Rick Springfield has already proved himself as an actor, famously on General Hospital back in the '80s and most recently on the HBO series True Detective. But he admits that getting the call to share the screen with one of the greatest, most Oscar-decorated actresses of all time, Meryl Streep, was daunting.
“I liken it to someone calling up and going, 'This guy is putting a band together, are you interested in joining?’ And you say, 'Who’s the guy?’ And they go, 'Paul McCartney,’” Springfield joked recently during a sit-down interview for Yahoo Music and Backstage with Citi, during which he discussed his forthcoming film with Streep, Ricki and the Flash. He also revealed that he almost turned down the chance to read for the part.
“When I first got the call, I was out on the road,” he explained. “I’m not a great cold-reader, so I said, 'I’m not going in.’” Thankfully, when his beloved “pitbull” of a longtime publicist told him, “You get your ass to L.A. and you audition for this part,” he changed his mind. “I love strong women, and they can sway me like that,” he quipped.
It’s clearly the role that Springfield was born to play: the rocker boyfriend of Streep’s titular badass rock goddess in the Jonathan Demme-directed, Diablo Cody-penned film. Springfield knew it was fate once he finally read the script.
“There’s a guitar in the screenplay that’s a pivotal part in the storyline. It was mentioned as an SG, a 1968 SG, which is a Gibson. And my oldest guitar is a 1969 SG,” he said. “That was the guitar I wrote 'Jessie’s Girl’ on… so it was like, seriously? This part had to be written for me!”
This isn’t the first time that real-life rock star Springfield has played a rock star onscreen. In 1984 at the height of his pop fame, he starred in the Streep-free musical rom-com Hard to Hold. “No, that doesn’t count! Oh my God!” was Springfield’s amusing reaction when asked about that old movie classic.
Ricki and the Flash comes out nationwide Aug. 7. For more of Springfield’s Backstage with Citi interview, click here.