Scott Glenn Q&A: ‘The Leftovers’
“It remains one of the, if not the greatest, scripts I have ever worked on,” admits veteran actor Scott Glenn during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) about “Crazy Whitefella Thinking,” his highlight episode of the third and final season of HBO’s “The Leftovers.”
In “The Leftovers,” Glenn plays Kevin Garvey Sr., father to leading man Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), who in season three travels to the remote Australian outback on the other side of the world. Kevin is on a quest to collect songs and chants from indigenous Aboriginal tribes to stave off (in his mind) the impending apocalypse. He wanders the desert, close to dehydration and death, and desperate to accomplish his mission before the seventh anniversary of the “Sudden Departure,” the cataclysmic event when two percent of the world’s population (140 million people) suddenly and inexplicably disappeared off the face of the Earth.
“It is one of the few times in my life where the script played me,” the actor recalls when discussing the episode. “The second day of shooting was the long seven page scene with David [Gulpilil] and I remember saying out loud when I woke up that morning, ‘Scott, your job today is to not let yourself get in the way of whatever is going to happen. Don’t try to make anything, don’t try to be funny, don’t try to be powerful, don’t try to make moments work. Just dive in and see where it takes you.’ And that entire episode basically played me. And that’s only happened to me two other times in my life, and I’ve been doing this for over 45 years.”
Glenn says that the highly anticipated series finale also proved to be satisfying and profoundly moving, because of the questions and themes that it deftly explores. “The value of the show is not so much answering questions, but getting the audience at the end to ask themselves those questions in a deeper personal way. At the end of the show, you are asking yourself what does it mean when you say the word ‘family.’ What does that really mean? And also, what is the origin of spirituality or religion? What is it that impels us to need a reason to get up in the morning beyond our own momentary survival?”
We also talk at length about his experiences shooting the final season of the show in Australia, how showrunner Damon Lindelof initially convinced him to join the show, and we look back on one of thee most notable roles of his career as Jack Crawford in the acclaimed masterpiece “The Silence of the Lambs.”