When he's not acting in movies, Scott Glenn can be reached in Ketchum, Idaho.
"It's a town of about 2,500-2,600 people," the square-jawed actor says. "My wife, Carol, and our daughters, Dakota and Rio, and I have lived there 13 years now. It's my home." Located near the famous Sun Valley ski resort, Ketchum also was home to Ernest Hemingway in his later years.Yet standard wisdom suggests Glenn should stick around Hollywood for those "power lunches."
"The word `should' has never really been a big part of my vocabulary," he says. "It feels good to be up in that town, and it feels good to be doing what I do. And - knock on wood - everything's working out OK for me."
Indeed, Glenn is one of the most employed actors in films. Last year he was impressive as the U.S. submarine commander in "The Hunt for Red October." He now has two movies out: In "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys," he's a rodeo star faced with the care of his aging father, Ben Johnson; in "The Silence of the Lambs," he's an FBI agent who assigns recruit Jody Foster to the chilling task of interrogating a crazed serial killer, Anthony Hopkins.
In "The Silence of the Lambs" he played his character laid-back in glasses and a three-piece suit. "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" was something else.
"I knew it was going to be physically demanding," he said. "I knew I was going to have to do things like climbing a 32-foot rope without using my hands or feet, simply because that was written into the script as one of the training exercises for riding bulls."
The rodeo work was virtually new for him. "I'm a big-city, East Coast guy," he explained. "I grew up in Pittsburgh. I learned to ride for `Silverado,' and it took me five weeks before we started shooting the film.
"The only experience I've had with rodeo was doing `Urban Cowboy' about 12 years ago. I got on a bull in the Huntsville Prison Rodeo - naively. About 1/18th of a second later, I had a chipped collarbone, bruised hip, minor concussion and required 10 stitches in my left hand. "
From Pittsburgh, Glenn went to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., then tried many jobs including reporter for a Chicago newspaper. He ended up in off-Broadway plays, where director-writer James Bridges discovered him for "The Baby Maker." He appeared in such movies as "Nashville," "More American Graffiti" and "The Challenge." Then came a two-year drought.
"I'm not sure `desperate' is the right word," he recalled. "It was more a sense of ongoing guilt. I'm doing this crazy, irresponsible thing - or trying to. I have two little girls. Is this the kind of life to inflict on them, not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from, plus other kinds of insecurities that go with that?
"Luckily, my family was a lot cooler and more supportive to that than I was. Then moving to Idaho took care of it all."
The break came when his old friend, Jim Bridges, called from Hollywood: "I've got a part for you. It's going to get your foot in the door for the rest of your life. You won't have to audition ever again."
The film was 1980's "Urban Cowboy," and Glenn hasn't stopped working. Among the movies he's made: "Apocalypse Now," "Personal Best," "The Right Stuff" (as Alan Shepard), "The River" and "Miss Firecracker."
And while work has been good, so has his life in Idaho.
"People up there know me as just some character who moved into town and is a mediocre swimmer and a passable climber and, hopefully, not too bad a guy. There's no big deal about being a movie actor," he said.
"The only thing I would not want to be in Ketchum, Idaho, is a world-class downhill skier, because there would be a lot of pressure on you to perform."