But then, in War Machine, you find the little gesture that makes the Glen McMahon character ours. Like the way he runs, which is hilarious.
The run to me was important because it was about the delusion of your own grandeur, not knowing what you really look like. All pencil legs, you know. Not being able to connect reality to this facade of grandeur.
The other equally distinctive characteristic is Glen’s voice. Where did it come from?
You know, it’s a little bit of a cliché, but I just enjoyed it too much: There’s, you know, of course, Patton in it. But I could not get Sterling Hayden out of my mind. I’m just fascinated with Sterling Hayden, off-camera, between films, and I couldn’t escape that. There’s even a little bit of Chris Farley in mannerisms. And then Kiefer Sutherland in Monsters vs. Aliens, you know, doing the cartoon voice. It just wouldn’t go anywhere else; it kept coming back there.
Have you ever felt the need to be more political?
I can help in other ways. I can help by getting movies out with certain messages. I’ve got to be moved by something—I can’t fake it. I grew up with that Ozarkian mistrust of politics to begin with, so I just do better building a house for someone in New Orleans or getting certain movies to the screen that might not get made otherwise.
You’re good at playing that kind of character, the one that doesn’t have a truly accurate vision of himself.
It makes me laugh. Any of my foibles are born from my own hubris. Always, always. Anytime. I famously step in shit—at least for me it seems pretty epic. I often wind up with a smelly foot in my mouth. I often say the wrong thing, often in the wrong place and time. Often. In my own private Idaho, it’s funny as shit. I don’t have that gift. I’m better speaking in some other art form. I’m trying to get better. I’m really trying to get better.