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November 25, 2014

On November 9th, Peter was invited to give a speech at DePaul University in Chicago. The event was sponsored by the DePaul University Center for Interreligious Engagement, Chicago Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, and Lakeside Buddha Sangha. His speech was called "Breaking the Barriers Which Bind Us: Spiritual Practice and Political Problems". You can view his speech at this link.

Here are some photos taken from the weekend events including his Mask Workshop.

November 6, 2014

Here are some photos from EVA ET LEON, a French film shot last summer in Paris. Helmed by first-time director, Emilie Cherpital, the cast includes Clotilde Hesme, Florian Lemaire, Clotilde Courau and Peter. Described as a comedy, the film tells the story of a friendship between a 30's something woman and a little boy looking for his mother.

Here is a link to a video of Peter speaking on behalf of the Dalai Lama Foundation about their Living History project.

October  30, 2014

n the spring of 2013 Peter was on location in Thailand doing a French film, written and directed by Olivier Baroux. On October 22, "On a marché sur Bangkok", opened in France. It has comedy, adventure and love. A TV journalist turned has-been, played by Kad Merad, and a war reporter, played by Alice Taglioni, travel to Thailand in search of the best kept secret in recent history - what really happened during the television broadcast of the Apollo 11 mission when man set foot on the moon for the first time. Peter plays a somewhat cartoonish CIA official, Burt Lowell, who chases them down. He says he had a great time filming though it was dreadfully hot.  Praise was given for its spectacular scenery and soundtrack. Here are a few photos from the film:

It appears that Peter is on the road doing several Mask Workshops. Tomorrow he'll be leading one at the Austin Zen Center. Two days later, he'll be at the Houston Zen Center. On November 8th, another workshop will be held, this time at the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate community in Chicago. Back in February 2013, he conducted this same workshop at the Houston Zen Center. According to a press release, the workshop helps participants "Explore the masks we all wear; putting them on, taking them off. Experience the playful and profound activity of the masks we know we wear, and - perhaps - the masks we don't know we wear. "As many of you are aware, Peter is a Zen Buddhist priest, ordained in 2012. Here are some photos from his 2013 workshop at the Houston Zen Center.

Last week The Monterey County Weekly published an interview with Peter. Many of the questions and answers were familiar but a few caught my eye. He gave his opinion on how people know him. He shared, "I'll be known for E.T. forever. A Walk to Remember was a big hit among younger people. Jagged Edge [with fellow Buddhist Jeff Bridges] with older people. A Man in Love in the late '80s put me on the cover of just about every European magazine." When asked what qualities directors are looking for when they hire him, he answered, "I have no idea. I play a lot of bad guys. I'd look in the mirror and think, 'Gee, that doesn't look like a bad face.' They hire me for a certain kind of Henry Fonda, rough-hewn, American integrity. I would like to retire from film because my first love is writing. I'm pretty much done now. I like the camaraderie, the acting, the rehearsing. I don't enjoy the business."

Carlos Santana will join the swelling ranks of famous rockers who’ve published autobiographies when his own memoir, "The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light" is released on November 4. Carlos has scheduled a few special events to promote his book, one of which includes Peter. On  December 4th Carlos will be featured in conversation with Peter at Dominican University in San Rafael, CA. His book includes his childhood in Mexico and his early days playing music in Tijuana strip clubs to his emergence as a pioneer of Latin rock and psychedelia to his late-career success with the Supernatural album and beyond. He also delves into how he developed his trademark guitar sound, shares his recollections of performing at Woodstock and pays tribute to the musicians who inspired and influenced him. In addition, he discusses his lifelong spiritual journey, which was informed by his Catholic upbringing and his fascination with Eastern philosophies and various mystical teachings.

On October 26th a special advance screening of "A Coup in Camelot" was held at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff. The new documentary, narrated by Peter, is about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The 105-minute exploration draws on film footage, research and interviews to challenge the orthodoxy that a lone gunman, firing from the Texas School Book Depository, killed the president.

Peter has joined the cast of AMERICANA, a Hollywood noir being made by the film group Flies Collective. The film chronicles an alcoholic editor, played by David Call, as he puts together the pieces of the murder of his movie star sister, played by Kelli Garner. Jack Davenport will play Calib, a small-time producer behind the starlet's final film. Zachary Shield wrote the script and will direct as well. Filming will begin shortly in San Francisco.

October 12, 2014

As a member of Amazon Watch, Peter attended the 9th Annual Luncheon in San Francisco at the Bently Reserve on October 8th. The organization works with indigenous communities to build local capacity and advance the long-term protection of their lands. The first series of photos were taken at last year's luncheon on September 25th and the second set is from this month's event.


