What are your thoughts and feelings on the state of America in 2017?
America has always been a divided country; a country with lots of skeletons in its closet. This goes against the story we tell ourselves, but it's true. It always boils under the surface, but at times like this it all comes out and we can't pretend anymore. This is a dangerous time, but it is also a time of opportunity. We can make everything worse or we can use this moment of awareness to put injustices right and begin to heal. I am hopeful.
Do you think young people are more interested now in seeking out the truth in terms of power and the political or are they too obsessed with false narratives and social media surface? Are those two things even mutually exclusive?
Young people are not given nearly enough credit. "Millennials" get blamed for everything! But young people are dealing with a very different world. And they are in a better position to understand the world as it is now. I don't think these two things are exclusive. Social media can be escapist and promote false ideas. But I think young people are aware of this. They don't need to be lectured. And young people are in a better position than ever to think for themselves and question official narratives. They can go around the commercial media, which is often wrong. I think young people are more politically engaged now than they have been in generations.
Your social consciousness appears to have flourished as the years go on. From PETA, Climate change to your work and support of Julian Assange- why are you so passionate about these causes and what spurs you on to continue ? & Why do you do what you do? What motivates you?
Firstly, the desire to help other living creatures, but secondly, the need to spend my time trying to do something meaningful. Everyone looks for meaning in their lives. I think when we can find meaning in trying to help others, that's better for everyone. That's what motivates me in my activism.
As a kind of storyteller, where do you see yourself in the spectrum of true narratives and false lies in society? Does it matter?
Or false narratives and true lies? Truth matters very much. It is one of the most important of all things, because without it how could we even think about anything else? But we cannot forget the deeper truths that are found in literature, film and art. I try to pursue these deeper truths.
Environmental issues are obviously very close to your heart. Is ecological decline and chaos the thing which terrifies you the most? & Are we living in the end times? Or does every generation feel that sense of the apocalyptic?
I think it has more truth now than it ever has done. The threat to our environment is very serious. It is the most important issue for all of us. I don't think we are living in end times, because I think there are still things that can be done to save the planet. And we must. If a sense of impending doom makes us take all of this seriously, I think it's healthy.
Do you believe in the power of the internet or do the trolls and weirdos put you off?
They do not put me off. The internet didn't invent trolls and weirdos. The world has always been full of strange people! As someone who was a celebrity before the internet became really popular, there were plenty of odd people then too. Some of them even work in show business! What I think has happened is the internet gives everyone the experience of celebrity - all you need is a social media profile and you're visible to everyone in the world. So now everyone has a taste of what it is like when you get unwanted attention like that. What is the solution? If you are famous you have to learn to be a bit cautious, and not put everything in the open. I think it would be nice if the social media companies taught people how to do that, and didn't just lure everyone into a false sense of security. I think the companies should answer for a lot of it.
You’re an American icon who’s been talked about and written about by all kinds of people and in all kinds of ways. Do you read your own press/gossip? Having been in the public eye for so long, do you feel you have control over your own narratives? What does freedom mean to you?
We are not free unless we can have adventures in our life. Unless we have a sense of wonder.