With nearly five hundred credits to his name, Eric Roberts is one of the most prolific actors in the history of Hollywood, ranking fourth of all time (a fact Roberts is quick to point out). Roberts’ break out performances in 1978’s King of the Gypsies and 1983’s Star 80 earned him Golden Globe nominations, followed by an Academy Award nomination for his role in Runaway Train in 1985.
Roberts has worked consistently in his forty years in the business, averaging twelve projects per year, but over that time, he has found that the kind of roles that he looks for has changed. “Of course the roles I look for has changed, because I have changed,” he says. “I was young and handsome once and now I’m an old kind of crusty tough guy and so I have gone from A to Z.” While the types of film and television project on which he has worked have been diverse, there is one genre he would like to visit more often. “You know what I love to do and I only have probably done half dozen of and I would like to do hundreds of?,” asks Roberts. “That’s crime mysteries. Especially true ones. I love true crime stories.”
Roberts has found that what he looks for in a role has changed over the years. ” At first, it was the challenge,” he says. “Then it was the diversity, from a story of point of view. Then it became about the fun, because I got famous. I made my wife rich (laughing).” The role itself is not the only variable the actor factors in when deciding what projects to take on. “Oh yeah. That is what we’re talking about, ” says Roberts. “It’s changed through the years where now it’s like: this guy wears fourteen designer suits? I’ll do the part! I mean, it’s all kinds of different reasons. It’s location. “What, you’ll tape in Nova Scotia? I’m in!” It’s like that sometimes. With Dark Knight, it wasn’t because it was Batman, but because of the location. We got shot 30 miles north of London, and it’s all Gotham City. Oh my God. I’m a movie geek, so, it was just heaven for me.”
Through the vast number of film and television projects on which Eric Roberts has worked, there is one he would like to revisit. “Well, I’ll tell you what, I would love to see a Pope of Greenwich Village Part Two,” he says. “I would love it to start at a hotel in Miami and they’re throwing us out because we can’t pay the bill (laughing). Mickey [Rourke] and I both want it to happen.” And what are the odds of his Pope of Greenwich Village perm making a comeback? “Oh, big,” he says.