Tom Berenger, 'American Dresser'
Hi, everybody. I'm Peter Travers in this popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies, and there's a movie now called American dresser. It is not the story of Tom Ford, you know, it is not somebody who is doing anything with fashion. It is about motorcycles and about a road trip taken by my guest today. Tom Barringer greatest thank rate to see could be here. So here in this movie, I think it's it's kind of wonderful to see you and keep David back together after put. I know laying Vietnam vets. It was kind of strange at very nice. I, my dad shoeless reunion. Yeah, and coming full circle and we're all army vets from Vietnam, but the only difference is it's kind of like a roller reverse. It's like he, he's, he's like my company sergeant like a Master Sergeant and. Whereas I was a platoon sergeant news, probably, you know, machine gunner. Yup, it's great. You're trying to figure out where you stand given the roles you play in movies. Walls played military flip-flop? Yeah, up American dress are a little bit for and what it is because people that don't know, there's a whole American dresser association for Davidson's American dressers actually it's not a trade name. It's a generic name for fairly big highway bike that would be loaded up like with the side panels and the tour box on the back where you can have a couple of changes of underwear and your, you know your your ring, ring gear. You know anything little extra you've got to carry, but it would be also more comfortable for a real long trip on your character is taking a long trip. Yeah, it's only out to the west coast amd back the two of them, and I don't want him to go because he's got some physical disabilities, and I think I just have to do this to, you know, for my my soul. And I'm told by my daughters to go just to get out of here, you're not doing any good, you know, because of his drinking, which is because his wife started that because his wife had cancer, then she died and he just can't get out of it. And we see those flashbacks in the movie with Gina Gershon playing, which is very touching. And yet he's going out there to meet a son. He didn't know have, which is very moving because it's not an aimless easy rider trip. No, there's a direction and it really isn't out to discover America or see on the east coast or something. Yeah, like them. It is different than that. What was the attraction to you? What made you say? I want to do this movie? I, I don't know. I just liked the characters like the story, like the dialogue. I thought there was some good humor in there. I thought it was funny. I mean it to me it had that same road humor that Bush casting the Sundance kid Nicholson and Randy Quaid in the last detail, you know, that kind of stuff going on of the strange of weird characters. They made. On the road, you know, Bruce darn. I love him in this. Yeah, all these people. They meet our kind of the rough. Yeah, yeah, exactly in. They're kind of endearing and funny and different. It's good to see back in this big screen that's here because you had been doing TV stuff that one day I was watching major crimes there. You were popping up as Mary McDonald's, rat bastard, ex husband. You know, this is this is how this happened was because Mary McDonald, they needed this character. They wanted to bring back. And ex husband of hers, and she's well what about Tom bear your? And they went, what's interesting, let's check, you know. And so I knew her and I knew to other people on the show and which was kind of a nice reunion. But then they had so much fun with the character. The writers just kept bringing me back. So it was kind of like an archive suppose. Yeah. And he was kind of funny. Its own bizarre way. Yeah. The business of being an actor is you create little mini families. Don't you. Oh yeah, to movie. And then sometimes the family breaks up and you get back together, but you still remember this feeling that you have. Yeah, yeah, that's true. That's true. What where did it start for you? We're, we're, we're, you come from originally, we'll really from the south side of Chicago. And they ended up queens, moved green, which is. Did tough neighborhoods. Different. So it felt kind of comfortable and I couldn't afford to live in Manhattan how I couldn't afford a studio apartment in Manhattan. The time probably couldn't now but see new. You'd get rich being an actor. Well, I don't know. It's one of those things like you. You go all I've done it, so it's either make it or just digesting it. And I don't. I don't know. I guess it'd be like becoming a priest. I compare it to that somewhat vocation. Yeah. Yeah. So where did you did you train? Did you go to? Yeah. Well, I I did supplies college, and then I did a couple of plays in Kansas City. Then then I got to New York, and then I did plays in New York off Broadway and off Broadway and regional