Pacino ReFocuses on Film Career
After five-year absence, sctot returns to the big screen


EW YORK-So there
was Al Pacino on "Wheel of Fortune"-not the one Vanna White, the one on

in the early 1950s that rewarded good deeds. It seems that someone had called the show's attention to an incident involving young Al and his 12CBS
year-old buddy Brucie Cohen. As the episode was reported on

you're playlng. A guy like Frank, who do€sn't have the love in his life, has the work. And now he's about to lose the work," smce he's expected a.fter 20 years to retire on half-pay. Pacrno s take "If you can still work, if you still enjo,vthe work, it's only time to retire
when you no ionger wanna do rt.

with the


"I guess playing the part now, as opposed to plalng i! l0 years
ago, I have a closer undersEnding, a more tactil€ understanding of the character.' he says. "because of my age and I understand that situation he's rn. I'll look at parts now sometimes, and I'lI know it would have excited me to

the show, Al and Brucie were
playing around at a construction srte in the Bronx when Brucie, showing off near the edge of a building, loppled over and clung to the edge until Al. at the risk of his own neck, pulled him back. The nen thing Al knew, the TV show was handing him a check and calling him a hero. And if he didn't know it already, he was suddenly aware of the difference between stuprd risks and good

do that five years ago, and now another kind of thing will excite me. It rea.lly comes down to what you want to address at this polnt in your life-the things you start to find are reievant io you."
Pacino has that luxury. Ar the same time, Iike Hamlet, the Melancholoy Italian doesn't $ve the

''You have to be able to really

define what a risk ls," Pacino

cn this Dante's Inferno

day, with the air-conditioning at producer Martin Bregman's office no match for New York's Oscarwinning humidity. With the erot-

impression of someone who knows what he wanm. "That s probabiy the reason I gol lnto
acting," he reflects. "So



mystery-thriller "Sea of Love," which opened Friday. Pacino is

nonetheless draped

black*part Bela Lugosi, part
bella Armani. Sweaty-eyed and weary. starting sentences four
different ways before he latches onlo the words he wants, Pacino gamely explains how risk-man-



with anything any of us
actually go see.

have to think. I think the reason I act is for a relief from rhinking." Yet even considenng the leeway rightly accorded artists. Pacino's choices over the last few years have been puzzling. He's kept busy. He just hasn kept bus)'



agement has kept an actor deemed one of the four or five post-Brando gods away from
movies for almosl half a decade.

"Doing a picture when you're

'When it was all happening to me, I don't thank I w8s aware of it. I knew around me things were going on. But I kept trying to focus on the next play or movie. And when I looked up it was five years later.

There were workshop productions of "Crystal Clear," "National Anthems" and other plays, including a current Manhattan

project he's not ready



about. There was "Julius Caesar" for Joseph Papp last year. There was "Carlito's Way,'' if you go by

not prepared to is not a good risk," Al Pacino Pacino says slowly, in a voice like charred gravel. "I mean, jumping off a building and seeing if you're gonna make it when you fall . . . 'Hey, maybe I'll just break a couplc of. Iegs!' " he jokes. "So much has to do with where


49-year-old Pacino stiil has his chops. His burnt-out "Sea
his qulntessential New York cop characters, the man Frank Serpico might have become had he $ven in and stayed on the force 20 years. treading in a sea of booze. With John Goodman as his partner investigating the serial murders of personals-ad Casanovas, and Ellen Barkin as the suspect he falls for in a typically crackling script by Richard Price, Pacino is, as he puts it. "in and around tenitory I've been around before."

of [ove" detective, Frank Keller, is another of

available, you start

you are. your-timing and stuff. When you start to feel you wanna make a movie again, then whatever [scriptl is there,

Elliot Kastner's lawsuit aiie$ng that Pacino committed to the fiim last April for $4 million plus a profit percentage. And mosi time-consuming, there is "The Local Stigmatic," a play Pacino had starred in OfI Bmadway in 1969 rhen re-mounkd in 1985 rrith director David Wheeler and the Theater Company of Boston to film a s0-minute movie
version that may become his "Unfinished Symphony." "I don't think people relate to that kind of pnvate work," he says. "Becawe lacting] is such a visible profession that if you're not real visible in it, they assume you're not

to look at a little bit differently.

