Gene Hackman Gives First Interview in Over a Decade, Reflects on ‘The French Connection’

by Samantha Whidden

Just days before the 50th anniversary of The French Connection making its debut, Hollywood icon Gene Hackman gave his first interview in more than a decade. 

During his interview with The Post, Gene Hackman reflected on the hit film, which earn him an Oscar. “Filmmaking has always been risky. Both physically and emotionally,” Hackman stated. He does note that he considers the film a “moment in a checkered career of hits and misses.”

According to IMDb, The French Connection is a crime thriller film directed by William Friedkin. The film follows a pair of New York City cops in the Narcotics Bureau. The duo stumbles upon a drug smuggling job with,  you guessed it, a French connection. 

Starring alongside Gene Hackman in the film were Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi, and Frédéric de Pasquale. The French Connection won various awards, including multiple Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and even a Grammy award.

Gene Hackman and Rey even reprised their roles in the film’s sequel French Connection II. Hackman went on to have many more successes in the film industry, including taking on roles in A Bridge Too Far, Superman: The Movie, Hoosiers, The Firm, The Quick and the Dead, Get Shorty, and Crimson Tide. His final film role before retiring was in 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport.

Gene Hackman Shares More Details About His Acting Career 

During his previous interview in 2011 with GQ, Gene Hackman opened up about his well-known successful acting career throughout the years. When asked if he will take on one more role, Hackman replied, “I don’t know. If I could do it in my own house, maybe, without them disturbing anything and just one or two people.”

While talking about his “angry young man” side, Gene Hackman revealed he hated the idea of being one of those. “It’s the antithesis of the creative spirit and what it takes to be a creative person. But you do, sometimes, what happens in the spur of the moment. I, unfortunate, kind of react.”

When asked how he wants to be remembered, Gene Hackman answered that he just wants to be known as a decent actor. “As someone who tried to portray what was given to them in an honest fashion.”

In regards to a character from literature he wishes he could play, Gene Hackman said Robert Jordan from For Whom the Bells Tolls and Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo came to mind. While talking about Dantès, Hackman said, “Having been able to keep that terrible vengeance in his soul for so many years and then carrying out what he thought were justified events in the end. I like that as a novel. As a human being, that’s not the healthiest thing.”