About The Production
In August of 1949, Life Magazine ran a banner headline that begged the
question: "Jackson Pollock: Is he the greatest living painter in the United
States?" The article pictured Pollock in a now-famous pose, wearing a worn
black jacket and blue jeans, his arms crossed defiantly over his chest and one
of his kinetic canvasses stretched out behind him. Already well-known in the New
York art world, he had become a household name-America's first "Art
Star"-and his bold and radical style of painting continued to change the
course of modern art. But the torments that had plagued the artist all of his
life-perhaps the ones that drove him to paint in the first place, or that helped
script his fiercely original art-continued to haunt him. As he struggled with
self-doubt, engaging in a lonely tug-of-war between needing to express himself
and wanting to shut the world out, Pollock began a downward spiral that would
threaten to destroy the foundations of his marriage, the promise of his career,
and-on one deceptively calm and balmy summer night in 1956-his life.
"Pollock" is directed by Golden Globe winner and
Academy Award nominated actor Ed Harris, who makes his directorial debut,
stars in the title role, and serves as a producer. The film is a look back into
the life of an extraordinary man, a man who has fittingly been called "an
artist dedicated to concealment, a celebrity who nobody knew."
Harris had been working ideas for "Pollock" over in his
mind for nearly a decade. "During the years I spent reading and thinking
and feeling about Pollock," says Harris, "and I spent time 'painting'
and trying to understand emotionally what it is to be a painter-I had to trust
that something had seeped into my bones that would allow me to portray Pollock
honestly. I had no difficulty in choosing an interpretation because it all has
been very personal and of all that I read and heard I had to go with what
touched my soul and what made sense to me both intellectually and
"I've never been interested in exploiting Pollock,"
Harris continues. "In fact, there were times I would say to myself, 'Why
are you making a movie about this guy? Let him rest in peace. But then I
realized that was only a desire to leave myself in peace. It's tricky, but I
never wanted to pretend to be Pollock. I wanted to be Ed Harris using all of his
tools as an actor and as a person to allow Pollock's experience on this earth to
touch me, inspire me, lead me to an honest, true performance."
In portraying Pollock, Harris made a concerted effort to
accurately show Pollock's artistic process, which was utterly revolutionary and
confounded many people at the time. To accomplish this, Harris began to explore
paint and painting techniques in the early 1990's. "I've been painting and
drawing off and on since I became committed to making this film," says
Harris. "I had a little studio built so I'd have enough floor space to work
on larger canvases."
"It's preposterous to think I could ever paint as he
did," Harris continues, "and yet I had to paint in the film. The most
challenging part of all that was gaining enough confidence to paint for myself
in the style in which he painted... to be committed first to myself as a
painter, to try and keep my focus on creating art and not recreating someone
Harris believes that the need for approval motivated much of
Pollock's work. "A desperate need for approval usually forces one into
doing that which is recognizable," says Harris. "To do something
similar to that which has gained approval elsewhere. Pollock's need for approval
bordered on the psychopathic and yet his even deeper need to create art that had
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