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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  October 25, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin evening with this idea: should there be within the world of islam a competing narrative to that of extremist radical fundamentalism. we talk to maajid nawaz. his book is called "radical, my journey of out of extremism." and john miller. >> if radicalism can be summed up as an ideological narrative then the opposite of those four need happen. the grievances need to be addressed where the half-truths are exactly that. the other half of the story need to be filled in. the recruiters, there need to be character assassination on people like al-awlaki. he was arrested in the unitedñi states soliciting prostitution. there needs to get out there. there needs to be a way to reconcile between brit british or european or american. >> rose: we conclude with a look at robert redford and his
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performance in a new movie called "all is lost" directed by j.c. candor. >> cinema is active these days. it's very entertaining. special effects and cutting and post work and so forth. but this was like almost going back to the time of silent movies. it allowed for an actor a real chance to be completely an actor. a lot of actors can think on screen and in a non-verbal way but he's actually able to communicate complex emotional transitions, if that makes sense have a thought, come, progress and then have a conclusion all about -- without saying a word. >> rose: maajid nawaz, john miller, robert redford and j.c. candor when we continue.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> the death and homicides of over one million civilians in iraq. the fact that the u.s. is supporting the deaths and killings of thousands of palestinians does not justify the killing of one u.s. civilian in new york city or washington, d.c. >> rose: that j.d. nawaz is here. he's the author of "radical, my journey out of islamic extremism tony blair said this book should be read by anyone that understands how the extremism that stalks our world is treated and how can be be overcome. it can only be written by someone who lived this story. also joining me, john miller, formerly of the f.b.i. and my colleague at cbs news. i'm pleased to have both of them here. this is as many of you know who i do many things that john miller says and so you said we should have a conversation here. why? >> this book is remarkable in
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that it is the story of radicalization written by the person who is being radicalized and you go through the process of his radicalization, into egypt where he's accused of trying to top it will government, into the prisons where he's tortured, among the prisoners where he meets other people and out the other end of that tunnel where he sees a light to say "this is a complex web of half-truths. i just got the other half of the story." and the reason i find this story and maajid fascinating is that, you know, there are others out there like anwar al-awlaki who are radicalizing people by the dozens efshd over the internet. there is no anti-al-awlaki. there is no credible alternative. >> rose: a person articulating ideas. >> he is as close to anybody like that as we've seen so i wanted to push this conversation to a wider audience.
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>> rose: so tell me how you became who you are today. >> well, a crucial part of my history is the 13 years of my leadership of an organization. it forms the person who i am today. i can't disown my past. i'm taking measures to correct my own previous mistakes. but it's also crucial because i'm using many of what i term as the transferable skills that i learned at the helm of an islamist organization and co-founding that organization in countries and use those transferable skills to now organize young people in pakistan, for example, for democratic activism so they can advocate car the democratic values on the grass-roots and inoculate them against extremist narratives. >> rose: you want people to know especially young people, that there is an alternative. >> the only successful social movement out there in the middle east at this moment that have been renegotiating the social
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contract and attracting young people what the future should be look like has been islamists. nobody hack working on the grass-roots to organize young people for democratic culture and values. at the same time, detaching those values and that culture from western foreign policy decisions-- because they are not one in the same thing-- of course france disagrees with america, disagrees with britain in their foreign policy, also subscribe to democratic values so we're trying to distinguish values from foreign policy and advocate far buy in to the values themselves. >> rose: what is it that attracted you in the first place to this kind of early life in islamist politics? >> i was born and raised in the u.k. in a place called essex and i experienced severe and violent racism. things like hammer attacks, machete attacks, false arrests by the police. my 16-year-old brother had been playing in the park with a toy gun, as a plastic gun as children do and the police decided we almost had been about to rob a bank and they mounted a
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surveillance operation and came after us at gunpoint that very evening. things have changed considerably in the u.k. since then but these were the bad old days when it was quite severe. that coupled with the bosnia genocide led to me feeling very disaffected and disconnected from british society. i didn't feel british at the same time i didn't feel pakistani. when i talk about the process of radicalization certain key things have to exist. someone a sense of grievance-- whether real or perceived-- and the other is an identity crisis and with those two factors in place it was very easy for what i call charismatic recruiter to come in and exploit that sense of grievance, exploit that identity crisis and sell or peditoll me these half-truths. >> rose: your brother had something to do with it. >> my brother was very attracted to the islamist ideology. i've got to say that he left the islamist ideology before i did. and, you know he -- he's a
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complicated person and i still have a very -- i love him very much as my brother but he still doesn't necessarily agree with my approach from challenging islamic extremism even though he left this organization. in fact, he wouldn't agree with much in this book and he's asked me to make that very clear. >> rose: why do you think-- and because you have had wide experience and deep experience in counterterrorism-- that there has failed to be articulated a counternarrative? >> i have thought about this for a long time because there's no one obvious answer but here are a couple key observations. on the one side of the ledger you have government. but they're the exact wrong people to give the narrative. in some measure you've got people who are clothing the radical ideology in religion so you don't want government decoding religion. it's not their role and they don't have the credibility.
