There’s a saying in Hollwood that goes something like, if it ain’t broke, hire Harvey Keitel to play a ganster again because he’s the best at it. Deco’s Alex Miranda, who has a rap sheet as long as he is tall, has the story.
If Harvey Keitel excels at one thing, it’s always wearing the most stylish eyewear, but as a close second, it’s playing mobsters in legendary movies .. although, after this interview with him, I’m starting to think it’s not all an act.
Be careful what you wish for.
Harvey Keitel (as Meyer Lansky): “Betray me, and there will be consequences.”
In “Lansky,” Harvey Keitel stars as Miami Beach mobster Meyer Lansky, best known as the mob’s accountant, who turned a deadly life of organized crime into a worldwide gambling empire.
Harvey Keitel (as Meyer Lansky): “I’m an angel with a dirty face.”
Sam Worthington (as David Stone) “Is that what you tell yourself so you can sleep at night?”
A down-and-out writer doesn’t pass up the chance to pen Meyer’s bloody biography, but as the retired gangster recounts his decades in the national crime syndicate, the FBI is also listening.
Harvey Keitel: “I think Meyer and I would have enjoyed each other.”
Probably not what you expected to hear from Harvey. Nor this…
Harvey Keitel: “If I can get your haircut out of my mind, I’ll have room to think. I’m trying to think, if I was your age now, would I look good with that hairdo?”
Thanks, Harvey Keitel!
Meyer was also depicted in “The Godfather: Part II” as Hyman Roth.
Lee Strasberg (as Hyman Roth): “This is the business we’ve chosen.”
But the two do have a few things in common, aside from the whole murder thing.
Harvey Keitel: “The events he experienced, I put with events I’ve experienced, and that’s how I discover myself, which is my main goal, and him at the same time.”
Meyer was a Jewish immigrant. Harvey was the child of Jewish immigrants. Both grew up in poverty.
Harvey Keitel: “The way he took care of his son, and the way he didn’t want to be remembred as a gangster, but as someone who loved.”
Harvey is best known for his roles as gangsters like Meyer. Remember Winston Wolfe in “Pulp Fiction”?
Harvey Keitel (as Winston Wolfe): “I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you guys to act fast if you want to get out of this.”
Alex Miranda: “Why do you think we romanticize that gangster life so much, culturally?”
Harvey Keitel: “It’s a superficial way of attaching to somebody heroic. ‘Oh, I won’t be afraid. I could kill this guy, I could shoot this guy, stab this guy, murder that guy. I’ll be a [expletive] hero.”
But at what cost?
Harvey Keitel: “But then, that night, that you’re lonely and by yourself, you have no one to kill, you’re going to cry for your mother.”
“Lansky” is playing On Demand and in select theaters.
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