WTF Podcast

Episode 464 - Harry Dean Stanton / Sophie Huber

Harry Dean Stanton is known to audiences around the world for his roles in more than 200 films and television shows. But, as Marc finds out while trying to conduct an interview with the great character actor, it may not be possible to really know Harry. For some assistance, Marc enlists documentary filmmaker Sophie Huber to see if she can help make sense of the enigma that is Harry Dean Stanton. This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central, Earthquaker Devices and GoToMeeting by Citrix.


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Tad Daniels January 23, 2014 at 6:24 am

Best WTF of all goddamn time!!!

Michael P. Gowdy January 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

Marc has interviewed so many loudmouthed, braggadocios douches that when he interviews a laconic, soft-spoken man he freaks the fuck out.
The guy is fascinating.

Mark N. January 23, 2014 at 10:42 am

Marc, don’t beat yourself up too much about this interview. I thought it was great.

Harry Dean Stanton just strikes me as a guy who’s guarded and not willing to give too much of himself away. (A man of few words—and one of the reasons he’s such an enigmatic icon). Growing up and living in the Midwest, I know a lot of people who are that way.

Bumper January 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Just to chime in, yeah Marc, don’t feel bad about this interview. I really enjoyed it and thought you did a great job. Bringing in Sophie was a great idea. HDS is just a reticent guy and an incredibly old man. It’s kind of amazing you managed to get what you did. Pat yourself on the back.

kyle (formerly of brooklyn, now in LA) January 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Dude. Were you expecting to crack open an 87 year old man and make him love you? It was an interesting conversation. Get over yourself.

2sides2everything January 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm

the podcast is totally fine.
you just were going at a different speed and didn’t sync.
it felt a bit like a cokehead interviewing a stoner. wink

MCJ January 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Funny bit about David Lynch having Stanton read Seattle’s letter to Pierce to get him to cry in the Straight Story. The letter was actually written by a Hollywood screenwriter in 1972.

Tmac January 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Music is the silence between the notes

You kicked @ss my friend

Eric January 23, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Is anyone here familiar with the 1996 spoken word adaptation of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in which Harry Dean Stanton and Jim Jarmusch shared the role of Hunter Thompson?

Bumper January 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Yeah Eric, I sure am. I bought it when it was first released and listen to it often, especially on road trips. HDS plays the narrative voice in HST’s head and Jarmusch plays the spoken HST dialogue (or did I get that backwards?). Completely cool. Maury Chaykin as his lawyer Dr. Gonzo is another of the highpoints. I think I’ll listen to it again tonight now that you’ve reminded me of it.

Eric January 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm

@Bumper:  It is enjoyable to listen to in the car.  However, to anyone who will be listening to it for the first time while driving, there are intermittent tire screeching noises that can be very startling in loud stereo if you’re in moderate traffic (and possibly under the influence).

Guest January 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm

“How joyous I am, now that I have learned there is no such thing as happiness.”

Vince January 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Marc I was reminded of the Larry King interview - HDS doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care - and he certainly was not going to start exploring very personal issues with you just because you brought a bunch of microphones. I found that latter part where you and Sophie attempt to psychoanalize him a little unsettling - I felt like it was an attempt to tell us about someone you didn’t instead of admitting defeat.

Bob January 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Hey Marc - I’ve listened to just about every episode… this one really was great. It certainly was a different vibe than many of the others. That range of interview is something you should be proud of!

Michael P. Gowdy January 23, 2014 at 7:54 pm

“I found that latter part where you and Sophie attempt to psychoanalyze him a little unsettling”

Me too. I studied psychology at a university for four years, but I’ve never felt this compulsion that he has to dissect everyone’s psyche and how they’re “wired” (they should seek electricians for mental issues, not therapists). Just let people be.

Javier Romero January 23, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Marc. Don’t feel badly about this interview. I was struck by how similar he was to my grandfather, who was also in the Pacific during WWII. The overall cadence of speech, cordial to a point, but not very forthcoming. I grew in the same house as my gramps and was lucky to get a full paragraph out of him.

David Barnett January 24, 2014 at 1:00 am


The interview was fine, rather charming.  You both were fine; I could tell you were struggling, but it didn’t sound like he was being secretive, except for one or two things he didn’t want to talk about. Not everybody puts everything out about themselves.  That’s okay.  He’s 87-years-old and talks (and thinks) like many old guys. Sweet person.  Try to calm down about it; very enjoyable show. Thanks for your amazing work.


Paul Keenan January 24, 2014 at 7:53 am

    We all like Harry Dean Stanton. I’ve seen the film, “Paris, Texas”, many times. My favorite films of his are “The Black Marble” and “Straight Time”. I enjoyed the interview for the most part. However, I would rather hear an interview with a comedian on this podcast than have it used for some sort of billboard for someone’s movie… ugh.

Paul Keenan January 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

...That said, I enjoyed the Dave Grohl interview from last year and ended up d/l’ing “Sound City” because of it. I just feel that what really makes WTF special and got everyone’s attention is the comedy.

Joe Tily January 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

“I found that latter part where you and Sophie attempt to psychoanalyze him a little unsettling” Me too. The interview was fine on its own. I still got a lot out of it.  I suppose Marc got uptight because he really cares about his podcast and wants every interview with an important guest to go really well, which is not a bad thing . . . .

Jason S. January 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

Whenever you think an interview went wrong, I’m usually “What? This is fine. What’s he talking about?”, but I bet it’s way different when you’re actually there. I bet those one word answers were exhausting and terrifying, like trying to scoop water out of a sinking lifeboat with your hands.

You said he looked visibly angry/intense when you brought up kids/mom. Was there a flare behind his eyes at the end that made you decide to end it?

