Robert Marion "Fighting Bob" La Follette, Sr. was an American Republican politician. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, was the Governor of Wisconsin, and was also a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. He ran for President of the United States as the nominee of his own Progressive Party in 1924, carrying Wisconsin and 17% of the national popular vote. His wife Belle Case La Follette and sons Robert M. La Follette, Jr. and Philip La Follette led his political faction in Wisconsin into the 1940s. La Follette has been called "arguably the most important and recognized leader of the opposition to the growing dominance of corporations over the Government" and is one of the key figures pointed to in Wisconsin's long history of political liberalism. He is best remembered as a proponent of progressivism and a vocal opponent of railroad trusts, bossism, World War I, and the League of Nations. In 1957, a Senate Committee selected La Follette as one of the five greatest U.S. Senators, along with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, and Robert A. Taft.
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I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to speak with me.
I've been fortunate enough to enjoy a career in show business for 3 decades.
My latest is Anarchy Parlor, out on VOD now, in select theaters June 19.
Victoria is here on the phone with me. AMA.
Edit: I hope that what I've communicated has given everyone a better understanding of what I'm trying to share with all of you as an artist and a human being who struggles with a lot of those things that a lot of you who are curious about me struggle with.
I hope it was helpful.
I loved the movie Parlor!! In it your character has a fascination with amy, why is he so attracted to her?
The character artist lives and works in a world where he has to embrace ugly realities within the human condition.
Amy represents an innocence that the artist finds inspiring and endearing.
A potential muse, or reminder of an aspect of himself, that has been buried underneath much of what surrounds him.
What was is like working with Devon Downs and Kenny Gage on Anarchy Parlor?
I served in the military for 4 years - from 1981-1985.
During my service, I witnessed some minor skirmishes, nothing I would consider what is commonly known as "combat duty."
What I did learn in the military, despite not actually being in a war situation, is how to understand other men, and work with other men, in extreme situations, when they were stripped of everything but their character.
If I had to go to war (which, to some extent, Kenny, Devon and myself did in Lithuania making this film), these are the types of men I'd want to be with. These are the types of men I'd want to serve with.
These are the types of men I know would do everything to protect my life, and mind theirs.
Hi Robert -
I understand you spent a few years in the U.S. Navy. How was that experience for you and how did it change your life? (if at all)
It fortified the discipline necessary for me to build an effective, productive, responsible adult life.
Without it, without the military, I don't think I would exist now.
What is the best advice you can give to someone looking to break into the business?
Find an acting teacher that you trust.
Do research in terms of film histories: black and white films, Film Noir, independent film through the 1970's. Also observe the mainstream films, movies, to assist in a comparative study of both methods of show.
In my opinion, there's a great deal of luck involved, in terms of representation (example: an agent / manager). Sometimes, a credible acting teacher can be a loyal conduit, or connection, to casting directors or theater people (depending on your geography - if you live in New York, it may also be a good idea to become friendly or familiar with those who cast plays off-Broadway, etcetera).
I would compare it to Las Vegas. Take everything that you own, sell it, take the money, go to Las Vegas, bet that money on the same number for the rest of your life.
That's the game.
And be diligent. Relentless. Do or die.
What is one thing that is holding you back from your ideal life?
What was working on General Hospital like?
It was a great opportunity for me to understand the methodology and mentality present in daytime television and soap operas.
It was also the first time I received the level of accolades, or praise, within a mainstream vehicle.
I'm grateful to the fans that are still supportive of my return to General Hospital, who remember the impact I made on that show, and were not dismayed by the controversial element that I brought.
Your latest movie looks pretty scary... Do you ever get scared when you're making a movie like Anarchy Parlor?
I get scared when I'm not making a movie.
But I'll answer the question.
Sometimes to immerse yourself in a character that is struggling with a psychological challenge can be infectious to the performer - contagious.
The difficulty I find with characters that people perceive as "extreme" is the mental turbulence that can arise when I manifest these characters.
What's your most useless talent that you could put on your résumé?
Well, I think this is something I've recognized recently, in terms of an additional talent - my ability to get out of my own way, metaphorically, and assist in a situation or creativity that involves collaborating with other artists.
A producer of sorts.
Also, what I've witnessed recently within my work is the impact I make on fellow artists and actors, and the responsibility that I carry in relationship to those that are affected by my methods.
