Tony Winner Driven to Distraction
by Angel Cohn
TV Guide Online
October 30, 2001
Almost every actor has at least one project they would like stricken from their resume, and Broadway star Robert Sean Leonard is no exception. The Dead Poets Society bookworm — currently headlining the Great White Way's revival of The Music Man — confesses that his role as Kip Pardue's manipulative business manager-brother in last summer's car wreck of a movie, Driven, was a career low.
"I haven't even seen it," the 32-year-old thesp sheepishly admits to TV Guide Online. "I mean, I [finished] it and it was like I got out of the car [and] pretended it never happened. I walked away from the accident. I didn't even call the police."
After a string of flops and direct-to-video releases (Ground Control, anyone?), Leonard felt Driven not for the paycheck, but for the exposure. "I wish it had been [for money]," he laughs. "I'd at least feel a little cleaner in my soul. They offered me nothing; they offered me scale.
"I picked a film that I thought a lot of people would see — because racing's huge — and a part that I thought I'd be pretty good in and could have fun in," he adds. "I get to yell at Estella Warren and Kip Pardue!"
Well, Leonard once again has a film to be proud of: The indie flick Tape (opening Friday). The drama finds him and his fellow Dead Poets co-star Ethan Hawke portraying high school chums who reunite after 10 years and discuss the questionable circumstances surrounding a common ex-girlfriend — played by Hawke's real-life wife Uma Thurman. "I haven't loved something I've been in on film in a long time, and I really do love this," he happily notes. "I think it's complex and interesting and smart, and I'm actually proud of it."