RICHARD DREYFUSS & HIS PASSION: POLITICS
FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
God, I love RICHARD DREYFUSS.
I don’t care that he’s old enough to be my dad and that he’s probably about five inches shorter.
He’s smart as a whip, deliciously funny, has raging charisma and he’s got a dazzling pair of azure eyes. Plus he’s brilliantly talented. I had a huge crush on him growing up.
He has been in my home town shooting the odd film here and there over the years.
Would have been wickedly awesome to meet him.
Of all the causes actors have chosen to champion, RICHARD DREYFUSS admits his passion lacks, well, a certain pizzazz: Civics.
“Don’t call it civics because civics is easily the most boring word in America,” he commented. “Call it what it is: political power.”
RICHARD brings an actor’s dramatic pacing and a historian’s licks to his cause, erasing any notion that this lesson will be boring. He’s bombastic, predictably brash and yet professorial during a 90 minute interview in a bland hotel suite in this Virginia seaport, where he was honoured at a film festival earlier this year.
Kicked out of college for confronting a professor who criticized MARLON BRANDO’S performance in JULIUS CEASAR, RICHARD recently studied at ST. ANTONY’S COLLEGE at the UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD to develop a curriculum for U.S. public schools.
Called THE DREYFUSS INITIATIVE, the curriculum would use scholarly presentations in videos and the ACADEMY AWARD winning actor (according to an outline) “as a storyteller, to engage, enlighten and empower students of all ages in an entertaining way.” RICHARD said he would work with civic and educational groups to promote the teaching tools.
While the program has not been used in any classroom yet, RICHARD has launched a fundraising campaign to produce videos and the curriculum.
“I’ve got a very simple thing here. I’ve got a nonprofit initiative to get K 12 grades back to civics, to give our children real world knowledge and hopefully wisdom about how to run this complex governance system. That’s it. That’s enough.”
These days, he devotes most of his public appearances to addressing the origins of our nation and lamenting a citizenry that he believes has lost its way.
“I stopped defining myself as an actor and I went to Oxford because I believe that America is a miracle. And I think that there is nothing easier in the world than for us to lose this miracle and to be reduced to words on paper.”
He fears just that – that future generations will view our freedoms as a fairy tale.
“It’ll break my heart and it should break yours.”
RICHARD blames a lack of civil discourse, the din of television and any number of distractions for moving us away from understanding our origins as a nation.
He is comfortable discussing the sweep of human history, but he’s especially drawn to the drama of the Civil War.
In March, he was the star attraction at a Washington, D.C., event for the CIVIL WAR PRESERVATION TRUST, which annually releases a report on endangered battlefields. His interest in the Civil War goes way back.
RICHARD was recruited as a reenactor at the battle of Cedar Creek in northern Virginia while filming WHAT ABOUT BOB? which was set at New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee but filmed at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.
But he’s still acting. He has a supporting role in the NIA VARDALOS romantic comedy MY LIFE IN RUINS, which opens this Friday.
RICHARD won an OSCAR in the late 70s for THE GOODBYE GIRL. He was only 29, making him the youngest male lead to win the trophy at that time. For him the honour wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
“I was too young. I didn’t know until later that I am built to be in pursuit. I am not built to have achieved. I’m happiest when I’m on the hunt.”