Inside the Psy-Ops Studio
James Lipton: Welcome to ďInside The Actors Studio.Ē Iím
Tonight, a very special special treat. We all saw her performance
last week during the teleconference with President Bush.
Normally, she works as a spokesperson for the military,
but on this particular day she was playing a grunt. A regular
old soldier pulled away from building a pre-school in Iraq
for a few moments to chat with the President. Her performance?
Stunning. Her answers were delivered with the kind of natural
grace that we havenít seen since Kathryn Hepburn in The
Lion in Winter. It was on par with some of the best
female performances of all time. Meryl Streep comes to mind.
Ladies and gentlemen, join me in welcoming Corine Lombardo.
Lombardo: Thanks James. Itís great to finally be recognized
for my acting after working in the shadows, so to speak.
The teleconference was billed as a live chat with the troops.
There were only a few there. How did you get chosen?
I have contacts in the industry, but also it was simple
supply and demand. Only a few soldiers were available for
this. Everyone else was busy or too demoralized for this
kind of acting. It was all scripted, but they were still
amateurs. They wanted at least one professional in there
to elevate it to art.
It may never live up to ďMission Accomplished,Ē but I think
it will be remembered as a classic. Is it difficult telling
such bald faced lies to the American people about the progress
Itís hard not to laugh, but you just have to get in character
and go with it. You ask yourself, ďwhat is my motivation?Ē
and you go from there. In his case, my motivation is tricking
America into buying into this war and to forget about all
the blunders of this Administration. Iíll leave it up to
the audience as to whether or not I succeeded.
Oh, you did. It was moving, frankly. Letís go for a moment
back to what I think is my favorite scene. You say to the
been working side-by-side, training and equipping 18 Iraqi
army battalions. Since we began our partnership, they have
improved greatly, and they continue to develop and grow
into sustainable forces. Over the next month, we anticipate
seeing at least one-third of those Iraqi forces conducting
I first heard that it took my breath away. I mean, to honestly
suggest that will happen in thirty days is totally absurd.
And yet you deliver the line with such conviction. How did
you prepare for this role?
I worked a lot with Allison Barber, the Deputy Assistant
Defense Secretary. We went over the script very thoroughly
and I voiced a few concerns. I didnít think it was upbeat
enough. Itís in my contract that I get final say over my
lines so we went back and reworked some things.
So, do you stick strictly to the script or do you like to
Well, improvising can be all right, but only if you know
the material inside and out. We had been rehearsing all
morning, so I knew the script well, but when we started
shooting Bush went off script by asking me if I was in New
York after 9/11. We were playing off each other very well.
When he said I looked familiar, thatís when I realized he
really didnít know who I was, that I was an actor.
You mean to tell me, he thought you were just another soldier
Yeah! I thought heíd be in on the ruse, but I guess he acts
more natural if he doesnít know. So I take a little pride
in, you know, fooling him.
Wow! Thatís amazing Ė your performance was so authentic
that our Commander in Chief was fooled. Sublime.
Some of the greats have commented on how magic can happen
when improvising with another actor of equal caliber. Who
in the industry would you most like to work with?
Definitely Karl Rove. Heís such an innovative director.
I donít get to see him as I coordinate with the Department
of Defense. That would be a dream job though. I grew up
with a poster of him on my ceiling. Heís still at the top
of his game with this New Orleans stuff. Bush goes down
there and all these people are banging on walls with hammers
and stuff. Brilliant.
Sadly, he may be retiring early. There is something we do
at the end of each show. I have my guests answer a questionnaire
inspired by the great Bernard Pivot, of Apostrophes and
Bouillon de culture.
I suspect it is not too good, being of French origin, but
Iíll do it.
Okay. What is your favorite word?
Freedom. Itís on the march.
What is your least favorite word?
Shiite. I mean, you have no idea how hard it is to say that
word on camera without cracking up!
Indeed. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
The president turns me on creatively. Everything he does
is so well scripted, itís amazing. Heís getting too good.
He did the whole teleconference without a transmitter. And
of course, the Lord our Savior is my spiritual and emotional
anchor. God Bless America.
What turns you off?
People who canít see that Iím a part of something bigger
What is your favorite curse word?
What sound or noise do you love?
The National Anthem!
What sound or noise do you hate?
The feedback of an earpiece.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Iíd like to do something in the torture world; human pyramid
stacking, pissing on Korans, or whatever. Itís really booming
now and itís time to get in on that.
What profession would you not like to do?
Hmmm...nightly patrol in Iraq wouldnít be too fun!
And finally, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear
God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I hope Iíd have to show a valid American ID to get in. And
Iíd love for him to say ďThanks for helping so many boys
and girls reach me so quickly.Ē
Ladies and gentlemen, Corine Lombardo.