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“You never stop learning. I can pretty much do most things but there are some that are much more difficult, and those are the things I want to do,” Malcolm McDowell tells Variety at the Torino Film Festival. The British actor will receive the Stella della Mole Award at a ceremony Wednesday at Italy’s National Film Museum in Turin.

McDowell is looking forward to new acting challenges. “I’m not playing just the regular stuff. I’m looking forward to doing this Western early next year – and that should be fun, I’ve never done one – and then I think I’m doing a vampire movie. This year, I’ve played serial killers, rapists and old grandpas.”

McDowell particularly enjoys working with younger directors “at the start of their journey.” “That, I get a big kick out of, I love that… I also worked with some great directors and, of course, I’m very lucky. But every director is different, and requires different things. Some don’t really say much.”

“My first director, Lindsay Anderson, was very much from the theater. He loved discussing the characters, and all the rest of it, which made one feel very secure. Stanley [Kubrick] didn’t care about that. He was more interested in the camera, the lights, the sounds, all the techniques of filming. He was a brilliant technician and his films show that.”

Zooming in on his work for Italian cinema, he seems glad that some things have changed for the better. “There was a period about 30-40 years ago, when Italian cinema thought what they had to do was to make movies in English. This was a terrible mistake. Even though I was the benefit of this, and I got offered a few parts I really enjoyed doing, Italian movies should be in Italian.”

“That’s the beauty of it, [it has] a different rhythm to any other language. I can’t even imagine a Fellini movie in English, it doesn’t even compute. […] Thank goodness, that didn’t last long.”

When asked whether he could ever imagine the cross-generational acclaim of “A Clockwork Orange,” he answered: “Nobody could have. It’s a movie that’s 52 years old. It’s still talked about. It’s a phenomenon. I can’t think of one other film that has that kind of [thing]: young people find it, and call it their own. Every generation [does]. It’s a sort of rite of passage. Isn’t that amazing?”

Speaking about why many still find Kubrick’s movie so timely, he says: “At first it was the shock of the violence. […] Now, what’s important is the political element, the right to choose and having Big Brothers stay out of your life.”

Since the early 1990s, McDowell has been voicing several characters in video game productions. “I did ‘Wing Commander III’ and ‘IV,’ those were the first big games. Then they made a movie but I didn’t want to do it, the game was enough. But it was a very good game, and it was very popular everywhere in the world. I just enjoy doing [them] because kids play them. […] It’s important to have an audience of younger people, my contemporaries are all dying off.”

McDowell admits he is not a player himself but he is still fascinated by good video game scripts such as that of “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” “I didn’t even see it [the final result]. I think I gave it away to some young people.”

On the topic of the future of movie theaters, McDowell sees “hard times ahead.” “Whether theaters can survive, I don’t know. I keep my fingers crossed. […] It’s still a thrill to go into a cinema and wait for the lights to go down.”

“I think it’s going to be very difficult, economically. Look at what happened to the malls in America. They’re empty. It’s because of the pandemic and everyone getting used to ordering on Amazon. In a way, it becomes a monopoly, you become dependent upon one thing. And that’s never a good thing.”

McDowell is also concerned about how the surge of large players and conglomerates in the film and TV industry may affect the diversity of content. “What is happening is that it’s almost impossible to get an independent movie made. It’s always been difficult, of course, but it’s never been impossible. But now because of streaming… streaming is where independent movies go!”

“It’s a shame we’re losing character-driven movies, and I don’t want to see green screen movies ad nauseam. My kids love them and that’s okay – there’s room for them, let’s have them! But let’s also balance it a little bit with some adult content,” he says.