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Matt Dillon - Confessions of An Eternal Teen

Matt Dillon's days as tabloid fodder have waned. Formerly recognized as an angsty adolescent in movies like Drugstore Cowboy, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, Dillon is now more a seasoned actor than archetypal pinup boy.

More concerned nowadays with the craft of acting than the illusion of fame, Dillon is content with the fact its unlikely he will end up in print over his latest bar brawl or lost purse dog.

With three decades of work behind him, Matt Dillon has matured. "As a seasoned actor do you have a different perspective. I was never really into the glamour of it all. I admit I was excited to see my name on the credits of a film or in a magazine, in the beginning, but that novelty wares off pretty quickly."

"The film industry has changed since I first started in the business," Dillon says. "Everything is now much more commercial, its all about marketing. There is also less preparation and rehearsal time."

"As I reached my early 20s and late teens I remember there was a time you had to prepare, two or three months. I think there is not as much appreciation for the craft and its driven by economics, maybe its negotiation, or it could be the way deals come together," he says.

Dillon's first role came in 1979, at the age of 14 when he played an uncontrollable teenager in the film, Over The Edge. "I immediately identified with it, the film had a real potency. I also remembered that experience being an indicator of the power of film, and the way and actor can affect people."

"I remember at that time I was at my high school, and this girl pulled up in a Camaro. She had come all the way from Atlantic City because the character Richie I had played in real life reminded her of a former boyfriend of hers that ended up in a reformatory or something."

"I was at that age when I was surrounded by people like that, where there were rebellious kids and it was reality. There were kids from high schools recreation centers and reform schools at the shoot, I wanted everything to be real and I thought it was great I got the nickname of Marlon on the set as I was like Brando in that I wanted to do everything method style."

By the 1980's Dillon had graduated from the stakes of flash in the pan actor, having come a long way since being discovered by talent scouts while cutting class at Hommocks High School

During the eighties, after Over The Edge, Dillon forged a reputation as an iconic "troubled youth" brandishing the brooding swagger of Brando and the tormented angst of Dean, in films such as My Bodyguard (1980), Little Darlings (1980), Tex (1982), Rumble Fish (1983), and that seminal exploration of teenage alienation, and The Outsiders (1983).

His breakthrough into the grown-up realm came with his melancholic anti hero portrayal of a junkie trying to come clean in Gus Van Sant's acclaimed Drugstore Cowboy (1989). Dillon won critical acclaim for his portrayal of 'Bob' and was recognized as a serious actor, also winning a 1989 Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor Dillon is nonchalant when asked whether awards are validation of success as an actor. "I never think about awards when I make a movie, why I don't know. There are a lot of good movies where I have been nominated for things, though you have to keep I in perspective. There are a lot of real talented people who haven't been able to get a job let alone work."

"I try not to put the focus on myself when it comes to hurdles, because there are a lot of them. You are always facing hurdles, if god gives you a lemon, ask for a lobster and go and eat it. I guess what Im saying is I don't really look at being dealt a tough life, the bottom line is what are you going to do with the hand that you are dealt."

On starting as an actor, Dillon is adamant that his chance "discovery" was what projected him. "The fact I was discovered gave me a push in the right direction. I wasn't a child actor, I wasn't a kid who was dragged of to piano lessons, I didn't have that, I had autonomy, I always made my own choices or as much as any young kid can."

Beyond acting, Dillon also wore the director's hat for his project City Of Ghosts ". "The experience was very taxing. At one point the financing fell through and I remember the stress I endured. It was difficult but I was not discouraged, Ive never been one to be easy on myself."

"I love acting, I feel like I was born to act, I love it but there is something about directing that also appeals. I haven't had any specific requests for me to do it, maybe because my film didn't have much of an impact, but I do want to do it again."

"Despite the arduous task of City Of Ghosts, Dillon is set to repeat the directing experience with a forthcoming project about a 1940's Irish gangster in New York…

"The project is devoted to The Life of a guy named Maloney, a crazy eyed gangster from the west side who was involved in a slew of kidnappings. It is being written as we speak, I wrote a first draft and have brought another writer in to iron it out."

