TV Transcripts


The Today Show

January 24, 2003

(Jeff was interviewed by NBC's Katie Couric about War Stories and some other projects.)

Katie Couric: He's starred in such films as the Blockbuster Jurassic Park. Now Goldblum plays a veteran journalist covering a fictional conflict in Uzbekistani in a timely NBC movie called "War Stories."

<clip plays "I don't hold myself up as a stellar human being. I'm a war correspondent and I'm not sure they are the same thing.">

Katie: Jeff Goldblum. Good morning Jeff.

Jeff: Good morning

Katie: How are you?

Jeff: I'm fine

Katie: You were watching that [clip] completely enraptured by the movie. You like the movie? You're proud of it?

Jeff: Yeah, I'm, I'm uh proud of it. <pause> I love the character. Did you hear what he said? You know these guys more than I do. These men and women who go and cover war, you know, and are close to it and risk their lives and sacrifice their lives and I think he's eluding at that point. To the possibility of ambition overtaking genuine compassion. And I think he feels at that point he'll lose his soul but that it's important work they're doing.

Katie: But you also, I think when he was talking about the importance of being detached when you're covering human suffering or it will make you completely incapable of doing your job and, as I watched this movie, I thought of people who cover wars regularly. They're really a special breed, don't you think?

Jeff: Totally. I got a chance to be immersed in research and talked to John Bellczar from the LA Times but you, you've done it too. You've covered horrible suffering! But you know, the will to go. on and to do their job and to tell their story, that gets you through it. But they're such a special breed. You know. These guys on the front lines are not going to make so much money, they're not going to get glory. But they feel they're doing an important thing.

Katie: Tell me a little bit, Jeff, if you could, about sort of the plot of this movie. I know this movie was written before September 11th.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Katie: Was the movie finished before September. 11?

Jeff: No, no, no.

Katie: The script was written and then it was changed, right? or altered slightly?

Jeff: The essential story is the same. It was originally set in Macedonia. It was felt to be more topical. Possibly, we'd do better if it was set in Central Asia like that. But the story was essentially the same about the . . . centering on the people, about the people and their complicated lives in this pressure cooker and hotbed of communion with each other and the, the romantic, intense life and death kind of moments that they have together. My character loses his best friend at the beginning, right in front of his eyes.

Katie: And he is haunted by that image throughout the movie, which you can only imagine that that would be the case. It's strange how much of the plot seems eerily familiar to what is going on now in terms of fundamentalists and government and warring factions and you all have been caught the cross fire of this.

Jeff: It fascinated me, I've been a news junkie for a while anyway and then recently riveted by everything,. It's strange because the public doesn't really know a lot about the people who brings us these stories but in the last year, we've seen more about them. It's important to these people for Americans to know something about the world beyond their own neighborhood.

Katie: And some of these scenes, I think, as I said, are not only eerily familiar and relevant but I know at some point you character and some others are pulled aside by fundamentalists and hijacked does...of course that makes you think of Journalist like Daniel Pearl from the Wall Street Journal. Someone who was willing to risk his life to get to the story and ,of course, ended up being murdered?

Jeff: I know. How horrible. Isn't that tragic that they're so brave to do that. We know a lot of people who have lost their lives and less and less are war correspondents seen as neutral and given a pass by everyone. There's an element in our story where I'm possibly being used by one side or the other and I'm devoted to staying neutral to and not accepting the propaganda of one side of the other of and giving the perception that we are not spies or combatants so that me and my fellow journalist can stay protected and safe.

Katie: This was an intense role, but you probably had more, I guess, a little less intense time when you shot an episode of Friends. This is going to be on next month?

Jeff: Feb 13

Katie: And you play a director on a show that Joey is auditioning for? Did you have a good time?

Jeff: I had a fabulous time! They told me just before I did and I worked a few days on it . . . that's right. I'm starring in the Broadway show and directing it. He comes and auditions for me. They were very sweet.

Katie: You've also been busy, you were in Exonerated an off-Broadway show..

Jeff: You've heard of Exonerated?

Katie: You know what, .I'm really desperate to see that play. I have heard fantastic things about it.

Jeff: Fantastic! You must see it. I did for a couple of weeks and now at Playhouse West in North Hollywood, where I teach acting, we're putting it up there. I love it. It's about people on death row who are found innocent and all real stories. Very much the news.

Katie: Incredibly powerful. That's right you're very on top things. Playing, first a war correspondent and then obviously someone on death row and both big new stories these days

Jeff: It's a lucky thing to be involved in something you can so chew on and possibly contribute to.

Katie: The movie is was stories airs on NBC Wed, Jan 29 at 8. Thanks for joining us, Jeff.

Jeff: Thanks so much.

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