John Lithgow: I Was Dreadful In Cliffhanger


It’s been a solid 21 years since the vertiginous Sly Stallone actioner ‘Cliffhanger’, but it appears that John Lithgow still laments his ‘dreadful’ performance in the movie.

Veteran thesp Lithgow played Stallone’s principal antagonist, former military intelligence type Eric Qualen, leader of a villainous gang which included UK star Craig Fairbrass.

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And though he’s willing to denounce his work on screen, he adds that making the movie was tremendous fun nonetheless.


Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, he said: “It was the beginning of a string of villains that I did.

“It was the most fun movie I had ever done because it was four months in Italy, two months up in the Dolomites in the Italian Alps.

“I got to have a great big knock-down, drag-out fight with Sylvester Stallone. Every actor should have that much fun at some point.

“You can hit him as hard as you can, and it’s never enough for him.

“I was just dreadful in that film, but that didn’t matter. It was such fun.”

He also recalled being in ‘The World According to Garp’, with the late Robin Williams.

“Robin was already a superstar as Mork. But this was a young man who had trained at Juilliard, and even though he was a brilliant comic, he liked to think of himself as a serious actor too,” he said.

“[Director]George Roy Hill’s most brutal and most frequent direction to Robin was ‘don’t give me any of that comedy sh*t,’ and it’s exactly what Robin wanted and needed from George. It’s a beautiful, simple performance.”

Lithgow is currently appearing in the comedy drama ‘Love Is Strange’ with Alfred Molina, about a gay couple who suddenly find themselves homeless.

It recently hit headlines after the US certification body the MPAA gave it an adult R-rating, despite it not containing any sex, drugs or violence.

The MPAA has been accused of homophobia following the move.

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Photo credits: PA/Fox