the end of the third film. Because I wanted to see much more of me and the slappers running our pub... but they didn't pick up my idea on that. I've always thought of why don't we have a Pirates TV series? There's sort of a little, a little need. I did pitch my idea and again, hit the wall, which was that you would have the tales of Joshamee Gibbs.... I tell them to say whatever tell you about the time. And then we have a separate little pirate story each week. I mean, you can come up with all sorts of ideas. Why would they listen to me... but it would seem that it's there to be exploited the way all those other franchises are. But there seems to be resistance to do anything other than just making new Pirates films all the time. And I don't know why that is. You know, I'm not as clever as these guys in the studio. So I don't know.
GE: Well maybe you could actually do a fantastic historical series with Joshamee Gibbs sitting in a big chair on a boat, you know, creaking back and forward just introducing each episode of, of some of the greatest pirates or the greatest historical seafaring... But anyway, we could talk for hours about that.
KM: Like, you're right, I like the way you're talking Greg... I like the you know...
GE: I realized with you the pitch has to really center around Joshamee Gibbs.
KM: It's not essential, but it's pretty important yes.
GE: Talking of the two slappers, it reminds me of the time the two slappers, well the two tarts in the movie I guess.
KM: Scarlett and Esmerelda is it?
GE: Is it not politically incorrect to use that word these days? Like be canceled by the speech police. I remember you were filming something with them. In England. I was terribly naughty, but I couldn't resist. I was egged on by a couple of people I think and you were filming? And I called and I think it was your daughter who answered I'm like, this is Chip Johnson, Disney business affairs. The senior legal counsel Kevin McNally, please'. 'Oh, hang on. He's filming right now.' 'I don't care. Get him on the phone. Thank you.' And then you came on the phone... 'You have no legal right to… this is our IP and we reserve the right and there will be people arriving from the Disney organization within an hour to shut you down.'
KM: What was extraordinary because the Disney headquarters here is literally 15 minutes from where I live. So it's perfectly reasonable...
GE: Well talking about the Pirates family and the greater collective of families that we are in as entertainers and artists and vagabonds and players when we go around the world together on location. I think Coppola talked about like a circus troupe of players, nomads, you are married to the sweetest actress in the world. The lovely Phyllis Logan, Mrs. Hughes from Downton Abbey. It's your second marriage, you have two kids, Rachel and David. With two busy actors running the home in either of you away for weeks at a time, sometimes months on location. Sometimes you probably don't see as much of each other. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing. How do you find the time to be with each other and how important is family to you?
KM: There are many women who would say they would love to see as little of their husbands as she sees of me. We met as grown-ups we you know, we had independent careers. So we knew what would happen. We were very lucky when David was young that we didn't tend to work at the same time. So we were lucky that we had a nanny who would come in every day and help out so you know, if suddenly we were called away to work. Also, as far as I'm concerned, particularly since the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean, I've always been of a rather addictive nature in some ways... We've talked about this quite heavily... in light ways. Since Pirates started I've sort of become addicted to travel. Phyllis isn't quite as, as sad as I am, but I love it. And I've been very lucky that my work has taken me all over the world. And I would hate to miss out on that just because we're married. But that said, family is very important. Of course, my children have grown up now. So they don't need my constant attention. And the way they do that, they just need my money. But it's very important. But I think every relationship in this industry is a balance between family and work and self-fulfillment. And I know that showing my kids to get out there and do stuff is as much of a lesson as it is to stay home and nurture. So far in my life, that balance has been very good. There have been times when it's been a little bit dry. But the idea of being particularly as we got together quite late in life, you know, just sitting home and going to work and discussing what we're gonna have dinner each night is fine for periods of time. But then you want to get out there. Make a pirate film in the Caribbean, or Hawaii or somewhere. I love it.
GE: Talking of Hawaii and Kauai, we were in Kauai and Oahu, going around the world making these movies. I recall one particular evening I know how just how important your father was in your life and I remember the night we were filming Pirates Four in Oahu in Hawaii. I was I was having dinner with TV composers, prolific TV composer Mike Post at this very exclusive club and you called to tell me your father had died and we dashed back to the hotel we were staying. We spent the evening together, drinking copious amounts of whiskey - you probably more than me as you reminisced and openly grieved and just talked so lovingly about your father. And that was I think 11 years ago, you must still miss your dad. What was your favorite memory of him?
