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Kurt Russell: I'm Not a Republican, I'm Worse. A Hardcore Libertarian

The Hateful Eight actor talks being a Hollywood political oddity in a Daily Beast interview.

While making the rounds promoting his star turn in Quentin Tarantino's new film The Hateful Eight, Kurt Russell told The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern that he's frequently had to deny his long-rumored association with the Republican Party.

Real-keeping.AVCO Embassy Pictures

The truth, Russell says, is actually far worse:

I wasn’t a Republican, I was worse: I was a hardcore libertarian.

As Reason's Nick Gillespie has noted, Russell's politics have been coming up in interviews more frequently, mostly thanks to his unwavering support of the Second Amendment. But Russell rarely discusses his broader libertarianism publicly and, he tells the Beast, he has a policy of turning down invitations to appear on political talk shows. (Which, as someone who used to book high-profile guests on your now-defunct favorite political talk show, makes me feel less personally rejected over our failure to book Snake Plissken on The Independents.)

Like many libertarians, Russell says he found his way toward the light as a young person unable to "buy into a political culture" and found the roots of libertarianism in the Founding Fathers, who he describes as "pretty radical guys, and damn smart" with "great ideas." Getting more specific with his political philosophy, Russell adds:

I believe in limited Constitutional government, free market capitalism, reach for the brass ring. There’s this place where you can go do that and don’t step on anybody’s toes and still try to reach for the brass ring. 

Russell talks about how much he enjoyed going to the Cato Institute's 20thBig Trouble20th Century Fox Anniversary Party (in 1994 1997), which he described as "a place where I can have a conversation and not be laughed at or smirked at" as he would at parties in Hollywood, where he says he was "politically persona non grata."

He describes Bill Maher as a "nice guy" but a "faux-libertarian" and says the reason he doesn't appear on Maher's show (or any political talk shows) is essentially that he'd prefer not to come off like a typical celebrity blowhard. Russell's preference for civil political discussions conducted in good-faith is pretty refreshing:

I always had a good time talking about things with people. The thing people did get to know about me if they engaged me is that I’m fair, I’m pretty energetic, and I’m pretty knowledgeable. I don’t pop off without finding out about stuff—and I like finding out about stuff, and don’t have that much of an agenda about it.

You can read the whole interview and watch a video of Russell's audition to play Han Solo in the original Star Wars here

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

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  • ||

    Sometimes you just gotta say 'What the Hell'

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "Just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

  • GILMORE™||

    "as someone who used to book high-profile guests on your now-defunct favorite political talk show"

    !?... you never told me you worked for Morton Downey!?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You tell them Kurt's coming, and hell's coming with him.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Kurt's a reasonable guy, but he's just experienced some very unreasonable things

  • Adans smith||

    I'm your huckleberry

  • ||

    My parents loved Overboard. Guess I'm-a have to check out his oeuvre.

  • ||

    Your who did what? The Thing, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China? I mean Tango & Cash was not his finest hour, but it wasn't... Well it wasn't Cobra.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    And there is Tombstone.

    "I said throw down, boy!"

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You gonna do something or just stand there and bleed?

  • Kevin Sorbos Manful Locks||

    Skin that smokewagon and see what happens.

  • Adans smith||

    25 percent of the take sound about right?

  • RJ The Terrible||

    Johnny, I apologise, I forget you were there. You may go now.

  • ||

    Well it wasn't Cobra.

    Or Soldier.

  • ||

    I liked Soldier.

  • CE||

    Or Executive Decision from 1996. The last Hollywood movie with an Arab terrorist. They're all Eastern Europeans now.

  • Karl Hungus||

    The last Hollywood movie with an Arab terrorist. They're all Eastern Europeans now.

    That's the last one that comes to mind. True Lies was a couple years before that; it too featured Arab terrorists, and I remember it caught some flak for that.

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    Captain Ron was a masterpiece. Don't skip it.

  • ||

    So "Escape From New York" was basically him running around Paradise doing exactly the opposite of what he'd really do?

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    Smoky the Bandit featured an obvious f-bomb dubbed over with an s-bomb. All is forgiven.

  • JeremyR||

    St. Louis, actually.

  • ||

    East St. Louis. There is a big difference between East St. Louis and St. Louis, even more so when the movie was filmed.

  • ||

    OK, while I'm not a big fan of the political statements of actors, it's good to have a voice on our side as a small counterweight to the progressive majority in Hollywood.