theater. And then I got casted in looking for Mr.. Good bar out of New York. I got casted for that. And you were the one that did that off? Yeming. Two Dane Keaton in that one. Yeah, I've had some. I'm sure you had many people come up to you and say, oh, creep. You do that. Yeah, but you got recognized that even though he only comes in, I know, yeah. I know this, I think is one scene earlier a little bit set up. You go wise that halfway watching that, you know, and then there's the payoff at the end, but. That was also Richie gears first movie. Was that the one that sort of started everything for you where people were interested in see. Because I think people when they look at you, we go through this whole period of you. I remember you in the big chill specially that was early eighties, right? Yup. We shot it in eighty two followed to into January they, but I remember your character being this TV star of all of them. He's into one. He's, he's in this show that he basically hates even though TV's now everything. He gets verse when they bring it up. It's like, you know income out here to listen to that, but they're remembering themselves very young when they had political stance where something was happening that you did you feel any by brations from that about your own life? Well, I would be it's a little weird because I, I actually wanted to go to West Point. It'd be a career army officer and that didn't happen two guys in my class went and. I gave that up and said the home of that and ended up acting. And of course I played a few generals. And colonels and captains and teddy Roosevelt teddy Roosevelt don't. Yup. In relaunch street. All relief. General played an Admiral once and I was a cheap petty done, illicit cheap, petty guns. At home. Become a very conveniently. I really, truly I try to doesn't always work. It doesn't work. Yeah, doesn't work with wives and children. She says, go off white wall. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Just doesn't work much. Nobody listens to. But I remember when I guess platoon is eighty five eighty six, right? And this guy with the scars on his I remember the line he has in that you can take me through it because it's still such a great movie. But. You say, I am reality. One of those. Great. It was here right? You know, it's about, you know if the machine breaks down everything breaks, we all break chain of command to happen in, which is true of do, which is true. I mean, you know. He's not writing this stuff. He was taught it to enter those characters that I played Stanley coonskin streetcar named desire. They're like really blue collar, but the stuff that comes out of their mouth just prophetic, it's it's like, it's like our street blow injuring is really. Yeah, the way they talk. Yeah. And just go, whoa, where's he come up with that. We'll put tune said she rob. You get an Academy Award nomination. How does that change your career and your life in a major way did up? Yup. Well, for example, I had a then had four movies in a row. This went for entire year. And I, I, I can't go to work again. You know, I've got. I've got to take some time off. I'm getting whippy was concert on the road. And while I was doing one job, I was studying for the next doing some homework and sound work. Everything was overlapping then Bressan and it was just nonstop. Then I said, this has got the train has got to stop. I gotta get off, you know, for the walk because it's gotta come from you in some way every part that you play exactly even Barnes, even platoon, that guy is he's gone off the edge. Yes. Yeah, he really is. He's find that. Yeah. Like like somebody said, well, you know, I remember that interview. Nice. This was right after announcing wards. Remember during an interview while I was doing this other movie, and I said, well, yeah, but I go bars is this is on his fourth combat tour. I mean, he doesn't even know he wants to be a life. For each just keeps doing it, you know, and almost obsessed with it, but I go. What about Elias? This is third tour and the interviewer went of. Yeah, right. You know, they could have gone home, but they didn't. They didn't. Yeah. Well, accepted day become was playing him is is kind of Christ figure in. Yup. And you're the demon? Yeah. But over stone, what is that experience like? Well, obviously, Oliver had been there and these real characters, and even the battles he called up about five, five or six guys, he could find from that last battle in. He asked him where we, because then he had these notes on the old pad of paper, and it was like, who is in each hole like two guys, two guys? Where were you? Where were you because he wanted to get all the details of general tune action of what was probably maybe a battalion size unit or company size unit that get surrounded and overrun. It would be like the Alamo must be chaos and confusion, you know, and night as well. So he