Exclusive: Tommy Lee Jones on Playing General Douglas MacArthur
Recently, HeyUGuys ran the first official image of Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones in character as General Douglas MacArthur for Peter Webber’s ‘Emperor’ (above). Recently, we asked Jones about playing the iconic military figure during a recent interview, and were somewhat surprised by his response.
Jones next will appear in ‘Men In Black 3,’ where he once again plays curmudgeonly Agent K alongside the charismatic Will Smith. Look for full ‘MIB3’ coverage on the site as we get closer to the film’s May 25 release date. But we did ask Jones about filling MacArthur’s massive shoes for the benefit of a historical drama like ‘Emperor,’ and here’s what the self-professed history buff had to say about playing a massive personality:
I don’t try to quantify the mass of one’s personality. I think all personalities that you take on as an actor are important. I bear precisely no physical resemblance to Douglas MacArthur. But a campaign hat with a lot of fruit salad on it, some aviator sunglasses and a corn-cobbed pipe will go a long way. I called it 'The MacArthur Suit.' It was something that he affected as a trademark.
Did you know that there are no spontaneous photographs of Douglas MacArthur? If you see a photograph of Douglas MacArthur, you can be sure that he directed it. And there’s no record of what he sounded like in regular life. The only record of his voice that we have are speeches that he gave.
Finally, the point of this movie is not to replicate the image of Douglas McArthur, but to represent his thinking. To play a MacArthur, I suppose, as opposed to playing the MacArthur. It’s a good movie.
And one we’re eagerly anticipating. Webber’s ‘Emperor’ tells an epic love story that’s set in a unique time period … in the days following Japan’s surrender in World War II. Matthew Fox co-stars with Jones, but the focus for right now falls on the ‘MIB’ star, and how he’ll portray the legendary MacArthur.
The film is on the market in Cannes right now, and is gearing up for a 2013 release. Are you interested?