"I have a couple of other projects, but I try and not spread myself too thin with that stuff. Ive found that it really helps to throw yourself into one thing and get kind of myopic about it. Some people do that though I'm not comfortable with it."

From early stages in his career, Dillon was trained using Stanislavsky's and Strasbourg's theories, though nowadays his technique casts a wider net. "Im not really into these labels, I really just use anything that makes sense for me."

"James Dean in East Of Eden, Brando in One The Waterfront. That's what people identify with, the truth. I felt the same way when I saw Taxi Driver, that the actors were natural and real, they had the power to summon the truth."

Dillon's pursuit of what he calls the truth seems to work. His range has allowed him to explore a variety of roles, from the comical innocence of villains in the likes of Something About Mary and Herbie Fully Loaded to edgier characters in more recent roles such as a playing a racist cop in indie film Crash and Bukowski's alter ego in Factotum.

"I went out with LA cops to prepare for the role of Ryan in Crash. The last time I was in a police station in LA was when I was arrested for Jay walking at the age of 14. Policing tactics of LA cops are more aggressive than those back east, the character embodies the traits of those cops, and the character takes it even further as he's racist."

The character of Henry, based on the alter ego of author Charles Bukowski was the most challenging, Dillon confesses. "I was a big Bukowski fan when I was in school, I read all his novels. When they approached me, I was able to geb into the character and I had a great time."

"I went through a renewed appreciation for the work. I read Factotum again, I hadn't read I for about 20 years. I looked at him in a much different way, when I was younger I was attracted to the debauchery. I liked the simplistic prosaic style, then at a certain point I realized I had to get into some really heavy literature."

Like Bukowski, where Matt Dillon ranks as an artist is contentious. Regardless of net worth or column inches, the act of devoting his life to his passion seems an act of success in itself.

"Bukowski represented the working class ideal, Dillon says. "For the character Henry in Factotum, its about having women and a place to drink. Like two hours spent in a bar with a juke box and a whore is worth all the nasty bosses and the sweaty factory floors. Sitting in that bar is what he lived for and a lot of people also live for that." "In some ways acing is a blessing in some ways it's a curse. It's a blessing in that I have a good, vital career that allows me to work and to create. The majority of people who go to work everyday work for the vacation. For those people, Its not about the job or the career its about survival."

Emily goes ballistic

There's a hidden depth to actress Emily Procter that takes some work to discover. Firstly she's the very antithesis of an average Hollywood diva, secondly she's playful and warm, far from her clinical and officious role as Calleigh Dusquene, a ballistics expert on the TV series CSI.

With all the candor you'd expect from a girl from Carolina, Emily, known to her friends as either 'Emilicious," or 'Procadooby' tells it like it is. "It's a nice feeling having regular work. I want to have a home, as an actress, security is important."

Emily's career path as an actress started with five lines in the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas, with another minor role a year later in Jerry Macguire. " I had about five lines and received a SAG day rate of about $250 for each part," she reveals.

Emily's role in Leaving Las Vegas was highly prophetic, "I played a bimbo actress who spoke the lines, "One of my favorite things about being an actress is that you get to play with guns."

Around ten years later and she plays Calleigh Dusquene a ballistics expert on the high rating TV show, CSI Miami. The series focuses on Horatio Caine, a former homicide detective who heads a group of investigators who work crimes amid the steamy, sordid surroundings of Miami. Caine's team includes Procter's character Calleigh a bilingual Southern beauty with a specialty in ballistics.

A native of Raleigh, N.C. Emily Procter attended East Carolina University. "I tried to get in the theatre department," she says, "but it was full." After graduation, however, she moved to Los Angeles and broke into acting.

Asked about additional career highlights, Emily mentions her work on mainstream TV series The West Wing for two years and various movies, including the little known gem, Breast Men.

"It which tells of a young plastic surgery intern gets tired of watching exciting developments in other fields," Emily reveals. "He finds a new, safe type of breast implants. All he has to do is convince his supervising surgeon it will work, and find a volunteer for the first patient."

