Jim Gaffigan, Actor, Comic, Author: …That’s a really interesting question. I suppose I haven’t? I do think…when we were shooting CHAPPAQUIDDICK there was an amount of…these scenarios where there is drinking, but I think that’s not food. But like there is this approach to drinking and consumption of alcohol that has shifted so much with every decade (at least in my lifetime). So this was kind of my Dad’s era where people would drink just enormous amounts and they would day drink and drink at night (it was pretty amazing).
Film Courage: Did you ever consider what your character might eat? I know that drinking was a lot of what was going on especially on those few days that the film takes place?
Jim Gaffigan: I think I…what they would eat? Yeah, I don’t know. That’s interesting. I think it’s more the priority of eating. Whereas, I think for me what I would eat and the type of food I would eat is probably more important than what it was back then. It’s like you look back what we were having at barbecues as a kid, versus what we’re having at barbecues now. It’s kind of gotten fancier.
Film Courage: Fondues and things like that.
Jim Gaffigan: Yeah.
Film Courage: Why do you think comedians make such great actors?
Jim Gaffigan: Well…I mean that’s flattering. I would say that comedians, it’s really necessary to know yourself, that that’s part of the journey and that’s part of the conversation you have with the audience and how they respond to things, particularly autobiographical things. So you become very aware of who you are and how you come across.
But I don’t know? I think of acting and stand-up as very different disciplines but I also love acting because in some ways it’s the opposite from stand-up. Whereas stand-up I’m writer, director, producer and every beat and moment of the show is controlled and influenced by me.
I love the opportunity to be this spoke in this larger, just even a moment in a scene serving a narrative of a story is really exciting. And also it’s fun to kind of hide in a different character and have a different point of view. And I think in my stand up I kind of engage different points of views.
But in acting, it’s really fun to kind of climb behind a different point of view and see how they would adjust. Of course, it’s still you. But like playing Paul Markham, you know, he’s a lawyer. I think that influenced how he viewed everything. It was also somebody who really liked Ted [Kennedy]. So I think those elements really had an influence.
Whereas in stand-up, there is a greater likelihood of taking the irreverent point of view.
Film Courage: Have we learned anything from Chappaquiddick all of these years later? Or it’s just a moment in time, no one really knows what happened?
Jim Gaffigan: There’s so much information out there. And some of it, the information I now know, how definite it is. I think it’s how our viewpoint on Chappaquiddick is shifting, just particularly in this day in age that we live in so…I mean look our viewpoint on drunk driving has shifted dramatically in our lifetime. I remember being a kid and hearing about drunk driving and being like “Try not to do it!” And now, no one would do it.
And so, obviously this tragedy, no one should ever do this. But like the alcohol or the philandering part, our judgments on that have changed dramatically.
Film Courage: Excellent! Thank you.
Jim Gaffigan: Thank you. Appreciate it.
CHAPPAQUIDDICK IN THEATERS APRIL 6TH, 2018
In the riveting suspense drama, CHAPPAQUIDDICK, the scandal and mysterious events surrounding the tragic drowning of a young woman, as Ted Kennedy drove his car off the infamous bridge, are revealed in the new movie starring Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy and Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne. Not only did this event take the life of an aspiring political strategist and Kennedy insider, but it ultimately changed the course of presidential history forever. Through true accounts, documented in the inquest from the investigation in 1969, director John Curran and writers Andrew Logan and Taylor Allen, intimately expose the broad reach of political power, the influence of America’s most celebrated family; and the vulnerability of Ted Kennedy, the youngest son, in the shadow of his family legacy.
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