Q&A With Gene Hackman

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Why are you tackling fiction?

I can do it without 90 people standing around waiting for me to perform. I feel it's creative. And I like the loneliness of it.

Your book is based on your hometown in Illinois. Are you like the main character?

In some ways. He's very much of a Midwesterner, a wanderer, self-deprecating, somewhat naive. I was naive when I first went to New York. It opened me to experiences and knowledge that I wouldn't have gotten if I'd been worldly.

You took time off from making movies to write. Will you go back?

I keep telling myself I don't miss it. The kind of parts that are offered to me, so many times it's somebody's grandfather. I'm not interested in playing that. I like when the dynamics are more dangerous.

You've been in three John Grisham films. Did you ask him for writing pointers?

No. He'd probably say, "Stick to movies."