Asked about her favorite CSI episodes, Emily says those that are most fun are usually those that have nothing really to do with the show. "I recently did an episode with Tony Hawk the skateboarder, he actually dies in the episode, but watching him skate was a lot of fun."

Asked about her most embarrassing experience while filming the series Emily recalls eating blood. "The effects people on the show use chocolate to create the look of an aging bloodstain. During one shoot I was so overwhelmed by the smell of chocolate I dipped my finger in the pool of blood and licked it while we were doing the scene, I wasn't even aware of it."

In terms of character authenticity for her role, Emily says she works with two ballistics experts, both women in Los Angeles and Miami. "They provide me with a lot of inspiration and mirror my character."

Despite a hectic schedule shooting CSI Miami ten and a half months a year, its not all about work for Emily. During her downtime she is usually obsessed with fitness and jogging, having started after being tricked into doing a charity run by a friend a few years ago.

A knee injury over the last month has prevented her from running of late so she has substituted her hectic exercise regime by forming a band. The band, devoted to power ballads will be called White Lightning. Emily says the band will cover a range of songs like her all time favorite Leather and Lace, the classic collaboration between Stevie Nicks and Don Henley.

"The whole idea for the band started while singing along to songs with a friend in my car on the way to Palm Springs I've never actually sang on stage before, so it should be fun. Ive just got to fit it in somewhere between shooting a feature film and flying to London to visit some friends."

Emily also likes to shop. "My biggest indulgence is buying shoes and visiting spas. I Like shopping and hunting for treasure and I love purses and shoes. My latest purchase are a set of framed butterflies."

Emily hopes to take part in a feature film this summer during the break in shooting CSI, though she's tight lipped about the role hoping not to jinx it, revealing only that it is "a character piece."

Despite her film ambitions, Emily insists CSI is her central focus - for now "CSI is now in its third season, and its great to be involved with a show of such acclaim internationally," Emily reveals. "As we progress through the seasons, CSI is changing. During the next season the personality quirks of various characters will be highlighted."

Asked if she feels comfortable embracing a role entrenched in society's darker side, Emily is philosophical. " My character Calleigh is principled and of good character. I think she is much like the people I have watched in law enforcement who generally make a sacrifice. The good thing about CSI is that it provides answers in the face of senseless violence."

Save The Planet

With a focus on environmental concerns in the state of California, Global Green USA has some lofty objectives, ranging from the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, to combating climate change and ensuring access to clean water for all humanity

Yet, despite its grandiose aims, Global Green USA is slowly but surely seeing results, confronting both the generalist dogma of Green politics and an apathetic public of indulgent consumers.

Recruiting celebrity support and in turn promoting public awareness about their cause is a key component of Global Green's PR strategy and inevitable success.

Leonardo DiCaprio is board member of Global Green USA, while the organization's LA committee includes Charlize Theron, Kate Bosworth, Julie Delpy, Orlando Bloom, and many others. During the last year, Global Green has used this celebrity clout to educate the public about fuel efficient vehicles, including by getting stars to ride to the Oscars in hybrid cars.

"With world-wide attention focused on the awards ceremony, Global Green organizes fuel-efficient transportation each year to allow celebrities to demonstrate their concern for promoting energy independence, combating global warming and protecting the environment." Says Ruben Aronin, Director of Communication at Global Green USA.

Joining the ranks of celebrities choosing to bring an environmental conscience to the Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, Robin Williams, Orlando Bloom, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins were among those arriving at the 2005 Academy Awards in high-mileage, low emission, Prius hybrids as part of Global Green's 3rd annual "Red Carpet-Green Stars" campaign.

Commenting on his Global Green particpation at this year's Academy Awards actor and Oscar presenter Orlando Bloom said, "Hybrid cars help us conserve natural resources and preserve the planet. Choosing a hybrid is something everyone can do today to help reduce our negative impact on the environment."

