Before Harry Potter, before The Twilight saga, there was something even more sinister and terrifying, there was American Werewolf in London! You remember, two American backpackers, David Kessler and Jack Goodman, hit up a quaint little pub on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, in the UK and as in most horror movies decide to take a walk in the middle of the night somewhere they shouldn’t. Surprise, surprise they end up coming face to face with a vicious murderous werewolf who turns one of them into a decaying phantom and the other into a, you got it…werewolf !? Now, with most other horror movies you scream and yell at the screen, hide behind pillows, grope your date, in a I’m so scared please save me kinda way, and later perhaps have a nightmare, but pretty soon the scary experience fades from memory and life returns to its normal glowing happy carefree self. Ha! Not however with this movie. What Jack Goodman aka Griffin Dunne probably doesn’t realize is that he and that damn movie will forever haunt most thirty somethings’ quiet moonlit walk home from the country pub….. Not a bad legacy Mr Dunne! But let’s move past these werewolves, crazy Americans and neurotic Gen X-ers ’cause since then Griffin Dunne has gone on to star in over 40 movies and TV shows, as well as adding directing, producing and writing to his already very plump resume. It’s not surprising so many people want to work with him, he is one of the most charming men I have met. I recently spent a really lovely afternoon with him, shooting the breeze about life, love and all things Lucy!
Who is Griffin Dunne?
A guy who loves his work and his life but is still a work in progress.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was an altar boy I wanted to be a priest (and no I wasn’t molested). It wasn’t so much a spiritual calling that drew me to the priesthood but an altar boys bitterness at being the understudy to the star whose service I could have performed in a far more entertaining way. I eventually became my second choice- an actor.
How did you get to be where you are?
Having been kicked out of high school and never getting a diploma made me insecure enough to be better read, more prepared and to work harder than most of the more educated people I came up with. I don’t recommend being a high school dropout as a career choice.
If you could go back in time and give your 16 year old self some advice what would it be?
Stop thinking about girls so much and don’t take up smoking.
If the cupboard in your bedroom would lead you to another world what would your Narnia look like?
First I would stand in my bedroom and marvel that I even have a “cupboard”. I would invite other Americans to my bedroom to see my cupboard and have them tell their friends. Then when they had left I would get into my cupboard and enter Washington Square Park in 1914 and seek out the Bohemia society of the time.
By day you are……Trying to stay in the moment. By night you are……Trying not to relive the day.
What was one of your favorite past projects?
I directed a PSA for the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence in Aurora, Colorado where a mass shooting had taken place in their movie theater. I interviewed the families who lost loved ones and survivors of the carnage. I don’t know about it being my favorite project, but it is certainly one I am most proud of. It is also the one I hope will effect the most change.
What are you working on now?
Am on a flight to LA this very moment to shoot “House of Lies” for Showtime. I was in the series the first season and they’ve brought me back for the 3rd. Am also directing another episode of “The Good Wife” and making a documentary about my aunt, the writer Joan Didion.
What do you dream of happening in the future?
That I would be able to see through all of the projects I am working on with the energy and focus of a 24 year old Marine sniper.
What song do you love that you keep secret ’cause its too embarrassing to say publicly you like it?!
I would have said “Blurred Lines” back in June but now it haunts me like a brainwashed POW in the “Manchurian Candidate”. I still get a teeny bop thrill from Timberlake’s “What Goes Around”.
Which version of “Wild horses” do you prefer, Rolling Stones or Gram Parsons?
I know the cool answer is Gram Parsons but the Stones version is in my DNA. I’m sure Gram is rolling in his ashes at Joshua Tree that I feel this way.
Are you a morning person or night person?
Night person who has been in training to be a morning person for almost a decade. Not happening.
Any advice for peeps just starting out?
Take chances and embrace the idea that no one knows who you are so you can make mistakes and not be judged for your past.
Is there a quote or mantra you live by?
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
What do you want to be when you grow up?