Ryan Phillippe fought on Iwo Jima in "Flags of Our Fathers." Now he's an Iraq war hero in "Stop Loss," fighting a battle against returning for another tour of duty. Ryan told Parade, "We're caught up in the politics of the war, but I began to understand that when you're a soldier the reality is to stay alive." Phillippe hopes the provocative "Stop Loss" will "push a lot of buttons and make people think."
"I don't want to sit in a movie and have a benign experience." Phillippe adds, "I've got other things to do with my time. I'd rather spend time with my kids or play cards or something. I love the idea of using your work to influence or to create a dialogue of some sort about what's happening in the world like the war in Iraq."
Phillippe reveals that a veteran of another war has been a big influence on him. "My grandfather was a World War II veteran," he says. "He received commendations for fighting in Germany. He was a guy who grew up poor, had a pair of shoes to share between him and his brothers, went off, fought in the war and came back, battled alcoholism his entire life, got turned around and cleaned up and became a deacon in his church. He was a man who just overcame a ton of adversity and was my idol. He inspired me as a youth and even to this day. It was the way he lived, looking problems in the eye and looking at some of the ugliness and mistakes that you've made and overcoming them. Finding a way to get your life on track."
As for getting his own life back on track since his divorce from Reese Witherspoon, Phillip admits it hasn't been easy. "There's a great poem by Dylan Thomas that talks about 'rage against the dying of the light,'" he says. "You gotta stay strong, you have to fight and be there for your children, and I think that's the best way to handle it."
Just like the energizer bunny, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones keep going and going. And the proof is in "Shine a Light," a documentary following them on tour. Jagger told Parade, "My thing is to constantly move forward. I'm not a looking back person." Mick who is almost sixty-five admits he doesn't party before a concert, but he adds with that Jagger grin, "Afterwards, I allow for partying."
Thinking back, Jagger has to pause when asked which of the enormously popular catalogue of songs he's written and performed are number one on his own list. "It's a valid question," he says. "If you're singing in a band you don't really think about that. I'm not the sort of person who goes around thinking about being proud of things. That's for someone else to analyze. As I said, I think my role is to move forward."
So what does Jagger do in his spare time. "I like to be creative," he reveals. "I enjoyed doing a lot of things on 'Shine a Light,' mixing the sound and reviewing all the edits. I like to write. And I've got a lot of children I have to take care of. I have a very full life but it's quite ordinary in a lot of ways. I'll tell you one thing, I don't really get bored."
Jagger flashes a mischievous grin as he remembers where it all began. "I had just turned 20 when I first started performing," he says. "There weren't any career paths for English rock bands in those days. I had no idea what kind of a big career was in front of me."
Kevin Spacey isn't exactly a role model in "21." He's a professor leading his students in a scheme to win big at Las Vegas blackjack. Kevin told Parade, "It actually happened, but the card counting system they used wasn't illegal." Kevin loves black jack, but he's never walked away a big winner. He says, "I've had some incredible streaks. But I've also had some depressing losses."
Spacey cheerfully admits that he was faking his expertise at blackjack in the film. "I flunked math in my last semester in high school," he says. "The idea that I can count cards is ludicrous. So if I look convincing, just chalk it up to acting."
In fact, the Academy Award nominated actor is doing more than just acting. He's still hard at work as artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre Company as well as heading up his own production company Trigger Street Independent. Spacey reveals that in spite of his success he's got his personal life on track which wasn't always the case. "When I was younger, I wasn't always the best friend that you can be," he says. "I went through a period of trying to get noticed in an increasingly competitive world and that becoming your sort of sole focus. And sometimes what can suffer from that is friendships and relationships. And I'm glad that I learned that there was more to life."
"Then I was able to work with someone like Jack Lemmon," he adds, "Whose response to his own fame was of a gentlemanly order that you don't see that often. So I think all of those kinds of influences helped me."
Don't expect Spacey to take shots at young stars like Britney Spears who just can't seem to deal with celebrity. He thinks it's a tough lesson to learn. "They don't have classes in how to understand becoming a well-known person," he says. "You go to class to learn how to do your work as an actor or performer, but nobody is there to try to teach you about what it will suddenly be like to be doing interviews and having people judging your life. And there's a lot of parts of it that are outside of your life entirely, but nonetheless they do leave an impression. And sometimes they're accurate and sometimes they're not. I've been very blessed to be able to do the work that I've been able to do, and for the most part, been treated with tremendous respect."
And when asked if he's ever been star struck, Kevin admits there was a moment. "I once blathered on to Jimmy Stewart when I met him," he remembers. "I must have foamed at the mouth. I was like, 'You're the greatest actor that ever lived in the entire world. I love everything you've ever done. I know you're tired of hearing this and I'm really sorry.' and Mr. Stewart replied, 'No, I'm not tired of hearing that. Say it again.'"
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