The Big Interview with John Leguizamo PREMIERES Tuesday July 14th


Entertainment renaissance man John Leguizamo joins Dan Rather for an all-new episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, July 14, at 8pE. During the open and honest hour-long discussion, the multi-talented actor, producer, comedian, and writer talks about working with legendary A-listers such as Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brian DePalma and Al Pacino; fist-fighting with Patrick Swayze in full drag; his troubled relationship with his father.

With a successful acting career spanning almost three decades, Leguizamo has had the opportunity to work with some of the best and biggest names in the business. He calls Sean Penn one of the top actors of our generation, saying,

“I did CASUALTIES OF WAR with him, and he was very methody in his way. He wouldn’t say ‘Hello’… he was still the sergeant, so… he was always in character, 24/7. But he likes tough people… he likes when you step up into his space, and he respects you. But, he’s a tough guy, man. He’s created a persona because that is his persona.”

On CARLITO’S WAY co-star Al Pacino, Leguizamo says,

“I’ve never worked with anybody who was so present, so there. I’ve never experienced that. Just ready to go wherever the moment’s gonna take you. It was beautiful to watch. I could feel it, because I studied method, too, and I know he lives in that world, of being just present.”

Additionally, Leguizamo describes Leonardo DiCaprio as,

“An incredible kid. He was 19 years old, we did ROMEO & JULIET, and I’d never seen anybody so committed. He was like James Dean… he had that James Dean ability to be so raw and open. Very emotional. Very emotional kid… and loved to party.”

His experience with action icon Steven Seagal on the set of EXECUTIVE DECISION was less positive, however, as Leguizamo recalls,

“He’s a rough character, man… I didn’t have a good time with him. I’m supposed to be his right-hand man, we’re rehearsing in front of the director and cast, and he comes in and goes ‘I’m in command, what I say is law.’ And I started laughing, ‘cause I thought he must be joking, we’re just hanging out. And he punched me in the solar plexus, knocked all the air out of me. The dude is six-foot-five… I mean, he runs like a chick, but he hits like an Aikido master.”

Things also got physical between Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze while shooting the cult comedy TO WONG FOO… Leguizamo opens up about the feud, saying,

“It wasn’t all his fault, I was to blame for a lot of that. I was cocky, I was really arrogant. We’re doing a movie about drag queens, we’re all dressed like women. I’m in hot pants, he’s in pumps, we’re all being so prissy and all of that… I saw this as my big opportunity in life, and there was nobody who was gonna take that away from me. So, I was ad-libbing, I was adding to the character, I was doing all this madness… We do this scene, and I ad-lib like crazy. And Patrick goes, ‘Why don’t you just say the line the way it’s written’, and I was like, ‘Why don’t you make me?’ And I didn’t mean to say it, but that stuff clicks in sometimes and the real you shows up… So, we’re getting ready to fight, and we’re dressed like chicks with press-on nails, and he’s popping them off, and we’re about to duke it out. And the director’s pregnant, she’s sticking her belly in between the two of us… and we started swinging at each other, and they had to pull us apart. And then we made up and kissed later. I think we were PMS-ing at the same time.”

Speaking about his troubled relationship with his estranged father, who took offense to the way the actor portrayed his childhood on stage, Leguizamo candidly admits,

“It was kind of meant to be offensive. I did FREAK to free myself from a lot of things that I grew up with that were hard for me to digest in my life. My art became about being incredibly raw and honest, but it was also to heal myself. It was painful for my dad, I’m sure. It’s not pleasant to put that stuff out there. That’s a lesson for everybody… don’t put your personal life out there, ‘cause it has a lot of consequences.”

To see more of this insightful episode, be sure to tune into THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, July 7 at 8pE, only on AXS TV.

THE BIG INTERVIEW airs every Tuesday at 8pE, only on AXS TV. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too, so share on Facebook and Twitter using #axsTBI.

Dan Rather

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