Every four years a handful of actors peek out from behind the Hollywood sign to endorse the Republican presidential candidate. Then they disappear until the next major election (and that’s ok). However, actor and director Robert Davi is an exception. He frequently writes for BigHollywood.com, endorses local and statewide candidates, and has become a regular participant at CPAC.
No doubt you’ve seen him on screen. As the villain in the Bond movie License to Kill. The opera singing Fratelli brother in The Goonies. The FBI agent in The Profiler. And to insure the sci-fi fans get mad at me, Commander Kolya in Stargate Atlantis. My favorite Davi role is from the heist caper, The Dukes. He wrote and directed the movie, which is now out on Blu-ray and DVD. His character’s name: Danny DePasquale.
In 1977, Robert Davi was cast in his first role in the TV movie Contract on Cherry Street with Frank Sinatra. Over three decades later, Davi is still inspired by the singer. Next weekend, Davi will perform at his alma mater, Hofstra University for the concert series "Davi Sings Sinatra: A Tribute to Sinatra, the Great American Songbook and America." I'll be there hoping he sings my favorite Sinatra song, "Come Rain or Come Shine."
Davi is a minority within a minority. He’s not just a Republican, but a conservative who isn’t afraid of the label. He may sometimes play the villain in the movies, but he’s my hero in Hollywood.
1. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes? How about your favorite line that you've delivered?
DAVI: It’s a toss-up between these two:
“In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed. But they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo de Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!"—Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man.
And, the other:
“The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The
creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator's concern is the conquest of nature - the parasite's concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live is selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own.
“Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective.” - Gary Cooper as Howard Roark in The Fountainhead.
Favorite line that I’ve delivered was “Loyalty is more important to me than money,” as Franz Sanchez in License to Kill.
2. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he was "cured." If you could give President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid the "Clockwork Orange treatment," what movie would you make them watch?
DAVI: I would have these three on a loop 24/7 for 6 months, which includes Ronald Reagan’s warning about liberalism and socialism.
3. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?
DAVI: Sylvester Stallone gave my 9 year-old son, Nicholas, a pair of signed leather gloves from Rocky after he heard that he was a fan.
4. What do you remember most about going to the movies as a kid? How has that experience changed for the better or worse for your kids?
DAVI: While it cost a buck and you could get popcorn for 50 cents, the actors seemed to have a different kind of stature, iconic presence and epic size. Today tickets are 12 dollars. Mystique has been pedestrianized. A certain dignity has been lost. While the films have gotten bigger with better effects, actors seem small. To misquote Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, "Now the actors are small and the pictures are BIG… We didn’t need dialogue, we had faces.” Also, the Hollywood culture today has made a concerted attack on American values.
5. Many have said that Washington, D.C., is like Hollywood for ugly people. How do you think D.C. is like Hollywood? How is it different?
DAVI: D.C. is like Hollywood when style trumps substance. They’re different because the decisions have nothing to do with box office receipts but affect life and death.
6. What was your first job?
DAVI: I had a newspaper route when I was 11.
7. What was the first rock concert you ever attended and where did you sit and who went with you?
DAVI: As a kid I was into the opera and would get standing room tickets to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. I would go by myself and the first opera I went to was with Tito Gobbi and Franco Corelli in a performance of Puccini's Tosca. The first rock concert was the Rolling Stones and I was with my girlfriend at the time and we sat in the mezzanine.
8. What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you enjoy the least?
DAVI: I enjoy the exploration of different characters and the circumstances they populate. I enjoy the people one meets when working on a film, the crew, the other talent and, if on location, the people from where you are filming. I've filmed all over the world, from the Amazon rainforest with a Finnish filmmaker to the South of France with a French/English/Italian crew to the desert of Petra with Bedouins. It gives one a worldview that you may not ordinarily get. What I don’t enjoy is typecasting.
9. What’s your favorite news website?
DAVI: HumanEvents.com so I can read the infamous De Pasquale’s Dozen!
10. What was your favorite backstage moment at CPAC?
DAVI: Having Rep. Thad McCotter’s shoelaces tied together before he gave his speech.
11. What's the one thing you would do as President "just because you could"?
DAVI: I would have to do several things. I would institute a flat tax. I would also have the education system totally revamped to reflect American values and American history instead of a socialistic world view that wants to erase what our country stands for and has accomplished. Close the borders and take a hard line but fair approach on immigration. Put prayer back in school. Finally, not pander to the enemies of freedom and democracy, stand firm on the abuse of human rights when violated, remind the world of what America has done for the world, and finally, remain loyal to our allies.
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to become more vocal about your political beliefs.
DAVI: When I was a teen. My father, who was a Knight of Columbus, gave me two books to read: Masters of Deceit and None Dare Call it Treason. After reading these books, I started to get more political.