Late Night with Conan O'Brien, 02 October 1997
Interview by Conan O'Brien

Guy Pearce enters wearing a long (mid-thigh) black coat, black jeans, and an open-neck shirt. His hair is semi-short and gelled to look like he just got out of bed. He has beard scruff. He is also wearing his wedding ring on his left hand.

My next guest can be seen in the terrific new movie, L.A. Confidential. Ladies and gentlemen, Guy Pearce.
I'm disappointed that he's not wearing the red negligee.... (points to Max Weinberg)

Yes, last night our Max Weinberg wore red panties on the show -- so if you didn't see it....
I see it hasn't caught on - (points to Conan O'Brien then to audience in German tinged accent) "Do ve vant to see dis?"

(Audience cheers)

First of all, LA Confidential, and I say this with all sincerity - is one of the best movies I've seen in a while. It's a great movie. You do a great job.
Thank you very much!

It's such a different guy than you appear now. Now, your character is one of the most uptight and "by the book" policemen.
Yes, he is very pretentious and very sort of self-focused and has quite an elitist attitude so, yeah, I look a little different..

Yes, so I have not met you, I've seen the film, I was expecting that guy (no pun intended), and then you walk out.
GP: Well that was over a year ago, I've changed a bit.

You look like you were on a bender.
(In American accent) Yeah, that's me man, I'm having a good time 'cause of the movie.

In this film you've a love scene with Kim Basinger. I had to ask about that.
I do have a brief moment with the young and beautiful Kim.

One of the most beautiful women in the world in my opinion.
If you're going to do a love scene with anyone, it might as well be Kim Basinger.

Might as well. yeah, I like your attitude.
Yeah, if it's in the script and they want me to do it, sure. (Shrugs his shoulders and grins.)

Was Alec Baldwin, her husband, around at all? I expect that could be a little weird.
I kept expecting him to show up, but I didn't actually see him. I actually saw him about a month ago in Toronto. But no, I didn't see him on set.

Okay, we have a clip from the movie, do you want to set this up for us?
If it's the clip I'm thinking of, it's me and Russell Crowe, another Australian actor, and we are involved in a rather confrontational scene. My character is trying to interrogate a woman who has just been involved in a rape...not the most appropriate time to be doing this. Russell's character and I often clash about things.

His character is more hotheaded?
Yeah. I'm the head guy and he is more the heart guy.

(The clip plays)

Did you notice the tall guy in the background, Captain Dudley Smith?

The pig farmer from Babe.

We know him earlier as Archie Bunker's friend.
Of course,

What is the actor's name?
James Cromwell.

You became known to American audiences from the movie Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
(grinning) Yes.

Again, quite a different look for you. Let's show a still. (Show still of GP dressed as emu from dance number in Priscilla.)
(voice over) Hey, that's something from home.

(Audience laughs.)

You did quite a bit of research for this role. You got to know a few drag queens.
For LA Confidential? (laughs). We spent quite a bit of time in Sydney involving ourselves in the drag scene. The unfortunate thing was after the film had finished they obviously wanted to maintain a friendship and so I still have drag queens calling me: (In drag queen voice) "Darling, we're going out for the weekend, you gonna join us?" It's a little hard with the drag queens calling me. I never want to see another drag queen as long as I live.

It's tonnage you're talking about, sheer volume of drag queens.
Right, and then with him (points to Max) dressed up like that, I can't get away from them.

You've done quite a bit of press both for Priscilla and for this movie, that's got to be tiring.
We went to Toronto and we went to Cannes. We spent a day in a hotel room where they'd wheel in another journalist and ask you the same questions over and over again. "Why are there two Australians in this movie," etc. etc.. And we had just flown from Melbourne to Toronto which is quite a long flight so by four in the afternoon I am sitting there going, "Well the movie is about....zzzzzz." (pretends to fall asleep sitting up)

So you'd play a lot of pranks to get through it?
Well, I would play them if others started. I'm the gutless guy who never instigated them but would go along with them. I was doing a movie in Australia once and played a prank on John Savage, the American actor. John was seeing this woman named Jackie on the set. And there was this publicity guy, this Indian guy and he was all: (in Indian accent) "very sort of timid and very much took a shine to the young lady that John was seeing," so after the movie was over I decide to ring Lionel (publicity guy) disguised as John Savage and say "hey Lionel, I know you were hot for Jackie and I just want you to know, it's okay," and Lionel was like "No, no, no, Mr. Savage, I did not look at your woman." Poor guy is still freaking out.

So you basically destroyed his life - how nice of you. (tongue in cheek)

Listen, very good to talk to you. The picture L.A. Confidential is excellent. Go see it. (Conan O'Brien shakes Guy's hand.)
Thanks, man.

guy edward pearce