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The Misunderstanding of John Malkovich

Audiences may think of John Malkovich as the guy who specializes in playing evil, demented or manipulative villains. But the actor says that perception reveals more about what the public likes -- or what they like to see him do -- than about the roles he actually takes on.

Malkovich is more than just a big-screen baddie -- and he's more than just an actor. He directed the 2003 film The Dancer Upstairs, and helms Mr. Mudd, a film production company. Mr. Mudd's latest project is a black comedy called Art School Confidential, in which Malkovich plays a thoroughly unattractive, and not very talented, art professor. The film is directed by Terry Zwigoff and adapted from a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes.

In an interview with Robert Siegel, Malkovich talks about the challenges of both acting in and producing the same movie, why it's lucky he's a "gifted and well-trained liar" and how tater tots foiled an earlier career as a cabbage cutter.

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