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INTERVIEW: Larry Holden
Author: Jett
August 2005
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The following interview with Larry Holden -- who played Gotham City District Attorney Finch in BATMAN BEGINS -- took place in August of 2005. Enjoy...

BOF: Tell us a bit about your "professional self." Or how you got into acting. Etcetera.

LH: Well, as far as acting goes, I was first encouraged. or pushed, by an old friend, Juliette Lewis, on the set of a movie called THAT NIGHT. I don't remember the year, sorry. 1992, I think. Anyway, I had screen-tested for the male lead in that picture - with Juliette, who was already was cast, fresh off CAPE FEAR. And I remember thinking, "shit, this is easy," because it was actually one of my very first film auditions, ever. And you know what? Guess what my very first one was... For some Adam West film. I didn't get it. Ha.

Anyway, back to THAT NIGHT or whatever it's called... I started out reading for some tiny part, then they kept asking me back to read for something bigger, and finally I was reading for the male lead in a ten million dollar film... And, believe it or not, the director really wanted me in the part, along with most of his team. I was mainly just a writer of short stories and poetry then. I wasn't even really trying to be an actor. Matter of fact, I hated almost every actor I had ever met before in my life; except for Juliette, who I ended up having a little crush on while we were working. It was innocent, no big deal, but I just thought she was the coolest woman I had ever met. And I still feel that way about her. She's really something. But she was dating Brad Pitt at the time, so... Well, I never had a fucking chance. Ha. Anway... I loved movies... always have... and I guess that's why I had always entertained the idea of acting... though from afar, very afar. Ha. I just knew too much already about that whole scene... and you can't unring a bell, as they say. That damn thing is still ringing in my ears. Ha.

Anyway, they told me I had actually had the role for a few minutes until some big suit and tie back in LA, Arnan Milchan, I believe, said, "Who the hell is he?!...," etcetera, and I was replaced with just a week to go before shooting commenced with C. Thomas Howell - which, to be honest, isn't like getting replaced on the parquet floor with Larry Bird during a much-needed time-out near the end of a game seven with the Lakers, if you know what I mean? That I would understand. This decision, though, came down to marketing and profits, as always. Sure, I was bummed a little, but not much, because at least I knew I could compete and maybe even get work down the road. If I wanted to, that is. And I wasn't even sure of that - if I ever wanted to, really. And I still have that problem sometimes. Plus, I was always horrible at auditions. But now, thank God, at least some things are just offered to me nowadays.

But, anyway, back to this suit's decision.... I understood completely, actually. I mean, they knew Juliette would end up getting some big press, because of working with Scorsese and De Niro and the gang - and she did, she ended up getting some kind of nomination or whatever, I think - but this guy didn't want two brand-new faces. So, I ended up agreeing to basically being an featured extra or something. They felt bad and asked me to stick around. And Juliette and I got along great, so, there you go. So, I think I worked for about five weeks or so, and had a great time with everybody. Anyway, the whole time Juliette kept bugging me to move to LA to pursue acting, and by the time the film was finished, I reluctantly agreed. And I could f***ing kill her for that now! Ha.

Like I said, I basically had no previous experience at the time at all. I was just into films or what have you, and I really dreamed of being a writer someday.

Though, I do have to admit that back in the Eighties I tried to make a film with an old friend, Robert Ross. A kind of ED WOOD-like thing, where we wouldn't even try to pretend we had any money or production value or whatever. It was three guys driving across the country to see a fourth friend who was dying of Aids. We found an old pick-up and smashed out the windshield, and we were just going to project stock footage behind them of cars on highways or various roads as seen out the back window of different cars. And now here I am, some twenty years later, and trying to make films the same way. Well, at least the one I've just started working on now - tentatively called DEAD FROG BLUE. My wife and I have actually pulled out some old Ed Eood movies and are getting re-inspired. Ha. But acting...? Naw, it just wasn't on my radar screen. Anywhere. I was way too shy for that kind of stuff. At least doing it in front of a live audience. That's why when I finally started to do plays, i would always get drunk right before every performance. But nobody knew. Or I was so drunk I didn't notice that everybody noticed. Ha.

Anyway, I arrived in 1993, but then left for good in 2003, after ten very long years. I mean, I really think that city is basically hell with sunshine. Horrible. Absolutely horrible. I wanted a better quality of life, and I wanted to do my own thing. And I wasn't really burning the town down, as they say. I kept saying no to all these things like I was this huge star. But really, I just wasn't interested in what they were making there too much.