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on the other hand, you've got the muslim groups in the united states, muslim public affairs council, care, muslims of america, but their primary brief has been on civil rights. are people being profiled? are they being -- some of the things that maajid just talked about. and while they give lip service -- more than lip service. they've all decried terrorism saying it's wrong but it's not their daily theme so there live this is big gap and it raises the question why is there not an american you? >> i think there are many reasons for that. you've hit the nail on the head. many muslim community based organizations, their brief has been to defend civil liberties. >> and there's nothing wrong with that. and there is a gap. >> and none of you should thank me for saying you should not be killed. that's not the baseline, that's not the end point. that's the starting point of the conversation. sadly the debate within and among muslim communities ends there rather than starts there.
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they think by condemning terrorism and the killing of innocents that their duty has been done and the rest of it is the civil rights brief, which is very important. >> so what's the call to arms? >> what i'm saying is this more muslims need to speak out not just the violence but against the bigotry and the hate and the intolerance within the islamist ideology to distinguish islamism from islam. the reason it hasn't been done is 0, of course, it's not very safe work. people in do this work are threatened on a daily basis and many of them are killed. and that's something if you take pakistan and the work we do there, i don't need to talk much about mall mall and she was a young girl. so if you're not a young girl, you're a man and you're doing this work you're more of a target because it's deemed more acceptable than it is to kill young children. yufs. >> rose: and he just found out he was on al-shabaab hit list. >> and there's been a video with you as the target for the very
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work you're doing? >> the somali terror group that was apparently decided the ken -- behind the kenyan mall attacks issued death threats and two of us have been named among four other people and the other person is a doctor who is engaged in some of the reform work within the discourse that is so necessary. >> rose: what is the quinn yum foundation? and we wanted to as a a counterterrorism think tank. it was to discuss and write about the counterislamism ideas, to advocate the for democratic culture, you aalize the media in the messaging bad sol we could present alternatives. if radicalization can be summed up as a sense of grievance, an identity crisis, charismatic
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recruiters and ideological narratives then the opposite of those four need to happen. grievances need to be addressed. half-truths are exactly that, the other half of the story needs to be filled in. the recruiters. there needs to be a level of character assassination on people like anwar al-awlaki arrest here in the united states where he was found soliciting prostitution. that message needs to get out there. when we talk about the identity crisis there needs to reconcile being british and muslim or american and finally the ideology needs to be unpicked and democratic alternatives need to be presented. >> rose: so a young man comes to you and says look, i'm leaning this way, i'm leaning to a place where i find some identity and some recognition and i think some appreciation of where i am in this world. what is the central message that you arkansas tick late? >> there are two stages. first of all the bulk of our work is on prevention so it's the stop the young men joining. and, of course, we do do someñr work on intervention which is to
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get somebody to leave -- >> rose: but i'm positing someone who's there. i'm saying "i find some attraction for these reasons, civil rights violations, racism, unemployment." whatever. >> i'd let him speak and find out what is making ÷ young man or woman angry. then there's a process of conversation that needs to happen. it's not in one sitting. itñiñr includes things like completing the picture. the islamist narratives say that there's a global war against muslim and arabs. our job is to demonstrate the complete picture.çó where they say as evidence that the u.s. is fighting muslim there is's the invasion of iraqi thexels rendition to torture and these are not lies. they're pointing to things that exist. our job is to say well, hold onó axd minute. the reasons the u.s. invaded iraq-- which i have also opposed-- weren't because the iraqis were muslims. every country has its geostrategic foreign policy. let's look at -- you talk about killing of muslims.
