Matt Dillon: “Young people today are afraid to offend and engage in self-censorship”

Matt Dillon

20/10/2018.- Fourth time lucky. At least for Matt Dillon, who after three films screened at Valladolid International Film Festival (Target in 1994; Grace of My Heart in 1996; and Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story Of the New York Cosmos in 2006) visits the city in 2018, an edition in which he stars alongside Nick Nolte in the closing film Head Full of Honey, to receive the Golden Spike in recognition of his extensive career.

“If there’s one actor who represents independent North American film, it’s Matt Dillon, after he was lucky enough to work with Francis Ford Coppola at the start of his career”, commented Javier Angulo as he introduced the actor before he walked down the green carpet to receive the award during the Opening Gala of the 63rd edition of Seminci.

Matt Dillon has done it all. As well as a lengthy career as an actor, he has worked as a director on various short films, an episode of a television series (OZ, 1999), his (until now) first feature film (City of Ghosts, 2002) and the documentary The Great Fellove, which he is currently working on. In addition, he also co-wrote the script for his fiction feature, as well as being the producer for his current project.

“I’ve enjoyed directing the few projects I’ve done until now. I’ve been lucky to coincide with very creative people in these projects. Besides, I’ve worked with excellent people during my career, and that also contributed to my experience behind the cameras”, he said. Some of his best memories, however, relate to City of Ghosts: “The first film always holds particular significance in your life, because there can only be one first film. On that project, I was lucky enough to work with extraordinary actors. Nobody on the team disappointed me”.

An example of Generation X, member of the Brat Pack, teen idol and well-loved independent film actor, Matt Dillon has been able to observe the development of successive generations of young people throughout his career. “I love talking about Generation X or the millennials, but in reality these are artificial distinctions. What I do believe is that there is a hypersensitivity among young people. You can’t say anything without offending someone. I believe that young people are afraid to say things to avoid offending, and that’s a form of self-censorship. People are better educated and more informed, but they have less experience of the world”.

Head Full of Honey

His film with Lars Von Trier, presented at Cannes (The House That Jack Built), is not his only release this year. During the closing ceremony for the 63rd Seminci, Head Full of Honey will be screened in a world premiere. Directed by Til Schweiger, just like the German version in 2014, in this version Matt Dillon plays the son of an Alzheimer’s patient (Nick Nolte).

According to the actor, there won’t be too many surprises: “It’s a very personal film for Til, and he was clear that he didn’t want to change anything. When we finished, he said he was very happy with the result. When he said he didn’t want to change anything, I think he meant he didn’t want to affect the integrity of the film. Then, during the film shoot, things came up and there were a few changes to the original, but without betraying that integrity”.

Although the theme of the film is a sensitive issue for the actor, whose own mother suffered from the disease before she passed away, “there are a lot of laughs”, Dillon reassures us.

A society without leadership

The actor didn’t shy away from answering questions about issues such as Donald Trump’s current mandate. “There’s a leadership vacuum”, he stated. “I’ve just finished playing a murderer with Lars von Trier. There’s a scene I don’t like, where I’m holding a weapon, and then the character gives a monologue to himself about it. Something similar is occurring in society: possession of weapons is criticised at the same time as school shootings are taking place”.

Posted in 63rd Edition, Featured Two, Honorary Spikes.