With Jack Nicholson, on the set of 'As Good As It Gets'

The Senate began hearings this morning for approval of the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. While some experts expect Judge John G. Roberts to take a public grilling from conservatives, they predict that he'll quickly win confirmation, as he has little in the way of known opinions. Outgoing justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently noted that "outside of show business, I'm not sure that he has any opinions at all.

O'Connor's assessment may be right, as the forty-two year old actor only began studying law in 2002, during the filming of the Farley Brothers farce 'Stuck on You'.

"I was doing research for my role as Marty in 'Legally Bland', and I really got into it," says Roberts, who notes that the film has been languishing in post-production for almost two years. "I mean, wow, the law, it's so big, you know, so vast. And I thought to myself, that's an area where I could really make a difference. It's like, you know, it's like the show 'Talk Soup' that I used to host. It was just a small show on a cable network, and when I would tell people that I was going to be an actor, they would laugh. But I did it. They all said the same thing when I told them that I was going to be Chief Justice someday, but look at me now."

Roberts expects tough questioning on some of the movies that he's appeared in, such as his role as Bob Crane in Paul Schrader's 'Auto Focus', which Senate Majority Bill Frist has described as a "dirty, dirty movie".

Roberts defends his decision to appear in the film. "Senator Frist knows even less about acting than I know about the law. Look, this was a chance to play the man behind 'Hogan's Heroes', the show that proved Nazis weren't just evil, they were hilarious. I'm as proud of that role as I am of playing 'Captain Amazing' in 'Mystery Men'."

Many see him as too inexperienced to helm the high court, but Roberts, who describes himself as a quick learner, sees this as an advantage. "I mean, I'm not carrying all the baggage some of these other guys are. What's so wrong with that? I'll listen to all the arguments, cast my vote and move on. It's an easy gig. It probably won't even cut into my acting career.


With Will Ferrell on the set of 'Kooks on the Loose'

 

2005, Mark Hoback