Malkovich in Mexico


In the mid-1980s I saw John Malkovich on Broadway twice – in Death of a Salesman and Burn This – and have been a fan ever since. So when Guillermo Osorno, editor of Gatopardo magazine, called to see if I would write a profile of the actor, he didn’t have to ask twice.

Malkovich is in Mexico City directing a play in Spanish called El buen canario (Good Canary). It was actually written in English by an American named Zach Helm, but as of yet has never been produced in its original language. (Malkovich directed it in Paris in French last year, and for his efforts won a Moliere Award.) It starts a limited run at the Teatro Insurgentes on November 28, with Diego Luna and Irene Azuela in the principal roles.

I spent quite a bit of time with Malkovich over the course of two days in Los Angeles, where the first couple of weeks of rehearsals were held. He struck me as exactly like he is in the movies, minus the menace – thoughtful, funny, intelligent, intense, charming, and enigmatic. He was so nurturing to the actors that it was as if he were their mother rather than their director. The issue of Gatopardo with my story is on the newsstands in Mexico City, but those of you who can read Spanish can find the article on the Gatopardo web site ( Or else, click right here and you'll get there directly.