There's a youtube video of Peter discussing his role in the upcoming film, GIRL ON THE EDGE. He discusses his personal experience with addiction and how he relates to the story of healing in the film, starring Taylor Spreitler and produced and directed by Jay Silverman. The synopsis reads - "Based on a true story, GIRL ON THE EDGE is a powerful drama from the co-writer of "Blue Valentine" and the Executive Producer and Co-creator of A&E's "The Cleaner". It follows the journey of a young girl struggling with the aftermath of a horrific trauma, the toll that it takes on her family, and the last chance she has to overcome it in the most unlikely of places. It is a moving account of how we can find strength even when we're at our most vulnerable, and that the only thing keeping us from our own happiness is our willpower to achieve it."

September 14, 2014

Tonight the newest Ken Burns 7-part series begins! In view of that, the San Francisco Chronicle has run an article called "Think 'The Roosevelts' sound familiar? It's because of Peter Coyote".  Having partnered with Peter in the past, Burns describes him as "extraordinary". He says, "A great deal of the power of our films comes from the authority his voice brings to the proceedings." Peter responds, "My gift seems to be that I am able to tell a story in a comprehensible and engaging way."  He compares his voice-over work to jazz and says he uses his peripheral vision to "see ahead of the words I'm reading. I can tell if there's a comma coming or a dismount on a period. The first time I read something, I have this special feeling of being fully engaged with it. It's fresh to the audience because it's fresh to me. It's a little mystical, but I really believe that."

David Bianculli of NPR writes, "Each of these Roosevelts, if studied individually, would be fascinating. But looking at them together like this is a revelation — a sort of storytelling synergy, where the whole ends up being even more valuable than the sum of its parts. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is biographical binge-watching at its best. In fact, I think it's Burns' best, too." He also adds, "Peter Coyote, who has narrated many Burns documentaries with the perfect pace and pitch, and does so again here."

Hank Stuever of the Washington Post agrees that the series is among Burns’s best works and points out "the elegant and simple narration of the series, read by Peter Coyote and written by Geoffrey C. Ward."

And from Matt Zoller Seitz of "Sensitively written by historian Geoffrey C. Ward, who also appears as an onscreen commentator, and narrated by Peter Coyote in one of the finest voice-over acting jobs I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard quite a few."

August 29, 2014

Mark September 14th on your calendar for the new Ken Burns PBS series narrated by Peter called "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History". The seven-part, 14-hour documentary weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. The series marks the first time their individual stories have been woven into a single narrative. Meryl Streep will do the voice-over for Eleanor with Paul Giamatti as the voice of Theodore and Edward Herrmann as the voice of Franklin. Rounding out the cast are Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco, Keith Carradine, Kevin Conway, Ed Harris, John Lithgow, Josh Lucas, Carl Lumbly, Amy Madigan, Carolyn McCormick, Pamela Reed, Billy Bob Thornton and Eli Wallach.

On Thursday evening, LA RANÇON DE LA GLOIRE (The Price of Fame) premiered in competition at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter writes, "French actor-director Xavier Beauvois ("Of God and Men") unearths a rather unusual story that happened to Charlie Chaplin. Though the true story about two marginalized immigrants in 1970s Switzerland who decide to dig up Chaplin's coffin for ransom money, is quite small, Beauvois manages to turn it into something big, brash and even quite moving through sheer mastery of the filmmaking tools at his disposal. This should do solid numbers when it'll be released in France, and will be more of a specialty item abroad, though the material offers enough marketing hooks for savvy arthouse distributors everywhere to get their money's worth." Hoeij gives praise with "the most impressive supporting turn comes without a doubt from Peter Coyote, who plays the extremely dedicated Chaplin family butler."

The film synopsis reads: On the shores of Lake Geneva lies the small Swiss town of Vevey. It’s the end of the seventies. On his release from prison Eddy—a 40-year-old Belgian small time crook— is met by his friend, Osman. They have made a deal: Osman will let Eddy stay in his shed and in exchange, Eddy will take care of his 7-year-old daughter Samira while her mother is in the hospital. It’s the Christmas season, but their shared, grinding poverty has made Eddy quite bitter. Then Charlie Chaplin’s death is announced on the television, as well as the true extent of his fabulous wealth. Eddy starts daydreaming... and comes up with a crazy idea: what if he stole the actor’s corpse and demanded a ransom from the family?