just want he just wanted to check with that. What what? What did you think you remember that that. And I, he so it's almost like very historically accurate, and the courage is were all real people. He said, but they weren't all in one platoon. They were in. He said, I was in two different platoons of the twenty fifth infantry division. One platoon of the first air cab. I got moved around a little and he said, I was there for fourteen months and he's the movie is like three months in a condensed, the three and the as movies, characters, which would be like ninety guys is put into one thirty man platoon. And he picked his favorites or the ones you wanna put in and use. So. Adapt. It's fixing history. Yeah. But when you do Gettysburg, there you go. Yeah. I mean it's yeah. Yeah, it you'll. Yeah, they're the accuracy is of major factor. Why? So effective as a movie. We like civil war guy. I was Gettysburg when I was about seven years old. I was actually on the battlefield and I remember told Steve lying play general Pickett I, you know, I was here when I was like seven. I'm forty two now which was exactly long streets age. I go. I go, they don't change much these battlefields national Mon. Go down to Jefferson's. If you haven't been or go see is home. It's the same. As I remember. You know, I, the national parks, keep that the same, which is great because you're living history, you're doing this often. They're shot. You know right on this spot where we shot the whole movie there. Seventeen day the department of interior. The national national parks department here and the people at the Rangers whatnot station allowed us seven days there. And so they're like seven different areas like doubles, Dan, which is very opposite and then pickett's charge. We had the big wide shots pickett's charge beginning where all the confederate troops come out of the treeline across that mile and a half of deaths towards the missionary ridge. And and there are monuments up missionary point of view of us stuff you go passes like you're going to see the monuments we can. We cover up, they go. You cannot put covers over the monuments these sacred. They said, we've never allowed reenactments here because ground. They said, however, if you got the camouflage netting, put that up, won't that work on long shots and indeed it did, you know, plus the smoke did. Yeah, the smoke of the anchor artillery or whatever, you know, kind of covers a little bit, but yeah, that distance respect was paid anyway, do that. And it was kinda neat being on the battlefield for seven days. When you got into closer scenes, whatnot, they went over the next valley. They recreated the Byrd road made it dirt had that old Dutch Pennsylvania Dutch fence there that you see them coming over and then up to the stonewall which created again, I think it's great to have that ability to to relive that and feel passionate about it when you do it, I'll tell you pick I, that was about one hundred degrees and and we're in those William. Performs, but I had goosebumps. I'm watching it and so did all those other guys. I, I mean, there is like this. My officers, right? As they set off Christine, remember to they had drums and fifes and all the plane, and then they when they fix bayonets, there were five thousand guys clicked on those nets and you heard it all the way down the tree line will. Confed are Julia stop. They stopped firing the turn around. They take their hats off. The Vitry goes through. I'm thinking that must be one of your favorite roles that you've played. I well, it is, but I just really always wanted to do a movie about civil war. It's virtually impossible. It was so big, you know, what do you do that book? I read it. It came out in seventy six and won the Pulitzer prize for historical novel. And I happen to mention an interview with the daily news like one of those twenty question things. Well, it was doing someone to watch over me out in queens. And next day I got a call from the writer director who owned the peace. It was six years six years later before we did. This is the first time you've been on this show, so you don't know we end in song. Oh, no, yes, you did. What was that movie? What was that? Rhapsody movie. Did where you were playing the cowboy? Oh, yeah. Of God. Are you gonna grown? No. Just need a piece of song. What's that song in your heart on Barringer. I can't remember those songs. It's just never saying, don't remember singing to your. Well, I saying to my son and his bride at their wedding come on. Now I need a little bit of that. What his use impetuous fire watches made ice and is are the world wags on. Rose will bloom. So the the maid what, but that. Yeah, that was the love song from Romeo Juliet, and I sang that to them because it is about marriage, beautiful element. You must have the secret of marriage them to bestow upon all of us. Okay. I just get a good one. Thank you.