For ‘Be Kind Rewind' co-star Danny Glover, it's all about community

by Rick Bentley

McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

21 February 2008


The normally soft-spoken Danny Glover begins to raise his voice. He’s not mad. Glover is just trying to be heard over the clatter that is going on behind him.

Glover’s young grandson has accompanied the actor to the small room at the Four Seasons Hotel. Glover is there to talk about his new feature film “Be Kind Rewind.” The youngster is more interested in the Batman cartoons playing on the TV set in the adjoining room.

After a few minutes, Glover asks a young woman to take the child outside. A quiet fills the room. Glover returns to his soft-spoken ways.

That Glover even brought his grandson to the interview shows one reason he was interested in the role in the Michel Gondry movie. Family is important to the actor. And in the movie, his character is a video store owner who has lived and worked on the same street corner so long that his clients are more like family. That’s why he is so upset when he finds out the building is about to be demolished.

This story plays out behind the antics of Jack Black and Mos Def, who try to recreate famous movies when they accidentally erase all of the videotapes in the shop.

“On the surface, it is the story about this guy who has this institution within the community which is a video store. This video store is a repository of memories in some ways. I think he understands that intuitively, what it is. The building itself is a repository of this library of memory whether that memory is a kind of fantasized recreation of his own making. It is the idea these people have value,” Glover says.

While the story of community was a big attraction for doing the role, he also was eager to work with Gondry. He compares the director’s work in movies like “The Science of Sleep” to that of “The Royal Tenenbaums” director Wes Anderson.

Glover’s work in “The Royal Tenenbaums” is one of two films that most people want to talk to him about. The other is “Angels in the Outfield” - not any of the “Lethal Weapon” series, “Saw” or even “Predator.”

“I spoke at a National Conference of Collegiate Activities. When I came in there must have been about a thousand young people in the audience or more. About half of them stood up and did this,” Glover says as he waves his arms as if trying to fly. “They were all raised on `Angels in the Outfield.’”

“Be Kind Rewind” also touched a nerve with Glover about the importance of being connected to a neighborhood. He still lives in a house in San Francisco that is only a few blocks from where he was reared. Most of his neighbors either worked with or knew his parents. Glover can still recall the streets of the city where he had a paper route for so many years.

Glover, 61, is big on preserving memories.

“I like the idea of being able to open my door and walk out my door and some kid asks `Danny Glover, you remember me? I was a little fat 2-year-old. Now look at me. I am 6-5.’ I like that idea,” Glover says. “I like the idea of going around, walking around the corner and going to the hardware store that I have been going to for 32 years, 35 years. Or going to a little corner place and sitting down and driving by the house where I grew up in from the time I was 11 years old until I was almost 19.

“That is why I still live in San Francisco. I love that community. I can remember if I am walking through the park where we all used to gather and play touch football or tackle football. The older I get the more important that becomes.”

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