Just a minute with Woody Harrelson

Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:11pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-nominated actor Woody Harrelson has been called many things over the years including an out-of-control party animal, marijuana enthusiast, vegetarian and all-around nice guy.

Now, add accomplished poker player to the list thanks to his new film "The Grand," which debuts in major U.S. cities on Friday. Set in the world of professional poker, it follows six players who reach the final table of a high stakes tournament.

While some things written and said about him have been exaggerated, he admits he is an "extremist." But in recent years, Harrelson has been busy cleaning up his act and practicing what he now preaches -- a healthier lifestyle.

Looking tanned and fit, Woody drank herbal tea as he set the record straight about substance abuse, his views on marijuana, the price of fame, and his laid-back life in Hawaii with girlfriend Laura Louie and their daughters, Deni (15), Zoe (12) and Makani (2).

Q: Were you a big poker player before this film?

A: "Yeah, I like poker. I definitely did get into poker during the shoot. I read all the books and then I was just trying to find more poker games."

Q: Is it true "The Grand" was totally improvised?

A: "Yes, and I was a bit scared when we began shooting. I didn't think I had it all together, but then it kicked in."   Continued...

<p>Actor Woody Harrelson poses during a portrait session to promote his new film "The Grand", a comedy set in the world of professional poker, at a hotel in Hollywood, California March 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>