Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.

Actor Jeff Goldblum almost has his own orbit. He has a unique energy that you don’t quite shake even an hour after spending a significant amount of time with him, but what you’ve experienced, basically, is a person completely comfortable in his own skin. This year the 65-year-old legend stars in a handful of films, including Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animation “Isle of Dogs.” Goldblum previously worked with the director on “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and he draws a parallel between Anderson and one of the filmmaker’s idols.

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“He admired Robert Altman, with whom I worked a few times,” Goldblum says. “They remind me of each other in that Mr. Altman also wanted to make the experience of shooting the movie a kind of art piece in itself. He said the result is the result, but just this reason to be together, to see the real movie, which is the dailies every night, our work every day, before we cut it up and gussy it up. In the same way, working with Wes is a great adventure with a great bunch of people. The cream of the crop.”

Goldblum also reprises the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm later this year in J.A. Bayona’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” It’s the second time recently that Goldblum has saddled back up to an iconic role that breathed new life into his career in the mid-1990s, after 2016’s “Independence Day: Resurgence.”

“I enjoyed getting a chance to dress up in black again and say a couple of things about science and being a proponent of science,” Goldblum says of his return to author Michael Crichton’s universe. “The human curiosity and investigation and fact-based storehouse that we have is deeply valuable and must be esteemed and celebrated, but those who would use the animal kingdom and our scientific achievement and knowledge for profit or cheap entertainment or ticket sales or, heaven forbid, militaristic power or leverage, ‘woe be to them.’ So I liked getting another crack at that.”

Goldblum also looks back on one film in particular from his portfolio, 1983’s “The Right Stuff,” which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

“Wonderful memories, gee,” Goldblum begins. “Philip Kaufman, that was the second movie I had done with him. He’s a brilliant and rare individual and director. I loved working with Harry Shearer. We had fun stuff to do. Caleb Deschanel was the cinematographer and I remember him smoking up the whole place and me running endlessly down the hall and them getting shots of my feet. It was very painterly and everything was beautifully shot.”

For more, including thoughts on a wildly popular Ian Malcolm Funko Pop toy you may have heard about, as well as a tangent on UFOs and alien visitation, listen to the latest episode of “Playback” via the streaming link above.

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Jeff Goldblum photographed exclusively for the Variety Playback podcast.
Dan Doperalski for Variety