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actually, more muslims have died in pakistan from talibanñi and ó qaeda strikes than they have from u.s. drone strikes despite the fact i opposeçó the strikes, let's look at who the real victims are and who the perpetrators are. so we're trying to complete this picture here bufó none of that - in fact, all of that will fallñr on deaf ears unless there's a social machinery to send out messages across the middle east. >> rose: what if somebody says look, you have have a good point but this is a war within islam. >> it's not our business. my question is why are we fighting on two different battlefields? maajid, if you go looking for him, you'd find him on "60 minutes". you're going to reach 20 million people there. that's a bigñi impact. you'll find him on charlie rose, a bigñr audienceñr you'll find m on cbs news. but you'll find a ted talk but you don't really findñi 80 maajd
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nawaz videos on youtube the way you find anwar al-awlaki. >> i don't understand why not. you can make a speech.ñr and we can -- how simple is that to do? is >> why they playing on one playing field and you are playing on senate to >> we are so behind it's frustrating. quill yam has been around for five years we've struggled and toiled because we've been told time and again this isn't defined as charity work. if you're building a school or orphanage or hospital they can fund it. only this year secretary ofñi state kerry has partnered with turkey for a global fund for engaging community resilience. >> $200 million. 12 years after 9/11 we're getting to it. >> rose: and giving $200 million. >> and they're talking about a $200 million fund where the u.s. puts up money and turkey puts up money and theyçwant other countries to round the $200 million out but it's the first
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sign of a cohesive global effort. >> it's 12 years too late but the symbolism is important inñr that it's the first time this work has been defined as a good deed because prior to that it isn't seen as charitable work and foundations are reticent because they don't want to engage in these ideas. they are nervous. it's politically incorrect. but of course i think that that times have gone behind it if we don't recognize -- >> are they nervous or afraid? >> i think perhaps both. perhaps both. and i think if we don't recognize the fact that -- i caricatured george bush's strategy, neoconservatism, as imposing democracy at the barrel of the gun. however president near conservatism light because he moved the values piece and kept the gun. what we should have been focusing on is the values themselves because by$p found to realize is there's an ideology out there which is the soois geist of many thousands of
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angry young muslims that has grown into a fully blown insurgency such as in syria, what happened in north mali, such as in yemen, in pakistan in the northern territorys and unless we recognize this is an insurgency which has an ideology behind it, that our job is to make the islamist ideology as unattractive -- >> rose: here is the thing i'll come back to the point i made earlier. radical fundamentalism is what percentage ofñi islam? >> wellñi, his islamism is açó l percentage. >> rose: why aren't the other 9s% doing what other people articulated which is is you're trying to hijack our religion and this is what we stand for. this is the kind of narrative, not your kind of narrative. >> this is the question i ask when i go to pakistan and engage with the young people. why are we so quick to protest, for example, israeli actions in the west bank. but when moreñi muslims die by l
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qaeda there's no counterprotest and part of the reasons, part of the answer i get back as well as being accused of all sorts of things when i go back to pakistan is one of the reasons is the power dynamics. there's a serious identity crisis at play within the middle east and people don't feel comfortable as is the case and all situations like this. >> do you have access to most venues in europe and the middle east? >> when you say venues -- >> in other words you can speak where you want to speak? including security? >> yeah. of course -- >> rose: security is the primary things we're concerned about in terms of where you go and what you say? >> yeah, i think this news became -- i got a call from london, this news just came in about al-shabaab naming me. this is a sort of thing where even in london there's a concern because there's a huge -- according to their official estimates they're monitoring up to 2,000 sympathizers in britain itself. >> rose: going back to the obama administration you said