  • Gannicus||

    "I'm tired of talkin', Fuchs. I just wanna get up to my shack and get drunk."

    *Takes swig from bottle of J&B Scotch*

  • BearOdinson||

    One of the funniest movies of all time!!

    "These prices are TOO FUCKING HIGH!"

  • CleverAcronym||

    "I took her to a bowling alley for chrissake...."

  • Harold Falcon||

    I know where the fuck Miami beach is, dummy!

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Kurt is an intellectually curious libertarian, so he has probably visited this website.

    Which one of you is Kurt Russel?

  • Citizen X||

    IT BETTER NOT BE SHREEK.

  • RBS||

    Kurt is an intellectually curious libertarian, so he has probably visited this website.

    Interesting...

  • Hugh Akston||

    I would like to think that Kurt Russell has better things to do than worry about politics.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    Are you saying he's li-curious?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    It's quips like that that cause people to think you are a sock puppet. This is an intellectual gathering of serious thinkers.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    They don't pay me to use my brain. They pay me to follow orders.

    Unless I fuck up. Then it's "Why the hell didn't you think before you did that?"

    /flashback

  • ||

    "This is an intellectual gathering of serious thinkers."

    Goddammit.

    *wipes sweet and sour sauce and half chewed pork and rice off of computer screen

  • ||

    "This is an intellectual gathering of serious thinkers."

    Goddammit.

    *wipes sweet and sour sauce and half chewed pork and rice off of computer screen

  • SimonJester||

    ...wait, twice?

  • fish||

    It's funny....I could see a twofer!

  • ||

    What the fuck are you guys talking about?

    /takes 'nother sip of bourbon. Narrows gaze.

  • Seguin, the Mighty Monoclops||

    My money's on Eric Bana. MISDIRECTION FOOLS.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    This made me lol.

  • RAHeinlein||

    Bo hasn't been around in awhile, and Kurt has been on the movie dog-and-pony talk show circuit - I don't believe in coincidences...

  • DenverJ||

    Which one of you is Kurt Russel?

    It's me. Now, which of the three libertarian women in the world want to hook up?

  • Kevin Sorbos Manful Locks||

    It's me. Now, send me an airplane ticket to Hawaii and we'll meet up.

  • Suicidy||

    You can have Nikki.

  • dinkster||

    Could it be a certain crusty juggler? Sneaky

  • dinkster||

    Could it be a certain crusty juggler? Sneaky

  • SimonJester||

    My money, and hopes, are on Agile Cyborg.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    You know who else was a hardcore libertarian?

  • ||

    Larry Flint?

  • Citizen X||

    Belle Knox?

  • Suicidy||

    I actually know her dad.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    Caligula?

  • Trouser-Pod (The blowhard)||

    The Sith.

    /so obvious

  • ||

    Ron Paul... Rand Paul... Damn! The Rule of Two checks out.

  • DenverJ||

    Hitler, definitely Hitler

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Call me Snake.

  • Adans smith||

    Either get to fighten or get away.

  • Thomas O.||

    Don't call me Little Bastard.

    (How's that for an obscure reference!)

  • gleff||

    "how much he enjoyed going to the Cato Institute's 20th Anniversary Party (in 1994)"

    Russell was absolutely at Cato's 20th anniversary party, but it was in 1997... not 1994.

  • BakedPenguin||

    One of the movies I didn’t do that I would have loved to have done is Repo Man.

    That would have been interesting.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Yes! Repo Man is one of my favorite movies of all time and Russell's participation would have improved it. But hopefully not at the expense of Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton, or Tracey Walter, who were positively iconic in their respective roles. On the other hand, I would like to see the bootleg from a parallel universe, where Russell had one of the major roles in that movie, just as I would love to see Ronald Reagan in Casablanca or Jack Lord as the Captain of the USS Enterprise.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I've always liked him. Just one more reason.

  • Nonstopdrivel||

    Resolved: That Vanilla Sky represents the archetypical paleo-libertarian manifesto for the 21st century.

    Discuss.

  • lap83||

    I'll see you in another life...when we are both squirrels

  • macsnafu||

    I see what you did there, but let's leave L. Ron Hubbard out of this, shall we?

  • UCrawford||

    Plissken, not Blisken, damn it...it's Snake *Plissken*. It's on Wikipedia and everything.

  • Suell||

    Damn your speedy fingers!

  • Suell||

    It is Snake Plissken, dammit Fischer get it right! No wonder you couldn't book him.

