He played a geek in The Breakfast Club. He played a geek in Sixteen Candles. He played a geek in…well, a lot of ’80s movies. But in TNT’s Pirates of Silicon Valley, Anthony Michael Hall, 31, is the Grandest Geek of All: Microsoft gazillionaire Bill Gates. ”He’s a lot more intense than the aw-shucks CNN image you get,” says the Marina del Rey, Calif., resident, who sat down to a hard-driving Q&A.
EW: Okay, Mr. Computer Expert, tell us — would a Web server running Linux have any market advantage over a Mac OS X server powered by a Mach 2.5-based microkernel and a quasi-compliant POSIX environment with ports for all the utilities on a Berkeley Science Distribution 4.4 System?
ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL: Wait…the Mac OS? Is that like an operating system? Wow — help! I have no idea what that meant. I’m completely stumped and embarrassed.
EW: In trying to really capture Bill Gates, how’d you get your hair to look so bad?
AMH: For the early Partridge Family Gates look, it was my own hair blended into this wig that was clipped in halfway down. But the normal Gates look really didn’t take that much time. It’s the Ted Koppel thing: You get up, part your hair somewhere above your left ear, and swing it all the way over. It’s basically a hair-spray issue.
EW: What’s the most bizarre rumor you’ve heard about yourself?
AMH: ”Hey, I heard you were on steroids during Edward Scissorhands.” I was always a skinny kid, and then I just kind of gained weight and got a little chubby.
EW: Got any funny fan stories?
AMH: I met Mike Tyson at one of his fights, and he told me he admired my movies. You just don’t picture Mike Tyson watching John Hughes movies for fun: [affecting Tyson’s high-pitched voice] ”This is the part where I cry — it’s so touching.” I became friendly with him after that. We hung out a couple times in between his prison terms.
EW: You were a judge at the 1997 Miss Teen USA Pageant. What qualifications did you need to score that gig?
AMH: I don’t know. Availability?