Goldblum reigns as blockbuster king

Jurassic and Thor star on humility, family and jazz

by Richard Mowe

Jeff Goldblum in Deauville: 'I have always felt like a humble student but now I feel like I am getting better'
Jeff Goldblum in Deauville: 'I have always felt like a humble student but now I feel like I am getting better' Photo: Richard Mowe

With the sequel to Jurassic World looming on the horizon next year and the latest in the Thor franchise due for November release there is no danger of Jeff Goldblum losing his title as the uncrowned king of the blockbuster.

In between the likes of Independence Day: Resurgence he manages to fit in more esoteric fare, such as The Grand Budapest Hotel for Wes Anderson, find family time for his two sons and maintain a regular slot playing at a free jazz club in Los Angeles, his home town.

Goldblum, 62, and his wife Emilie Livingston, 32, a former Olympic gymnast from Canada, have two sons - a four-month-old and a two-year-old. Now she works in cinema, doubling for the likes of Emma Stone in La La Land for the more demanding dance sequences and appearing as Rhianna’s body double in Luc Besson’s Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets as well as doing acrobatics for shows by such super-stars as Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez.

He is attending the Festival of American Cinema in Deauville with his family - and tonight (September 3) receives a special career tribute.

Jeff Goldblum: 'It will all seem like nothing quite soon - it will all turn to dust like us …'
Jeff Goldblum: 'It will all seem like nothing quite soon - it will all turn to dust like us …' Photo: Richard Mowe

Goldblum declares he was happy to work on Thor: Ragnarok, the third instalment of Marvel’s popular Norse superhero series, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Taika Waititi (Hunt For The Wilderpeople).

“We had a very nice time in Australia and Emilie and the boys came too. They stayed with me while I worked. The director has done interesting stuff previously such as Hunt For The Wilderpeople. We improvised a lot of what we did, which I like to do, we had a good time so we will see what gets left in or out. But it may be different in tone from the other two Thor movies. It’s due for a November release.”

As for Jurassic World 2 (the provisional title) he says: “I can’t give anything away but the director J A Bayona (A Monster Calls, The Impossible) is incredibly good. He had dinosaur sounds play when we did the stuff that would have CGI effects added on later. There was scary music and sounds playing which we did not have on the original Jurassic Park but maybe we could have done with them.

“I did enjoy being back to play Dr Ian Malcolm, he is a lovely character but who knows again what it will end up like. He is a deep thinker with some integrity - but I am really not supposed to say anything about it.” The Jurassic World sequel is due for release next year.

As a warm-up to tonight’s big event he takes time for reflection: “I am eternally grateful to have worked with some really great directors and to have made a few good movies, some of which have been extremely enjoyable to do. I have always felt like a humble student but now I feel like I am getting better. Who knows? I may be on the threshold of my best work. I hope so …”

Born to a doctor father and a mother in broadcasting, he grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a sister and two brothers, one of whom died tragically of kidney failure at 23.

Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum Photo: Richard Mowe

At the age of 19, he already had a career mapped out. He remembers his parents taking him to the theatre for the first time when he was nine. “There was something in me that was just intrigued. I remember thinking, ‘Who are they?’” he says of the actors. “‘Where do they come from? What are they doing? What goes on backstage?’”

From there, Goldblum began to toy with the idea of a life in the arts. He’d write the words “please God make me an actor” on the shower door every day, then erase them before his parents could notice.

He loves to rehearse or study a project every day in a guest house in the garden of his home in the Hollywood Hills where he has lived in for more than 30 years. “We have a wild Jurassic Parky kind of garden. I like acting every day whether I am working on something specific or not. I like to practise. There is a gym there too. And I play my piano every day.”

Ask him to reflect further on his career and he says simply: “I have done a lot of stuff. Sometimes it is harder to watch older things because I think I could have done them better. I think I am most of fond of the things I have been doing more recently.

“My wife has not seen anything I have done. When we met six years ago she didn’t know who I was. We met at the gym and she was doing some fantastic exercise thing and I went over. By the time we met again her girl friends had told her who I was. She mostly has not seen anything I have done and I don’t want to make her see anything. There is nothing she has to see - and I don’t even know what I would show the kids. It will all seem like nothing quite soon - it will all turn to dust like us - and this building. Nobody will really care about any of it,” he sighs.

Goldblum though is a bit of a joker at heart and his take on the fleeting and febrile nature of creativity is only to be taken half seriously.

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