Anjelica Huston Started Talking About Her Fellow Hollywood Stars, And She Didn’t Hold Anything Back

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Fast approaching her seventh decade, Anjelica Huston appears to be at the “I don’t give a…” stage of her career. Take, for instance, when she sat down for a chat with Vulture in May 2019. The Oscar winner was there to promote her latest movie, John Wick 3 – but she was far more interested in dishing the dirt on her Hollywood peers.

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In fact, the third instalment of the action franchise starring Keanu Reeves barely got a mention during the tell-all interview. Huston instead got candid about her unsavory behind-the-scenes experiences, her tumultuous past relationships and her showbiz rivalries. Plus, she  courted controversy by seemingly defending several male co-stars who had been caught up in the #MeToo movement.

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Yes, the ears of many Tinseltown stars were presumably left burning by the time Huston wrapped things up. But Oprah Winfrey, Bill Murray and Robert De Niro, in particular, would probably be justified in crossing her off their Christmas card lists after hearing the interview. So, here’s an in-depth look at Huston’s no-holds-barred comments – that almost put the contemptuous words of Morticia Addams to shame.

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Released in 2014, revenge thriller John Wick became one of the biggest hits of Keanu Reeves’ career. Perhaps inevitably, then, a second chapter followed three years later. And by the time its third instalment, Parabellum, went into production, two Academy Award winners had come on board: Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston.

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While Berry was stepping into the shoes of John Wick’s close friend Sofia, Huston was gearing up to play his protector – a Ruska Roma member known as The Director. And fans got a first glimpse of Huston in character with an official photo that was released during the Christmas period of 2018. Then, in May 2019, John Wick 3 got its Stateside release.

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So a few weeks before John Wick 3 arrived in theaters, Huston hit the promotional trail for the movie. And this included a chat with Vulture magazine. However, the conversation couldn’t have been further from your ordinary promo interview. In fact, the actress’ candor no doubt caused a stir with several major Hollywood names.

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Many fans know, of course, that this isn’t the first time that Huston has shown she has something of a loose tongue. Take her second memoir, Watch Me – published in 2014 – which is filled with anecdotes about various famous faces. And while some stories are flattering, others paint certain household names rather unfavorably.

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For example, Huston had kind words to say about Ava Gardner and a young Jade Jagger. But she was less impressed with Eddie Murphy’s insistence on turning up late to set in order to guarantee that he makes an entrance. And then there were Huston’s showbiz stories that revolved around her high-profile relationships.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tales about Huston’s 17-year romance with Jack Nicholson made most of the headlines. The actress revealed that she had once beaten the actor “savagely about the head and shoulders” after finding out about his adulterous ways, for instance. And after he’d complained about his bruises the following day, Huston had apparently replied, “You’re welcome, Jack; you deserved it.”

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What’s more, Huston also revealed how she had ended the relationship with Nicholson when she’d found out that actress Rebecca Broussard had fallen pregnant with his child. Apparently, the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest star had initially believed that he and Huston could continue as normal. But Huston claimed that she’d told him, “There’s only room for one of us women in this picture, and I am going to retire from it.”

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However, arguably the most damning allegations came against another former boyfriend: Ryan O’Neal. Huston claimed, you see, that the actor had once physically attacked her at a Beverly Hills party. She wrote, “He turned on me, grabbed me by the hair and hit me in the forehead with the top of his skull. I saw stars and reeled back. Half blind, I ran away from him.”

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Then, after persuading Huston to allow him into the room in which she was hiding, O’Neal had allegedly continued his assault. She wrote, “No sooner had I complied then Ryan was in the bathroom, batting me about the head with open hands. Then, abruptly, he left.” And perhaps unsurprisingly, Huston said she had finished the relationship soon after.

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You’d be excused for thinking, then, that Huston couldn’t possibly get any bolder – but you’d be mistaken. Yes, the Addams Family star’s 2019 chat with Vulture proves that she still has no qualms about telling it like it is. While the interview may have started off relatively innocuously, it ended up being anything but. First, she discussed why she took on the role in John Wick 3 despite her dislike of violent films. She said, “This is a movie about a guy who’s basically avenging the death of his puppy. Jesus, I’m passionate about dogs. It’s a huge thing.”

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However, the subject soon moved on to Huston’s family life – which, it seems, was rather difficult. The star lost her mother in a car accident when she was just 17, you see, and she had a complicated relationship with her actor father, John. She also revealed that her older brother, Tony, often bullied her and that she hasn’t spoken to him in years.