I mean, sure, I did my fair share of complete shit, because I had to eat. But it's really as simple as that. I hated it, so I eventually left. Matter of fact, I would have left just three years after getting there, around the end of 1996, right after I finished my first lead role in a yet-to-released film (of course! ha) called . But I was a foll enough to invest a good chunk of what little money I earned on that picture in a former friend's nightclub in Hollywood, and the fat, spineless prick ripped me off. And that basically sums up most folks there, sad to say. Spineless, flip-flopping, wannabe's that have quit on all their original dreams, and now just want to be able to hang with celebs and at least get a vicarious buzz from the so-called successes of strangers, basically. But the celebs get off because they can walk to the front of the line and not even be asked to pay. I mean, this MF'er would let all these millionaire's in for free, and then stick some lame cover charge on his regulars... Anyway, I didn't have enough money to move after falling for this cat's scheme... "Help me, buddy. This could be a dream come true for me..." Etc. That sort of shit. I'd like to drive a bulldozer over both him and that f***ing joint. Matter of fact, I didn't end up being a real investor in that case. Nope. I simply gave him a chunk of cash and said, Pay me back when you can. No interest. Nothing. I thought that's what you do for friends. But not in Los Angeles.

Anyway, and I was also trying to raise money for my first film, MY FATHER'S HOUSE, so I hung around on the sidelines awhile longer. And I was very strongly encouraged by some "educated insiders" to do just that - because, supposedly, that was part of the process of getting your film made - waiting around with your thumb up your ass, waiting for the phone or the check to get depsoited. Or worse, taking lunch meetings with guys who get off jerking off guys like you. "You know, Larry... I did 'Pippen' in high school... and my friends say I could be the white Chris Rock if I wanted to... I mean, I'm not just a money guy, I'm an artist, too." And always have to fight hard room saying shit like, "Hmmm... I thought Chris Rock was white." Or one time when this one backstabbing phoney c***s***er said my script made him cry... that his dad had died in a plane crash or something... getting all misty-like... and then, out of nowhere, he did a sort of Arsenio Hall thing, with his Satan-like fingers slowly entwining in front of his face, and said, "Now... what about us talking about the bitching soundtrack we can assemble for this hellacious blockbuster of yours?... I mean, what movie has ever been hurt by fifteen or so hit tunes to help keep moving things along...?" And I wish I was making that up. But I'm not. My literary agent at the time and my producer both had to stop from kicking his teeth out.

F****... sorry about that. Where was I? Oh, acting...

Well, now, I basically just act when Chris Nolan and Emma Thomas call and ask me to do something, because I love those two so much and have so much fun with them - as well as the rest of the gang, namely Wally Phister and Nathan Crowley, their director of photography and production designer, respectively.

But again, I have to eat and pay the bills like everybody else, and I use up all the money Chris and Emma pay me to make my own films... so I am contemplating accepting a few of all these offers that are coming in now. I just need to keep the wolves from my door, help my wife Hanne start up her new fashion line (eventually: - it's still being constructed) and make enough to continue to write and direct my own stuff. I have a production company, Holden Automotive (HOLDENAUTOMOTIVE.COM), and we have five new films that will finally come out over the next year.

The very first one, MY FATHER'S HOUSE, which came out three years ago, was made with four dollars and duct tape, as my good friend and co-worker Mike J. Nichols likes to say. And the budgets for all of the rest have been even smaller. But I love making them. And I love making them my way, with no interference from anybody. I mean, I was offered 3.5 million to make that first film with, and I said no, because I wanted to do it all my way, everything... And not have to hire somebody because they're on some hit tv show or something.

Anyway, my little films, along with my wife Hanne, of course, are the only things that keep me alive these days. Literally. But their not meant to be seen at your local mall or cineplex. They're better viewed at home... in the so-called feathery hours... three or four in the morning, with your feet up and the world asleep around you. At least that's how think they should be watched. They're very quiet films.

Sorry, Jett. Did I even come close to answering your question? Ha. Big ha.

BOF: You've worked for Chris Nolan now in three films. How did you both "hook up," so to speak?

LH: We hooked up back in 1999 when I auditioned for MEMENTO and got the gig somehow. Simple as that. My agent begged me not to even read for it, because the part was too small or whatever, but hell, it was the first script I had managed to even finish in a very long time... So I showed up with my usual mustache, the one my wife loves me to have all the time, and I think that landed me the job. Ha. Along with help from my old friend, John Papsidera, who cast that film. He pushed for me hard, I think. He's a prince. So is Chris. Thank God I know enough to tell my agents what to do, and not vice versa.

