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The enigmatic John Malkovich is best known for his offbeat, slighly menacing appeal in movies like Dangerous Liasons, Being John Malkovich, and Burn After Reading. He’s equally well received onstage and in blockbusters, and four decades of steady acting work can’t be wrong. Here are some facts about the one and only Malkovich:
1. Malkovich’s unusual weight loss method: Malkovich described himself as being “very fat as a child.” He lost an incredible amount of weight by eating a Jello-only diet: “I lost 70 pounds eating nothing but Jell-o for 4 months. But of course there is great variety in the colors! I think, if I remember correctly it’s 230 calories for a whole bowl. Maybe 270? In the 5th month I added fruit.”
2. Malkovich still doesn’t believe Michelle Pfeiffer dated him: While filming Dangerous Liasons, Malkovich and Pfeiffer enjoyed a brief but passionate relationship. He told Esquire, “It’s hard to believe Michelle Pfeiffer ever said hello to me — not that she’s not memorable, God knows. But I sort of blacked it out. What I’m trying to say is, when I think of the other person, I don’t think of me as involved with them. They’re uncorrupted by me. As if they were never troubled by my existence.”
3. Malkovich was befuddled by the Being John Malkovich script: According to the film’s producer, Sandy Stern, the lead actor was “half intrigued and half horrified” at the high concept story. Malkovich briefly wondered if he’d accidentally slept with Jonze’s wife in order to motivate such a bizarre script.
4. Malkovich hates the sound of his own voice: While visiting Conan O’Brien, Malkovich admitted how he can’t stand to listen to himself talk during a film. But he says that playing a pirate was the one time he didn’t cringe while listening to playback.
5. Former professions: Before Malkovich became an actor, he drove school buses, sold eggrolls, painted houses, sold office supplies, and worked as a landscaper. He never made a conscious decision to become an actor and still doesn’t know why he did so. His parents wanted him to become a park ranger.
6. Current fashion designer: John currently operates his own fashion line called Technobohemian. He believes in paying a fair wage to his workers, so his pieces are sold at a greater expense than they would if he ran the business as cheaply as possible. As for the name, Malkovich says, “Technobohemian is a phrase I read in a yet unpublished Italian novel. I lift it with the author’s per-mission and I will endevour to use it well.”
7. Malkovich lost a lot of money to Bernie Madoff: The Malkovich wallet grew about $2.3 million lighter thanks to Madoff’s pyramid scheme. Malkovich gained perspective from the experience: “In all honesty, it was a good life lesson. And it also must be said that the vast majority of in the world live with nothing and with the hope of nothing their entire lives. I was lucky, as I’ve been my entire life. I could go back to work and make my way in the world.”
8. Malkovich prefers the theater to the camera: Although Malkovich makes most of his money as a film actor, his true love is the stage: “A movie is like a line drawing, but a theater performance is like a painting. It develops over what seems like an extraordinary amount of time. ‘Cause it’s a painting. You do a little bit each day.”
9. He’s not trying to win your approval: Malkovich knows that his appeal depends on public fandom, but he insists, “I don’t need to be liked. I go around the world, working with all kinds of people who I love. I don’t have a saviour or a royal family. I prefer to conduct my life based on how I treat people.”
10. Malkovich hasn’t voted in years: He doesn’t believe in politics: “This is what politics is to me: Somebody tells you all the trees on your street have a disease. One side says give them food and water and everything will be fine. One side says chop them down and burn them so they don’t infect another street. There’s your two choices. Sorry, I’m not a believer.”