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frustratingly the obama administration took its eye completely off the ball in the crucial ideas debate and made the policy of targeted drone killings than bush's. obama's administration turned towards a crude results driven desire of body bags when tactics became the strategy. you lose sight of the overall aim. so that's whyñr you call it -- >> neoconservatism light. >> i've achieved more now túay in a lifetime. i think president obama had his own mission accomplished moment that we remember so vividly that george bush had and i think al qaeda if you look at them, they're controlling territory in certain regions whereas prior tr this they were mereçó asylum seekers. and the reason this has happened -- >> rose: these are -- al qaeda affiliated groups? >> they are -- yes. al qaeda in zagreb, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, and the reason this has happened is i
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think i believe we took our ideas off the values debate. we didn't try to makeñi islamist extremism as unappealing as soviet communism has become today. >> rose: you may understand this better than i do. general stanley mcchrystal, for example, begançó to understand n afghanistan that it was not about you couldn't kill all radicals, you had to have a policy that showed you have some concern in terms of targeting drones, not calling on drones in the middle of the night and all things. >> stanñi mcchrystal's whole theory was the war for hearts and minds was just as important as the war for killing the bad guys. ifçó you couldn't guarantee security, if you couldn't get the water going, if you couldn't make electricity come on for at least part of the day people weren't going to believe that you wereçó the answer to anythi. >> and killing one terrorist and his family would produce 20pvern influenced by that and radicalized by that was a
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negative consequence >> he brought the closest thing we've mean? war to community policing and it wasn't all that popular among people in this community because they said we're taking hits and turning the other cheek. >> rose: and you're not letting us go. >> exactly. so the idea was hearts and minds are important and i guess the argument against the drone program is that the collateral damage is making more enemies and radicalizing more people than the good they're getting from the far get. the flip side of that coin is-- and i say this from my view from working in the office of the director of national tell intense, of all the tools you could have used, troops on the ground moving into that stronghold you might have collateral damage, you might lose americans if you won't over with a net 15 you'd wipe out the whole village instead ofñrñi ony in one car as targeted as those things can be. if you used a helicopter gunship. i think in thexd lesser of evils they identified the droneñr stre
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as not the perfect weapon but the weapon that had the most precision to get to the target, which was the al qaeda leaders. nothing, no other system has killed more al qaeda leaders than the use of drones. it has broken the organization down to the level of when they're picking commanders they're down to the amateurs. >> rose: let me ask you about this. the moving finger writes and having written moves on. nor all they piety nor all thy it with can cancel half a line of it. >> so i've interspersed my autobiography with lines from omar kayem's rubaiyat. he was a very enlightened poet and scientist. he wrote this about his own works because he would question the norms of his day and advocate writing, literature, poetry to question such norms. that's what i'm doing.
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i called it radical and the reason i called it radical isn't describe what i used to be, it's to describe what i believe i am now. i believe to do this work is the truly radical work. i'm attempting to reclaim the word because i remember there was a time when it had a positive connotation and that's my purpose by mentioning these lines is to reclaim the radicalism here to think out of the box and ask my fellow muslims to stop questioning things they haven't been prepared to question because i genuinely believe this reform debate needs to kick off within the communities. >> rose: well, we'll end it there. you're running for parliament? >> yes, i'm the first bush-era political prison standing for parliament anywhere in a democracy. for 2016, for the liberal democrats. >> rose: the book is called "radical, my journey out of islamist extremism." >> a pleasure, thank you. >> rose: and you, too. >> it's good to be here. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us.
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>> rose: "all is lost" is the movie by j.c. chandor starring robert redford as a man stranded at sea struggling to survive. >> rose: here is the trailer for "all is lost."
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>> s.o.s., over? this is the "virginia jean" with an s.o.s. call. over. this is the "virginia jean" with an s.o.s. call. over?
