That was bizarre, even moreso than usual for O’Toole (by leaps and bounds one of my favorite actors in those movies where he elects to act rather than walking around like Peter O’Toole earning a fat paycheck). For those who didn’t see it he came across either as drunk (yes, I know, O’Toole is not exactly the VP of AA, but usually he holds it together on talk shows) or early Alzheimers or perhaps just extremely sleepy.
What was with holding his arms up- did the Israelites notice they stopped winning when he lowered them or does he have arthritis or… what exactly? While I can understand some slanguage barriers (though O’Toole has spent much time in the states and IIRC his son is an American citizen) I would certainly have expected him to know what ‘basking’ meant.
My favorite O’Toole talk show moment was when Letterman was filming in London and O’Toole rode onto the set atop a camel, a cigarette holder in one hand and a drink in the other as the theme from Lawrence of Arabia. He dismounted with a casual “I never liked those bloody things” comment then proceeded to tell some hysterical stories of his days as buds with Richard Harris (“we should both have been dead for many many years”), a man I notice he doesn’t mention much since Harris’s death.
Though a big budget epic and not exactly an actor’s actor’s character pic, I remember thinking that O’Toole’s performance in Troy was one of the best he’d given in years, especially his scene with Brad “Achilles” Pitt (“you’re my enemy tonight…”). It wasn’t just his “normal trick of strutting 'round the stage” acting charming and slightly inebriated. I was surprised to read an interview with him later in which he trashed the movie and particularly its director, saying he would never work with him again and his treatment of actors was abysmal, yadda yadda. I wondered at the time if this translated at all into “he wouldn’t accept that I’m a living legend, he made me act!” (not that O’Toole doesn’t have the ability, he’s just not always required to for his $1.5 million).
He certainly came across as a walking cadaver. But at least his reaction time was slightly better than the guy who was on the night before. Jon was trying to interview the Princeton professor who wrote On Bullsht* but the guy was taking so long to answer the most fundamental of questions that Jon finally said, “Are you high?”
FWIW, he was magnificently funny on Letterman the other night, when he related a tale of how he and Peter Finch once bought a dive at 4:00 A.M. whilst inebriated just so they could keep drinking. (The bar owner returned their checks the next day.)
O’Toole’s enfeebled mannerisms and appearance has had me worrying about him for the past twenty years’ worth of talk show appearances. I’ve learned to stop fretting over him. That’s just how he is. He’s already outlived all actuarial predictions and will probably outlive us all. (Probably because no disease pathogen can survive his blood alcohol level.) Him, and Keith Richards, and Fidel Castro…
This is probably the first time I’ve seen him in that setting, and the last time I remember seeing him in a movie was …checks imdb… must have been King Ralph. Needless to say last night was a shocker. And yet, as infirm as the rest of him was, his face looked newly surgerized or chemical peeled. Very disconcerting. And poor Jon, asking all these intriguing questions and having PO’T look at him bemusedly. And when P O’T was trying to reach the mug and then just gave up.
I remember him dismounting the camel. Then, he withdrew a huge Heineken can from his jacket, probably 22 ounces or so. He put it in the camel’s mouth. The camel tilted its head back, chugging the whole beer in about 5 seconds.
When the laughter died down, O’Toole turns to Letterman and says, “I believe you call that a ‘stupid pet trick’.”
Then he proceeded to tell some hysterical stories of his days as buds with Richard Harris.
Seems to me Mr O’Toole’s performance on talk shows varies widely from show to show. I don’t think he likes doing them very much and doesn’t like most hosts. A few years ago when he was shilling one of his books I saw him with Leno. One of the worst guests ever. He seemed bored and disinterested. Less then a week later he was on Letterman (not the camel episode). He was charming and funny and one of the best guests I have ever seen. I think he likes Dave and hates going on the other shows. Or he could be drunk.
I saw it, and my impression was that he had been ill-prepared by the show’s producers. He might not have been familiar with the show at all, other than as just another stop on the required promotion tour. Stewart is a stand-up guy, I think. And what I hope he did after the show was chew out a few people.
Just to clarify the above, in case it wasn’t obvious, what I mean is that he might not have known that the show was a parody. And so Stewart’s opening salvo’s might have come across the wrong way. Too familiar. Poking fun at him. Possibly even hostile. If you know someone is joking, it can be a whole different mindset than if you don’t.
Gee, I didn’t think he came off that badly at all! I just saw the rerun, so I was prewarned. I think it was his appearance (Cryptkeeper face, weird stiff-arm thing), but if you closed your eyes and just listened to him, he was witty and incisive and had some good comebacks.
I just came in to say I thought Jon’s opening piece was hilarious as was the Rob Riggle (?) piece. I expected to see a Dope thread on it and was checking for it when I ran across this thread (I know: god forbid I should start one).
To keep this from being a complete and total hijack (sorry Sampiro!), I thought the interview was painful as well. I don’t know that much about O’Toole aside from his reputation as a drinker, so I just assumed a) his brain is permanently moderately pickled or b) he was drunk at the time. I felt kinda sorry for Jon too. I have to say I usually cringe when I know he’s having a celebrity on. I think he does better with politicos and authors.