KM: Well, I have many memories. In fact, I, you know, I posted a painting of me the other day on social media, because coming up to the 11th Christmas without him. He was an extraordinary fellow. And the great thing about him was is that he was a poor Irishman, worked all his life. But he had a dream to do something else. He wrote books that never got published. But he wrote songs that did get published. And I remember one of the most wonderful things was 1988, I was going to do a film in Italy and I was taking a train for some reason and I had to change trains in Verona. Going down from Milan to Rome. I went out and there was a little bar and I sat in the little bar and I was sat next to the jukebox. And I thought, well, I'll put some music on and I looked at there I saw the name Bob McNally. And it was my dad's - one of one of the three hit songs he'd written from 1966 I think it was. Called Go Back to Daddy. And I remember nearly getting thrown out after I put it on for the third time. But it was a wonderful, wonderful thing to happen. And I'm constantly reminded of him, I'm constantly reminded of him as I get older. I sometimes will pass a shop window and catch a quick glimpse of myself and think it's my dad, because I'm just growing to look more and more like him as I get older. But you will wonderful that night. Thank you very much.
GE: Oh of course. Well that's what friends do. What would you do with him? If he came back for one day? What do you think you might do?
KM: Well, the funny thing is, I'm not a spiritual man. But I remember about three months after he died, I said to Phyllis, you know, I'd just like one more day with him and I went to sleep that night and I had a dream. It wasn't a sort of an episodic jumpy dream. It was literally an hour of time. And I was sitting in a party, and I saw him at the mantelpiece, and I went over to him and I said hi dad and he said hi son and I thought, fuck he doesn't know he's dead. And I said, I really want to talk to you and I took him by the hand. And I remember, he wasn't a man of moisturizer and he had crusty hands. I took him and I had an hour's conversation with him in my dream. And I know that the nearest... and I felt the next day I just felt relaxed and fantastic and happy. And it's the nearest thing I've had to a spiritual dream. But I think it was just my brain going 'if you want this, I can create this and make you feel contented and happy.' And indeed it did. And I will never forget that it was one of the most wonderful things my brain has ever done for me. Because it's done some pretty shitty things for me.
GE: What a lovely, what a heartwarming, really moving story about the unconscious mind and how it can...
KM: I think very well put the unconscious mind wanting to salve itself.
GE: I can relate to some degree about losing my own father. I mean, he didn't die, but he left the family home at 12. And you know, having been removed from my son's when they were 8 and 12 and talking of loss and how we cognitively carry that load. I've suffered the living grief of having my children's childhoods been stolen from me by by their mother and what I touched on earlier about what's happened with Johnny Depp and the family law system and biased Family Law system that places less value on fatherhood than motherhood. I mean, as you know, five years ago, I was made homeless, almost destitute and it raised for my son's lives based on a false allegation by my ex-wife that she suffered. She suffered from panic disorder and refused to take her medication. And then catastrophe struck and she says about alienating my sons from me, their father and spent over $1.6 million in the process. And that need to paint someone as psychologically disturbed or less than stellar human being is very troubling in a system that rewards the victimhood, which seems to be the new currency. And its economy is booming right now in culture and with my situation, two independent court ordered psychiatrists conducted thorough evaluations, both of them, found me to be quote, enlightened, competent, and of a very sound mind and found her to have knowingly alienated our sons from me, their father. One even stated she was mentally unsound with severe issues. And so, you know, I received I was grateful at the time to have received support from, from the likes of Stephen Fry, and Mackenzie Crook and few other people, people by way of legal statements to my character. That living grief of losing my sons, having had my father leave home, was almost too unbearable. It was unrelenting, it was always too unbearable. What do you think drives a woman - or a mother of two boys and a wife of 20 years to suddenly snap psychologically, to reputation savage, and completely want to not just ruin their spouse, but to want them dead physically and literally?
KM: Well that's very extreme. I, I can't imagine what that feels like from your point of view, it's your that one can put oneself in other people's positions when it's vaguely part of experience. But that's... what you described is so extreme that I can't imagine what it would be like, and I certainly can't imagine what would drive somebody to do something like that. Although, I mean, I've feel very lucky in that I haven't lived with anger too much, either from myself or from other people. I find those levels of anger quite frightening. I've had a little bit of it in the past. Anger mystifies me.
