Since the early 1990s, Kevin Corrigan has been a welcomed fixture on the silver screen. Whether it’s in Goodfellas, True Romance, or Superbad, you’ve likely seen the Bronx-born performer adding personality and verisimilitude to each role he assumes. And, like the character actors who came before him, Corrigan remains unrecognizable to the general public. However, if the world is right and fair, that’s all about to change for Corrigan, who stars alongside Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders in Andrew Bujalski’s fitness-centric Results as a pot-smoking, soft-spoken, bumbling divorcee whose recently inherited some money.
Before nailing our lucky 7, Corrigan opened up about life as a character actor, quitting cigarettes, and not getting in shape. (Spoiler alert: He tells a killer Harvey Keitel story that has the potential to change your life.)
Having worked in film for as long as you have, did you find the superficiality of the whole physical fitness program comparable to Hollywood?
There’s something about that aspect of the story that speaks to me. I think I’m a born contrarian. It’s always been convenient to me to say, “Well I don’t need to get in shape. Everyone is running that direction, so that’s not an original direction to go in so I’ll go the opposite way.” But I think of the line from Animal House: “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” So there’s nothing original about that, but it’s just the easier choice. I admit I have taken the easy way out throughout my life. My father was always a very athletic man. Physically fit. It was important to him. He’d always stress the importance of that to me, and he’d say, “It’s even more important as an actor. It would behoove you to get in shape.” And that just made me want to rebel more.
Taking orders is never appealing.
That’s right, and I’ve always felt anti-authority. I’ll go the Jim Morrison route.
Hopefully you go the Morrison route, but just conceptually. No need for you to overdose on whatever he overdosed on.
I think he just drank a lot. And you know, I’m Irish, so that gives me license to drink. That will be my sport.
Can you handle your alcohol?
Well, you know, I can go for a while. I have a capacity, but you can only go so far with it until you end up on the floor like everyone else. No one is that supreme that they don’t end up dead if they do it that much. I’ve always felt guilty for not doing what people like De Niro do. It’s like if I’m such a fan of De Niro, how come I’ve never been able to commit to working out? To being present in my body, you know?
Is that something after this movie you’re going to do?
No, I don’t think so. I have a sporadic interest in physical fitness. There are times where I really think I’d like to be in shape. I’d like to have as much lung capacity as I can. Especially the older I get, I don’t want to get cancer. Anything I can do to prolong my life, I’d imagine I’ll do. I don’t have a death wish; I’m just lazy. It’s like the character in this movie says, “You work out people can take yourselves a little too seriously. I think I’ll just stay pudgy and mellow.” There’s something to be said for staying relaxed. Being stressed out doesn’t help anybody.
I’d love to be in a movie like Full Metal Jacket. I’m probably a little too old now to do six weeks of training in Camp Lejeune to be in a military movie. I would still do it if the opportunity came along. But I don’t think anyone sees that kind of potential in me. I’m a character actor. There’s a story that Patton Oswalt tells on one of his records about being a character actor and Brian Dennehy appears to him like an arc angel at some premiere with all this food and of course none of the beautiful actors are going anywhere near the buffet table. So Dennehy comes up to Oswalt, near the shrimp buffet and says, “Ah, characters actors. Who gives a fuck if we’re fat?” I’m probably in that camp. I’m not that out of shape; I’m not obese. When I look in the mirror I see a person who’s probably a lot bigger than they appear to other people. I’d like to be thinner, but I don’t really care that much to do anything about it.
What was your first exposure to Playboy?
I think it was in my single digits, age-wise. I must’ve been eight or nine. It was in the basement of whatever building I was living in. When I look back at it now, I know I was aroused and it was pretty young to feel those sensations, you know? They say 14 is a very sexual age, but I felt it before then.
What movie scared you the most when you were a child?
Movie of the week: Helter Skelter, the TV movie based on the Vincent Bugliosi novel on Charles Manson. I remember seeing that on television and it was pretty frightening.
That’s pretty dark for a child.
I must’ve been eight or nine. The way it’s influenced me as a parent…I have a 10 year old. I have to be discrete. I really have to think about it. I can’t assume that my child will be able to handle the things that I took in at that same age.
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
I would hate to have indigestion as the last thing in life. I would hate to go to my grave with gas pains. It might be cream of wheat. There’s a great documentary called The Farm, about a jail in Louisiana and this guy on death row has buckets of discarded crawdaddy shells. That seems like a nice last meal, but it’s also a little complicated. I think I would want to go down with a little bit more…no so complicated. Death is hard enough without all that.
I’m not sure how hard death is.
I sat next to an old man in a diner once who said, “Death is beautiful. Dying is hard, but death itself is beautiful.”
What was your first car?
My first car was a Volvo S-40. I loved that car. It’s still in the family. I gave it away to my brother-in-law. Then I moved back to New York and I don’t have a car.
What was the first song you knew all the words to?
I think it was probably a KISS song. They were first concert I ever went to. It was probably “Beth,” or it probably was “Strawberry Fields.”
What is your pop-culture blind spot?
I haven’t seen Caddyshack.
Never, and I’ve seen a lot of movies. But that’s the one that where people always say, “YOU NEVER SAW CADDYSHACK?”
What is your biggest mistake?
I’ve made so many mistakes it’s hard to pinpoint the biggest one. Not going to college was a big one.
Yeah but things turned out pretty well, no?
They did, but they might have turned out even better if I applied myself to my studies. I really wanted to go to NYU Film School. I always was burdened by the mistake that I didn’t do what I needed to do to get into NYU. Then again, a lot of the people that I made friends with after my first film at 19 were NYU people who I probably would’ve met anyway if I had got in. But you know, everything happens … I’m not going to say “everything happens for a reason.” I don’t really believe that.
You were about to.
I was about to. I’m always on the verge of uttering some cliche or another. But I’ll leave with you this: I asked Harvey Keitel once if I should join the Marines, and if doing so would make me a better actor. And he said that was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard. He said, “Every experience in life that you have amounts to something. You don’t need to join the United States Marine Corps to be a better actor.”