The name Huston has become synonymous with Hollywood thanks to the four generations of directors and actors who have worn it. The dynasty began with Academy award winner Walter Huston, who passed the mantle onto his son John Huston, the acclaimed director of The African Queen and The Man Who Would Be King, and he in turn passed it down to his children too.
John’s son Danny Huston has certainly lived up to his family name and enjoyed an eclectic career both in front of and behind the camera. The 55-year-old has appeared in over 50 movies since his first credited role – as bartender #2 in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas – but the parts he’s played have only become more intriguing and enthralling.
From villains in big studio franchises like Wonder Woman and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to supporting appearances in indie gems like 21 Grams and The Proposition, Danny has some serious performance capital under his belt.
His latest outing is in Marc Forster’s All I See Is You, a psychological drama about a blind woman (Blake Lively) whose relationship with her husband (Jason Clarke) fundamentally changes when she regains some of her sight.
Yahoo Movies spoke to the actor about the film, getting ahead because of his family name and his thoughts on the debate of art v artist…
YAHOO MOVIES: Hello Danny, All I See Is You is markedly different from the franchises, reboots and big budget films filling cinemas these days. Is it important that Hollywood continues to dish a wider variety of genres?
DANNY HUSTON: Yes absolutely, the wider the better. What interested me in this film is that it’s about vision; a camera is an iris and a lens, and in the hands of someone like Marc Forster it seemed like an opportunity to make something new using the visual medium, about a woman who changes because she can see again.
The relationship with her husband, a man who knows her of having this disability, and the way that she changes as she starts to see the world differently, and how possessive he is of her in this moment of emancipation, in the hands of a filmmaker who is giving us his vision it felt like an interesting film to be a part of.
YM: You’ve said you consider yourself a storyteller not an actor, what was it about Doctor Hughes’ story that interested you in this film?
DH: In a way he is the sort of a shaman, the witch doctor. He gives the story the ability to be told and that’s really where the birth of the story comes from. It’s all about shadow and light and I felt that the character was interesting because he gives the light to the story. He’s creating, the same way the filmmaker his creating.
You seem to be the ultimate supporting actor but lots of film you’re in, like this one, only see you appear for a small time. Is that so you can star in as many different kinds of movies as possible and not get tied down for a long production?
Yes, well put. I sometimes do feel like as though I’m flitting around and tasting the nectar from one flower to the next and sometimes, not that it means I’m not taking it as seriously as I would for a larger role, but it gives me an opportunity to visit other worlds and work with some of my friends.
Marc is someone that I have known a long time; we both started off our careers at the same time in Los Angeles, so it’s great to be able to serve somebody else’s vision and spend some time with someone that you like, and see how they work. It sounds a little like theft, but I like to observe other people’s work in case I have to steal any gems that they might have to offer.
It must be nice to have a camaraderie of friends that you can see across various projects, but also that connect across several movies, like the fact that you’ve starred with both Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, so there’s a connection there.
I do like that, and also with my family we’ve always favoured a rather incestuous relationship with each other. It’s great to work with people again, who are the same crew, the same people. I sometimes compare the film industry to a bunch of gypsies, so it is great.
Speaking of your family, do you think you could have enjoyed the career you had if you didn’t have that particular surname and background?
I think it played a very big part, I don’t know what the ultimate answer is because I’d have to relive my life with that in mind, but I think it had a massive affect on me. The first films I saw starred my grandfather, and the ones my father had directed. One of the first films was The Bible and he was the voice of God. My grandfather, and my sister of course Angelica, my nephew now Jack, it has a massive impact on me.
You can put your foot in the door using the Huston name but you also have to deliver. Sometimes the pressure is on and comparisons are made but you’re hoping you can stand on your own two feet and claim your own path, but it does make a difference. But in any other career I think it would be the same; if you’re doctor, lawyer or architect, whatever business you’re in it does feel like a family.
You’ve starred in two separate comic book hero franchises, but there’s still the MCU and Sony to go. Would you appear in another superhero film and if so would you prefer to be a hero or villain?
Well villains are such rich characters in that world so I am definitely drawn to villainous roles. Comics or graphic novels is a world that really deals with mythology in quite a profound way and it’s a wonderful world to be part of and inhabit. Film is such a glorious medium and it works well creating that fantasy that is relevant to our emotions, feelings and political feelings as well that to.
And finally, the question of art vs artist has come up repeatedly as the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up campaigns grow larger. What’s your position?
If you go further back in time, what’s one’s opinion of a Caravaggio piece? There are great artists who have lived despicable lives – are we to take Caravaggio’s paintings out of churches? There is a point where the work stands on its own. For me it doesn’t really matter who made it. As a filmmaker, sometimes, the work speaks for itself and sometimes the film guides you, so I do differentiate.
There is something else that’s going on here, corruption within an industry, and that needs to be dealt with.
All I See Is You is out on Digital Platforms and DVD now