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Christian Slater on Bobby

Published November 24, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of The Weinstein Company.
Bobby- Christian Slater Christian Slater in Bobby
Among the ensemble of characters in Bobby, Christian Slater found himself labeled as the villain. He plays a racist restaurant manager who demeans his Latin-American staff and denies them basic rights like a day off to vote. Given the film’s subject though, Slater protested the label.

Interview: Christian Slater On Bobby


“Wasn't there a guy named Sirhan Sirhan?” he asked the press. “Why am I the villain? I don't get it. I mean that's the bad guy. I mean, I'm the evil bastard. Demi Moore's a vicious drunk. Bill Macy's a womanizing cheating bastard, and I'm the villain.”

The scenes in the kitchen deal with the race issues of the 1968 as part of the microcosm of the world Robert F. Kennedy’s politics represented. To embody that conflict, Slater could not just be the generic racist.

“It's certainly helpful getting to know myself more so I'm able to differentiate who I am and what the character is that I'm playing. That helps. And the exciting thing about getting to be an actor is that you get to put on somebody else's clothes and get into somebody else's mentality. I think the richness of the script, really, and the looseness of Emilio's direction, that really helped to make things feel very relaxed and human and not stifled. I come on the set and everything's very intense and very heavy and everyone's excited doing this movie about Bobby Kennedy, and Sharon Stone is very intense, and they're all whoop de do, la di da, and my character was certainly much more… I was a human guy a product of that time, and someone who had a job to do. I wanted every available person to be there.”



Born in the year after Kennedy’s assassination, Slater turned to family and colleagues for perspective. “I did miss this particular moment in our history, but I relied on things my parents told me about the Kennedys and things I'd heard in school and other filmmakers, Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, who represented this time period rather well. The Kennedys to me have always represented a certain amount of American royalty, Camelot, and certainly survived a great deal of tragedy. I love the Kennedys. I love their faith and belief in people and in America and in the direction we really could go. Somehow they just seemed to represent a really good quality and aspect of what's in each and every one of us.”

Among about 20 names listed on the poster for Bobby, Slater got his role finished in just over a week. “For me it probably took about 10 days coming in there. It was the type of movie where everybody's schedule was really, really crazy, and there were so many people and so many different story lines to put together and film. So there were days when I would show up and not work, and sit around, but the key for me was just to be ready. Whenever they did need me I wasn't going to hold anything up. I just wanted to make sure I was as available to Emilio as I possibly could be.

The only time most of the characters are together is during the climactic assassination. This scene also included people who lived through the actual incident. “There were extras on the set that could point to themselves in the actual footage. ‘Yeah, there I am, there I am.’ So that certainly added to the power and intensity. You could really feel the horror of it, from when they would say Action to Cut, people were definitely shaking by the end of that scene.”

Bobby is out in theatres now.

For the poster, trailer, more interviews, synopsis and more movie info, go to the Bobby Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of The Weinstein Company.
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