By Lincoln D. Conway
Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Jeff Goldblum.

A living legend, he got his first break into film with a silent role as a nameless thug in Death Wish with Charles Bronson in 1974. He used his towering, bookish good looks and charismatic spirit to win supporting roles in Silverado (where he met his first wife, actress Patricia Gaul), The Big Chill, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

His breakthrough came in the mid-Eighties in David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly, which thrust the actor into the A-list. It’s also where he met his second wife, Geena Davis. He followed that with a string of modern classics, including The Tall Guy and Earth Girls Are Easy (also with Davis).

And then came a lead in what was to become one of the biggest movies in history, Jurassic Park. With Spielberg and a bunch of ferocious dinosaurs, Jeff astounded and gripped audiences with his sardonic Dr. Ian Malcolm performances to a bountiful tune of over 1 billion at the box office.

Surely he could never match that in his career?

Three years later, he did just that with Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi juggernaut, Independence Day, an earth-shattering saga in which marauding aliens bring havoc to the planet. Once again, the film raked up just under 1 billion dollars at the box office.

Goldblum was the king of the blockbuster.

And while attempting to leave behind his CGI roots with a series of indie hits over the years like Igby Goes Down, Le Weekend, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Goldblum was tempted back for another adventure with the dinos in Fallen Kingdom, which followed the mighty Thor: Ragnarok.

But the 70-year-old version of Goldblum is about so much more. It’s as if, in these middle years, “It’s mid to late, but thank you,” he chips in, in response to the age, the Pennsylvania-born entertainer has finally afforded himself the time, freedom, and creativity to pursue all of those projects that had to sit by the wayside as film scripts continued to be delivered through the door.

Notably, a growing discography celebrates his skill and accomplishments on the piano. Celebrating his love of jazz and swing, Goldblum has released The Capitol Studio Sessions, and I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This to rich critical acclaim, and accompanying live dates have followed. “I think if you ask many actors, they will tell you music is their second love. The two really go hand in hand, and that is certainly the case for me.

“It is a creative expression that is so removed from acting but feels so close at the same time.”

