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It is not unusual for actors to be become attached to particular types of parts. Certain films become iconic, or certain roles become so memorable that you can’t think of the character without thinking of the actor, or vice versa. But John Malkovich has them all beat. He doesn’t simply have a movie where his name appears before the title, be has a film where his name is the title. What does the actor think about Being John Malkovich more than 15 years later? Well, he compares the movie to the way bad sex, or possibly great sex, can affect your life.
Malkovich feels that the movie had a truly major impact on cinema, but that it had nothing to do with him. Instead, he says that the introduction of director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman to the movie world is what the movie should ultimately be known for. For himself, however, he told Rolling Stone that the legacy of the film is like the legacy of oral sex.
I would say the film's biggest legacy was that it was an introduction to the world of two extremely gifted filmmakers: Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze, whom I hold in great esteem. In my mind, they're visionaries who have gone on to do some of the most excellent work in American movies for a long time. But [the legacy] for me, not so much. I mean, in modern culture… It's kind of like if you get a blowjob from the wrong person, then your life becomes a blowjob. So Being John Malkovich always has to be referred to in some allegedly clever or ironic or snarky way.
So that’s a ...vivid metaphor. It’s not entirely clear what "your life becomes a blowjob" means, beyond being the greatest sentence I’ve had the chance to type in my career. As bizarre as it sounds at first, it may actually be a fitting comparison. How do you have a conversation with John Malkovich about a movie that has his name in the title? Even if you honestly believe it’s a wonderful movie, anything you say is going to come across as the conversational equivalent of a blowjob.
Ultimately the problem is that it’s difficult to talk about the movie without discussing the bizarreness that came from the its premise. You can’t talk about John Malkovich the character without also talking about John Malkovich the actor. Maybe it’s not so much a blowjob as it is a self-referential circle jerk.
We can certainly agree that the movie introduced Hollywood to two unique filmmakers that the movie business is all the richer for. Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman have gone on to make some of the greatest, and strangest, movies in recent memory. We’re glad they got the chance to make Being John Malkovich, even if it did rish turning the actors life into a blowjob.