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Plus, Huston showcased her pitch black sense of humor when she was asked about a scathing review that she’d received early on in her career. Film critic John Simon had described her turn in Walk with Love and Death as “a perfectly blank, supremely inept performance.” And Huston first admitted that she had found these words hard to digest.

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However, Huston added, “I think the news there is he’s dead, and I’m not.” Vulture interviewer Andrew Goldman then informed the actress that Simon was very much still alive and kicking at the age of 93. And without skipping a beat, Huston quipped, “He’s dead as far as I’m concerned.”

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Next, Huston switched her attention to the late Penny Marshall – one of her earliest directors. The actress claimed that she didn’t stay close to Marshall due to her habit of smoking in freezing-cold rooms and fondness for QVC shopping. What’s more, she also alleged that the filmmaker was a frequent cocaine user.

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In addition, Huston dished the dirt on her own extra-curricular activities, admitting that she smokes pot but doesn’t take anything stronger. “I don’t do anything wildly dangerous anymore,” she said. “I wasn’t ever attracted to the acid. I like to have a good time, but I don’t want to lose my mind.”

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However, talk then turned to the alleged drug habits of Jack Nicholson. Huston claimed that her ex-boyfriend had been more of a functional cocaine user than a “guzzler.” She told Vulture, “I think Jack sort of used it – probably like Freud did – in a rather smart way. Jack always had a bit of a problem with physical lethargy. He was tired, and I think probably at a certain age a little bump would cheer him up – like espresso.”

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But Huston didn’t stop at Nicholson, with the conversation moving onto a particular incident involving director Elia Kazan. While casting The Last Tycoon, the filmmaker had apparently asked a member of the public whether or not she thought Huston was beautiful. And when the lady in question had replied that the actress was more “interesting” than beautiful, Kazan had decided to give the part to Ingrid Boulting. According to Huston, however, this experience “was mild compared to some s*** that goes down.”

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Then, Huston found herself in even more controversial territory when she began speaking about two major celebs who’ve been caught up in the #MeToo movement. She first admitted that she would work with Woody Allen again “in a second.” And referring to the allegations of child molestation against the director, Huston simply said, “Two states investigated him, and neither of them prosecuted him.”

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Moreover, Huston also leapt to the defense of Jeffrey Tambor, who faced accusations of inappropriate behavior from two women during his time on Amazon series Transparent. She told Vulture, “I do think in this work we have to feel freedom. We have to feel as though we can say and do things that are not necessarily judged – particularly by the other people in the cast or crew.”

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Controversially, Huston seemed to suggest that the standards of acceptable behavior in the acting industry should differ from those in more conventional lines of work. She also claimed that Tambor’s conduct while shooting Transparent may have been misinterpreted. The actress added, “He certainly never said or did anything inappropriate with me.”

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Next up, the interviewer brought up another thorny issue: Roman Polanski. The director has been a U.S. fugitive since the late 1970s when he pleaded guilty to a rape charge before escaping the country. And Huston had found herself caught up in the scandal as she had been in Nicholson’s house – where the alleged attack had taken place – at the same time. Plus, police had later arrested the actress for possession of drugs following a search of the property.

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Huston told Vulture on the subject, “My opinion is: he’s paid his price, and at the time that it happened, it was kind of unprecedented. This was not an unusual situation. You know that movie An Education with Carey Mulligan? That happened to me. It’s about a schoolgirl in England who falls in love with an older dude: Peter Sarsgaard. My first serious boyfriend I met when he was 42, and I was 18.”

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Thankfully, the conversation swiftly turned to something less provocative – and a little more salacious. After referencing Huston’s Academy Award victory for Prizzi’s Honor, the interviewer asked if there had been any consequences over pipping fellow nominee Oprah Winfrey. And presumably much to readers’ surprise, Huston made it clear that the legendary talk show host has beef.

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“[Oprah] never had me on her show ever,” Huston told Vulture. “She won’t talk to me. The only encounter I’ve had with Oprah was when I was at a party for the Academy Awards [at] a private residence. I was talking to Clint Eastwood, and she literally came between us with her back to me. So, all of the sudden I was confronted with the back of Oprah’s head.”

