Recently, I caught a pay-cable broadcast of Wes Anderson’s 2001 masterpiece The Royal Tenenbaums, with Gene Hackman playing the charming scoundrel Royal Tenenbaum, lapsed paterfamilias of the famed Tenenbaum family. It’s a performance of such rich, carefree wit and pathos that it well deserved an Oscar nomination (Sean Penn was nominated for I Am Sam instead), but more to the point, it made me realize just how much I’ve missed Hackman’s calmly accomplished, always sharp presence on movie screens.
Ever since the 2004 bomb Welcome to Mooseport, Hackman’s been MIA at the multiplex. In 2008, he told Reuters that he had indeed retired from acting, although he did crack the door open ever-so-slightly for a triumphant return: “I’ve been told not to say [I’ve retired] over the last few years, in case some real wonderful part comes up, but I really don’t want to do it any longer.”
So all I have to say is: Filmmakers of the world, what in tarnation is keeping you from writing a really wonderful part for Gene Hackman?! The man is about to turn 80. Snap to it!
Do you miss Gene Hackman, PopWatchers? What other living actors have been missing of late who’d you love to see again?