Matt Petersen, president of Global Green USA added, "By foregoing gas-guzzling limos, Oscar attendees show their support for fuel efficient cars to decrease our dependence onfossil fuels, reduce air pollution, and stem climate change," said "By choosing to ride in a fuel-efficient car, like the Prius, they send a strong message to the American people and the world that we can all be part of the solution to global warming and our addiction to oil."

According to Global Green data The partial zero emission (PZEV) Prius, for example, is EPA rated to get up to 60 miles per gallon in the city (55 mpg combined) and produces almost 90 percent fewer emissions than the average vehicle.

Also central to GG's agenda this year is the support of policies to green schools in California, increasing funding for solar energy, and highlighting the world water shortage through world water day.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio helped Global Green launch Worl Water Day on March 22 to draw attention to the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who don't have access to clean water.

DiCaprio, who earned a best-actor nomination this year for playing Howard Hughes in "The Aviator," signed a petition that calls on President Bush and other government leaders to commit to a legally binding United Nations treaty declaring clean water a basic human right.

"We are here to help raise awareness about what is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today - the lack of clean water for billions of people around the world," said DiCaprio, at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco with Global Green USA President Matt Petersen.

DiCaprio screened a short film he helped produce that highlights the need to conserve the world's limited supply of fresh water and provide greater access to the more than 1.2 billion people without clean water.

The film, called "Water Planet," will be distributed starting next month on the Internet, at film festivals and to television stations and schools to educate the public about what DiCaprio calls the "growing global water crisis."

On the solar energy front, Global Green this year co-sponsored the Pavley Bill (AB 1383) which will help fund "net zero energy" solar for affordable housing. In its report, "Solar City: How Los Angeles Can Gain the Economic and Environmental Competitive Edge," Global Green USA challenged the City of LA to put solar on City controlled or influenced city buildings, affordable housing, and Schools over the next 15 years.

According to Global Green president, Matt Green, "Los Angeles could become a Solar City, a veritable Solar Silicon Valley. We can generate high wage jobs, stimulate our economy, and clean our air by installing solar panels on all city buildings."

Endorsing the campaign, LA Mayor Hahn added, "the writing is on the wall, California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco, Chicago are seeing the potential of solar energy and LA should be at the front of the pack. We can create clean, local jobs here for our residents."

With Global Green USA's proposed goal, 70 MW to 80 MW of solar PV can be installed on available roof space with solar systems that reduce peak demand and lessen air pollution. This goal amounts to an estimated 1% of LA DWP's electricity generating capacity over the next 10 years.

The proposed goal would be in addition to the existing solar program, and integrated into the City's recently adopted Renewable Portfolio Standard which calls for increasing renewable power to 20% of the city's energy.

Join Global Green USA (GG USA) and Green Cross International (GCI) also presented the call for a $50 billion global solar fund in Bonn at the intergovernmental Renewables 2004 conference and the International Forum of Cultures ("The Peoples Forum") in Barcelona, Spain.

Presented by Green Cross International Chairman (and former Soviet President) Mikhail Gorbachev, the call asked world leaders to adopt a renewable energy plan that addresses energy poverty, urban peak demand and the provision of decentralized energy access in developing world and energy for peace. Gorbachev, the stocky moon-faced figure with the signature port-wine birthmark has decided to devote what he calls his post-presidential years to campaigning for the protection of the environment.

Global Green USA is the American affiliate of Green Cross International, formed by Gorbachev in 1992 after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Asked why he had chosen the environment as his late-life mission, Gorbachev harked back to his farm background and early acquaintance with nature, as well as his experience witnessing reckless land use by the mining industry during his years as a provincial governor in Stavropol.

"We had built many hydroelectric power stations and they produced a lot of energy, but they were a blow to our land and they created reservoirs that flooded vast territories of arable land and villages.

Now that Russia has moved toward ratifying the Kyoto treaty on climate change, Mr. Gorbachev faults the Bush administration for not doing the same. "It is very bad, very sad whenever the United States doesn't take an active stand," he said.

Global Green USA welcomes donations, for more info, go to www.globalgreen.org or email ggusa@globalgreen.org

Written by Craig Stephens

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