A Living Legend In Hollywood
Jeff Goldblum talks about his acting career and a passionate love of music
A staff writer says that Hollywood could learn a thing or two from him
Jeff Goldblum got his first break into film with a silent role as a nameless thug in Death Wish with Charles Bronson in 1974; and used his towering, bookish good looks and charismatic spirit to win supporting roles in Silverado, The Big Chill and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
His breakthrough came in the mid-1980s in David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly, which thrust the actor into the A-list. And he followed that with a string of modern classics including The Tall Guy and Earth Girls Are Easy.
Then came a lead in Jurassic Park, which was to become one of the largest grossing movies in history.
Three years later, he starred in the sci-fi juggernaut Independence Day, which was an earth-shattering saga that raked in a little under US$ 1 billion at the box office. And then, Goldblum was tempted to act in the Fallen Kingdom, which followed the mighty Thor: Ragnarok.
But the 70-year-old version of Goldblum is about so much more. It’s as if, in these middle years, the entertainer has finally afforded himself the time, freedom and creativity to pursue all of those projects that had to sit by the wayside as film scripts continued to be delivered through the door.
Notably, there’s a growing discography that celebrates his skill and accomplishment on the piano. Celebrating his love of jazz and swing, Goldblum released The Capitol Studio Sessions and I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This to rich critical acclaim, and accompanying live dates have followed.
He asserts: “I think if you ask many actors, they will tell you that music is their second love – the two actually go hand in hand, and that is certainly the case for me. It is a creative expression that’s so removed from acting but feels so close at the same time.”
Chatting about music, film and new fatherhood on the eve of the release of Asteroid City, he says that he will never stop learning.
Goldblum explains how sci-fi, history and jazz link together in one person: “I do like combining anything that inspires me to think deeply, be creative and feel satisfied. That’s why we are on this planet, after all – and very lucky to be as well. I love science fiction movies and could speak about them all day. But I also love real space history; and in particular, how we came to be on Earth. It’s all a passion.”
“Would I go so far as to say music knits those together? No! But have you ever seen a space sci-fi movie without a classical music soundtrack? Think about that. Have you ever seen a deeply romantic movie without some sort of jazzy interlude? And have you ever seen a car chase without a percussion accompaniment? That’s the value of music – it’s what we notice and what we don’t.” Jeff elaborates.
Regarding his music career prior to acting, Goldblum reveals: “I always wanted to be an actor; but I was a piano player in a few cocktail bars and places, and I was able to do my acting as well. So it’s not something that’s totally out of the blue.”
“Maybe when people see that I have released a few albums, they will think it was out of comedy or novelty, or something like that. And I get that – because they know me more from my acting. But I’ve been playing piano for years; and for about the last eight years or so I’ve been playing in a band, and we have a residency in a place in Los Angeles called Rockwell,” he continues.
Jeff affirms: “It’s such a great time to be doing it because I’ve been able to achieve success in my acting career and now, I’m fortunate enough to be able to completely relax and play music, and be who I want to be. I have evolved, like everything around me!”
On the question of his fascination with the concept of evolution, Goldblum observes: “I watched an incredible documentary called One Strange Rock that premiered on National Geographic. And the discussion was about how the Earth was formed, what was here before us on the planet, how life came about and the absolute luck as to why things are the way they are today.”
“These are my acting studies. It’s like gardening – because it takes constant excavating; and over a long period of time, you see growth and life. And it’s enjoyable to be in the process of trying and digging, and I hope that never ceases,” Goldblum notes with regard to his acting career of more than 40 years and the knowledge he has gathered over the decades.
He concludes: “Where music is concerned, I feel I am still right at the start despite having been musical for decades. I know next to nothing – and I like that!”
“I think if you ask many actors, they will tell you that music is their second love – the two actually go hand in hand, and that is certainly the case for me”
“I’ve been playing piano for years; and for about the last eight years or so I’ve been playing in a band… in Los Angeles”
“I’ve been able to achieve success in my acting career and now, I’m fortunate enough to be able to completely relax and play music”