GE: I agree... You mentioned Amber Heard being very… you met her and she was very cold. So many people talk about my ex-wife as being like, a frozen, narcissistic, like, so ice cold. And maybe it's that backed up anger, you don't deal with the issues from childhood or if you come from a dysfunctional family, or you have issues with addiction, you don't actually adequately bring the mirror of self around and have a look at, you know, the fragments and particles of one's own. What am I responsible for? How did I behave? What did I do? Or what how did I contribute to this situation? Because it's never one sided.
KM: Anger in my experience, is a direct result of fear and insecurity. I would say, I certainly know the very few times in my life that I've been angry. And I don't tend to get angry that much. But the few times it's happened, it has to do with fear and insecurity. I don't think a confident, relaxed, secure person has any reason to get angry. And it sort of brings us around to the whole political thing we were talking about is that I think at the moment our world is fueled by anger, and fear, and it's because of fear. I know I backed off in my relationship with people, politics and social media from that. Because it's pointless and it's essentially evil is what it is. So I don't know I'm not an expert on that apart from to back away from it. And to try not to engage in it, but it's difficult if you feel that somebody you have to deal with has that. There's no getting round that.
GE: Yeah I think it's tough when someone has such a cemented ideology that they're not open to heterodox thinking or reasonable discourse and agreeing to maybe find its similarity or agreeing to disagree and to be open minded and leave a little room for doubt.
KM: I, you know, I have always had friends from all shades of the political spectrum because I believe that's the way it should be and funnily enough, one of them posted something that was very, very pro Trump and very anti left today. And I would have in the past, criticized him for being pro Trump. But I instead chose to have a conversation about why are you polarizing. And I think that's a much more interesting conversation to have.
GE: Do you think he was polarizing?
KM: Well yeah, he was describing Trump as great on the left as evil.
GE: Do you think the left is guilty of the same?
KM: Oh, completely. I mean, I would have that same conversation with people on the left yeah. But what you've got to do is you've got to have on a one to one basis... And I'm only saying this because I'm finding that it's got so bad, I have to try to get this through my own thick skull. If you're going to have a conversation, have a constructive one otherwise you're just another one of those keyboard warriors bashing away at the same old shit to people who agree with you anyway.
GE: I see a lot of that in my in my Facebook feed, I see a lot. And you know, to be absolutely frank and fair, there was a time not too long ago, where I would see a lot of it from you. And I understand it, don't get me wrong, I understand it. And I think I understand some of the reasons why it comes to it. But the amplification of it at such a degree and the propensity and the consistency of it to paint like, orange man bad and speak into you know, for example, I don't think that given the platform, it does any service for Robert De Niro to go on to the Tony Awards, and say two words, and that's F* Trump. I think there is a way to get the message across and be way more eloquent. And I know it makes us laugh, I know, it's funny, and I know he's a caricature...
KM: I'll tell you something. And probably the last thing I'll say politically, is that when I was a young man, I used to be part of a Trotskyist group, actually called the Workers' Revolutionary Party, a lot of actors in it, a lot of champagne socialists. But I remember once speaking to the guy who ran it. And he said something very important to me. Because I said, you know, it's great, what you're doing and I love coming to the meeting, and I was having this argument with a bloke in the pub last night. Can I just stop you. He said, having an argument with a bloke in the pub is more about new waving in your willy than he is about making any change. Do not argue with many pubs. Now, men in pubs are now keyboard warriors on social media, but the same thing applies. And I would never dream anymore, of getting involved in some stupid bit of willy waving like that. I have my opinions. And when I can constructively help the things that I want to happen in the world. I will take that constructive effort. But trying to persuade, well, I know I can't persuade somebody else who doesn't agree on social media. But I will not waive my willy anymore. And I certainly will not.... What is that? What is that wonderful phrase, virtue signaling? Is all it is is...
GE: And repetitive virtue signaling as well, I mean, you know, I just think we live in a culture where people stand, I've seen so much of it and particularly on Twitter, and even, probably even more so on Facebook, it's very difficult to have a singular polite dialogue, because people are so apt to place the other person in a barrel and there are only two of them, and I'm in one, so you're in the other. We live in a culture where people stop what they hate and what they stand against, rather than what they love and stand for.
