In 1962, future Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alex Haley sat down with jazz musician Miles Davis for what would become an institution of American journalism—the Playboy Interview. To celebrate the Interview’s 50th anniversary, Playboy has culled 50 of its most (in)famous Interviews and will publish them over the course of 50 weekdays (from September 4, 2012 to November 12, 2012) via Amazon’s Kindle Direct platform. Here, a glimpse at our conversation with actor Marlon Brando from the January 1979 issue.
“There are people who aspire to being artists, but I don’t think they’re worthy of the calling. I don’t know of any movie actors, or any actors…There are no people…We can call them artists, give them the generic term if they’re comfortable with that, but in terms of great art—magnificent art, art that changes history, art that’s overwhelming—where are they? Where are the great artists today? Name one. When you look at Rembrandt or Baudelaire or listen to the Discourses of Epictetus, you know the quality of men is not the same. There are no giants today.”
“People believe what they will believe, to a large degree. People will like you who never met you, they think you’re absolutely wonderful; and then people also will hate you, for reasons that have nothing to do with any real experience with you. People don’t want to lose their enemies. We have favorite enemies, people we love to hate and we hate to love. If they do something good, we don’t like it. I found myself doing that with Ronald Reagan. He is anathema to me. If he does something that’s reasonable, I find my mind trying to find some way to interpret it so that it’s not reasonable, so that somewhere it’s jingoist extremism.”
“The most repulsive thing that you could ever imagine is the inside of a camel’s mouth. It’s so awful! That and watching a girl eat small octopus or squid. I mean, I’m not squeamish about anything, I could make an ocarina out of a petrified turd with no problem, but that…There’s a certain frog that carries its eggs on its back and after they are fertilized, these froglings burst forth from the skin…It just makes me sick. I don’t like to look at somebody’s sticky saliva. These people who laugh—ha, ha, ha—and there’s a stringer of saliva from their upper tooth to the bottom lip and it bends every time they go ha, ha, it pulsates. Jesus, with one girl, you could take her saliva and walk across the street with it and lay it down on the sidewalk and still be connected. The viscosity of some people’s saliva is remarkable.”
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