Because it's a reality-your gonna do iL" That's a relief, because he hasn't done it in quite a while..

We're talking about an actor who had roled through five' Academy Award-nominated performances in seven years-"The Godfather" (19f2), "Serpico" (l9l3), "The
Godfather. Part II" ( 1974 ), "Dog Day Afternoon" ( 1975 ), " . . . And Justice for All" ( 19/9 ) -and co-$arred in a 1yl3 Cannes Grand Frix winner ("Scarecrow") to boot. There was the popular, conroversial "Scarface" ( 1983 ) , followed by a successful Broadway revival of David Mamet's "American Buffalo." Yet, ever since the virtually nonexistent, sz8-million dud "Revolution" ( 1985), Pacino has been


Elacino. like Keller. has hit his own 20-year



"I remember back when everything was happening, '74, '?5, doing ["The Resistible Rise oI Arturo Ui"] on stage and reading that the reason I'd gone back to rhe sage was that my movie career was waning! Ttat's been the kind of
ethos, the way in which theater's perceived, unfortunately. My big problem has been that I've been trying to ride both rails. And I can tell that some of my work has been affected by that. I wish I \i'as able to have gone into borh media with more focus." He's trying, and the $16-million "Sea of Love" required Plase see Po4e 83

a"mg from

hrs movie debut in the minor drug drama

"Me, Nataiie" (1969). Pacino, like Keller, has had serious bouts with the bottle, and has known his way around the
dark side of the street, losing friends to the needle. Pacino, like Kelier, is one of the best at what he does, which still doesn't mitigate the a7l{tst around the eyes. "I don't feel I'm that close to that Suy," Pacino insists. "You just tly to feed into the part thtngs in your life that

tn what you might cail his John-Lennon-bread-baking

Fortunately, like Lennon upon his re-emergence, the.

Conti,nwdfrornPo4e 20

Becker ("The Onion Field." "The Boost") for a long, grueling shoot that lasted from about May through
September of last year. Pacino did a

focus he could give it. Froducer Bregman let the original director go days before shooting was to beg:n, bringing in Harold

all the

string in the '?0s, "I don't thrnk I was aware of it. I knew around me things were going on. But I kept trying to focus on the next play or movie I was gonna do. And when I looked up it was five years later." The thought brings him in mind of a story: "We were doing'Richard III' in

in Wanen Beatty's "Dick Tracy," piaying Big Boy, "the

we're in this sort of marathon rehearsa.l and then playing night after night there. And I remember one day finally getting in the car to
drive back to New York, and we
stopped at a light and I looked out and lhought, 'What are these people doing, they don't have coats on,

Philadelphia one winter, and first

world's largest dwarf." He dabbled with "Three Thousand," reading

wilh Julia Roberts for the


being played by Richard Gere. And in November, he begins production

they're just walking without


coat?' And my friend says, 'It's

rn "The Godfather, Part III." "It's
that movie to do, so you sorta gotta it," he says smiling. "You know, I wish, in some ways, the government forced me to make a movie once a year," he adds, with a iaugh. "There would be a sort of regularity, a kind of consistency in


o.N I

lhe output so that your movies don't become blown all out of proportion-it turns a simple movie into an epic kind of thing, if you
make them oniy every few years. I've decided not to go as long between them. The idea of going

Sizing Up'Saturday'
Lawr ent e Chri,ston loolcs at " fo1a16ag Ni4ht Liud' os it marlcs its 15th

two years between pictures, I'd
rather not." Then again, a few years of that might remind him why he slowed



Glasnost on Canvas
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was all happening to me." he says of his firecracker ios



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Bloody Shadows
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Pacino's Risk Management Attq fiae Uears attay tronr mtoies, Al

On the Beach
Rog* Moore andTalin Shi,re are talcin4 a breok f ron sewls tn shoot a ronvrntin comcdy ontlw coost ol Mai'nn.

Pacina is batk with a detectiae thrill'sr, Sn of Loue." By Fratt./r" I'otsece . . . . . . 20

ClwrlcsClwmplin ........ ' 21 .......'..30 Outtakes

Sunday Calendar Editor