Dennis Quaid has lived out some childhood fantasies in his award-winning career portraying such legends as astronaut Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff and Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire — not to mention President Clinton in HBO’s The Special Relationship.
One can’t quite say that being like Donald Trump was a fantasy for Quaid, but viewers may observe shades of “The Donald” in Samuel Brukner, the ruthless billionaire with a mouth bigger than his net worth at the center of the TV series The Art of More. The first 10 episodes of the new show, which delves into the crime and deception behind the glamorous facade of two fictional New York auction houses, begin streaming on Crackle, November 19. Quaid also stars in the movie Truth, which opened at the end of October.
Quaid is an avid cyclist and an even more avid family man. He has a son Jack, from his marriage to Meg Ryan, and twins, a boy and a girl, with his wife, real estate broker Kimberly Buffington. He got headlines after he became an activist demanding better guidelines for hospital safety when his newborn twins were given a near fatal dose of medicine. “It was a lot of stress, and who needs that?” he remembers. “But the kids had a happy ending, and that’s the good news.”
The Saturday Evening Post: I’m told you are a very involved and fun dad.
Dennis Quaid: It’s the second time around with the twins. The thing about it is that it’s a lot different to have a boy and a girl. Having a girl is such an amazing experience. So different from having a boy because she knows more than I do already. I just really have fun watching them grow up. Then with my 23-year-old, Jack, who’s become an actor, it’s really the whole reward of the friendship that we’ve developed. It’s fantastic. Something I didn’t expect. You put the time in, and it’s like what you put in is what you get out. The best piece of advice I think I’ve given my kids is I want them to follow their heart. I want them to do something that they love. My mother was really great about that, making me feel like I could do really anything that I made up my mind I wanted to do.
SEP: In The Art of More you play a handsome, rich, show-offish jerk — is that a kick?
DQ: It’s always fun to play someone like Samuel Brukner because he doesn’t follow the rules. People like him are fascinating to watch because they have so much money and power that they can say anything they want. That’s why it’s fun to watch Donald Trump these days. He’s always been a novelty act. Now, he’s just taken it up a notch. Like Trump, Brukner doesn’t care if anyone else sees him as a jerk. Or, if he does, he keeps it a closely guarded secret.
SEP: You’ve been on the screen for a long while now. Is acting still fun for you?
DQ: I feel a lot more at ease than I did way back when. When you’re young and brash, you’re also secretly scared to death. Now, I don’t have the pressure of “you’ve got to make that next movie that’s going to put you over the top.” But at the same time, you always need that fire in your belly; otherwise, it’s just a job.