Washington Post Features Reporter Travis M. Andrews Authors New Biography about Actor and Jazz Musician Jeff Goldblum
Washington Post features reporter Travis M. Andrews wondered why people stil love actor and jazz musician Jeff Goldblum. He got his answers by looking into the life of the popular actor. A year and a half later, Andrews has come out with a new biography "Because He's Jeff Goldblum: The Movies, Memes and Meaning of Hollywood's Most Enigmatic Actor".
Andrews joined WBGO News Director Doug Doyle for a Zoom chat to discuss his inside information about Goldblum and his favorite aspects of the book published by Penguin Random House.
"It's been 30 years since Jurassic Park and Independence Day at kind of his golden run, he's been in movies sure since then but that was really the height, and yet he seems more ubiquitous and more beloved than ever."
Andrew's editor said he should write an article about that, and so he did.
"I kind of looked at how the internet has changed fame and celebrity and how that might have something to do with it, having people like him, Christopher Walken and Bill Murray remain in the spotlight even when they're not producing a lot of work, but then I fell down the rabbit hole of watching his movies, following his jazz career and I just thought he'd be a fascinating subject for a book. Then I guess I wrote one."
Goldblum grew up in Pittsburgh, PA always wanting to be an actor and pianist. His mom was a radio broadcaster and his dad was a medical doctor. At the age of 17, Goldblum left for NYC. His career started with small roles in Death Wish and Annie Hall, but then came The Big Chill in 1983 and a lead role in creepy The Fly in 1986. Goldblum eventually starred in the blockbuster movies mentioned earlier.
"He studied acting under the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. And Sanford Meisner always said the key to good acting is to live truthfully in imaginary fictional circumstances. I think he (Goldblum) really takes that to heart. When the cameras are rolling he wants to be the most Jeff Goldblum he can be. If that makes any sense. It does sound a little circular but I really think he took some of Sandy Meisner's to heart. He talks about him an awful lot. And the other one is your interesting to the point that you're interested."
What did the author learn about Goldblum while writing this book?
"He's almost the person we want to be. I talk about authenticity a lot in the book. He truly is himself and he didn't chase fame and celebrity when he could have. I think that's the key. He always says he's not a careerist. If you look at his career he might have made some different choices. After Jurassic Park, which was the highest-grossing movie in the world at the time and Independence Day which came close, and The Lost World, which maybe was critically-reviled but still made a ton of money, he could have done anything. Rather than chase these big roles, he's in indy films like Igby Goes Down (2012)."
Andrews says those choices also includes music.
Goldblum began playing piano many years ago and he put out his latest jazz album with his Mildred Snizter Orchestra in 2020. He named the band after one of his friends.
"He plays jazz once a week in a small club in Los Angeles. He doesn't even release an album until 2016 when he feels ready to do that. I think people really connect with that idea that you could reach that point and still do what interests you. And who among us doesn't what that kind of career?"
Andrews says the improvisation of jazz fits perfectly for how Goldblum approaches life and music.
"He'll openly admit he's not even the best player in his band but that doesn't matter to him. He likes to bring the better people in. He likes to get them excited."
You can see the entire interview with Travis M. Andrews at https://fb.watch/5jSPCxDOSn/.