I'm really, really glad I liked "A Night in Old Mexico," the engaging comedy-drama that had its North American premiere Monday at SXSW. And not just because the picture -- a Tex-Mex-flavored shaggy-dog story with a touch of Elmore Leonard to its twisty plot -- is a worthy star vehicle for the great Robert Duvall. Another good reason for my being happy: I was committed to doing an interview with Duvall for Cowboys & Indians magazine during the festival.
Granted, I chatted with the Oscar-winning screen icon a day before my Variety review appeared on line, at a time when, theoretically, he would not have known what I thought about his movie. And maybe, had I not found it up to snuff, I could have lied if he'd asked me point blank for my appraisal.
But here's the thing: I don't think it's possible to lie to this guy. As I have noted during previous encounters: He looks you right in the eye, and expects you to tell him the truth. And so you do. And if I had disliked "A Night in Old Mexico" -- that would have made for a very awkward interview. Indeed, I probably would have wimped out and called in sick or something. Look, it was very cold and rainy here in Austin last Saturday evening. I'm pretty sure I could have pulled it off if I'd picked up the phone Sunday morning and, while faking a coughing jag, told the publicist: "Gosh, I'm sorry, but I sure don't want Mr. Duvall to catch what I have..."
More at the Moving Picture Blog.