In an extensive interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Jaws star Richard Dreyfuss scolded those who have no pride in America’s founding, praised the U.S. Constitution, and worried that Jews were turning their back on Judaism.
In advance of the release of his newest film, Astronaut, Richard Dreyfuss sat down for an interview with the Hollywood-based paper and offered some opinions that the paper may not have expected.
After discussing his long, lustrous career, the Reporter got around to asking the actor about politics and his answer proved to reveal his deep patriotism for the U.S.A.
Asked about the character roles he’s taken as the always put-upon truth-teller, Dreyfuss noted that he laments the fact that Americans are not being taught civics in school anymore.
Dreyfuss replied that there are some things he would feel the loss of. “In my case, it’s the fact that we don’t teach civics in our schools, and not teaching civics is not just handing out kids some free time. We were the most important political evolution in the history of mankind, and that’s no joke, and we have reason to be proud of it.”
The reply inevitably led to a question about what the Close Encounters of the Third Kind star thought about the Trump era. But the actor did not take the bait.
Instead, he veered back to his main point that education is a must:
“If you’re not taught the Ten Commandments you’re not going to know them,” Dreyfuss noted. “And you have to be taught what is of major importance in terms of running the government and in terms of why our government is so different than others. And if you don’t learn that, you ain’t gonna know it.”
The Oscar-winner also said that the U.S.A. is an important part of human history, and it is something to be proud of.
“And if you don’t know that, you always can be victim to the paranoia of living next door to someone with a different last name than you. And America is not that country. America has always been the country that offers something new and different and allows the common man to run the government. Without that, we have no identity, we don’t know who we are. There is a lot more ignorance going around than we’ll admit to.”
Dreyfuss was also not very enthused about the current crop of Democrats running for the White House and insisted that he does not identify as a member of any party. “I am what I call a pre-partisan person. I am not a Republican, I am not a Democrat,” he said.
He added that he favors America’s law of the land. “I am in favor of the American Constitution,” Dreyfuss said.
The Mr. Holland’s Opus actor said that he worries about the rise of anti-Semitism around the world. But he also worried that too many Jews seem all too willing to turn against their own.
“Anti-Semitism is on the rise, yes, but we should be more afraid of Jews not behaving like Jews. Jews are given quite an extremely detailed lesson in how to be Jewish, and that’s a good thing. It’s not to be taken lightly. We’ll sound very much like our own worst enemies in trying to protect Zionism and protect our own reputations. We really do need to explore what it means to be Jewish and not let it go away.”
Finally, the Astronaut star was asked what he thought about the possibility of alien life out there among the stars.
“I have no opinion about extraterrestrial alien life,” Dreyfuss admitted.
But the Jaws star did have a unique idea of just who the real aliens might be.
“Maybe it’s us who are the aliens in the sense, but we’re going up into space,” he said. “We keep saying we haven’t heard yet from anybody else. Maybe we’re the first ones. Maybe we are actually setting it up so that other life forms can become terrified of us.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.