Langella works to get to the soul of his character, and playing Nixon for two years on Broadway gave him time to consider what to do in the movie.
Just as singers and other artists, serious actors are always working toward growth in their craft; which means growing their spiritual lives, because that feeds their craft. (As for all artists.)
It was also interested that both men discussed the current stage of their lives. Langella is now far less concerned with anything that doesn’t involve the core of what one might term his spiritual identity.
He’s trying to learn how to love, both himself and others. Making a clear distinction between that and lust, Langella told a story about a woman who’s sat with more than 500 dying people.
He asked her what she had learned from her experiences. She told him that the ones who die peacefully are the ones who are loving – who allow themselves to love and to be loved.
The ones who are bitter are those who are not loving, who stubbornly hold onto their sense of hurt, betrayal, or anger.
Langella mentioned three things a baby wants: food, warmth, and to be held – all basic human needs. Rose agreed, saying he still enjoys all three very much!
Why do some people fight so hard against love? Who knows. There are too many others longing for these nutriments, and life is too fleeting to waste them where they’re refused.
Langella no longer has time for pettiness. Who does?