Robert Duvall: Tough And Honest

Jan. 6, 2004

(CBS) Robert Duvall is a lot like the characters he has played in more than 80 movies -- blunt, tough and honest.

Correspondent Charlie Rose talked to Duvall in Buenos Aires, Argentina, about Steven Spielberg's recent trip to Cuba and why he says the trip was presumptuous.

Duvall also discusses tango dancing, relationships --including his current one with a woman 40 years his junior -- and the famous roles he has played.

Rose's report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes II, Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

The following are excerpts from Rose's interview with Duvall:

On Steven Spielberg's Recent Visit to Cuba:

Duvall: "Spielberg went down there recently and said, 'The best seven hours I ever spent was actually with Fidel Castro.' Now, what I want to ask him and I know he's going to get pissed off, 'Would you consider building a little annex on the Holocaust museum or at least across the street to honor the dead Cubans that Castro killed?' That's very presumptuous of him to go there."

Rose: "Will you tell him that?"

Duvall: "You bet, I'll tell him that. I'll never work at DreamWorks again, but I don't care about working there, anyway."

Duvall On Why He Wasn't In "Godfather III":

"...If they paid [Al] Pacino twice what they paid me, that's fine, but not three or four times, which is what they did. [Francis Ford Coppola] came to my farm, parked his car...went in the kitchen. [I] said, 'I know you always wanted the crab cake recipe, let me cook it for you.' Oh, he loves to eat, so I cooked the crab cake...and he wrote it down...and he forgot it, so he called twice. He was...more concerned that he forgot the crab cake recipe than would I be in 'Godfather III.'"

Duvall On Relationships:

"...One time a relationship wasn't working out and I was moping around the house...so I went down early in the morning to the village there and got in the phone booth. And here I'm moping around the house and I didn't realize my wife had followed me down -- was outside the phone booth -- and here I'm on the phone with somebody else. So happy. Hung up, went out. Oh my God, I was caught. That was the way I was caught because through that glass there was this transformation of me into this happy, ecstatic guy...So what's the lesson? The lesson is to be more subdued in a phone booth, I think."

* Photo Essay : Explore the career of one of filmdom's multi-faceted talents.

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(The Washington Times Online, 2004-01-06)

Consigliere on Castro

Robert Duvall can be a mite ornery onscreen, but the Oscar winner flashes a rare display of unscripted venom tonight during a "60 Minutes II" interview.

Mr. Duvall spoke out to host Charlie Rose about director Steven Spielberg's visit in November 2002 to Cuba.

"Spielberg went down there recently and said, 'The best seven hours I ever spent was actually with Fidel Castro.' Now, what I want to ask him [is,] 'Would you consider building a little annex on the Holocaust Museum or at least across the street to honor the dead Cubans that Castro killed?' That's very presumptuous of him to go there."

Rose: "Will you tell him that?"

Duvall: "You bet, I'll tell him that. I'll never work at DreamWorks again, but I don't care about working there, anyway."

According to the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Mr. Spielberg called his "all-night session" with the Cuban dictator "the eight most important hours of my life," later lashing out at the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba during a visit to promote his films in the communist country.

A spokesman for Mr. Spielberg at DreamWorks SKG told The Washington Times that the quote was botched: "Unfortunately, the statement that Robert Duvall attributes to Steven Spielberg is totally false. He never said it, or anything like it. ... His trip to Cuba was authorized as a cultural exchange by the U.S. government."

"60 Minutes II" airs at 8 tonight on CBS.

- Christian Toto