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>> help! help! >> rose: joining joining me now is the director j.c. chandor and robert redford, the film's star. i'm pleased to have them at this table and see you again. welcome. >> rose: good to see you. how did this start? >> it started with a letter which is how the film starts. so i was sitting on a train
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editing my first film, which is a film called "margin call" and i was going up and down the eastern sea board and there were thousands of thousands of boats that just get stores along the rail yard in the winter and i was passing all these boats that sort of at some point represent great dreams, probably, to all the people that owned them but when you see them sort of propped up, sitting through the winter there was sort of a great sadness about them and i sort of out of nowhere just wrote this letter which begins the film. it's the letter that starts the film and it's essentially a farewell note. so that note sat around for probably five or six months without anything else happening to it and then i slowly kind of built this crazy movie around it. >> rose: your character doesn't have a name. >> he doesn't.
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he's just a guy. he's called "our man" in the film. and that didn't have any great significance -- when you write a script the name of the character shows up hubs of times. every time the character speaks or does anything you usually refer to their name and i always find it hard to write that way because when you're watching a movie you hardly ever know who the person's name is so it was just a crutch whenñr i started . i didn't want to name him anything and then i never did. >> rose: so you have a script now. >> you have a 31 page script. >> rose: and you have one person you want to send it to. >> i do. actually, i had 15 pages of the first script and then i went and the first time i ever experienced robert was he gives a welcoming brunch to all the filmmakers at sun dance and has every year and i was sitting in the back of the room, i had come in a little late and the speaker behind my shoulders was disconnected. i didn't know it at the time and soxd he's up there talking and i could only hear his voice coming
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from the other side of the room and it was very faint and about two minutes in someone came behind me and plugged in and suddenly, you know, he always jokes he doesn't have anything of a voice but i tell him his voice is a pretty cool tool and that voice came and at that point i never thought of anybody else for the role and so amazingly about a month later i finished the writing and sent it to him and probably ten days later i'm sitting in a rime across from him, he asked me to come and meet him. >> rose: so you're reading a script that has virtually no dialogue. >> i liked it already. (laughter) it was the beginning of a series of points like that that really drew me into it. but that was the first one and it wasn't written so much as it was diagramed because j.c. is
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wonderful. he's not only an avid sailor, he's an expert sailor. so he put something on the page that told me he knew what he was talking about and it was so detailed and informed that it almost had its own dramatic feel to it. so, yeah, that was the first -- >> rose: had you seen martin sdmal >> yeah, we premiered it. >> but that film was not -- my film was not a hugeñi hit coming out of sundance. so he was going on trust. >> rose: but it was a good film. >> it was! and i liked it a lot and it was intelligent and also i liked the way he was working in the confineds say if. is the thing that got me going back to what you're saying. i got these 31ñr pages and i lok at itñi and it's so diametricaly opposed to "margin call." i said wait a minute, could the same guy be doing this? so meeting him was part
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curiosity, i wanted to find out if he was nuts. >> rose: what was your judgment? >> well, that he was nuts but a good guy.çó (laughter) there were a lot of other reasons to do it but that stretch from "margin call dwots that told me wait a minute, this guy is interesting the other interesting part is it was not only slim in terms of dialogue-- virtually none-- but also in terms of describing who the character was. and there was very little information about who he was. so when i first met him i said as a director what do you have in mind here? you want to fill in some of the stuff? and at first i thought he was beingñi evasive and then i realized he was being intentional and that was the second thing i was attracted to. and it was existential because it opened it up for an audiencetor viewer to come into the picture without filters,
