Legendary Actor Scott Glenn — How to Be Super Fit at 85, Lessons from Marlon Brando, How to Pursue Your Purpose, The Art of Serendipity, Stories of Gunslingers, and More (#729)

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Tim Ferriss and Scott Glenn

“If you love it, make it your life. And right along with that, be tenacious. Learn that the most important thing about being knocked down is getting back up. And if you can put yourself in the spot where you say, ‘I don’t care how many times I get knocked down, I’m getting back up every single time and going after what I want,’ that’s the answer.”

— Scott Glenn

Scott Glenn’s acting career spans nearly 60 years. His impressive film resume includes performances in Apocalypse Now, Urban Cowboy, The Right Stuff, Silverado, The Hunt for Red October, The Silence of the Lambs, Backdraft, The Virgin Suicides, and The Bourne Ultimatum. More recently, Scott has appeared on the small screen as Kevin Garvey Sr. in The Leftovers, the blind sensei Stick in Marvel’s Daredevil and The Defenders, and as the retired sheriff Alan Pangborn in Castle Rock. This year, Scott will return to HBO to join season 3 of The White Lotus.

Please enjoy!

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#729: Legendary Actor Scott Glenn — How to Be Super Fit at 85, Lessons from Marlon Brando, How to Pursue Your Purpose, The Art of Serendipity, Stories of Gunslingers, and More


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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Want to hear an episode with Scott’s TV son on Apple TV+’s upcoming Bad Monkey series? Listen to my conversation with Vince Vaughn here in which we discussed developing grit, high school trauma, sharpening acting chops through improv, rejection inoculation, finding tone in storytelling, expanding comfort zones, and much more.

#243: How to Fear Less: Vince Vaughn

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

SHOW NOTES

  • [07:10] Idaho vs. Los Angeles.
  • [13:26] Apocalypse Now, self-confidence soon after.
  • [17:26] Burt Lancaster’s movie star lessons.
  • [23:06] The birth and death of Wes Hightower.
  • [32:22] Catching the attention of James Bridges.
  • [35:42] Scarlet fever.
  • [37:29] From Marine to police reporter.
  • [42:12] Berghof Studios and parental advice.
  • [50:44] Converting to Judaism.
  • [53:36] Lao Tzu: the ultimate mystic?
  • [58:16] Letting go with Killer Joe.
  • [1:02:53] “Crazy Whitefella Thinking.”
  • [1:08:31] Getting out of the way and Erwan Le Corre.
  • [1:11:51] Lessons from the “morally phenomenal” Marlon Brando.
  • [1:16:26] How Scott’s childhood bout with scarlet fever informed his life’s course.
  • [1:19:05] Daily routines and exercises of an in-shape 85-year-old.
  • [1:35:12] Securing a serendipitous skill set.
  • [1:42:13] Thailand talk.
  • [1:46:18] Increasing surface luck.
  • [1:47:04] How Scott met and fell in love with his wife.
  • [1:53:04] “Just dance.”
  • [1:53:46] Mistakenly calling Rudolf Nureyev Russian.
  • [1:55:57] Poetry.
  • [2:00:01] What Laurence Olivier knew about the value of tenacity.
  • [2:01:41] Parting thoughts.

MORE SCOTT GLENN QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW

“I understood, because of the way I’ve learned everything in my life that’s important to me, is you learn by apprenticeship, not from a book or going to school. At least I can’t.”

— Scott Glenn

“I did one audition and they said, ‘You know, you’re not really very good. We want to give you things to work on.’ And I said, ‘What the fuck do you know? Who have you worked with? Because I was just doing improvs and work with Marlon Brando, Vittorio Storaro, Francis Coppola, Dennis Hopper. And they accepted me as an equal. What have you done? You’ve done this and this. You can’t even fucking direct traffic.’ So they kicked me out of Universal.”

— Scott Glenn

“I stopped off in Wyoming at one point. People must have thought I was nuts. I got out of the Jimmy and I walked down to the side of the road and I took this invisible Wes Hightower and threw him in the ground and broke his fucking neck and called Carol at a pay phone. I said, ‘Wes Hightower is dead. I’m coming home.’”

— Scott Glenn

“The most important single event in my life was scarlet fever when I was nine years old that I wasn’t supposed to have survived. … But that experience turned me into an athlete, turned me into someone who had learned to not only live with, but fall in love with my fantasies and my imagination.”

— Scott Glenn

“What gives performances on film their juice or electricity is their degree of spontaneity. … And complete spontaneity is not watching yourself at all. Complete spontaneity is being in the now so completely that you really don’t have a past, and more importantly, way more importantly I think with acting, is you don’t have a future, which means plans on what you’re going to do in the scene, dissolve, and then finally disappear.”

— Scott Glenn

“When I need to learn something, the best teacher in the world materializes right in front of me.”

— Scott Glenn

“I’m willing to fall on my ass in front of people. The embarrassment of screwing up and being clumsy and falling on my ass in front of people is not great enough to keep me from doing it. And that’s the trick to being a good student.”

— Scott Glenn

“The thing about the pandemic that I realized is a lot of people who were in love with each other had to discover whether they liked each other or not.”

— Scott Glenn

“If you love it, make it your life. And right along with that, be tenacious. Learn that the most important thing about being knocked down is getting back up. And if you can put yourself in the spot where you say, ‘I don’t care how many times I get knocked down, I’m getting back up every single time and going after what I want,’ that’s the answer.”

— Scott Glenn

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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