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John Malkovich: 'You can’t manifest success'

Published 29/08/2016

John Malkovich
John Malkovich

John Malkovich has a lot of drive, but lacks ambition.

Double Oscar-nominee John Malkovich wanted to be a professional sportsman but wasn’t good enough.

Dangerous Liaisons star John has one of cinema’s most diverse careers, starring in everything from big budget productions to low key indie hits.

His work has always been praised by critics, but John admits he didn’t initially want to be an actor.

“People will say how your life goes is up to you. You know, the whole kind of Tony Robbins (self-help author), walk-through-fire of it all,” he mused to America’s GQ magazine. “That's all great - but maybe not realistic. For instance, I would have maybe preferred to be in the NBA (basketball) or be a professional baseball pitcher. But I wasn't good enough. No amount of exerting control over myself - or attempting to assert control over my destiny - would change that.”

John doesn’t know what path he would have taken in life had he not joined Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and subsequently moved to New York to perform. Broadway quickly beckoned, followed by film work.

While the 62-year-old has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors, John told the publication he lacks ambition when it comes to his career.

“Accomplishment may be the result of ambition or drive. And I think I probably have lots of drive. But I don't have any ambition,” he said. “I never really had any. I don't have a hugely high opinion of ambition. I think of ambition as the need to prove something to others, and the need to be recognised. A need for rewards outside of the work.”

He also shared his advice on how to handle feedback, recommending people take their own comments into account before gauging others'. Even if praise is given, John suggests individuals assess the situation by having their "own barometer".

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