What appliance or utensil in your home scares you more than it should?
The intense orange dark chocolate bars that I keep in my freezer.
That's not a utensil, I'm just joking.
What is the worst feeling in the world?
Being in the presence of human beings that have no room in their hearts for compassion, understanding, or charity.
What was the best project you've ever worked on?
It's hard to answer that question because there are so many different aspects.
Could you be more specific? Television, work experience with a show?
Given your physique and body art, it's easy to see why you often land roles as a tough guy. Is there a role out there you would really like to play that is completely different?
I would like to be invited into a situation creatively and professionally where a character could be developed, or created, that assists other human beings.
For example, a fireman is what comes to mind first.
A man with a family who risks his life to save others.
That would be the ideal character - at least, at the moment.
I've always wondered what it was like to work on the set of Waterworld. What do you remember most?
The white sandy beaches, the beauty of the ocean, looking at the stars at night.
Any interesting memories from Léon: The Professional, Out for Justice and/or Waterworld?
Yes. I want to focus on, first off, OUT FOR JUSTICE and my relationship with Steven Seagal during the filming of that movie.
It was an unusual experience for me within the profession.
Generally, movie stars don't befriend supporting cast members.
When I was filming OUT FOR JUSTICE, my personal life was a mess.
Steven Seagal recognized that I was having some difficulties, and gave me crucial advice - and offered actual assistance in dealing with some of these problems.
He felt more like a family member than what I've experienced in my life with family.
I will never forget how he saved my life.
WATERWORLD, and meeting Kevin Costner, and flying to the island of Kona was a spectacular experience. Kevin Costner was extremely polite, and friendly. I was treated very well by everyone from the director, to the cast, to the crew. I almost felt guilty receiving a paycheck for this experience, or this job. It felt more like a vacation than a work experience.
Luc Besson is one of those rare occurrences (until recently) to work with a director who actually understands the craft of acting. And like a great acting teacher, can assist you in reaching a level of performance that you may not otherwise.
To date, what film (that you've stared in) is your favorite?
I'm not just saying this because I'm supposed to say it.
I'm not that man.
I'm a defiant person. At some times, it's been to my benefit, at other times it's put me on the periphery of my realm, so I don't feel pressured to say this.
ANARCHY PARLOR is my first experience in regards to a film where there was a collaboration involved, as opposed to a dictatorship.
Devin Downs and Kenny Gage allowed me the freedom to be the artist, actor, performer - without limitations.
Their ability to see me as a creative force, rather than a symbol of destruction, or a nefarious culprit, has given me inspiration to continue doing what my acting teacher, Anthony Abeson, taught me regarding the creation of characters other than myself.
Anthony used to tease me - "Robert, I wanna see a situation in a film where you win the girl."
I think in ANARCHY PARLOR we've achieved that. In our own way.
In real life if you had to choose between Amy and Uta, who would you pick?
In real-life, I wonder if either woman would find me a suitable companion.
> ANARCHY PARLOR
Thank you for the response! I'll try and catch that show.
It's a movie. Out now.
Who is your favorite 90s action star? And could you tell us an on-set story from Anarchy Parlor? Don't spare any details.
From ANARCHY PARLOR -
It's not very dramatic. It just was fun.
It's not often that an actor gets to tattoo his director. On the neck.
Also, I took a particular affection for the way Kenny and Devon directed me meticulously. The meticulous nature of the scene where Artist does a hand-poked tattoo on the beautiful face of Tiffany DeMarco. It was extremely enjoyable. Every moment. And with respect to Sarah, my time with Sarah on-set increased my knowledge regarding the mechanism of tattooing, using instruments correctly, and the delicate manner in the way she instructed me was refreshing.
I almost considered an alternate career in tattooing.
I got a lot more than I expected out of that answer. Thank you!
Which branch of the military did you serve in?
What's the biggest mistake you can make in your life?
To limit yourself. And be manipulated by the judgements of those who do not understand or love you unconditionally.
Thank you so much for doing this iAMA today, Robert. I have 2 questions for you:
What was it like working with Julian McMahon and Dylan Walsh from Nip/Tuck?
What is one of your favorite movies in the past 10 years?
1.) I miss them.
2.) Aside from ANARCHY PARLOR? BIRDMAN with Michael Keaton.
I could definitely see you in that kind of role.
What about a romcom? Would you rather play the lead male role or the plucky, comic-relief best friend?
