James Woods: The Man Who Loves Women

James Woods has been a great actor for more than two decades. Go rent The Onion Field, Once Upon a Time in America, Salvador or last year's The General's Daughter if his screen prowess is what you want to concentrate on. If you'd rather hear what Woods has to say about crazy actresses, Viagra, breast implants, Heather Graham, penis size, strippers and Gwyneth Paltrow, read on.


James Woods has given so many impressive performances opposite so many interesting costars for so many first-rare directors that he could probably tell on-the-set war stories from here to eternity--and he's one of the few veterans of the Hollywood trenches who wouldn't put you to sleep while he did it. But that's not what we're up to today. A scintillating raconteur and also a very good sport, Woods has agreed to spend the next few hours talking about one topic and one topic only: sex. If you think the man's credentials are impeccable in the acting arena, well, let's just say he boasts a formidable offscreen reputation, too. This is the guy who weathered a headline-making entanglement with Sean Young in the late '80s. The guy whose second wife accused him of being addicted to porn videos and phone sex lines. The guy whose physical endowments are as legendary as his appetite for young beauties like Headier Graham.

At this moment, I'm hanging out with Woods in the spacious, welcoming kitchen of the Beverly Hills manse he just put on the market. The room affords a panoramic view of Woods's back lawn on which a knockout, blonde, twentysomething model type is just now romping with Woods's high-spirited terrier. Woods has interrupted our chat to Field a phone call, allowing me to watch the backyard frolic and speculate about the status of the blonde and the exact breed of the terrier. In the middle of this reverie, Woods, still on the phone with someone who is obviously female, arches his brow and shoots me a wicked grin to get my attention so I can hear the shriek he's about to run through. "So, are you naked?" he growls teasingly. "Do you want to come over and fuck?" Yeah, it's rogue bad boy Woods, all right. At 52, crackling with smarts, complexity, zest and libido, this guy is definitely on his game.

STEPHEN REBELLO: So, as the song goes, let's talk about sex.

JAMES WOODS: Great, because that's the fundamental thing in life that never gets talked about. This is going to be fun. I love fucking women, let me tell ya. I repeat: I love fucking women. Love it.

Q: I got it. How did you first experience the full force of your own libido?

A: I always felt I wasn't a physically attractive guy. The first woman I fell for, really, was when I was 20. She was 24 and staggeringly beautiful. I never even thought she would look my way. I dropped her off at her house one night and we were just kissing in the car when she said, ''Either come in and fuck me or stop kissing me. I can't take any more of this." I remember thinking, "Really?" It seemed inconceivable to me that I was actually going to have her, but we were together every single night. For the next two or three years. So that thing about not being attractive, I let it go because it wasn't important to women. The mistake a lot of guys make is thinking that women think about men the way gay men think about men. The truth is, gay men think about men the way straight men think about women. But women think differently. It amazes me that people are always asking, "How do you get so many attractive women when you're 52 years old?" I answer, "Because I like them." Women appreciate men who really love women.

Q: So its about how you make women feel, not necessarily looking like Brad Pitt.

A: Precisely. And you know, you can't fake it, A guy might be able to get a woman in bed once with bullshit, but to have a rich sexual experience in a sustained way, you've got to be interested in that woman. Girls call the shots. A woman knows within the first five seconds whether she's going to sleep with a guy. So, all you ever have to do is sort of ride out the hit.

Q: Did any movies influence your idea of what sex should be?

A: I saw a movie in the '60s called Lilith that had Jean Seberg playing a very disturbed, beautiful woman and Warren Beatty as the guy involved with her. You know, that's quite a question you just asked, because I never realized until this moment that a lot of the women I've loved have been a little crazy. [Laughing] A little.

Q: What's your attraction to women who are--not to put too fine a point on it--nuts?

A: What's so provocative about insane women is that they're connected with their sexuality in such an unfettered way. For those moments they're with you, you're in heaven because they're literally borderline personalities in every sense of the word. They merge with you. Why be in bed with a librarian when you can be in bed with an animal?

Q: Hitchcock used to say that the ideal woman looked like an ice princess, but in a taxi would unzip your fly.

A: [Laughing] I prefer ones who don't even wait that long.

Q: You once compared sex to moviemaking, pointing out that neither is a "polite

enterprise" and that, "If someone isn't screaming, you're not doing your job."

A: Howling is more like it--howling in ancient tongues, at that. If sex isn't messy, you've missed the boat, it's love and war at the same time. You're drawn to these creatures, yet at the same time, you know you're sleeping with the enemy. Or an alien. You know: men are from Mars, women want a penis.

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