And the director's statement reads: The idea here is not to retrace truthfully the sad epic of the two comrades, or to make a documentary film about an event that, in the end, doesn’t really deserve such attention... but rather to slide, little by little, towards a bittersweet comedy of sorts, a movie that is both funny and moving... What could be called a comedy à l’italienne, in which a humble and sincere homage would be paid to the man who, in Einstein’s words, “was understood by everyone while no one on Earth understands me.”

At the end of filming, the cast was feted by a celebration on May 3, 2013 at the Hotel Des Trois Couronnes in Vevey. In the photo below, Peter poses with Trustee Laurent Ballif and Municipal Elina Leimgruber. Peter said he was completely won over by the town and its surroundings.

July 28, 2014

This week Peter will be putting in a personal appearance at the San Antonio Film Festival. Celebrating its 20th year, the festival will feature producers, directors and actors at various screenings. At 7 pm on Friday evening, "E.T." will be screened with Peter in attendance.

"E.T." premiered at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival closing gala and opened the following month in the USA on June 11. This wonderful children's story was directed by Steven Spielberg and remained the highest grossing film of all time for 11 years until another Spielberg effort called "Jurassic Park" took the mantle.  Peter plays the mysterious government agent known only as “Keys” due to the jingling of keys hanging from his belt. He sums up the film by saying, "Any movie which has touched millions and millions of people must have something going for it and 'E.T.' does. The performances are wonderful. The story will make you laugh and cry. It's wonderfully conceived and shot and it's a touching story carefully told."

Good news! Peter's second book will be coming out in the spring of 2015. Called "The Rainman's Third Cure", the spiritual memoir will be published by Counterpoint Press. The title refers to a Bob Dylan song called "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" in which Dylan wrote, "Now the rainman gave me two cures..." Peter says his book chronicles his journey in finding a place of wisdom.

The Harris Center at Folsom Lake College has announced their fall schedule. "An Evening with Peter Coyote" will take place at 7:30 pm on October 20th. Peter will share stories from his life in film and the counterculture of the '60s.

July 3, 2014

Our Coyote man is working in Paris where he has a role in a new film called EVA ET LEON. I'm waiting for French agent Lizzie Sebban to give me some information on this project. In the meantime, I can tell you that the director is Emilie Cherpitel and that Clotilde Hesme and Clotilde Courau will star.

June 24, 2014

The third season of the TNT crime drama series, PERCEPTION, premiered on June 17th. With Peter now part of the cast, star Eric McCormack was asked what it was like to have Peter play his father. He responded, "I've gotta say, that’s just been awesome. It’s an ongoing storyline through the whole season. The idea is that Pierce has a father that he hasn’t spoken to in 20 years, who has just as much hubris and is just as arrogant as Pierce is, but who also now has a mental condition. He has Alzheimer’s. So, to have this man with paranoid schizophrenia trying to be a father to his father, who’s living with a serious condition, has been very touching and also very funny. Peter is acerbic and so intelligent. It was a real battle of minds and battle of wits. It’s a story that I think the audience will love."

As previously reported, Peter did a movie earlier this year called THE SECRET PLACE, directed by Jay Silverman. The film tells the powerful true story of a troubled teenage girl who finds healing in the most unlikely of places, and who must choose to either invest in her own recovery or succumb to the trauma of her past. Here are a few more on-location photos.

France has just released a poster for the new comedy by Olivier Baroux called ON A MARCHÉ SUR BANGKOK. Filmed in Thailand last spring, the movie stars Kad Merad and Alice Taglioni as journalists in search of the best kept secret in modern history. Peter describes his role - "It's a very silly comedy in which I play the head of the CIA trying to prevent two French reporters from tracking down the last living person who has proof that during the Apollo Moon landing, the American astronauts were beaten to the punch by Aliens." The film will premiere in France on October 22. Other cast members include Chawanrut Janjittranon "Nutcha" Claude Perron, Etienne Chicot, Michel Aumont, Claire Nadeau, Sebastian Marx and Kate Moran.

As many of you know, Peter was ordained as a Buddhist priest in the layman lineage and is part of Mill Valley's strong Zen Buddhist community. Here is a wonderful portrait of him by photographer Marco Guerra.

In recent weeks the Coyote man has hit the highways across the country meeting up with family and old friends. And what he is driving? Well, his old Power Wagon has been transformed into this magnificent new transport!

June 4, 2014

In the June issue of Marin magazine, Peter discusses his work with Project Coyote, which promotes coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy.  He was asked when he decided to become an advocate for animals. He responded:

I grew up in the country and got a gun when I was 10 years old. I loved hanging out with our family’s ranch manager, Jim; he was an ex–game warden with a passion for nature, and he was my hero. He had protected the egrets in Florida from milliners from New York hunting their feathers. He took me hunting, taught me how to remove the human scent from traps by boiling them in maple bark, taught me how to set them.