I actually really liked the episode. When I heard about it, I was looking forward to it all week. I think it’s much better than you think it is.

Thanks for weekly entertainment.

prestel January 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm

FANTASTIC! one of the best WTF interviews. real artist real human being!

smitty January 25, 2014 at 4:25 am

Holy crap, dude….  I say this with levity and in good fun.  however,your learning curve needs some ‘roids, my man.  I’m not from anywhere near the south,but Marc; Southern Baptist does not automatically equate to “snake handler”.  that’s a quite small percentage of religious people,period!  you went to this same place in a previous episode,some time back. in the future,i suggest you don’t automatically assume “extreme practices”, when folk mention religion. good luck….

Billy January 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Dude, this interview did suck, but it’s not Harry Dean’s fault.  You’re whining because he didn’t respond to you and your neurosis.  You’re making it about you and not him. I think he would have have opened up a bit more if you weren’t condescending, some people don’t respond to nervous laughter at things that don’t warrant it. Why do you think he would open up to you? Learn to navigate the people that don’t make everything about you.  Nobody wants meaning out of that guy but you.  WTF is right.

Kerry Madden-Lunsford January 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm

The interview is so much better than you think. It’s really great. He’s a Kentucky boy is all. I thought it was a really good conversation and very real. Here’s the scene he loved doing so much. I took my kids when they were younger to see THE STRAIGHT STORY. Makes me want to watch it again and PARIS, TEXAS and see the documentary too. Thank you very much.

smitty January 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Billy makes a good point :  [Marc]your nervous laughter,intended or not not,can come across as cynical,or mocking.  and,it sort of makes you look like a superficial twit,which you are most certainly not.  it was a pretty good interview all in all. btw- does Stanton have a hearing impediment ?  it was hard to tell, if he just did not hear certain things;or, if it was his way of showing displeasure with what you had said.  you may want to consider, trying to gauge your demeanor to fit the person before you a bit more. you do indeed try to do that,but in this case, “Lil’ nervous chuckles”, needed to be left in your basement. needing to be liked,by a guy from his generation is awkward and unfair to Stanton. he should not have to redeem your dad for you, Marc. sorry,but that’s the truth. that’s really off putting for a person like him. try bonding with men in a more austere, less mushy way,it might just emotionally ground you and free you up in life.

David January 25, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Love the podcast and like you, Marc, but Stanton is a pretty standard WWII vet. I agree with Vince and Javier. Stanton has done and seen more shit in his life than most people every will. He’s part of a generation where you earn what you have and don’t look for everyone to accept you. He probably doesn’t want to open up much to you or Sophie because he couldn’t give two shits about opening up to you. Buck up.

eln January 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

at his best..circa rebel rousers..harry dean woulda kicked ur ass..ur lucky to come out unscathed!!..hah



Steve Jobs January 26, 2014 at 8:44 am

Billy even though what you say is true, no need to be such a disrespecting dick. Without Marc this interview wouldn’t even exist! Much respect to Marc & Harry Dean. Both great guys.

Pierre January 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm

I’m with the majority. Knowing the type of character Harry is, I don’t see any problem whatsoever with this interview.

Matthew P January 28, 2014 at 2:31 am

Marc, I think you were right in your self-critical assessment about doing a little preparation for your interviews. You gotta treat a character like Harry like he’s a bank safe that you’re trying to crack. You didn’t ask him about his craft; who taught him, what makes him tick, what it means to him, or why he loves what he does. Instead you pressed him about his celebrity friends.  Fair interview, but it could have been a hell of lot better.

Conor January 29, 2014 at 5:43 am

So, your response to not getting the interview you wanted out of a “tired” (his words) 87-year-old man was to include an addendum wherein you ask his ex for dirty laundry?


David Ames February 02, 2014 at 7:08 am

Hey Maron  
How would feel if someone called you ‘old’??!

Sorta Totally February 04, 2014 at 9:14 am

Marc, I think it sounds different to us than it does to you;  i..e it sounds fine. You did okay, man.
I couldn’t sit down with the man. No way. I could hoe a row in his garden or change his toilet paper when he’s not home. Maybe. I could maybe deliver his mail (Sundays only, natch). Maybe.  Gimme a few drinks and I’d probably light his smoke. But no way I’m holding the ashtray. (Unless it’s on my head and I’m on all fours).Yeah, you did okay here.

Ron Wilkinson February 09, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I’m not sure if I’m adding anything new.
I grew up in the SFV in the 50s & 60s and Harry was part of the landscape so to speak. I watched TV westerns and movies and he was a sub Slim Pickens a small Warren Oats until Aliens. He was the bad guy. I did not see Missouri Breaks or Billy the Kid, I did see Paris Texas. That’s when I really noticed him and began looking at the earlier stuff he did. I really wanted a 57’ Ford Ranchero after Paris Texas.
It was a great interview and I’m a sucker for Fuck It Zen. Now I have to see the film. I’m stuck out here in Ojai the land of warm and fuzzy Zen.

Steve April 24, 2014 at 11:28 am

I thought this was a good talk. If you hadn’t book-ended it with your thoughts on the whole thing, nobody would be the wiser. Stanton sounded engaged, chuckling at memories, answering just about anything. He’s not a verbose guy, sure, but he was talking. And there were numerous times I felt an obvious follow-up was missed, maybe because you were struggling. It seemed in some one-word answers he was willing to go deeper but you just moved on to another line of questioning. Also, I just did an image search for Harry Dean Stanton because I’m not sure who he is. Even after seeing his younger photos, I’m still not sure. I mean, I’ve heard his name for years but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything he’s been in.

Keto Jones June 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Can hardly believe that you had to ask HDS if he was in any films with Peckinpah.

Did you just totally wing this interview?

Do you do any preparation? lulz