Kris Kristofferson: Actor, Musician, Poet
“I’ll be the guy who looks tired,” Kris Kristofferson joked with me on the phone as he made his way to Kimball’s Twin Peaks Theatre in Colorado Springs for the premiere of Silver City. When he walked in the door, he didn’t look tired at all. In fact, he’s one of the few actors I’ve interviewed who’s better looking in person than on the big screen. His trademark beard is shorter and his face less craggy than I expected, but he’s easy to recognize.
After congratulating Kristofferson on his upcoming and well-deserved induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, I asked him why he agreed to play the greedy Colorado tycoon who promotes privatization of our state’s remaining resources in Silver City. “Because I enjoy working with John Sayles and I liked the script,” he replied in his appealing gravelly voice. “Sayles is one of the greatest artists of our time – one of our most creative people.”
Kristofferson reminded me that he appeared in two other Sayles films, Limbo and Lone Star. During a Q&A session after the screening of Silver City, Kristofferson admitted he told Sayles (upon completion of their first film together), “I’ll work for you anytime at scale -- to which Sayles replied, ‘If you work for me, it has to be at scale.’”
Silver City, a mystery with timely political implications, was filmed in Colorado. How did Kristofferson enjoy his time in our state? “Colorado is beautiful,” he declared. “I’ve played my music here for over thirty years.”
When talking about his music, Kristofferson’s eyes light up. Clearly, that’s his first love. And he’s certainly given us some wonderful songs. My favorites? “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “For the Good Times,” and “Me and Bobby McGee.” I’ve always been impressed with the poetic quality of Kristofferson’s work. “I’m a fan of William Blake (the British poet),” Kristofferson explained. “I even named my son Blake after him.”
In 1997, Kristofferson won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in A Star Is Born. Is there another movie musical in the future for him? “I was supposed to make a movie about a country Western singer, but financing was a problem,” he said.
Nevertheless, Kristofferson fans can take heart. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, he's scheduled to appear in the following upcoming films: Blade: Trinity, The Wendell Baker Story, Disappearances, The Jacket, and Dreamer.
(Silver City, released by Newmarket Films, opens on September 17, 2004. Photo: CMAPress.com/Rick Maiman.)