Actor and Sundance Film Festival cab driver Will Rubio had a shot, and he took full advantage of it. He also got the whole exchange on video.
Rubio was driving at Sundance, asking celebrities he picked up if they’d answer some questions on camera. Patinkin was in town to represent Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded film in which he played Braff’s father.
I’m an actor who was working as driver at the Sundance Film Festival. I was fortunate enough to take Mandy Patinkin to the airport. After about 30 minutes of chatting and becoming buddies I asked him for a quick interview. Easily one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met.
After I watched the clip, I have to agree. It’s great when artists are good at their craft. Mandy Patinkin is obviously a talented person. The world loves him for his portrayal of Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride, and I definitely enjoy that, but it’s his portrayal of Saul on Homeland that really got me hooked. It’s extra great when performers are also cool people who aren’t too affected by fame to be kind and genuine with other human beings. I’ve never been a fan of meeting my favorite artists in person, because part of the enjoyment is the illusion. An actor isn’t necessarily going to be like his characters, for good or for ill, and why ruin the fantasy? But in Mandy’s case, his words and genuine demeanor with Will show that he’s a decent guy with a great perspective on the challenges of a life in the arts, and the belief that if it’s a person’s dream to pursue it, they should take it. This was his advice to aspiring actors:
“My advice is if you love it and you wanna do it and it’s your dream, don’t let anybody tell you no. Just do it. If you get knocked down, get up again and if you can’t keep getting up when you get knocked down, don’t be an actor, cause that’s the name of the game. You’ve got to be willing to be disappointed constantly and not have it destroy you. If you’re not willing to do that, life is short, move on…I have a lot of respect for people who say, ‘That’s not me. I don’t wanna get beat up like that.’”
I’m going to borrow his wisdom and apply it to writers, as well. I somehow don’t think he’d mind.
The highlight of their chat was Will Rubio’s sheer delight at being able to say Montoya’s famous line, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” along with the actor, and his reaction when Patinkin told him that Rubio said it even better than he did. (I had to agree with that assessment.) I also loved his reflection on Princess Bride, and how genuinely appreciative he still is of what that film did for his career:
“It was a joy to do it. It was one of those jobs you felt like you should be paying them..I pinch myself every day. Even when you just asked me the question, there it goes again, that guy’s asking me about that movie that I was in. I can’t believe that I’m the guy that was in it.”
Charmed. I am quite simply charmed. I’ve read interviews many times over the years with famous actors and musicians who say they are tired of discussing their most famous roles and playing their number one hits years later. I can understand that, I guess, but it’s more impressive when someone like Mandy Patinkin shows that he knows and appreciates what launched and helped to sustain his career in an industry where so many people never make it. This is the way to connect with an aspiring actor like Will Rubio — to be realistic about the demands but equally open about the joys of working in a field that demands creativity, determination, and in Mr. Patinkin’s case, a fully functioning and very attractive sense of humor.
I’m very excited about the attention the video is getting, I really didn’t expect it. Interestingly, as Mandy was rolling his bag away at the airport, he turned back and said: ‘Keep making your own content like this, that’s what will get you noticed.’ Sound advice from a cool guy.
I went into watching this clip a solid Mandy Patinkin fan. What’s better and stronger than solid? That’s what kind of fan I am now. Strong work, Mandy.
Image credit: YouTube