But I still remember that day very very well. In came Chris and Emma - they were late - and I read and they smiled. And John gave me a little thumbs up sign on the sly. Then I left. A month later, after C. Thomas Howell turned down the role, I guess - ha - I got the gig. But I seriously never thought it would ever get released. Not theatrically. But Thank God for Aaron Ryder and his team over at Newmarket. As everybody already knows, they did an amazing job getting that film out there. F***ing amazing.

Which reminds me... Aaron, give me a call if you see this, you bastard. You told me at Sundance that year you owed me a gig for working so cheap on MEMENTO! So... well, here we are six years later... and I'm still waiting. What the f***, man? Ha!

BOF: What's it like working with a dirctor like Chris Nolan?

LH: Well, Chris just trusts you enough to let you come and do your thing, in my opinion. I mean, even though the work I have done for him is minimal, in regards to the size of my roles, and even though I'm sure not some great thespian in any way, shape, or form, he gives actors "Brando respect," if you know what I mean. Whether I or they actually deserve it or not. I mean, he still breaks my balls and teases me a good bit, and I do the exactly the same to him and the gang when I see them all, you still know he really cares, you know he really believes in you, and you also know that if it isn't what he wants, he'll surely let you know. But even then, he just whispers you a few things from time to time, to keep you within the parameters of his vision or whatever, and there you go.

It's hard to explain, really, because it just feels so easy to me on his sets. You show up, he says, "Hey, Golden Holden... you mind not sucking so bad this take?" And I laugh, and say, "Easy, young buck." Then we laugh and hurl a few more jabs at each other, and off we go. But I can't speak for anybody else's experiences with Chris, of course. I've known him six plus years, and... well, thank God I have somebody like him, that's all I can say. I mean, he hires me, and I have a great time. What more can you ask for?

But I felt bad this time around, though I didn't tell him or Emma this when I was in London. My best friend had recently died, and I was in bad shape. Real bad shape. I mean, I almost cut my wrists in my hotel room one night. Seriously. Literally. So, during that shoot... Well, I looked like shit, and I just didn't feel like I gave him much to work with. And I was flying in and out. Five different times I think, from Ireland, Norway, and Hawaii, where I was getting ready to direct my latest film, TUCKED IN HIS KNUCKLES. So, I felt guilty and insecure, though I put on my best face and played along as best I could. But man, thank God for my buddy Richard Brake, who plays Joe Chill in that film. He kept a close tab on me there in London. As did my lovely Hanne - from long distance. But I didn't tell Chris or Emma. Or Wally or Nathan. I didn't want to freak them out. Matter of fact, this thing, this interview, if they see it, will be the first they've ever heard of it. I love them too much to add to their weight. And I owe them too much. And anyway, that film was a massive undertaking, as I'm sure you know and can see. F***ing huge, that production was.

BOF: So, were you a Batman fan before the film, after, or not one at all?

LH: I was a f***ing huge Batman fan as a kid. Oh, big-time. I even have the original record album still. Matter of fact, I meant to give that to Chris in London when we were shooting, but I have boxes in storage units all over the world right now, so... I couldn't find the damn thing. And man, I never ever thought him and Robin would ever get away. I always thought they were going to buy the farm. Each and every episode almost. I mean, and this was the fucking Adam West show, the "Bop! and the "Wham!" stuff... But at the end of each show it was: "No f***ubg way! No f***ing way are they going to make this time! Uh Uh! No, Mom, I'm serious. They're screwed this time. I can't believe it. The show's actually f***ing over..." Ha. Of course my language was much worse back then. Ha.

BOF: Batman fans have been very vocal about how the character should be portrayed on film after BATMAN AND ROBIN. How much do you think the filmmakers (Nolan, David Goyer) payed attention to them (the fans) when putting together BATMAN BEGINS?

LH: I can't really answer that because I just don't know.

BOF: For a long time, many people thought you were actually playing Harvey Dent and that "Finch" was just to hide the truth. Did you know this and if so, what did you think of it?

LH: Hmmm... Never heard that. No.

BOF: Did Finch die? We never saw a body...?

LH: Sorry, I can't answer that one.

BOF: When I interviewed Mr. Nolan at the BEGINS press junket, he was very non-committal about doing a sequel. But the film certainly sets up future films and I know Warner Bros. hopes to do more. So, do you think Nolan will return for a sequel?

LH: Can't answer that one either, sorry.

BOF: Would you like to simply direct films, or do both - act and direct?

