I went for four years without doing a movie toward the end of the '80s. It wasn't a conscious decision. It just happened after I was unhappy with the results of the couple of movies I'd made.I don't want to mention the movies. But it bothers you when something that is potentially worthwhile doesn't come through.
You know how actors have recurring dreams about not knowing their lines? Well, I have a recurring dream where I'm in one of those movies that doesn't work. In my dream, I'm saying, "But I didn't know I was doing that movie. It was a mistake. Really. I didn't know I was being filmed." It was time in my life to take a break and look around. I found myself wanting to get back to some of the things that I'd done earlier in my life, to observe more.
An actor with too much money will usually find a way to get rid of it. I poured my money into my own film, The Local Stigmatic, which I never released (Al later released it on DVD along with Looking For Richard & Chinese Coffee). I did some plays. All of a sudden the years passed, and suddenly I owed some back taxes and the mortgage was due and I was broke.
But you know what really hit me? I was walking through Central Park and this guy comes up to me - didn't know him at all - and he says, "Hey, what happened to you? We don't see you, man." I said, "Well, I... uh, I... uh," and he said, "C'mon, Al, I want to see you up there!" And I recognised that I was lucky to have what I've been given. You gotta use it.
Al Pacino- The Legend (March 8, 2003), Al Pacino speaks to Cal Fussman.