One day we were walking in the woods and we approached one of the traps we’d set. I was so excited. I thought, I get to see a wild animal up close. It was a weasel. It just sat up and looked and me. It was injured, trapped by its hind leg. I heard it, inside my mind, say, “What are you going to do to me?” and I was so startled, I looked at Jim thinking he heard it too. But he killed it. The next day we caught a raven and it said the same thing. I said, “Let’s not kill it, Jim. Let’s let it go,” but it was wounded and he killed it. It’s one of the reasons I always feed ravens today. It was indisputable to me in that moment that they were, like me, alive. I wish I could say I stopped hunting at that point. I didn’t, but that experience planted a seed that I couldn’t ignore.

If you grow up on a farm your relationship to life and death is always bittersweet — you feed your chickens and then you are eating them, or you feed your pigs and then you eat them. That bittersweet ambivalence has been with humans for centuries. It’s why we have ceremonies, like saying grace over our food. It’s a recognition that life is complex.

What is his message to adults who feel they have grown out of their animal-loving phase?

Lots of people have pets and pets are usually the objects of their uncritical affection. There is another side to pets that we sort of forget, which is, if you live with a dog or a cat, in short order you learn clearly that you can communicate with them. You know their moods and realize without a doubt that they are sentient beings, with their own purpose for being alive, not yours. People will talk about them like they are members of their family: “So-and-so is cranky today, or tired.” This relationship is common, but it is the tip of the iceberg in the experience of relating to another species. If you stop to think about your pets, they are like a challenged child compared to the intelligence and emotional potential of a wild animal.

Key things to think about regarding coexisting?

Coyotes are the Jews of the animal world. Since the 1920s they have been gassed, snared, poisoned and hunted from planes with the aim of eliminating the species. But they have survived and flourished. All these efforts have managed to accomplish is to spread coyote populations from their original territory in the West and Midwest to all over the country. We live in a county that is over half open space. It is their territory where they feed, where they get water. If I don’t make some exception for them, if I don’t open my life for them in some way, I am obliterating their environment and I am actually expressing selfishness no matter how “green” I may advertise myself to be.

May 31, 2014

As reported back in February, Peter will be appearing in the TNT crime drama series, PERCEPTION, which begins its third season on June 17th. The two on-location photos show Peter with his co-stars, Eric McCormack, Arjay Smith and Levar Burton. The second photo shows him with guest stars Edward Hermann and JoBeth Williams. Peter will play James Alan Pierce, Daniel's (McCormack's) father.

May 20, 2014

SOUTHERN COMFORT, will be released on Blu-ray on July 8th. The 1981 film may be one of the most underrated of thrillers and ranks among one of my all-time favorites. Starring Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward and Peter, the story follows a deeply unsettling and murderous game of cat and mouse between some indigenous Cajun settlers and a small unit of National Guard, who have foolishly taken their canoes to cross the Louisana bayou while on maneuvers. Squeamishly tense and undeniably menacing, this film masterfully leaves the audience on edge from start to finish. Its atmospheric setting is further enhanced by the emotive score by Ry Cooder. Interestingly, the film, set in 1973, has often been described as an allegory for the Vietnam war; however, the director Walter Hill has explicitly stated that his film was not meant to be read in context of the war. It has often been compared to "Deliverance" since both are about survival in remote parts of the US. If you haven't seen it, be sure to check out this gem!

The last photo below shows director Walter Hill with cinematographer Andrew Laszlo and their crew.

CBS has announced that it has cancelled INTELLIGENCE after one season of 13 episodes. Cast members include Josh Holloway, Marg Helgenberger, Meghan Ory, Michael Rady, John Billingsley, P.J. Byrne, Tomas Arana, Lance Reddick and, of course, Peter. The network was hoping for the the series to be a ratings hit to fill their Mondays at the 10 pm time slot. Despite some impressive star talent and special effects, the show failed to draw enough viewers. The final episode aired on March 31st. You can view a video of a scene with him and Marg Helgenberger at this link.

