If you love movies, you almost certainly love Harvey Keitel. The man has been a mainstay of cinema for decades, going all the way back to the 1960s. In fact, ever since Martin Scorsese has been a factor on film, so too has Keitel. First making an impact in Mean Streets, as well as Taxi Driver, Keitel quickly became a go-to player for Scorsese. Later on, there was Bad Lieutenant, Bugsy (for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor), Clockers, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Irishman, Isle of Dogs, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Red Dragon, Reservoir Dogs, The Two Jakes, U-571, Youth, and much more. In addition to Scorsese, he’s become a returning cast member for Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, to name two filmmakers. As you can see, the man is a legend, through and through.
Keitel has more than just an Academy Award under his belt, but it’s clear that the passion for the work goes far beyond awards recognition. That became clear last week when I had the opportunity to speak with him, but what surprised me was just how funny he is. Keitel is a wonderfully nice man, quick to brush aside time constraints and happy to delve into his personal life for a story. We spent over twenty minutes talking, which is pretty rare for a scheduled interview like this. Clearly, he seemed to enjoy this chat (no accounting for taste, but still, I was flattered). Now, I’m thrilled to present it to you all.
Below, you can hear my conversation with Keitel. We spoke to promote his recent biopic Lansky, but we wound up going in a number of different directions. In fact, we talk about Brooklyn and Abraham Lincoln High School most of all. Why, you may ask? Well, that’s due to the wild coincidence of us both being Lincoln alumni. Plus, back when I was a student (I believe a freshman or a sophomore, but don’t quote me on that), Keitel came to visit the school, talking to a group of teenagers that included yours truly. Oddly, I’ll never forget a kid holding up a DVD of Reservoir Dogs and Keitel just repeating the title of the film, as if he was figuring out how this teen had seen the movie. He was a delight then and he is a delight now. Enjoy this chat between two Brooklynites, and yes, in case you’re wondering, I did get the donut he asked about…
Here now is my interview with legend and Lansky star Harvey Keitel. Enjoy:
Lansky is available to watch right now!