2nd Interview with Julian Glover

By Stella Nobrega-Collins

At the 2003 Collectormania 3 convention, TIE.c was given the opportunity to interview various actors from the Indiana Jones Trilogy, one of them being Julian Glover, who played the part of Walter Donavan in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'. Donavan was the villain in Last Crusade, and a good one, but we all know his final demise. You may remember our original interview with Mr. Glover, now comes the sequel to the interview. We now present to you the exclusive interview with Julian Glover, conducted by Stella Nobrega-Collins.

In our last interview with you, you said that you imagined the character of Walter Donovan before you actually played him. By doing this, you personified the character much like Ford did with Indiana Jones. Could you ever visualize yourself as Donovan and totally immerse yourself into being a traitor and a villain?

Could I visualize myself as him? Of course not! He’s ghastly! (Laughs) Well, I can understand for him, he’s a very well written character. I think I may have said it in interview before; what wouldn’t you do for the secret of eternal life, um, he’s a very successful man, a very financially successful man, a very intelligent man who gets this indication that there is this final secret of the world he might be able to have, and it costs a lot of money, part of which he uses to join forces with the Nazi Party and he only does that in order to use their apparatus and eventually he’s wrong, he chooses the wrong one, he chooses the wrong chalice, anyone of any intelligence would know, always take the stone cup, never go for the gold one. I find him a very interesting man and I enjoyed playing him and actually I think that Harrison quite enjoyed playing opposite me. But no, I don’t envision myself as Donovan.

In many of your roles you have been the villain. Were you happy being the bad guy once more in Indiana Jones or would you have preferred another role in the film?

I said the other night (referring to last nights talk before the Trilogy showing) the only problem with playing the villains is that you don’t get them in the sequels, except in Star Wars, I’m not quite sure if I was killed in Star Wars; I wasn’t in the next film anyway, so that’s the end of that. I went up for another part in Indiana Jones, the part of the sergeant, and Michael Byrne quite rightly got it; his face is much more suitable for that sort of part, a very frightening character; I don’t think I have a frightening face, not that kind of face, a powerful face, but not a frightening face. He got that anyway and then I got Walter Donovan and I had no complaints. I think it’s a wonderfully cast film, I think the whole series is wonderfully cast and Denholm Elliot, I don’t know what they are going to do if they make another one without Denholm Elliot, that’s really sad. Really sad.

In your opinion, was Walter Donovan inherently evil or was he just capitalizing on the opportunities that arose for him? And if so, why do you think he stayed with the Nazis rather than allying with Indiana?

Well, I think that’s probably because he… that’s an interesting question actually, well, because probably, you realize that Indiana Jones is someone who is essentially a good person and if he discovered the secret of eternal life, he’s not going to use it for his own personal gain, and he might disapprove of Walter Donovan’s hitherto nefarious connections with the Nazi Party, and all of the other people he’s working with. I think by the time that Indiana Jones get involved with him; he involves Indiana Jones, you see, and by that time he’s so deep in that he’s up to his neck in the situation, that he can’t really get out, and as I say, once he realizes that Indiana is not really going to tolerate his choice; (laughs) say, if he takes the right cup and Indiana Jones won’t let him drink it. That’s a long and complicated answer to your question, but I like the question very much.

Having played Donovan and therefore having been Donovan, what do you think his purpose for the Grail was, apart from his own use for eternal life?

I can’t see anything outside of that. The secret of eternal life? Absolutely fine thank you. (smiles) I don’t see anything about making money out of the grail or anything like that; he’s got enough money and if he gets eternal life, he can go on earning money and marry again and despite the fact that his wife is being played by Julian Glover’s wife. (laughs) You’ve seen that on the titles, have you? (he asks me and I reply that I have). Yes, well, it’s a lovely joke. I love it. Well, I think he’s entirely self-centered and he would use it for himself (pauses) but maybe with the secret of eternal life, when you’ve got eternal life you would spend a lot of money on other people y’know, because he’s not essentially a bad mad any more than the man I played in the Bond films, he is not essentially a bad man, he’s just off to a bad wicket; he’s actually a rather good man in many ways, yes?

In the previous interview you said that perhaps Indy 4 wasn’t a good idea, but if it is going ahead, what kind of storyline would you like to see the film take, and would you have an interest in it’s progress?

