Actor Ed Begley Jr. says his environmental activism caused a dry spell in his film career, claiming that studios and directors passed over him out of fear that he would make demands for on-set environmental measures.
The “Better Call Saul” actor told entertainment outlet Page Six (in an interview that was published Sunday) he explained that when people saw the drastic measures he took in his personal life to protect the environment — once famously biking to the Academy Awards — they worried he might judge or scold those who did not.
“I gave people the creeps,” he said. “People were afraid that I was going to point at them exiting their limo or their SUV and go, ‘How can you drive a car?’”
But Begley Jr. said he never expected others to hold the same values or take the same measures that he had. Instead, he explained, “I was like, ‘This is what I do and if you want to do it, I’ll tell you how I did it.’”
But things changed when he biked to the Oscars — and his agents warned him that he should dial back the visible activism if he wanted to continue working. On the set of “The Pagemaster,” the actor added that producers had pulled him aside, worried he might object about filming a scene in which he had to drive a car.
“They [agents] said, ‘You’ve got to back off a little bit because, you know, it’s hard to get you a job,’” he said.
It wasn’t until Christopher Guest cast him in “Best In Show” that he started working regularly again — landing roles in “Arrested Development” and “Better Call Saul” — and he said that the irony was that his activism was what had allowed him to manage while the money wasn’t flowing in.
“Bills are very low because of all the stuff I did,” he explained. “I grow a lot of my own food, I collect my rainwater, I have my own electricity, I heat my water with the sun. All of it makes for a very inexpensive life,” he said.
In addition to his recent work on television, the actor has written a memoir that’s due out in October — and in it, he calls on people not to do what he’s done, but to do what they can when they can.
“Just do what you can, Whatever you can afford, do it today,” he said. “You know it’s not all or nothing, you do what you can.”