All things are possible.
Thank you for your response, Robert. Birdman was a badass movie! So glad it won best picture. My other question for is:
When I was a kid, things were a bit confusing.
But some of the cartoons, on the television, around the holidays, made life seem hopeful.
"The Little Drummer Boy" was my favorite.
I love December, too! In fact, that's my birthday month!! That is so cool you love December! Thank you for taking the time to do this iAMA, Robert! :)
Thank you so much.
If you could work with any actor or actress in your next film, who would it be?
I'd love to work with Tiffany DeMarco again.
There are a couple of people that come to mind.
Another actress would be Ashley Laurence from HELLRAISER. I think she's a brilliant actress, and very beautiful and classy. You just don't see that much anymore.
And I'd like to work with Jeremy Renner. And Denzel Washington.
Tim Roth. Edward Norton. And Michael Keaton.
What do think about tattoos?
The way I feel about tattoos is the way I feel about blood.
Meaning: blood is an essential element in the fabric of humanity.
Tattoo, or the expression of feelings, to me is an element synonymous with life-force, life-blood, that drives the individual forward into understanding who they are.
Do people ever recognize you on the street and if so, what's their reaction?
First, it depends on where I am.
I think certain people's reactions or ability to recognize me in public comes from what they relate to in entertainment, what they find interesting in entertainment and films.
Different communities have different tastes. Given the nature and the mythology of stories I tend to appear in, seem to affect those people around the world, in various communities, that can relate to the rebellious nature within themselves, and those who feel themselves to be a misfit or the underdog in whatever community they are in.
The people I've described generally thank me for being what they perceive as courageous enough to communicate what they perceive as real. What they can identify with.
In other communities, that may not understand the reasons behind radical self-expression and are affected by mainstream media, they tend to trivialize or marginalize my contribution to the art form.
What's something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn?
Thanks for doing this AMA!
I'm a huge fan of comedian and director Woody Allen.
Nip/Tuck is my favorite show of all time and I love your recurring character. What was it like working on the show? Would you do it all over again?
Yes, I would do it all over again.
It's a rare occurrence within the realm of television to be in the presence of genius.
Ryan Murphy being the master helmsman, and also just a really nice man. He made my experience on that show a joy.
Hi, great movies by the way. You almost always play a villain/badass in movies (you look the part very well I must say). Do you find other actors at first are a bit weary of you?
I'm not sure why.
I try to be hospitable.
I try to give fellow actors the respect they deserve.
It might have something to do with what my acting teachers taught me regarding preparation. The quiet time, the method of disassociating from others so that one can focus.
That process, from the outside observer's point of view, might seem bizarre, or intimidating.
So, I have to ask. Annie Hall or Manhattan?
Between those two?
Those are the two choices?
What was a scarier set to work on, ANARCHY PARLOR or HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3- and why?
We filmed HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 inside the United States, which was a familiar backdrop for me. I didn't find the location to be intimidating at all.
When you leave the United States and go to certain parts of Europe... there is good cause to be concerned in terms of your well-being.
The production - not just myself, but the production of ANARCHY PARLOR - endured trials and tribulations that would have collapsed most productions.
Despite some of the challenges we all faced - cast, crew, directors, producers - not only did we survive, but I think my feeling is some of the locals assisted us in our cause, and now have a great affection for us because of the way we endured that circumstance.
I miss Lithuania.
Thank you that is a nice response.
Cool. That's very cool.
I have read your books and love them all. <3 When are you going to put out another book of poetry?
I'm currently working on part 2, or the continuation of LIFE SENTENCE, the book I wrote that was published recently. I've thought about writing poetry - or I felt compelled to write poetry. It seems to be one of the most authentic ways I can communicate my feelings.
Based on this question, I may put pen to paper very soon.
With being in the industry for three decades, what surprised you about transitioning to the social media aspect, and what surprised you most? How much time do you dedicate to social media to promote yourself?
Lately, a lot.
And I'm grateful for the platform, as I am discovering (being kind of an old timer) how relevant it is, in terms of interacting with people in general, and also those who support the arts.
What can we expect from you now? What's your goal?
As I spoke earlier regarding collaboration, I want to assist the two men who I feel who have been the most supportive - Kenny Gage and Devon Downs - in continuing to be brutally honest in the way we communicate stories, and uncompromising in how we do it.