APSEN, Colorado—Hollywood actor Michael Douglas was recently honored for his contributions to film, which would have been confined to off-camera work had he listened to those around him early in his career.
“The business was telling me, why act? I was totally acceptable as a producer, but not [as an actor]. I quietly resented it,” Douglas said during an on-stage conversation with Aspen film fest host Joel Schumacher.
“People said, why do you want to act? I thought I had something to say,” he said.
Douglas was given the festival’s Independent By Nature Award for his work as an actor and producer. The ceremony was held at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, a mountain hamlet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
Douglas, 60, initially made his mark in Hollywood behind the scenes, producing films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The China Syndrome.
Douglas went on to become an Academy Award-winning actor, starring in such films as Romancing the Stone, Wonder Boys and Fatal Attraction. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Wall Street.
Aspen film festival executive director Laura Thielen said it was the versatility of Douglas’ work that stood out, saying he has acted in “every conceivable type of movie, bending and blending genres to reinvent them.”
Highlights from Douglas’s career were shown during the event. The award, a silver aspen leaf belt buckle, was crafted by Aspen silversmith Jim Hayes.