John Malkovich has been in one seriously good film – The Killing Fields. On the recommendation of friends whose opinions I ordinarily respect, I’ve tried watching the much lauded Being John Malkovich at least a couple of times, only to find myself hitting STOP on the DVD player after thirty minutes or so. I’m sure this says more about me than it does about the film, but try as I might – and much like lobster thermador, Pink Floyd and all of the Brontë sisters – I just don’t get John Malkovich.
Of course, you don’t reach your late-thirties without discovering that everyone has at least one redeeming feature. Even Michael Moore made Roger and Me.
So imagine my pleasant surprise when I read today thus:
At the Cambridge Union in 2002, Malkovich was asked whom he would like to fight to the death. He said George Galloway and Fisk, adding: ‘I’d rather just shoot them.’ It was a throwaway remark but Fisk blew it up into a major story with an article entitled ‘Why does John Malkovich want to kill me?’ The trouble was that nobody answered the question, so I asked it now: why did he want to kill Fisk? ‘I hate somebody who is supposed to be a Middle Eastern expert who thinks Jesus was born in Jerusalem. I hate what I consider his vile anti-semitism.’ Anything else? His sanctimoniousness perhaps? ‘You’re doing well so far! I’m a [Christopher] Hitchens fan myself. But no one has thinner skins than journalists, in my experience, and I come from a family of them [his mother owns the Benton Evening News in Illinois, his brother edits it]. They can dish it out but they can’t take it. But the reason I don’t like the topic, why I don’t really say anything about a whiner like Fisk, is it gives them more oxygen.
I’m off to Blockbusters.