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without barriers, no dialogue, not too much information about the guy. created a wonderful challenge for an actor but for me i guessó you'd call it pure cinema. sin that is prettyñr active thee entertaining and a lot of special effects and post work and so forth. but this was almost going back to the time of silent movies it allowed for an actor a real chance to be completely an actor py appreciated that. >> rose: where are you now as an actor? are you looking for lots of different kinds of things? are you more interested in acting than other things or -- where are your priorities? >> i don't know about -- i've done other things but i think that had a lot to do with me wanting to act exclusively. for me it was a chance to go backñi w my roots because i started as an actor and things
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multiplied over time and they were -- i was fortunate but on the other hand it took me further away from the thing i started with and loved doing. and this gave me that chance to go back to that place. >> rose: what's the channel here? so you've got to take this man and this character who doesn't have a name and tell a story. >> yeah, to finish that thought, when he came to our set you had -- he had just finished color crafting his previous film but he had directed himself and i think we got him at an amazing time for what i was trying to do because he -- i mean almost in an uncomfortable way he sort of handed himself over to us and i had been prepared by a couple people who was going to do this and they said "i saw him and sydney pollock and they used to go at it." and i was expecting some input but in a way, you know, i think
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the story -- it seemed like bob was just ready, really, to be a pure actor. so the challenge for me is you're making a 90 or00 minute film where a guy never speaks rarely and how are you going-to-do that from the story perspective. so the confidence i've always in my whole career gone back to this is the script. in this case i doubled down and i said if robert redford has shown up on my set to do this with me based on these 31 pages let's make a movie that is these 31 pages and stick to that. in a way his confidence in me and the trust he was putting in with me, it's a little outlandish. >> rose: go ahead. >> no, you go ahead. >> rose: (laughs)
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well it gave you a chance to define a character and bark story and all that stuff. here is handing you and opportunity and saying "here's why i want you to help bring this character? and you're not hemmed in by dialogue. you don't have to be true to dialogue to make that much of it. >> all that was positive and when we met there were a couple other positive things when we met. one, of course, i said i loved this film and i felt there was a keen intelligence and also an independent mind behind it. i'm a big supporter of independent thinking and independent film making he fit that beautifully and when we got together there's some things you can't explain. i'm going to say the word trust. trust does not come easily in this business. normally you g.o.p. into a meeting like that, i'm going to meet a new director, am i going to be in a movie, is he going to do what he has to do?
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usually he has lawyers and managers and agents and everybody around to table to filter every and it takes a long time to make a deal. there's nobody there but j.c. and i and i just got this vibe, there was not more to go on than that. i said i just feel like this guy has such a grip on his story and it's so detailed, he's's taken detail, the tiniest thing and emphasized it to the point where it has its own dramatic value. and it thought i'm in good hands here. it will good to feel good to not give myself anything other than acting. >> rose: this is the scene in which the character -- >> our man. >> rose: our man is fishing. here it is.
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so just talk to me about that scene. >> well, i think it speaks for itself. >> rose: (laughs) it does. but nevertheless -- >> it's kind of like a lot of what happens in the film. >> rose: you see him thinking, you see him acting. >> yeah, and his thinking had better be real otherwise there have would be nothing for the audience to try to hook into. one of the things that occurred to me when i was driving down here is that the film had another thing. because the character -- it starts off with a minor thing that turns into a major things which turned into an impossible
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thing. and the character has to work his way through that. and he can call on a lot of what he knows about sailing up to a point and then he can't. he's going to have to improvise because so many things are going haywire and so many things are getting crucial. one of the things that i remember thinking when i was working on the film as an actor was i have to remember not to forget that there's something going on, i can go here, no, wait a minute, i have to put the preserver before -- because all hell was breaking loose. there was wind and rain and all. that you can't see, you can't think but you have to make sure that you don't -- you remember not to forget the order of things you have to take. now, that happened in the film and i remember thinking "i've got to remember -- i better -- oh, the water." so there was a whole lot of stuff going on and i just thought about that coming down here.
