Jon Voight "Beyond" Preview at the Drexel Theatre
March 15, 2012
Jon Voight, the Oscar-winning actor and star of films like “Deliverance”, “Midnight Cowboy” and “The Champ,” came to the Drexel Sunday night to preview his new film, “Beyond.” After the film, Voight held court in the packed theater for a Q&A about filmmaking, psychics, and that famous taxi scene with Dustin Hoffman in “Cowboy.”
Wearing a navy pinstriped suit and a glittery, metallic-threaded scarf, 73-year-old Voight praised the Drexel while introducing “Beyond,” which he called a “cold, supernatural whodunnit.”
“It’s great you guys have preserved this theater,” said Voight. “You really get a sense of history here.”
“Beyond,” which was shot in 30 days, opens with a black-clad, gun-toting Voight stalking a white Alaskan forest. Voight plays a wizened detective who, although close to retirement, jumps and volts his way through a spooky missing-child investigation./p>
During the Q&A, producer Steven Paul joined Voight on stage, offering that the veteran actor did all his own stunts in 20 degrees below zero.
Considering the paranormal components of “Beyond,” one audience member asked Voight if he believed in mediums. “Right after making ‘The Champ,’ I went to see a psychic,” said Voight. “And he said, ‘there’s something you just made that’s going to be very, very big. But not here. Everywhere else in the world.’” A couple weeks later, the film opened and flopped in the United States. “But all over the world, it was huge,” said Voight. “Go figure. I think many, many people have had an experience like that.”
Voight talked at length about ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ in which he starred as a male prostitute alongside a sickly Dustin Hoffman, or “Dusty,” as Voight affectionately called him. The movie won Voight a Best Actor Oscar and spawned a series of memorable quotes, including Hoffman’s “I’m movin’ here! I’m movin’ here!” Voight chalked the famous line up to a combination of reckless cabbie behavior and improvisation, saying that he and Hoffman used to improvise constantly, even ordering lunch in character.
“On that particular day in New York,” said Voight, “police had cabs waiting while we did the shot. But if you know New York cab drivers, they’re not impressed with taking time out for movie-making. We used signaling and did a couple takes, which were ok. Then we did this take where a cab driver said, ‘To hell with you!’ and Dusty banged the cab and said, ‘I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here!’ Then he said, which wasn’t in the film, ‘Don’t worry about it, Joe. Not a bad way to get insurance.’ When we finished I asked John [Schlesinger], ‘Did you get it?’ He said, ‘Yea, yea, we got it.’ I knew there was gold there.”
Having acted in 75 films, Voight has been performing on screen since his television debut in 1963. Voight said he is currently working on several film projects.
Asked what motivates him to go to set each morning, Voight said, “I love storytelling. It’s a big challenge to do things right, it’s like making magic. You’re hoping that some chemistry works, and when it does, it’s magnificent.”
- Kate Lindsmith, Contributor
Photos courtesy of Kris Misevski. For more photos from the event, visit Kris Misevski's site