The Legendary Actor – James Cromwell

actor james cromwell – photo: bs photography

 

The Legendary Actor – James Cromwell

South takes a look back at Issue 17, when we interviewed legendary character actor James Cromwell."Savannah is an extraordinary, unique city. I've been to a lot of cities in the South, but this really stands out," Cromwell told South in his 2008 interview.

Featured in Faces of the South: The Trilogy Edition now on newsstands. Click here to order your copy of Faces today. 

James Cromwell is unmistakable. Standing at six feet and seven inches, the tallest man to have receieved an Academy Award nomination is simply unmissable through the glass of Broughton Street's famous Leopold's Ice Cream shop where he sits down with The South to talk about his career, the upcoming presidential elections and all he has learned about the mercurial Hollywood machine.
 
"Hollywood is a very strange place. It is everything that you see in Oliver Stone's Wall Street. It's politics; the politics of self survival and aggrandizement and very little about making the story that you want to make."
 
"The whole award business is very seductive and disillusioning and political. It's better that you follow your own destiny and not get caught up in the machinery of the 'dream machine;' this corporization, this commoditization of what is basically an art form. Better to stay someplace and make your own art."
 
"I became involved in the Free Southern Theatre to create a voice for the black people in the South who were beginning to get the right to vote and should be able to articulate their aspirations politically. They had never seen film, they had never seen television; we performed in churches and freedom houses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee to the most incredible people, which is, I think, the highlight of my life really. It was the most important work I ever did and I always try to go back to that."
 
"My goal is to try and enjoy my life in its totality and not try to resist, but make the world my oyster – take the grain of sand and make it into a pearl. Dissatisfaction tends to breed more dissatisfaction, though I'm learning in my advanced years to sort of accept what comes with a sense of balance, grace and humility and wonder; not to lose the wonder of it; not to get jaded or cynical; to still believe that it's important to tell your truth – always."
 
"I was talking to Statton Leopold and everything that [business owners] are trying to do on [Broughton] Street comes from a commitment to a higher value than just "what's in it for me?" For Savannah to be able to grow and maintain it's uniqueness it is going to have to include everybody, and make this city work for everybody, and be of a representation of everybody's dreams about what a city can be."
 
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