Steven Seagal: Don't Hate Me Because I'm Powerful

Though recently named by a national magazine as one of Hollywood's most powerful people, Steven Seagal scoffs at the notion.

"If I'm so powerful, then why can't I get Warner Bros. to let me do the movies I like? I've got good movies that Warners, who've got me for two more films, won't let me do. I gave them a hard action ecology film called House of Thunder, and they didn't get it." The ex-international security operative, whose first two films, Above the Law and Hard to Kill, made a killing at the box office, says, "If I'm not careful, I could become a parody of myself. I'm crying out for the opportunity to show the world what I'm capable of doing." Seagal claims he'd rather make "Terms of Endearment than Commando," and adds, "I've got to step out of one-dimensional banal action drama. But they pigeonhole me into stupid action films. A lot of people who make movies in Hollywood only see dollar signs. 'Trust me' in Hollywood translates into 'Fuck you!' because there's such a handful of pukes, scumbags, and moneygrubbers here."

Citing the lead in the Oscar- winning My Left Foot as an example of a role he would have liked a chance to play, Seagal says he doesn't assume his new film Marked for Death is Oscar-caliber. "It's one of the last simple films for me. The basic concept is stupid and meaningless, but I turned him into a sympathetic character." Seagal, who's married to actress Kelly ("Don't hate me because I'm beautiful") LeBrock, says, "I'm a sensitive, vulnerable man trying to break out of a mold that's strictly massive action. Listen, it's gonna take time, but I guarantee you it will happen. It's tough, because Hollywood hates people that fight the system."

Craig Modderno