On the eve of the release of kitsch Wes Anderson thriller Asteroid City, and steadfastly youthful in a black leather biker jacket and grey fitted polo neck, the actor chats about music, film, new fatherhood – with first son’s Charlie and River by third wife Emilie Livingston, Charlie Ocean, his oldest, was coincidentally born on Independence Day in 2020 - in frank, typically chatty form, he looks back on his career, explaining why he’ll never stop learning.
STRIPLV: How do sci-fi, history, and jazz all link together in one person?
GOLDBLUM: Well, I do like combining anything that inspires me to think deeply, be creative and feel satisfied. That’s why we are on this planet, after all, and very lucky to be, as well. I love science fiction movies and could speak about them all day, but I also love the real space history and, in particular, how we came to be on Earth. It’s all a passion. Would I go so far as to say music knits those together – no! But have you ever seen a space sci-fi movie without a classical music soundtrack? Think about that. Have you ever seen a deeply romantic movie without some sort of jazzy interlude? Have you ever seen a car chase without a percussion accompaniment? This is the value of music – it’s what we notice and what we don’t notice.
STRIPLV: Music and acting are your two big things in life, but you were very musical before you went into acting, weren’t you?
GOLDBLUM: I always wanted to be an actor, but I was a piano player in a few cocktail bars and stuff, and I was able to do my acting, as well. So, it’s not something which is totally out of the blue. Maybe when people see that I have released a few albums, they would think it was out of comedy or novelty or something like that, and I get that because they know me more from my acting, but I’ve been playing piano for years and for about the last eight years or so, I’ve been playing in a band, and we have a residency in a place in Los Angeles called Rockwell. It’s such a great time to be doing it because I’ve been able to achieve success in my acting career, and I’m now fortunate enough to be able to completely relax and, play music and just be who I want to be. I have evolved, like everything around me.
STRIPLV: Evolution is another of your fascinations, of course.
GOLDBLUM: Well, I watched an incredible program which was done by National Geographic called One Strange Rock, and it goes through how the Earth was formed, what was here before us on the planet, how life came about, and the absolute luck as to why things are the way they are today. So, we had the dinosaurs here before us, and then we appeared, and it’s such a beautiful way of giving the information, but it’s all totally by chance, all of it.
STRIPLV: You haven’t aged a day in 25 years. What’s the secret?
GOLDBLUM: No secret, no elixir, because I would gladly take it if there were. (Laughs) I look after myself. I eat well and healthily. I work out from time to time. I don’t have any debilitating vices. And I “think” young. I don’t think of myself as a young man like yourself because I’m not. I’m far from it. But I try to see things from a younger, more optimistic perspective, which can help you look younger—thinking younger, looking younger. And I’m not saying trying to physically look younger because that generally has the opposite effect. I’m also a father now, twice. My boys keep me young.
STRIPLV: And he was born on Independence Day! Sure, the studio loved that.
GOLDBLUM: It doesn’t get better than that. Joyous coincidence. You know, we were told July 4th, but you give allowances for a couple of weeks before and after. Normally, a first baby is supposed to be overdue. But sure, as you know it, Emilie says, “Oh, I think something is happening.” and along came Charlie Ocean on Independence Day. You couldn’t make it up. (Laughs)
STRIPLV: Thinking on the success of Jurassic World Dominion last year, between fighting green-screen aliens and green-screen dinosaurs, you’re a green-screen veteran.
GOLDBLUM: It’s just an extension of acting, all that green screen stuff, although in Jurassic Park, some of the dinosaurs were done by Stan Winston’s exemplary puppeteering, which was something to marvel at. Oh, wow, you’ve never seen anything like that. But acting always has some element of imagination, and in these movies, it’s not meant to be. It’s fantasy, and I’m pretending. That’s what I do as an actor. In everything I’ve done, plays I’ve done, you’re often pretending you’re in a place you’re not really in, but that’s what it’s all about. It’s a game.
STRIPLV: When did you first decide you wanted to be part of “the game?”
GOLDBLUM: When I was a kid, I got the idea early on to be an actor just from watching the greats like Peter Sellers. Oh, the magnificent Peter Sellers in Lolita, Clouseau, and Being There. Then Brando, people I adored, still adore. And then I remember when, during my last years in high school, every morning, I would have a shower, and on the steam on my shower door, I would write, “Please, god, let me be an actor,” and then I would wipe it off before anyone could see it. It was kind of a secret. Then I left Pittsburgh, moved to New York for four years and, studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse, and learned under the great Sandy Meisner, who taught me to learn to be a piece of nature and appreciate the moment and the movement around you. “Use what exists.” he would always say, which has a rainbow of different meanings, but it’s my mantra in life. I never stop learning. Even to this day, at this moment, I will never stop learning. Acting is a constant education.
STRIPLV: You’ve been acting now for over 40 years. Haven’t you learned enough at this stage?
GOLDBLUM: These are my acting studies. It’s like gardening; it takes constant excavating, and over a long period of time, you see growth and life. And it’s enjoyable to be in the process of trying and digging, and I hope that never ceases. Where music is concerned, I feel I am still right at the start despite having been musical for decades. I know next to nothing. And I like that!
STRIPLV: Are you more comfortable with box office smashes or in indie movies?
GOLDBLUM: I’m nourished by the act of acting. That’s what absorbs me and delights and appetizes my spiritual palate. I’m more interested in what it’s about and people, if they see it, will they be nourished by it. That’s what I care about. There are many different ways to answer that, but predominantly, I don’t know. I’m not determined. From the day I got my first job, there was never any structure or plan. I fell into this because it was a passion that I loved; I went with my gut and followed what I loved to do. That’s a success at life right there.
STRIPLV: Doesn’t Asteroid City tread a middle ground between box office and indie?
GOLDBLUM: I know what you mean by that. You would take one look at the cast and see some of the stellar names there and just assume it’s one mass box office classic, and Wes gives it that effect, too. But Wes also takes it well outside of itself and into the realms of an indie classic, too. It’s a peculiar combination, but I think every single person on the cast truly appreciates what it is to be an actor in 2023. It’s really not like it was ten years ago. So many of the rules have changed, and I think, as a collective, we need to show ambition and a sense of risk-taking well outside of what actors would normally do just to survive.
STRIPLV: Does that mean the cinema we watch will change too?
GOLDBLUM: I think logic would say because there is so much more competition and so much more at stake, financiers would be putting their dollar behind sure-fire hits. You would imagine we’d get to the point where it was all action movies or superhero stuff. Yet what is peculiar is that the opposite thing is actually happening. The need to grab a share of the pie is bringing about scenarios where the pie fillings are more leftfield than ever, and I’m certainly glad this is the evolution that’s come about. It reassures me in a way I can’t really express.
Jeff Goldblum in Four Facts

He became a father in his Sixties
Goldblum and future wife Emilie Livingston met in 2011. They married in 2014 and a year later had their first child, a son named Charlie. Becoming a father in later life was so joyful to Goldblum that the couple decided to have another son, River Joe, born in 2017. By that point, Goldblum was 65 years old.

His wife Is half his age.
Emilie was a former Olympic gymnast and dancer, born in Canada, and was 31 when they got engaged in 2014. Goldblum had been previously married twice to fellow actors Geena Davis and Patricia Gaul but was then single for almost 25 years.

Spielberg almost cut his role in Jurassic Park.
While it’s difficult to contemplate the classic dinosaur romp without seeing the brilliant character of Dr. Ian Malcolm, it very nearly didn’t happen. Goldblum has played the doc three times since the original film in 1993. However, the celebrated director considered taking out the part of Malcolm and using some of his idiosyncrasies with others in the movie. Yet after Goldblum’s audition, he changed his mind, thankfully.

The taming of the Baboon
While filming the 1986 David Cronenberg film The Fly, Goldblum broke one of the unwritten rules of TV and movie life that states that working with children or animals is a big no-no. However, the eccentric actor and musician doesn’t abide by usual processes, as he showed by taming and forming a relationship with a baboon on set named Typhoon. The latter was not everyone’s friend in the cast and crew, yet Goldblum made the primate feel at home, calming him down when he was spooked by lights or loud noises on set.