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Was this party faux-pas a clear case of sour grapes, though? Well, Huston seems to think so. “Nobody else would dislike me so much as to literally, physically come in between the person I was talking with that way,” she said. However, the actress also admitted that she doesn’t hold it against the daytime TV icon, adding, “I admire Oprah. God knows, she’s made some big steps.”

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Next up on Huston’s blacklist, it seems, is Bill Murray – with whom she’s apparently experienced something of a love-hate relationship. She revealed candidly, “He was a s*** to me on The Life Aquatic. The first week I was there, we were all in this little hotel, and he invited the entire cast to go and have dinner – except me. And everyone came down for dinner, a little dog-faced about my not being invited, and they were all like, ‘Oh, you know, we don’t really want to go.’”

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However, it seemingly hasn’t always been bad blood between Huston and Murray. The actress said of a later encounter, “We were doing a scene at Gore Vidal’s house in Ravello, and he said, ‘Hey, how’ve you been? I missed you.’ I said, ‘You’re full of s***. You didn’t miss me.’ He’s been a little nicer to me since. He showed up at my husband’s funeral. He couldn’t have been nicer that day. He showed up. A lot of people didn’t.”

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Huston also dished the dirt, meanwhile, about some more of her relationships, including her romances with Ryan O’Neal and Bob Graham. Plus, she had some advice for ex-boyfriend Nicholson, while discussing his career of late. She told Vulture, “Also, in terms of the work that’s out there, what are they going to give him, The Bucket List? That’s an insult. I told him, ‘You don’t have to do The Bucket List stuff. Why don’t you play a great villain?’”

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But Huston hadn’t finished, even seemingly offering Nicholson a warning by disparaging the choices of Robert De Niro. “I don’t want to see Jack [Nicholson] doing Meet the Fockers; I already get depressed if I see him in perfectly good Nancy Meyers movies. I like to see Jack in full rebellious feather and that’s how I love him best on film. I loved him in Terms of Endearment, where he plays this incredibly romantic ‘no-goodnik.’”

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After agreeing to the claim that some actors of De Niro’s caliber take such roles for financial reasons, Huston took another pot shot at the Taxi Driver star. She pondered, “I guess he has maybe a couple of ex-wives, right? Not many, but what does this fellow spend his money on? He’s got Nobu. He’s got the Tribeca Film Festival; he’s not spending the film money on that.”

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What’s more, “shlock” is how Huston described some of the work from De Niro’s contemporary Al Pacino. And yet she also defended him, adding, “But in some way, he’s forgiven, because he always goes out on a limb and does Salomé all by himself. Pacino is more experimental, I think. But [De Niro], I don’t know the last thing that I’ve seen him in that I thought, ‘Wow, he’s really cracking it.’”

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Meanwhile, Huston also admitted that she can find it tough to find movie roles that stimulate her. She told Vulture, “Quite honestly, I’m looking for movies that impress me in some way – that aren’t apologetically humble or humiliating like, ‘Band of cheerleaders gets back together for one last hurrah.’ You know – an old-lady cheerleader movie.”

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“I don’t like that kind of thing,” Huston added. “If I’m going to be an old lady — and I’m sort of touching old lady these days — at least I want to be a special old lady. I don’t want to be relegated to some has-been making a comeback. I hate comebacks.” And these comments seemingly touched some nerves around Hollywood.

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Yes, the stars of a certain “old-lady cheerleader movie” weren’t particularly happy about Huston’s dismissive words. Jacki Weaver, who appears alongside Diane Keaton in 2019 comedy Poms, told Vanity Fair magazine in May what she thought about Huston’s comments. “Well, she can go f*** herself,” the actress succinctly said.

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Meanwhile, Weaver’s co-star Rhea Perlman also criticized Huston’s derogatory talk. She told Entertainment Weekly Radio, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all. Why would you do that? Why would you bring that up? It was very odd; it was like she had some vendetta. It felt cruel and mean.”

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Unexpectedly, however, during a chat on Andy Cohen’s radio show in May 2019, Huston apologized for any offence that she might have caused. She said, “I hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. And if I did, I hope they come back at me.” And yet Huston appeared to have a change of heart just a week later in an interview with the Associated Press.

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Indeed, a seemingly far more unrepentant Huston said, “You know, we all live life, and at a certain point you have to claim your life. You know, I could apologize for a lot of things. But you know, all in all I’ve tried not to hurt people. Once in a while, I think maybe I’m a little politically incorrect – but that’s part of who I am.” And it’s always important to be yourself, right?

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