At this year’s Venice Film Festival, two Al Pacino movies feature the Oscar-winning actor in roles in which his characters battle depression. One was Barry Levinson’s The Humbling in which Pacino plays an aging actor with suicidal tendencies. The other is David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, in which the actor plays a locksmith who hasn’t moved forward with his life after the loss of the woman he loved most.
During a press conference for The Humbling, Al Pacino was asked if he had ever had any personal bouts with depression. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar winner responded in an unconcerned tone: “I may be depressed, but I don’t know about it.”
“I don’t see how I could not be depressed, some of the time, but I don’t know about it,” Pacino added.
Pacino continued by saying that there are “things [that] make you sad.”
“Basically, you’d like to be a little happier sometimes,” he said. “But ‘depressed’ seems so ominous. It’s really in all of us. We all relate to it.”
Al Pacino mentioned that there “probably” has been a point in his life where he was depressed.
“I probably have been, and I’m glad I don’t know about it, but now that you mention it, maybe I’ll give it some thought and be depressed,” he joked with the reporter.
On a more serious note, Al Pacino did mention that there are some people who “go into depressions, and it’s very sad, and it’s terrifying.”
“I’ve had bouts with that, that comes close to that, but nothing that deep,” he added. “I feel spared, and I’m lucky.”
Pacino noted that he was able to take on the role, since he is familiar with the emotions of depression.
“What you look for are the similarities in character that are similar to you,” he said. “I understand depression, and that’s part of what we do, is to go out and understand the character.”
In real life, Al Pacino says there are plenty of things for which he is happy.
“I have three children,” he said. “That’s been a real source of enlightenment for me, plus the friends I’ve had, the people I’ve met over the years, [and] the relationships I’ve had.”
It’s those things that Pacino says have “contributed to an amazing, shocking journey I’ve had so far.”
“I feel as though I’m doing OK,” he added.
In Manglehorn, Al Pacino plays a character whose only friend is a cat, according to a report from Channel NewsAsia.
“The cat is a wonderful construct,” he said. “It helps shape my character; it sheds light on who [my character] is and his relationship to the world.”
And when it comes to retirement, Al Pacino noted that he doesn’t think it will happen soon.
“I have been lucky to do something I love,” he said. “The plane of my career is not landing yet.”
[Featured image credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Variety]
[Inline image credit: Getty Images via Spin]