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Keitel: Forget Hollywood, Just Make Films

Deborah Kyvrikosaios

THESSALONIKI, Greece (Reuters) - Veteran film actor Harvey Keitel appealed to aspiring filmmakers on Monday to forget about Hollywood.

``Don't ask me any questions about Hollywood...What is more important is you with the camera, a story, some actors, some friends and suffering and struggling to tell your stories,'' he said at the 41st International Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Apparently moved by finding himself in the country where theater began thousands of years ago, Keitel was speaking to reporters with Greece's Theo Angelopoulos, director of ``Ulysses Gaze'' in which he stars.

In jogging shoes and a leather jacket, he seemed eager to brush off his association with the place where stars were made, including himself.

``I wish Hollywood would come to Greece, and stay in some of the theaters that your ancestors created. To be on the mountainside of Delphi, it's a bit different from Beverly Hills,'' he said.

The 61-year-old film star has made more than 50 films with directors such as Quentin Tarentino (Reservoir Dogs), Jane Campion (The Piano and Holy Smoke) and Martin Scorsese (The Last Temptation of Christ).

Asked about his appearance in Adam Sandler's recently released oddball comedy ``Little Nicky,'' where he plays the devil, Keitel chuckled before saying: ``Little Nicky, with Adam Sandler, was just to have some fun.''

Keitel was nominated for an Oscar in 1992 for his supporting role in Bugsy, but has never won the award, which did not seem to bother him much.

``An Oscar is not a goal. An Oscar is a thing. The work is the goal, and the work is the end -- it's the beginning and the end. That's how I see it,'' he said.

Keitel said his role in ``Ulysses Gaze'' -- in which he plays a Greek filmmaker who goes on a spiritual journey from Greece to the post-war Balkans -- was one of his most inspiring and enlightening experiences.

``If I could make Ulysses Gaze for the rest of my life, and still be able to pay my rent, I would do so,'' he said.