Malkovich tours with serial killer musical

Thu May 27, 2010 1:51pm EDT
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ATHENS (Reuters Life!) - Actor John Malkovich has played some dark characters over the years but few can be so controversial as the murderer he portrays in a production now touring Europe.

Malkovich is appearing in the chamber opera, "The Infernal Comedy - Confessions of a Serial Killer" as Jack Unterweger, an Austrian serial killer who murdered prostitutes with their bra straps.

Unterweger was jailed in 1974 but the courts released him in 1990, convinced he was a reformed man. He became a celebrated writer and journalist, but went on to kill again several times. He committed suicide after being convicted again in 1994.

Throughout his career, Malkovich seems to have attracted complicated, nasty characters but he says it's because he keeps getting the offers.

"If they choose me to play a gay travel agent who goes around London pretending he is Stanley Kubrick, I don't question that," said Malkovich, sitting in his dressing room before the performance in Athens.

"... and if they choose me to play Klimt or Vicomte de Valmont, I don't know, and I never ask, or to play in Disgrace, or the great Buck Howard, or a million things that I have done -- it's actually a question I never address."

Austrian Michael Sturminger directs the performance, where Malkovich, accompanied by the Wiener Akademie baroque orchestra and sopranos Bernarda Bobro and Aleksandra Zamojska, engages in a monologue-style performance as Unterweger, with a script full of cynical black humor chronicling the life of the killer.

Malkovich said he was interested in a project that included baroque music, but originally the performance was to be only a one day show in Los Angeles. But after it opened in Austria offers came in from European countries and it has been on the road since.

Malkovich is no stranger to the theater. It is where he began his career in 1976 before moving to films, and he has never strayed far for long, despite working on several movies a year at times.   Continued...

<p>U.S. actor John Malkovich and soprano Louise Fribo perform on stage during the theatre play 'The Infernal Comedy - Confessions of a serial killer' in Hamburg May 16, 2010. REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen</p>