Interview: Kevin Kline at Chicago International Film Festival Gala

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CHICAGO – The countdown to the Chicago International Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary in October continued on June 28th, 2014, at the Gala Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Oscar winning actor Kevin Kline was honored at the event, and answered a few questions on the Red Carpet beforehand.

Kevin Kline was born in St. Louis, and grew up in a musically oriented family – his father owned a record store there. He went on to study at Indiana University in their top-rated School of Music, but switched to acting and drama after joining an on-campus theater group. After graduation in 1970, he went to New York City to attend the Julliard School in their newly formed Drama Division. From that study he joined fellow students like Patti LuPone in the City Center Acting Company, which performed Shakespeare and other classical works around the country.

Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline at the Chicago Film Festival Gala, June 28th, 2014
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

After a notable theater run in the 1970s, Kline made his film debut at age 34 in 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice.” From there, he played a number of memorable roles in features like “The Big Chill,” “Silverado,” “Grand Canyon,” “French Kiss,” “Dave” and “A Fish Called Wanda.” His portrayal of the xenophobic American named Otto in the latter film garnered him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He continued with his theater work at the same time, winning one of his two Tony Awards for “The Pirates of Penzance” (1981), and repeated his role as The Pirate King in the 1983 film version. Kline continues to take on film projects, including portraying movie star Errol Flynn in the recent “The Last of Robin Hood,” just as he once portrayed songwriter Cole Porter in the 2006 film “De-Lovely.” was on the Red Carpet with Kevin Kline, and photographer Joe Arce provided the Exclusive Portrait. You are an Indiana University alumni, besides binge drinking and casual sex, what did you get from the University that you still carry with you as an actor?

Kevin Kline: I never binge drank. I studied music there, and I wasn’t part of the Greek system there. I was mostly in the practice room, trying desperately to hone a mediocre talent in music. When I joined the drama department, that was it, it was theater from then on. I had wonderful experiences in that theater department at IU, and I fell into a group that started a company off campus, and did improvisational theater. original plays and political satire. That’s where I got my first great experience as an actor. Since this is gay pride weekend, what did you and the filmmakers most want to communicate about he life of Cole Porter in ‘De-Lovely,’ in the context of closeted gays of his era?

Kline: It was a very different time, and actually in those days show business and Hollywood was very protective of him, everybody knew that Cole Porter was gay except the public. He wrote some of the greatest love songs of the era, and it wouldn’t have been good for business if anyone knew he was gay. The point of view of the film was despite his sexual predilection, he loved his wife Linda, and she loved him. It was not a sexual relationship, but a loving relationship. Let’s do a character exercise in a former role you’ve done. What do you think your character in ‘The Big Chill’ – Harold Cooper – is thinking about 32 years after the original events of the film, since he was so reflective as a younger man?

Kline: He’s still wondering if he should have slept with Mary Kay Place [Meg Cooper in the film], and where that child is as a result of that liaison?

The 50th Chicago International Film Festival will take place October 9th-23rd, 2014. Click here for preliminary details. Cinema/Chicago, the organization that presents the festival, is also co-sponsoring a summer of free international films at Chicago’s Cultural Center, through October 1st. Click here for more information on that program. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2014 Patrick McDonald,

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