Michael and I had the chance to speak with Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham about his new Apple TV show Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, as part of our SeriesFest coverage.
MN: The premise of Mythic Quest is so unusual, what was your initial reaction when you first read the script for the series?
That script made me laugh out loud, but it also sent me to research the world of gaming. I had no idea how huge it is, and was delighted to have been invited to be part of this world.
MN: Over the years you’ve portrayed so many different characters in various genres, is there any inspiration you drew upon in your portrayal of C.W. Longbottom?
It happens that my first professional play was by Ray Bradbury, who years later gave me the award named for him, which I still have, much like the award CW displays every chance he has. I don’t carry mine around but would be glad to show it to you. He remains my inspiration in that he never lost his enthusiasm for work, right up to the end.
MN: Has anything been particularly challenging in Mythic Quest that you had to prepare for or encountered along the way?The biggest challenge is always the time crunch; there’s never enough time because I like to noodle a role, fortunately, it gets easier with each segment as the writers begin to write specifically for each actor and the actors respond with their strengths.
CW is a GREAT CHARACTER. He’s so much fun and so clearly written that all you have to do is learn the lines.
GVK: Are you a gamer at all and if so what are some of your favorites?
I’m still a pin-ball guy. Every time the cast tries to show me how to game they laugh at me, and they should.
GVK: You are often cast as a villain or antagonist, why do you think this is and how would you classify C.W.
CW has become one of my favorite roles ever, first because he’s so funny, but more because he’s so human, so subject to his appetites, which are many. The first 15 years of my career were comic roles; after Amadeus and Scarface were released I was branded a heavy; I’m actually one of the nicest people I know. Most of the time.
GVK: What do you look for when you consider a part?
Good writing and content; no matter how good the writing is, if the content is unacceptable, racist, sexist, etc, then no.
GVK: How have you been spending your time in quarantine?
Like so many of my colleagues I’ve been raising money via Zoom for theater’s all over the country, reading from Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays that I’ve done.
GVK: What else do you have coming up?
There’s a play I was going to produce this September based on conversations between Norman Mailer and his son John Buffalo Mailer that they recorded in 2004. It is so relevant politically; one line of his that sticks out, and remember, he said it in 2004; “You can’t stop a man who’s never embarrassed by himself”. Doesn’t this characterize the political establishment precisely?