KM: Exactly and that's certainly true of the left as well. You have things like never Trump and, you know, I, you know, I'm not a fan of Donald Trump, but you can't make your platform what isn't there because what are they going to do in January when Trump isn't the president anymore? What will they rail against then? What you've got to do is to... What am i for when do I think is constructive?
GE: I think what you're going to find is you're going to have a lot of this is why it just goes deeper and deeper and spirals down. You're gonna have many people on the right who heard the admonishments and the angry rhetoric from the left and the radical far left, and they're going to use the same tactics to go after the left and it's at some point, that's why I endorsed Andrew Yang because I thought he was the most proactive candidate who had some real, he was, you know, we were stopping for UBI and UBI would have solved so many problems? Not all, but so many problems with the financial catastrophes going on in America, the advent of COVID. And what are we doing now? We're begging for stimulus.
KM: No I checked your man out and he seems like a really decent chap. One of the problems, of course, is that the divisions are not any singular in terms of left and right, of the decisions between moderate right and extreme right and moderate left and extreme left. So it seems like a rabbit hole of division every time. And of course, the Democratic Party, who I would have voted for if I were an American citizen are going to have a civil war about progressives...
GE: Identity politics devours itself, and identitarianism and critical race theory and all of this intersectionality. It is not good for our society it upends western democracy. Basically, I think, a fundamental battle between the individual and the group. And I believe in the rights of the individual and you to, to live and identify and be who you... and have agency and sovereignty over yourself. It's a very complex issue. Lockdowns, we haven't talked lockdowns, but with lockdowns in the UK being tightened, we did briefly touch on the start police forces.... And I know we don't have a lot of time left. So I'm gonna wrap up soon. But with police forces across the nation using their powers of these advisories and recommendations to detain and sometimes the arrest people. I think, I do think we have to ask ourselves, what are the limits to the things that the state can legitimately do to people against their will in a democracy and when does it become a police state? It's no secret that neither of us are fans of President Trump, although I think we differ on and you touched on in the issues of the left. And I've seen in the past few years and become extremely concerned about the lack of self-critique and the rise of post modernism radical extreme identity politics on the left, so incitements to violence aside are you bothered by police forces monitoring Twitter spats, and sometimes detaining, arresting and fining people for reported hate crimes for their use of words.
KM: Yes, but to go under the flesh of that. Police are a tool... they can be ... they can be very dangerous tools we've seen in many places. But to be brief, because you know, we don't want to bore the shit out of people...
GE: No it's okay. We have a few minutes, I tend to.... some people tend to mistake the law for justice and justice is an ideal and law is a tool. So law enforcement is a tool, you're right.
KM: The real problem is, and this is why I'm not a conspiracy theorist. Have you ever been into a post office in America? I mean, that these people couldn't organize a piss up in a brewery. Conspiracy Theory involves a level of competence, which I've never seen the government have. The real problem is the confusion. The lack of application, the sheer ineptitude of our governments and when you have that you get confused policemen, and when you get confused policemen, you've got a problem. Because they quite rightly go out not knowing, you know, not knowing whether people are going to be antagonistic towards them or whatever. The problem is the government directives, they should have very clear guidelines upon which they work. Now. So the real question is, is the government trying to infringe our civil liberties? Well yeah. When have they not?
GE: I do think that hate crime bills... I was stunned when I found out that Britain had passed a hate crime law. I mean, do you think there's a need for the UK to implement free speech laws similar to the US Constitution?
KM: It's very different in England because we don't have a constitution so laws tend to be a little bit ad hoc, the way they come up... One of the things that I'm most worried about is that when we leave the EU, we will have to rethink the Human Rights advice laws that we had, which were not... didn't involve hate laws and did involve free speech. When we're not under that umbrella, I don't know what this chaotic, nationalistic government will do. And I'm very fearful of it. We will never have a left wing government in England again. So I'm not fearful about that, the only sort of government we're gonna have that's extreme will be will be two actually... will be a right wing government and will be a very or a very complacent middle of the road government who just wants to keep the status quo, whatever that is at that time. So it's a very interesting time.