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>> you know he's a great sailor because he told you or because he showed you? >> i'm not a great sailor, by the way. (laughs) but i did know >> i always said the movie is about someone sinking not sailing. >> rose: would this have been a different movie if it was not a face that everybody knows? >> yeah. i mean, i think absolutely. also his age. the film -- the third act of this film comes to this -- it's what i hoped when we set out to do it and it turns out for a percentage of the audience they're really reacting that ways which the third act is this kind of very intense emotional experience where you're seeing this guy kind of come to grips with his mortality in front of you. the fact that it's this guy is obviously a key component of that from setting up drama. the need thing -- it goes back
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to that original meeting or sort of -- not meeting but interaction at sun dance was by taking away his voice, essentially, and sort of tying that tool as an actor behind his back what we found that audience members while -- while the shared history that we all have with all the amazing performances and the reasons he's given in his life is still sort of there as a viewer. the fact that this situation is so sort of absurd that the guy is caught up in and abstract and that he is just so in the moment as an actor it's kind of amazing. you get the best of both worlds. you're getting the relationship that an audience has with robert redford. but yet hopefully if it's working for you you're going on this journey where it's just a man and in a way by the end, which was what we found which is what i was hoping is he becomes
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sort of this every man. where the audience is actually projecting, you know, relationships that they've had in their own lives or themselves and it comes to this fairly sort of intense emotional conclusion but you needed him -- i mean, i wouldn't have made the film without him. >> rose: you would not? >> probably not. the first couple acts of the film are big physical insane kind of action movie so to find someone who is older and is, you know, kind of in their life kind of been through so much but yet still able to pull off what he does in the film physically that's a very fine line and i luckily by the time we actually went and made the movie i had some choices in my career for the first time ever but there was a version with him and i didn't really think about any other version. >> rose: did you think about
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jeremiah johnson at all when you made this film? >> after. i didn't think about it during the time, no. but you bring up -- you mention it -- there's a parallel there in terms of what it's about that's sort of existential which is that at some point a person comes up against impossible odds and you can't make it out and there that's where people quit and then some people quit. but some don't. and some people just continue. i didn't know it at the time because i was busy being in it. there was not a lot of time -- there was no dialogue in between. there was no meetings afterwards there was -- you worked, you got wet, you went home. and you drank some tequila. and then you go back to work
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again. but afterwards both those films had the same thing. they were existential in the sense that these two characters only -- they just keep going because that's all there is to do it. there's no other reason for it. >> rose: do you feel good about what you accomplished in acting or were you somehow distracted by one thing or another, sun dance, directing, living. >> yeah, living -- you know, living complicates it but, yeah, i think i was but i would feel it. i would feel wait a minute, i'm going down this lead the's productive. it makes me feel good to -- it might be old-fashioned but i like the idea of giving something back, i like the idea of if you're fortunate enough with enough success something that can give opportunity to other people. i just like that feel.
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but if you pursue it and you get too involved with it it takes you so far off your own track that this is how i started and this is why i started and this is what i'm supposed to be. so, yeah, i think there's some distraction and i think sun dance was one and that's why i pulled back on it. that's why this film met -- one of the reasons it meant a great deal to me is it gave me a chance to push that aside and say, okay, i've done that, it can go on its own now. it doesn't need me. this now i can fogh focus on what gives me joy. >> rose: so do i hear you saying that, you know, if you're doing it over you're still doing all those things or do i hear you saying "look, i was born to be an actor and that's what i really did best. and i might have been different if i had not been distracted." >> well, i think -- i probably grew up pretty much with my mind on the idea that you take the
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road least traveled. that's what motivated me through a lot of live. and it took me a long time to accept when i got into the performing arts that something clicks for me that i wasn't expecting that felt really good. and i thought should i pursue this or not be tempted by this? should i go back and stay focused as a painter? but i couldn't deny the feeling i had. so i went in that direction but to answer your question, charlie yes, i feel things have progressed to the better over time. just as you get older and you take in more information and you get more sure of what you want to do so when you look back -- perry mason?xd perry mason, the first thing i did, perry mason "the case of the treacherous toupee." (laughter) the title of it! i mean, god, you've got to start
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somewhere. >> rose: you need a job at some point. >> it was unbelievable, though. we shot in mexico and he closed -- he closed himself off from all those distractions. his long time personal secretary was the only person who sort of knew how to get him and sundance and all the other work. and i know heñi said that he's going to come down there and we'll go on this thing. and i think you seemed invigorated and relieved by that he would just come on the set not worrying about all the things he haded to do as a director. >> there are times when i go up to u.s. tout get out of the mading crowd and get piece and kwai yet i can process stuff and i usually get on a horse and go for a long ride because the trail there is, there are no roads and so forth. that solace, that quiet is
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invigorating. in a weird way i had the same thing working on the film is that by just being there as the actor i could shut everything else out and just be in that space which really helped me perform. >> rose: how did he surprise you?çó >>. >> i don't think i knew this at the time but the sort of creative courage to, at 75 years old having accomplished what he has to -- just to do this. it's a little unusual. it's literally a 31-page little document and i had directed one film at the time. so i think so the thing for me that's surprising is that to put yourself out there that way creatively and to -- this film could have ended up very bad.
