From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Grobel, who literally wrote the book on interviewing (The Art of the Interview), puts his talent on full display in this compilation of interviews conducted with Al Pacino over 25 years, giving the reader as much insight into interviewing style as into the legendary actor. Notoriously private, Pacino shares stories about his formative years, his preference for the theater over movies and how he handles criticism. Pacino's views on acting, punctuated by stories of preparing for iconic roles like Tony Montana in Scarface, are fascinating, and his obvious passion for and dedication to acting in all its forms is inspiring. But it's the personal side of Pacino many readers will look for, and Grobel does a deft and graceful job eliciting tales from the actor's upbringing and notorious fear of romantic commitment. Although the two are friends, Grobel maintains a respectful distance in the book, allowing Pacino the slack to cut things short or-after a few attempts-decline to answer. Part of the book's draw, however, is witnessing the two become closer as the years go by, their conversations becoming less formal and more intimate, making for increasingly engaging and illuminating reading. Until the famously shy Pacino authorizes a proper, official biography, this title makes a fine substitute.
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These interviews of Pacino conducted by Grobel and spanning the years 1979 to 2005 read more like old buddies conversing than formal discussion between aloof professionals, and in fact, Grobel and the notoriously aloof actor have became close friends. Still, even in what he claims was his first interview ever, Pacino seems, surprisingly, relaxed and open. Altogether, these are nine warts-and-all portraits of Pacino, full of surprising details about him and his life. For example, at one point Pacino laments that he is never given a comic role, despite his early experience writing and appearing in comedy reviews in the Village. Equally fascinating are moments when Pacino turns the tables on Grobel, answering questions with other questions that throw Grobel off balance and require him to be as on-his-toes as Pacino clearly is. Grobel and Pacino maintain a remarkable openness throughout, by the end creating the illusion that the reader has really gotten to know the man behind Serpico
, and Michael Corleone. Jack HelbigCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved