John Malkovich: “It’s positive if someone is offended by what you do”

The actor John Malkovich has presented in Madrid the play ‘The Infernal Comedy – Confessions of a serial killer’, in which he plays the convicted murderer Jack Unterweger (1950-1994), involved in the murder of prostitutes in Vienna, Graz, Prague and Los Angeles.

“It is always positive if someone is offended by what you do. It always has a good component,” the actor assured at a press conference on Wednesday, when asked if any group had protested for giving life to a murderer of prostitutes.

Malkovich will perform Unterweger on August 11 and 12 as part of the Veranos de la Villa festival, organized by the Madrid City Council’s Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports. The staging is a drama for one actor, two sopranos and a baroque orchestra.

‘The Infernal Comedy’ is based on the true life story of Jack Unterweger, a convicted murderer, renowned poet, celebrated author and journalist, “notorious womanizer” and example of reintegration, who was arrested in Miami (United States), transferred to Austria, accused, and finally commits suicide after being found guilty of manslaughter in eleven cases.

“I don’t think there is anything good or bad about playing bad or at least not good characters. Most of the world’s dramaturgy is almost always based on characters who may not necessarily be good or who were not bad but had made some bad decisions Malkovich said.

The actor, recognized for putting himself in the shoes of evil men, has clarified that most of the characters he has played “did not intend to do any harm”. “Some characters have obvious qualities and others that are not, but this is not to approve and disapprove of any of them,” he has said.

However, Malkovich, who always develops “a kind of brotherhood” with the characters he has played, has indicated that he does not know if this type of person can be “justified”, such as the murderer Unterweger: “Once someone commits a murder is very difficult to redeem. Maybe that person can be redeemed, “he adds.

With Unterweger, the actor has acknowledged that it is the “longest association” he has had with a character. In addition, he has affirmed that this work “has something that the others don’t have, which is the musical component and the power that this music has”.

In his words, the feeling with the music of the work “is like being hit by a moving house.” “You can’t face music head-on, you have to give up, let it overwhelm you and see how to deal with it. It’s a unique experience, it’s something I’ve really enjoyed and I can define as something very unique,” he added.


Comparing theater with cinema, the interpreter has pointed out that theater is “ephemeral” and that films “last forever”: “The film is always the same, but if you go to see a play, the experience is unique , the theater is lived”.

Regarding his evolution during all the years of his career, Malkovich has commented that he is not convinced that he has had a personal evolution and has joked that “someone could describe it as involution”.

However, he has pointed out that the experiences have “a lot of impact”. “Your experiences influence you, but we are still clay. The only talent I have and perhaps it is not a talent but a gift is that of curiosity”, she has specified.

‘The Infernal Comedy’ is directed by Michael Sturminger and features Martin Haselb√∂ck as conductor and Susanne Langbein and Chen Reiss as sopranos. The show, which has sold nearly 2,500 tickets in Madrid, is performed in English and the musical parts in their original languages.


During the presentation of the work, the delegate of Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Madrid City Council, Andrea Levy, has claimed the “firm commitment” of the Consistory so that the city “does not go out and that culture continues to be the point of light and meeting of all”, in clear reference to the energy saving measures approved by the Government that have entered into force this Wednesday.

“We want to enjoy this city that does not go out, where culture has been a very important meeting place in recent years,” said the head of Madrid’s Culture.

About Malkovich, Levy has highlighted that he is an actor who has “marked many” and “recognized cinematographically”. “It is a pleasure to welcome you to Madrid and thank you for stepping on the stage of our Conde Duque stage, a historic space”, he indicated.

For his part, the interpreter has assured that he goes “quite often” to visit Madrid, although this time it is a “work trip”. “I have spent a lot of time here, 20 years ago I was making a film, I come quite often. It is a city that is very dear to me,” Malkovich said.

By Editor

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