Rip Torn: I think I’m ready to make a comeback. I feel great and I read the Bible every day.
Agent: That’s great, bud. Redemption! I’m thinking Mickey Rourke.
Rip Torn: I could be his father. I would love a Golden Globe.
Publicist: Let’s get this out to the magazines. The New Yorker did Chrissy Walken recently, right?
Agent: Yeah, baby.
Rip Torn: Maybe Vanity Fair. Imagine this mug through Chuck Close’s lens.
Agent: Baby, yeah.
Publicist: Why don’t we come up with some safety pitches, just in case.
Rip Torn’s comeback is a New York Post exclusive. “All the interesting people in the Bible always get into trouble,” the actor tells the paper. “Like me.” It’s downhill from there:
Torn’s troubles may not be of biblical proportions. But they have a fair claim to being about the size of Texas, where he was born and raised.
Last we heard from Torn, he had attempted to rob a bank, drunk and with a pistol, “his third alcohol-related arrest in four years.” He will likely see a year in jail.
But other than that, he’s feeling good. And clean!
He still goes to his favorite restaurant — the Boathouse, where he’d been drinking the night of his arrest — but instead of knocking back martinis, he sticks to water and espresso.
“They say, ‘Do you want a martini with your oysters, Rip?’ And I say, ‘No, I do not!’ And they say, ‘Do you want a little beer with your oysters, Rip?’ And I say, ‘No, I do not!’ “
There is also a touching scene in which Torn’s daughter fixes his hair. The man sounds serious about being serious. And yet, the Post cannot help but be the Post: “He’s even been known to sleep with a gun under his pillow — a hangover, so to speak, of his paranoia.” At one point, he challenges the reporter to Indian wrestle.
“Why don’t you just shoot me dangling drunk from the lamppost. That’s what they want to see,” Torn says. In the article, it’s played for a laugh. But he sounds taxed; it’s disheartening. In all, it’s not quite the 1969 Village Voice column on the very same actor:
Rip stretched out on the couch, listening to my little lecture. He starts to raise the left corner of his mouth in a sardonic smile and then laughs out loud. “I don’t give a fuck,” he says.
Hard as he may try to demonstrate otherwise, it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t rather be remembered like this: