“Tell us about your latest film, Sir Edward…” - Phil Collins intevriewed on BBC Radio Two about his new film Frauds. Interview conducted by Gloria Hunniford and transcribed by David Beaumont. Memorabilia TWR achive.
GH: My guest this afternoon is Phil Collins, lead singer with Genesis and solo artist. Phil is taking time out to make a film called Frauds, that’s being made in Australia. How do you feel when you look at yourself on the screen?
PC: Well, some actors don’t like to see themselves at all. I mean, to get some actors to watch themselves in a film seems to be quite a feat but I don’t really mind because I am still trying to learn from the things I’ve done. I mean, this film is a very different part for me to play, which is the main reason for doing it, you know. I wanted to say to people; “hey, I’m not where you thought I was” and to stretch myself and to try to do things I haven’t done before. And obviously this part is very different to Buster. I’ve just done a part in a film called And The Band Played On…. Which is about AIDS and the origin of AIDS. It’s an American film and it has just been finished. I play a Greek bath house owner.
GH: Oh, that’s different…
PC: Yeah, you see I haven’t done that before, and those sort of parts are always interesting.
GH: Modesty aside, you seem to have a natural talent as an actor as
well as a musician.
PC: Modesty or not, I’m flattered that’s the way it comes across because it’s not been taught. I kind of read the part and sort of by reading it and having the knowledge of watching a lot of films, it’s instinct. I sort of taught myself to sing and play the piano. I do go and see Joan Washington as an acting coach. I did go and see her before doing Buster and we really touched the surface of how to get into a part and with Frauds we spent a long time going into far, far greater detail.
GH: I saw your agent in Los Angeles who said what a nice guy to take time out to concentrate on the movie, but in the film you’re not really the nice guy. It’s a really good part for you. It’s off- the-wall humour…
PC: Yes, and the reason apart from that was it was a good script. It seemed an original idea; a film that doesn’t really fall into any category, which in terms of wanting a film to be a commercial success, is the kiss of death. We all knew it wasn’t going to be a Buster or like an Indecent Proposal. It’s not going to be a big film. It’ll be a bit quirky and hopefully people will see it and like it and tell their friends about it.
GH: Was it a low budget movie?
PC: Six to seven million dollars, that’s what kind of made it interesting. It was really a sort of family unit. We made it in a warehouse in Sydney and we would be shooting and they’d shout “Cut!” and they would start hammering and building the next day’s set.
GH: Changing the subject; because you are so busy, do you ever get paranoia about being away from Lilly and Jill?
PC: No, they come as much as possible to the shows but after about thirty or forty shows they get a bit bored and say “can we do something else now?” To be honest, on my next tour, next year when my album comes out, we are scheduling the tour already to fit around the school holidays.
GH: Tell me about this house you’ve recently bought, on Sunset Boulevard, isn’t it?
PC: Yes, we were sort of window shopping, saw this house for sale, went and saw it; saw that it had potential and bought it. It was built by a pair of brothers who made their first film in Hollywood. They later set up business with Mac Sennett, and went bankrupt in the early Thirties. Someone then bought it and rented it to Cole Porter for four years then someone called Richard Bartholomews bought it; Jack Benny’s agent had it; Debby Reynolds had it; so it had quite an interesting history.
GH: Going back to your writing, how do you feel it has progressed over the years?
PC: Obviously, I think it has got better. I have learned more than four or five chords, but I feel that I can capture a sentiment in a lyric that can reach people and I think that’s the most important thing about song writing. I manage to put it in a way I can relate to and other people can relate to…
GH: Thank you very much for your time, Phil.
And thanks to Dave for taking the time to transcribe this very interesting interview for us here at TWR.