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you know, thankfully we almost pulled it off, i think but if you go back two years ago where we first met or a year and a half ago, that was not assured and i think if you look at the decisions he's made throughout his career, starting sundance, the director of photography on our project came up to me emotional at one point when we were shooting the scene and he looked at me and said "do you know, i've raised a child, i have a nice apartment that i own in new york city and i've been a director of photography on independent films my entire career." he's probably 50 years old. and he goes "it's because of that guy that these type of films" pointing to this guy that we were getting to work with. he literally created sort of a legitimate business. and i know he hates the business
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side of it but the by-product was that people were able to make a living doing this. >> and the sundance channel. maureen dowd got to you. >> she has a way of doing that. >> rose: she does! "mr. red ford has made a career of what he called intransally american guys going up against implacable forces."
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>> yates is one of my favorite poems. he also wrote "the center will not fold." which we're experiencing -- well anyway. >> just the finishing thought of what surprised me, i was thinking about that, is what he does in the third act of thisñr film as an actor i didn't know we had until three or four months later in the editñr. i was trying to explain it and i couldn't think of the world but it's his ability -- a lot of actors can think of screen in a
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non-verbal way but he's able to communicate very complex motional transitions, if that makes sense. actually have a thought, sort of come and then progress and then have a conclusion. all about saying a word which is -- >> rose: what you need in a movie. >> i like to say i knew that going in but to have those performances that he's giving and the sort of -- the emotional kind of resonance pop up three months later and you're like oh, my god, that's what's going on when we were right there is -- but, again, that only comes from that courage of being able to essentially do something you haven't done before. >> rose: you hate me for doing this, don't you? >> well, i'm not going to say that on the show. (laughs)
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((reads)ñi you have any wiser thoughts on immortality? (laughs) >> no, i came from a pretty dark bunch of people. if something good happened there must be something wrong with it. >> rose: but you feel to feel good about yourself right now, don't you? >> i do. i do. how can i not? it's a wonderful feeling and it leaves me uncustomarily positive. it really does. it leaves me feeling solid and confidentñi and i'm able to go n the show. i wouldn't be able to do it if i
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didn't -- >> you know you would. >> yeah, i feel grateful. >> rose: on the other hand, if you need to feel sad, how do you feel about where we are in terms of climate change and all those issues that went beyond your professional career? >> well, sadness is the right word. but i think life is essentially sad. it has great moments of happiness, it has great moments of joy and upbeat but sadness is like a current running through life. it's just there and it pops up. it's something i believe in drawing on because i think it's real. you were talking about america. yeah, i'm've not done films that were about other countries butçó for me i was fascinated growing up as a kid with the stories we were being told, the propaganda we are being told versus the reality that i witnessed.
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it was at the end of the second world war, there's a lot of propaganda, red white and blue propaganda, i had family in the war who wereñr lost in the war o i was very committed to that. america's great, it was, it is, but what happens was i was told things -- the slogans -- the one that stuck with me was it doesn't mather whether you win or lose but how you play the game. this was a baseball coach that said that. but i bought that until i realized it was a lie. this was a country where winning was everything. and as these things dawned on me and i was able to then put my thoughts into work i went into what i felt was the gray zone of america. where things were more complex and things were a bit grayer and yet it was still about america.
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and that's where i moved into that area of the films that were going to be a bit more complex and you bring that forward. now that doesn't always work with a lot of people. a lot of people aren't going to be comfortable with that. but that was how i thought. >> rose: thank you for coming, pleasure to see you again. thank you for joining us. see you again. complete.
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