GE: It is... the Overton Window is shifting and I think, you know, I saw I saw just recently that, and I know so little about UK politics I follow it from afar. I did think that Jeremy Corbyn would get obliterated at the election, and he did get obliterated. I also thought that given what was going on over here that Trump had a good chance of winning and he came close and I just think you can't, you can't completely say that 48 million people or 48% of the population are wrong and bad people. I don't, I don't, you know, recently I had one of the heads from Antifa and one of the representatives from the Proud Boys to come on The Respondent and have a livestream conversation. I invited them on because I think we need to moderate or we need to find some more commonality. And I think I just saw recently, that is it Liz Truss the equalities minister or equalities and women don't know why there isn't a minister for men, I think that's sexist and we should start a movement against that because... don't we want equality? But she just, she's, she's axing woke and wokeification from the government, and I think politics and political affiliation aside, is a brilliant thing... let's get rid of identitarianism, let's get rid of critical race theory and implicit bias training, there's this whole conversation I think it's been completely misunderstood but we don't have a lot of time left. Do you think Kier Starmer is doing a good job as leader of the opposition?
KM: No. I don't. I'm a member of the Labour Party. I think he had I don't blame him for it. He's doing exactly what Joe Biden is trying to do which is to stretch like a spider's web to try to hold various factions together, and he knows that Tony Blair was essentially, you know, a Tory in a skirt... did hold it together for a while but ultimately led to a huge schism in the Labour Party and he knows and he must know that he doesn't even have to do that for as long as Tony Blair did. It's a sort of, I hate to say this, but it's, it's sort of a doomed project. I would say to put my, my heart where my mouth is, I believe if we didn't demonize the word socialist we couldn't move forward. And I don't want to get into the whole thing about you know the socialism for rich people and not for poor people. Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman both said the word socialist has been demonized in America since the Second World War. The idea of social, you know, social medicine. These are sort of the things that we'll constantly deal with do you have those things or do you not. It's the same in England and America. And at some point you have to decide whether you want those things whether you want the wealth of the nation to be shared with people who contribute to it, but I certainly agree with you that this division and polarization is doing, nobody anywhere any good.
GE: Yeah we need to conserve some social aspects of life which I guess is you know socialism and conservatism and work across the Isle and find some commonalities and maybe... I do agree. That middle ground. And certainly with regards to Joe Biden trying to hold those radical extreme elements from going too far, and it might be the same with Boris Johnson. I don't know enough about UK politics.
KM: Well Kier Starmer...
GE: Yes right right. Do you think Julian Assange and Edward Snowden should receive a presidential pardon?
KM: Yes, I do.
GE: I'd noticed that you'd tweeted something out about, or maybe was on Facebook about crimes. The only reason you ask for a pardon is because you've committed a crime. Do you think both committed crimes?
KM: No but they're not asking for pardons. I think people who are asking for pardons have committed a crime. I think Julian Assange and Edward Snowden both need a pardon because, as anyone says, you know, if... The other way round, if somebody revealed something about say the left, they would be applauded. If somebody revealed something from Antifa, I'm sure that they will be applauded for that. They were doing their job. They were doing what they said they do which is try to expose things they think are wrong, but that's as much part of free speech as anything.
GE: We're gonna end up with just a couple of questions on the meaning of your life. What would you say is the meaning of your life?
KM: Well, I'm not a spiritual man and I'm not... I personally think the meaning of my life, is by the end of it, to understand as much about the universe as I possibly can, as much about human relationships, as much about what this whole physical universe is, that's more about understanding the universe, not about understanding myself. I believe in living your life and not trying to comprehend it.
GE: And if you could write your epitaph what would you want it to say?
KM: I regret the things I didn't do and not the things that I did do.
GE: I like that. And lastly, are you working on any projects at the moment, and what can we see you in next in your tier Q3 shut down/lockdown?
KM: Well, I'm trying to get my science fiction/comedy novel that I wrote, published. I've had a number of projects I might be directing a couple more short films, but right now I'm reading scripts for the New Year. I hope things that will transpire, and I am watching an extraordinary amount of black and white movies.
GE: Marvelous. I just did my first let's make poetry together event live stream with actors.
KM: You told me about that.
GE: Yeah, it was in collaboration with Andrew Yang's Yang Gang book club. Maybe you'd be kind enough to join us for the next event, read a favorite poem or two Kev?
KM: Yes I'd love to do that,
GE: Brilliant. Well listen, Kevin McNally, have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year with your family and friends, and thank you ever so much for being on the show.