  • GILMORE™||

  • Michael||

    Yeah - what the fuck, Anthony?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I was trying to pretend that didn't happen.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    ** wonders why this typo has not yet been corrected ... has Anthony Fisher no pride? **

  • Inigo Montoya, Micro-Aggressor||

    Why "worse" than Republican? I don't get it. I thought libertarian was much better than being a R or D.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Not in Hollywood, to the Hollywood crowd.

  • You're Kidding||

    Not just Hollywood. The majority of CA actually.

    This place leans so far left it's hard to believe we haven't achieved Nirvana yet.

    I ought to know. I live there/here.

  • Sevo||

    "The majority of CA actually."

    Well, the populous areas. Lefties get pissed, since they can't just bray: "BOOOOOOOOOOOSH!"

  • GroundTruth||

    Nothing pisses a true libertarian off more than being called a Republican. Well, no, actually, there are lots of worse things, like Obamacare, the Sixteenth and Seventeenth and Amendments , etc., but you get the point.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Also, can we have The Independents back, please? I really like Kennedy, but the "power of three" was, imho, a very good thing and its absence makes the TV landscape that much more bleak. I have noticed that both Matt Welch and Kmele Foster have guested individually on Kennedy's current show, but never both at once; I suppose that the producers fear some kind of "Bloody Mary" effect, should all three ever be present in the same place at the same time.

  • ||

    You know, I agree.

    Fist, start one of your 'who's with me?' petitions.

  • ||

    WeLcOmE tO tHe CLuB Of PURE EVIL kUrt.

    /tosses dead orphan at Kurt.

  • JPyrate||

    He really did escape from New York City. =)

  • JPyrate||

  • Kevin Sorbos Manful Locks||

    I counter with this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkfKUrwxPfQ

    The sole reason that the wife won't watch movies with me anymore (yes, the theme).

  • block30||

    Right. On. I miss seeing this guy in the movies. Next to Mike Rowe, maybe I have a second man crush....

  • IceTrey||

    Russell - Vaughn 2016!

  • Libertarius||

    I'll take Eastwood-Russell for the most badass thing in history, Alex

  • ||

    Son of a bitch... we have our own token in Hollywood? Fuck me and praise the lawd.

  • ||

    Russel should appear on Stossel. Pretty sure he'll get fair treatment there.

  • ||

    I'd rather he just appear on Maher's show...

    "All right, Maher... you called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that?" "It says Free Minds and Free Markets."

    "You tell 'em I'm coming... and The Jacket's coming with me, you hear?... THE JACKET'S COMING WITH ME!"

  • Sevo||

    Of no particular importance, I was poking around youtube and found reference to Russel as a private pilot; a vid has him extolling the enjoyment of it. No great surprise if you have a ticket or spent time getting one.

  • Kevin Sorbos Manful Locks||

    Kurt is great, but "wait, he's a pilot too?" honors clearly go to Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson (among many other "wait, he does ____ too?" talents).

  • titmus||

    Amazing that Dickinson flew the group and crew in a chartered plane for an entire world tour. Imagine finishing a gig at midnight and being ready to fly early next morning. And imagine trusting a heavy metal front man with your life!

  • Kuwanki||

    At the beginning of the article, reference was made to "now-defunct favorite political talk show". i watched it, and on the 2 minute hate segment of the Independents i noticed both fist of etiquette and the immaculate trousers had something to say (as usual mean-spirited and back-biting, but still funny). Wow.

  • Marry Watson||

    Promoting Life With Healthy Tips So Read

    I'm not I dole I don't I'll have been me for it I guess dry so pretty much I've watched right when I apply my cash that's pretty much it stop what I do is I like to look for a bike wash it strike my get while I'm showering so that's what I do and FBI at up body wash just not good because the court hello you wanna smell good so I love to go %ah it says don't make your skin soft and wet after just one shower so definitely back okay only ate my skin.

    For more info ==== http://healthnbeautyfacts.com/

  • Kevin Sorbos Manful Locks||

    You won't believe how much my career improved after drinking the Six Demon Bag!

  • CatoTheYounger||

    Libertarianism is the new Scientology it seems.

  • Dilligaf||

    And in this analogy what do the two flavors of American Statism best compare to?.. The new Luddites? Spanish Inquisition? Breatharians? Fascists? Tories? Slavers? Royalists? Priests? Jacobins? I could go on all day. Labels don't matter so much as the underlying philosophy.

  • Dilligaf||

    "Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." R.A. Heinlein

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