He may not have a comb-over, but James Woods’s odd brush with four of the 9/11 hijackers (a month before the actual attacks, he unwittingly saw them on a practice run from Boston to L.A.) gives him a special edge playing New York’s mayor in Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story, the USA Network’s biopic airing March 30. We caught up with him in makeup.
Rudy attracts critics and admirers in equal measure—what do you think of him? I’m almost unreserved in my admiration. As my mom said to me, “Jimmy, this guy may be the greatest American hero since FDR.”
The movie is less enthusiastic! I lived in New York for many years when you couldn’t walk out the door without thinking about being mugged. And then I lived there under him.
While researching the part, did you learn anything interesting about Giuliani? Yes, and it couldn’t be more poignant. Apparently, he is an amateur photographer, and his favorite subject to photograph was … do you want to guess?
Sunsets? The Yankees? The World Trade Center! He is supposed to have a great collection of photographs that he took of the towers. But it’s one of those things that no one would believe, so we didn’t include it in the movie.
What was it like to do the 9/11 scenes? It was breathtaking and shocking and disturbing, and the mood was one of an incredibly heavy heart. And yet, also, one of hope.
Hope? In what way? I think it was the feeling that we had survived.