America's favorite eco-activist redneck loves him some salad.
Wed Mar 19 2008
Illustration: Rob Kelly
In the 1990s, Woody Harrelson was everywhere—as the bumpkin bartender Woody Boyd on Cheers, and in movies such as Indecent Proposal, Natural Born Killers, Kingpin and The People vs. Larry Flynt. Then, after a four-year hiatus, he reinvented himself as a supporting player, taking scene-stealing parts in No Country for Old Men and the Will Ferrell air ball Semi-Pro. (And then there's the real-life roles as a controversial hemp advocate and environmental activist.) TONY called the 46-year-old actor and frequent consumer of raw foods at his Hawaii home to ask him about his next gig, The Grand, a mockumentary about a professional poker tourney.
You're wearing hemp right now, aren't you?
No. I'm wearing organic cotton underwear and flax shorts. My thing is not just about hemp, it's really about sustainability. I try mostly to wear organic clothes, because pesticides are a real concern. Pesticides are a major problem because they are essentially, in most cases, a form of nerve gas. [Pause] I go off on these rants. I apologize.
It's okay, Woody. So, I've never tried raw-foodism...
Technically, you've tried it. You've had a salad, right?
Yes, I have had a salad.
Then you've tried it. That's really the main staple, the salad. You've gotta love a salad or you're screwed on that diet.
Salads are pretty tasty. But can you have nougat?
Nougat? What's nougat?
Nougat's that stuff you get in a Snickers.
Is that a sugar thing?
I don't know if that's going to qualify as raw.
Ouch. When was the last time you had something cooked?
Oh, last night. I'm not exclusively raw anymore, because I found it was really difficult to do when someone isn't cooking for you—or rather preparing for you, because raw-foodists don't cook. The principle being when you cook food over 118 degrees for a minute you destroy all the enzymes and most of the nutritional value of the food. And you know, at any given time, we'll have about eight meals in our colon, and...
See, I can't help it. I was going to be a preacher. And this became the thing that I preach about.
Amen. Much of The Grand is improvised, which must mean you know a thing or two about poker, right?
I do have a regular game that I play here on the island with Willie Nelson and some other friends.
You play poker with Willie Nelson?
That's a fun game. He's a hell of a player.
Does Willie Nelson have a tell?
No. That's what's so great about him. You cannot tell what he's thinking. You can never tell. He's so consistent, you can't believe it. Me? I get a good card and I'm just chipper; I'll be like, "I'll bet $40." Everybody's looking at me saying, "He's got it for sure."
Do you guys play for money, or is there something else in the pot?
Hey, look—I don't want to get into any trouble. I don't know what to say to that. The IRS already targeted Willie once.
From 1996 to 1998, Kingpin was the best bowling movie ever made. Were you upset when The Big Lebowski came along and stole your bowling thunder?
I loved The Big Lebowski, so I try not to look at it competitively, especially with great guys like the Coen brothers involved. I wasn't even aware we had the best bowling movie before you said it.
Here's an indecent proposal: If I give you zero dollars, will you swear at me?
Why do you want me to swear at you?
Because it would be indecent.
Do you think I'm the type of person who swears at people a lot?
No! I think you're the kind of person who rarely swears at people, so hearing you swear might be funny.
Oh. Well, I can't do it. I don't do that just casually.
The Grand opens Mar 21, 2008.