LH: Like Chris Nolan, I always knew that I would rather direct than act. Problem is, which is why I am nowhere near Chris's talent level, I didn't direct my first film until I was forty. And that was the film I was talking about before, of course - MY FATHER'S HOUSE. That's where it all finally (!) started. But I wasn't like Nolan who was making gems at such a young age... eight or nine, wasn't it? Those guys always end up being the real good ones, don't they? The ones that always knew excatly where they were heading. Fuck. I just loved too many other things at the same time - traveling, writing, taking all these weird odd jobs so I could get story ideas... music... coaching... I used to be a lacrosse coach, believe it or not, at both the high school and college levels... teaching (what little I may know about nothing... ha).... meeting people from all walks of life... Everything. But I was too f***ing stupid to know that I could STILL do and experience all of those things as a film director. You get to do all those f***ing things as a director. But man, it's hard... especially because I have to basically produce my films at the same time, while I am trying to be only creative, nothing else.... because I don't pay my producers... and most producers insist on that kind of shit! Ha.

Anyway, I get pleasure from both, yes, but more from directing than acting. Always. Simple as that. So, if I can have more pleasure... yep, that's where I'm going - behind, not in front of the action. Most of my friends knew that long before I did. I have always just loved creating stuff. Anything. So if I am getting a REAL chance to help CREATE something, I am there - whether it is behind or in front of whatever. If I have time, if I am interested in the possibilities of that creation, I am f***ing there.

BOF: Tell us about MY FATHER'S HOUSE which you wrote, produced, and directed.

LH: Well... I kind of already talked about it, so... Okay, I'll just add this: It was hell to make. I could write a novel about how hard that movie was to make, and I am fucking serious. Now, sure, all of us guys think our shoots were and are the worst, always - but that one?... Man, I still haven't recovered from that one - in every f***ing way. That's all I want to say right now because I try hard to keep my films a mystery - as ridiculous as that may sound. I want my audience to find the film in their own way, without much help from me. Meaning, people can just go to my website at and find out about that film and my other films. Which is not much, but more than I should have there, really. I mean, there are pictures from MY FATHER'S HOUSE, and I just asked my website designers to take them off - but I think they are rebelling, because they were still there this morning - ha - because I think even they give too much away about the film. It would take too long to explain what I am doing differently now with all of my films - in that regard - what I share and what I don't share - but I will say this: I don't make movies that talk at people. I make movies that are, hopefully - and I'm sure I'm sounding like a pretentious f*** right now - more like good conversations. Open conversations for anybody that really wants to talk. About something, or about nothing. Conversations between us all. Man, that sounds like shit. Ha. But... Okay, what I mean is... You're invited. It's your trip. My trip was making it. Your trip is watching it. Could be two different trips, could be the same trip... though I sincerely doubt it... but, again, hopefully, if there are 150 people in the audience, there will be... Well, f*** that, my movies will never make it to the theatres. And I sound like a hippy. Ha. And anyway, like I said before, my movies are for home viewing. They are better viewed at home, alone. Matter of fact, and forgive me if I have already said this, I think my movies are MADE for home viewing. You know, none of your readers wants to hear about my f***ing films. Ha. Alright... Okay, we work hard, play hard, and think we're making at least worthwhile films. How's that? Meaning, they should exist in the world. It's okay for them to exist. As cocky as that may sound. better said, WE think they should exist. We're not knowingly throwing shit in people's faces. We believe we're doing good and worthwhile work. It has meaning to us, and... probably only us. And I am sure everybody feels that way about their work, right? Ha. And all that shit about being discovered when we're dead. Ha. Seriously though, we're lucky at Holden Automotive. Most of my team is having a real good time. And the rest don't work for me anymore. The ones that couldn't. That didn't want to. But enough said there. But yep, it's basically down to me and the missus these days. So, folks, feel free to email me your resumes! Ha!

BOF: Anything you are working on or are about to that you would like to tell us about?

LH: I am just reading scripts right now, and trying to schedule out the rest of the year as far as my acting goes, as well as the first half of the next. Most of the offers have been for low-budget indie stuff. Hollywood never knew who I was, and they still don't. And I'm not sure they should, either. Matter of fact, I'm quite sure they don't have a reason to. Not in my opinion.

BOF: Anything you would like to say to the BOF readers?

LH: Just a big THANK YOU VERY MUCH for all the kind words in all the emails I've gotten the past several weeks. Mucho appreciado. It's been fun. And they can always feel free to stay in touch. LARRY@HOLDENAUTOMOTIVE.COM. Glad everybody liked the film so much. I am honored to be a part of it, and honored to have worked with Chris Nolan and the gang yet again. Three f***ing times, and three very magical times. But each f***ing time... that bastard has to either hurt or kill me. And while we're on the subject, I wonder what in the hell all that is all about??? What's that young buck turned big Hollywood hotshot got against me? Ha!

BOF: Thanks Larry. Good luck and be well. And tell Chris I said "THANKS!"

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