Q: In The Accidental Husband you play the father of Uma Thurmanís character. Heís very calm and wry and low-keya lot like your own dad?
A: Uh, no. Wrong. He was a bit of a maniac. I think down the road he actually went off the deep end. But thatís a whole ínother legend.
Q: Thereís sort of an inside joke in The Accidental Husband, in that your characterís girlfriend turns out to be Brooke Adams, who played your accidental wife in 1978ís Days of Heaven.
A: Right, right. Itís crazy. I think I ran into her once in the whole time since Days of Heaven, and it was backstage at a Broadway show somewhere. I havenít had any contact with her. Wonderful gal, though. Itís crazy, you know. Time is just nuts.
Q: What did you two talk about when you first saw each other on the set?
A: Well, obviously, the time thatís elapsed, and what sheís been doiní and all that. Itís like your whole life passes. The same thing with Patti Smith. With Patti, I hadnít seen her for probably, god, 25 or 30 years, and then all of a sudden we bang into each other in New York and we start doing stuff together again.
Q: I was just listening to Patti Smithís cover version of ďSmells Like Teen Spirit.Ē You play the banjo on that, right?
A: Actually it was a six-string guitjo I was playingitís a banjo body, but guitar strings. And my son was playing traditional banjo along with John Cohen from the New Lost City Ramblers. It was quite an amalgamation. You know, I hate to say it, but Iíd never really heard the song before, and Patti brought it up, and I love it. Itís an incredible piece of musicand incredible lyrics, too. I never really studied on it, you know, because I guess it was out of my generation or somethiní, but itís a fantastic song. Itís very esoteric, in a way.
Q: You and Patti were a very close pair in the early seventies. Did she lead you in certain creative directions?
A: Yeah, she had a tremendous influence on me, because I was unaware, at that time, of any of these French poets, the symbolist poets and all that stuff, and she kind of turned me on to Baudelaire and Rimbaud and all those poets that I never paid any attention to, beiní a dumb-ass American out in the middle of nowhere. I wasnít nearly as well-read as she was. Iíd knocked around American literature, but certainly not the Europeans. Essentially Patti was a poet back then. She hadnít really broken into music. Iím certainly not responsible for it, but I kept telliní her, you know, that she should sing this stuff. She was doiní poetry readings and stuff at St. Markís Church, and she was kind of performing these poetry readings as though they were songs, and I said, ďWhy donít you sing íem?Ē So I got her a guitar, and she learned a couple chords, and she started singiní.