Harvey Keitel: The legendary actor turns 85 years old

Kettle He was born in New York in 1939. He was the youngest child of a European immigrant couple. His parents came from Romania and Poland. At the age of 17, he joined the US Marine Corps. After completing his three years’ service, he worked as a shoe salesman, and then for several years as a court stenographer.

He spent the money he then earned on acting classes run by Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg. At first he wanted to get rid of stuttering, which he had suffered from since childhood. However, it soon became clear that Keitel had something in him. Thanks to the courses, he played his first roles on the stage of independent New York theaters.

During one screening, he was discovered by Martin Scorsese, who was looking for a cast for his debut “Who’s knocking on my door?”. They worked together five more times in the future – in “Mean Streets”, “Alice doesn’t live here anymore.”, “taxi driver”, “The Last Temptation of Christ” I “Irish”.

Scorsese has never hidden the fact that he considers Keitel one of the best actors he has ever worked with. He believes his best performance was in Abel Ferrara’s scandalous “Bad Lieutenant.” “[Keitel] “He was always taking risks as an actor, and in the ’90s, especially in this movie, he really peaked,” he said in an interview with Roger Ebert.

Keitel also considers this role to be one of the best and most important in his career. The film focused on a corrupt policeman who is indebted to criminals. The due date is approaching, and the penalty for not paying the money owed is death. When the lieutenant learns about the reward for the capture of two bandits who attacked a nun, he decides to bet everything on this card. Thus begins the path of atonement for his sins.

“Bad Lieutenant” is a film about the most important issues in my life. It is an attempt to define what is good and what is bad. […] After the show, a lot of people asked me why I always play brutal characters. I answer that I have never played such a role. I play characters who are internally conflicted, desperate, and immersed in chaos. […] The lieutenant knows he’s a bad guy. “He has a great need to atone for his sins,” the actor said in a conversation with Ebert.

In 1976, Keitel got the role of Captain Willard “Apocalypse Now” Francesa Forda Copoli. However, after a week of filming, he was replaced by Martin Sheen. The director was unhappy with his approach to the character. According to him, Keitel could not play the role of a passive observer.

Reports soon emerged that the actor was unable to adapt to working in the jungle. They particularly angered Keitel, who continued to refer to them even 40 years after the film’s premiere. “They wrote in one of the books that I didn’t like the jungle and didn’t want to work there,” he said in an interview with Business Insider in one of the books. “Well, I spent three years there when I was in the U.S. Marines.” 2021.

The book he was referring to was Coppola’s Monster Movie: The Making of Apocalypse Now. In it, Coppola refers to the actor’s dismissal as follows: “I saw that he did not feel comfortable in the conditions of the jungle. I thought it was not just a bad choice, but also how six months in such conditions would affect a living man.” The city is afraid of the forest so I had to make a difficult decision.

Coppola noted in the book that the actor was not offended by this. “Harvey was very understanding, but it was one of the most difficult decisions. But I feel like it was the right decision from the point of view of the film,” he said.

In 1991, Keitel received the script for “Crazy dogs” Debut director and screenwriter Quentina Tarantino. He liked the script so much that he called him. Not only did he express his desire to participate in the film, but he also co-produced it. He also paid for casting sessions where Tarantino cast Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Steve Buscemi. Turns out Keitel was a key person in the early phase of Tarantino’s career.

Later he appeared in his country “Pulp Fiction”. Play the role of Winston Wolfe, a problem solver. Tarantino wrote this role specifically for him. Keitel later lent his voice to “Inglourious Basterds”. The two also met while filming Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

During his nearly sixty-year career, Keitel has worked for major directors. He received his only Academy Award nomination for his role as gangster Mickey Cohen in Barry Levinson’s Bugsy. He appeared in “Duel”, Ridley Scott’s film debut, and later appeared in his own film “Thelme and Louise”. He played a supporting role in “the piano” Jane Campion. In 2015, he appeared alongside Michael Caine in the film “youths” Paolo Sorrentino.

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