Are you from Bristol? (Laughs at Stella's Bristolian accent) um I’m a Bristol person too, I lived in Bristol during the war, my mother worked for the BBC in Whiteladies Road, we lived down in Leigh Woods. (Canyon knows that area very well!) Um, I’d be interested to know about it being made, I couldn’t possibly be involved in it. I would be interested in it, and I would hope that they could keep up the standard, as the standard is so high, and if it was dropped by Spielberg’s hands it wouldn’t be debased in any way. I would have thought that if they get Harrison to do it and Spielberg directs it, they would then have to deal with the question of Harrison’s age and that would be quite a big part of it, and so I think that they would handle that very well and I don’t see why not, but in some ways I feel it’s silly to do another one, they’ve got some crackers there, and that they should leave it where it is. Just leave it, leave it. You know, why do they want to do all of these sequels? I don’t understand it; I don’t understand why they do one, two, three, four, five etc and they go on with these films and they don’t get any better do they? It happens that the Indiana Jones films are good because they are so superbly directed and so much money and attention has been paid to them I suspect that the fourth film will not have nearly as much unless they get the original team in and you want Dougie (Douglas) Slocombe to light it. But will they get that?

When you see Last Crusade now, are there any ways in which you would like to change the way you approached Donovan and on the same note, were you happy with Donovan’s ending, or would you have preferred he showed his better side and ride off into the sunset with the surviving characters?

No to the first question and, and yes, very happy to the second, so much so I think it was marvelous scene in the film and it was a fantastic last scene, fantastic last scene, couldn’t ask for anything better.

Do you think you have managed to avoid becoming better known as Walter Donovan than other characters you have played, or has Donovan become someone you will most famously be remembered for having played?

I will always be grateful for having played him because he’s a very good character you see him on television and people do recognize him from that and from Star Wars and I am recognizable, but not too recognizable, not like, say Sean Connery who can hardly walk down the street, and I’m recognized quite enough, thank you, but film as you know is not my main activity anyway, and despite my great age, I’m still working in the theatre and have very good work and so while I’m grateful for this work, Steven Spielberg’s promise to me “after this film Julian, your American accent is so good and you’re so good in it, you’ll never stop working in American movies.”, and that was the last American movie I made, but despite that, heh, I was very grateful doing the Indiana Jones film and I recall the whole experience with great pleasure.

Michi has a question concerning the role of your wife in Last Crusade. How did she get the role and was that scene in the original script, or was it something that had been added later? She also asks if you don’t have a strange feeling when you watch the death of Donovan?

It was in the script and was a one line part, and Donovan’s wife comes in and says that he’s holding the guests away or something like that, and it was the idea of the producer that maybe it would be a laugh if she came in and played it and my wife came in and played it. My wife, I have to say, is pretty well known and it’s not a very good thing to do a one line part in anything or to advertise it anyway. She was thrilled to do it, so that was why we decided to do the credit at the end of the film in the way that we did, Donovan’s Wife played by Mrs. Glover, and it still makes me laugh, it still makes me laugh even now. That’s how it happened and Steven didn’t even, well, he saw a photograph of her and said yes. She was so frightened; you may notice. She went stone dead on her first entrance, stone dead. She came on, opened the door and (laughs) well, in front of Spielberg and all that (Canyon is not surprised, if she were in the same room as Harrison Ford, she would freeze up too!) She did it the second time and that’s the funniest thing (laughs) but she did look very tasty, I have to say. (Laughs)

A special thanks to Julian Glover, Canyon, and the people at Showmasters for giving us the chance to conduct our interview!

Canyon’s Report from the Convention

On Sunday 4th May 2003, I was extremely lucky as I got watch the Indiana Jones Trilogy on the big screen! As some of you will know, Showmasters was holding an event called Collectormania 3 at Milton Keynes, England. Several film and television actors and actresses were present at the event and the next day I would be meeting with Peter Lally and Ralph van den Broeck and together, we would have the chance to meet John Rhys Davies (Sallah), Julian Glover (Walter Donovan), David Yip (Wu Han) and Paul Freeman (Belloq).

On Monday 5th, me and my husband met up with Peter and Ralph and I interviewed Julian Glover who plays Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Last Crusade is a very personal film for me as it was the film that made me an Indy fan. I will admit, the experience was a little intimidating but all in all, Julian is great guy, as were all of the others. And now, for the interview.