The Movie Jeffrey Wright Has 'Seen A Million Times' Actor Jeffrey Wright could watch Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now a million times. "It probably features the most effective narration of any film in the history of cinema," he says.
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The Movie Jeffrey Wright Has 'Seen A Million Times'

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The Movie Jeffrey Wright Has 'Seen A Million Times'

The Movie Jeffrey Wright Has 'Seen A Million Times'

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ROBERT SMITH, HOST:

On this show, we've been asking filmmakers about the movies they never get tired of watching, the ones they could watch over and over again, including this one from the star of the film "Basquiat."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE END")

JEFFREY WRIGHT: Hi. I'm Jeffrey Wright, and I'm an actor. And the film that I have seen a million times is "Apocalypse Now," directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Albert Hall, Larry Fishburne, Robert Duvall and God knows all of the other greatest actors in the world giving some of the greatest portrayals ever seen in cinema.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE END")

WRIGHT: I guess I was maybe 16 or 17 when I first saw it. And, you know, for, you know, a teenager, you know, becoming a man, there's, I think, to some extent, a kind of natural fascination with conflict and war for a young man. And so this movie, in some ways, was kind of the closest that, you know, I had to a war experience.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "APOCALYPSE NOW")

ROBERT DUVALL: (as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore) I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.

WRIGHT: It's the story of, you know, a young soldier who's given a mission, and he goes on an epic, you know, hero's journey through madness and horror.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WRIGHT: To choose one scene, why don't I just keep it simple and just start with the beginning, where we find, you know, Martin Sheen, you know, Captain Willard, lying in bed in Saigon and the journey begins.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "APOCALYPSE NOW")

WRIGHT: It probably features the most effective narration of any film in the history of cinema.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "APOCALYPSE NOW")

WRIGHT: The end of this day, we find, you know, Marlon Brando in just one of the most powerful, strange, kind of wonderfully indulgent performances imaginable. You know, he says - asks Martin Sheen, you know, are you an assassin?

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "APOCALYPSE NOW")

WRIGHT: His face peers out finally into the light, and he says: You're neither.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "APOCALYPSE NOW")

WRIGHT: Grocery clerks, he says...

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "APOCALYPSE NOW")

WRIGHT: ...to collect the bill, you know, and it's just staggering poetry. It's just magic.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "APOCALYPSE NOW")

WRIGHT: The first movie I ever did was a miniseries called "Separate but Equal" with Sidney Poitier and Albert Hall, who played Chief in "Apocalypse Now." And I said: Hey, Albert, oh, man, you know, I've seen "Apocalypse Now," I don't know, probably 163 times. And it's just the most meaningful thing to me. And when we finished filming, he gave me a book, and he wrote inside: Jeffrey, evolution is when a young actor comes up to you and says: I've seen your work, you know, 100-so times. And it has meaning to me. And so, I don't know, that's just kind of an antidote of what it - of what the film meant to me.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SMITH: That's actor Jeffrey Wright talking about the movie that he could watch a million times, Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." Wright's new film, "Broken City," is in theaters now.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SMITH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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