Jon Bon Jovi talks acting career, 'Stand Up Guys' and Hurricane Sandy
Jon Bon Jovi has appeared in films and television but is nowadays concentrating on his music career and work with his rock band, which is preparing for another world tour, and his efforts to help the survivors of Hurricane Sandy.
He recently returned to writing music for films and has contributed two songs to the new crime comedy "Stand Up Guys," which stars Al Pacino and Christopher Walken.
Pacino plays a con man who gets out of prison after almost 30 years and reunites with his old partner, portrayed by Walken, not knowing that the man has been hired by a person named Claphands, played by Mark Margolis, to try and kill him. The movie also stars Julianna Margulies of "The Good Wife," Alan Arkin and comedian Bill Burr.
When asked if there was a part of him that felt jealous about those who actually got to act in the film, Bon Jovi told OTRC.com: "I think that phase and stage in my life has passed, to be honest. I have a much better chance being more successful writing the songs than I would trying to compete with the caliber of actor that participated in this film."
Bon Jovi, who has also appeared in movies such as "U-571" as well as the show "Ally McBeal," said that he is just as proud to have contributed music to "Stand Up Guys," especially since he received a letter of thanks from Pacino himself.
"I had the script before there was a movie -- I had the pages to write to before they'd shot a scene," Bon Jovi said. "And then to go out to the set and see my imagination come to life in a way that was in total agreeance with what Fisher Stevens, the director did."
"And then to be able to write the second song and consider yourself having been in the character and the voice of these guys ... and then Al Pacino writes you a letter and it says, 'I don't usually do this, but I want you to know this is my favorite movie song,' so you think, 'Alright, this was fun,'" Bon Jovi said.
Stevens, the director, won an Oscar for co-producing the 2009 documentary "The Cove" and also helmed other documentaries as well as the 2002 romantic comedy "Just a Kiss." But Stevens is more known for his acting projects - he played Iggy the Goomba in the 1993 film "Super Mario Bros.," the villain The Plague in the 1995 movie "Hackers" and George Minkowski on the ABC series "LOST."
Bon Jovi's songs for "Stand Up Guys" are "Old Habits Die Hard" and "Not Running Amore." The singer said the music he contributed is "very unique" and "written in the voice" of the main characters.
"It's an integral part of the film and in the film and when you see Pacino in this scene when the lyric hits, you know that it's him, it's not just some ethereal background stuff," the singer said. "Honestly, he's going to face his maker at this time and in this place in the film. Hopefully, people feel it the way I have."
Bon Jovi has recorded music for films before, namely the soundtrack for the 1990 film "Young Guns II," which features his solo hit "Blaze of Glory." It earned an Oscar nomination -- and lost to Stephen Sondheim's track "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man," featured on the soundtrack of the movie "Dick Tracy."
Bon Jovi also contributed songs to his last acting project, the 2011 romance film "New Year's Eve," and his and his band's songs have been featured in movies such as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," "Armageddon" and "Spaceballs."
Despite the lull in his acting career, the singer will appear himself on movie theater screens soon anyway. Footage from Bon Jovi's concerts at three venues -- London's O2 arena, New York City's Madison Square Garden and Meadowlands Stadium, located in his home state of New Jersey -- will be shown in select theaters in the United States on November 27.
"Stand Up Guys" is set for a limited release in the United States on December 14, which will allow it to be considered for an Oscar nomination for the upcoming ceremony, before hitting more theaters in February 2013. Around that time, Bon Jovi the band is set to begin another world tour to promote the new studio album "What About Now."
Over the past few weeks, Bon Jovi was busy with another matter outside of show business -- he helped raise funds for survivors of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large parts of the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey. Bon Jovi participated in an NBC telethon and the singer's Jon Bon Jovi Foundation also contributed to the efforts.
"I'm from there. That's my people," he said, adding about New York City: "It's an interesting tale of two cities, you know, uptown, downtown were two different worlds. We were downtown and the lights were out. Uptown -- people were still out dining and going to plays."
"I was in London when the hurricane hit and I was one of the naysayers," he said. "I thought, 'Oh, I have to go to work. I have no time for a hurricane and I don't believe it's going to strike us.' So I was in London, I got the phone call and I immediately dropped all work and ran back home to see what I could do."
Bon Jovi and singer and fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen were recently made honorary advisors oft the nonprofit organization the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund, which announced on Sunday on its Facebook page that it had raised more than $16 million in less than two weeks. They join celebrities Kelly Ripa of "Live with Kelly and Michael," Dr. Mehmet Oz and Kevin Jonas.Additional reporting by Cari Skillman of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).