March 14, 2014

Director and Executive Producer Jay Silverman has just wrapped principal photography on his first feature-length film, a dramatic project entitled THE SECRET PLACE. Co-written by “Blue Valentine” scribe Joey Curtis, along with Silverman and Joe Gamache, “The Secret Place” stars Taylor Spreitler, Peter Coyote, Gil Bellows, Mackenzie Phillips, Rex Lee, Elizabeth Pena, Amy Davidson and Amy Price Francis. Production on “The Secret Place” took place from January through February, at various locations in and around Los Angeles and Moab, Utah.
Based on a true story, "The Secret Place" recounts the journey of Hannah Green, a 15-year-old girl who is victimized by an online predator. Unable to cope with the resulting trauma, Hannah’s behavior becomes increasingly self-destructive until her family is left with no choice but to send her to a treatment center for troubled youth. Hannah’s transition is turbulent, and she refuses to cooperate until she finds a kindred spirit with its most unlikely patient. With the help of her mentors and the horse she’s formed a bond with, Hannah realizes painful truths about her past and begins to face her uncertain future.

Said Silverman, "To tell a story as sensitive and emotional as this has moved me beyond words. This film is based on a story that’s deeply personal to me. It shows how even the most vulnerable can find the strength to overcome unthinkable tragedies, and pays tribute to the people who dedicate themselves to helping them find that strength."

March 12, 2014

BBC2 and BBC America will be premiering a new 4-part documentary series called "The Real History of Science Fiction", starting Saturday, April 19th, including interviews with some of the most influential writers, filmmakers, actors, and artists in science fiction. In episode 3 called "Invasion", Peter will discuss the creation of Spielberg's spellbinding classic, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" while Richard Dreyfuss will discuss "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

March 6, 2014

Vicki Larson of the Marin Independent Journal reports on the upcoming San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival - "Offerings include an animated film on the life of a sea turtle, a look at two women trying to make a living fishing in Nova Scotia, a documentary narrated by Mill Valley's Peter Coyote on the lingering effects on bald eagles of DDT in Southern California's waters, and an ultra open water swimmer's attempt to be the first to complete seven challenging ocean passages."

February 20, 2014

Peter will soon be adding another documentary to his long list of films. He will narrate a still untitled documentary about the history of San Jose. It will be directed by Mike Pierce and produced by Norman Kline Productions in partnership with CreaTV San Jose and History San Jose. They expect to wrap up by this summer.

As many of you know, Peter recently guest starred on the CBS show "Intelligence" and next he will guest star on Season 3 of "Perception" on TNT. Eric McCormack stars as Daniel Pierce, an eccentric neuroscientist and university professor who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Rachel Leigh Cook co-stars as his former student turned FBI agent who he often helps to solve complex cases. Peter will play Daniel's father, James Alan Pierce. The storyline is that Eric is in for a surprise when his father comes to town with some stunning news. Because their relationship is filled with past resentments, Eric is less than thrilled about the visit. The show's 15-episode third season will launch in summer 2014.

A documentary called "The Invisible Peak" about the junkyard that blemishes the highest peak on Mount Tamalpais was posted online on Valentine's Day. The 22-minute film, a collaboration by filmmaker Gary Yost, music executive George Daly and Peter, focuses on the remnants of the military's 30-year stay on land native Miwoks regarded as holy ground. The West Peak of Mount Tamalpais was bulldozed six decades ago to make way for a radar station and barracks accommodating 300. The 106-acre plateau carved at the top is now riddled with two dozen dilapidated structures that include a bowling alley and sewage facility as well as acres of foundation slabs, power lines, pipes and utility poles, as well as miles of fencing. An ambitious cleanup drive will be overseen by the Tamalpais Land Collaborative, a new consortium of local, state and federal land managers.

The film weaves newsreel clips, interviews of key players and stunning images of what remains Marin's highest spot at 2,574 feet. Daly's soundtrack includes music by British composer Michael Hoppe as well as Ron Alan Cohen of Mill Valley. Peter's narration laces the project. The film provides a historical overview as well as a spiritual perspective, aiming to generate a profound sense of the desecration of sacred ground.

January 5, 2014

There's a new TV series on CBS called "Intelligence" where you can catch Peter in a minor role. Josh Holloway stars as a high-tech intelligence operative with a super-computer microchip in his brain. The new drama also stars Marg Helgenberger as Lillian Strand, the director of the US Cyber Command and Peter plays her dad Leland. He will appear in three episodes. The series, which has an eclectic mix of action/adventure, cyberpunk, science fiction and espionage, will have a special preview on January 7 before it premieres in its regular Monday at 10 slot on January 13.

I recently came across a unique documentary with Peter, not one that he narrated, but rather one that he participated in. The 90-minute film premiered a couple years ago in San Francisco. It's called "Tie It Into My Hand", created by writer, filmmaker and violionist Paul Festa. The description reads, "An engrossing look at music and art from many different angles. Festa takes a lesson on the Tchaikovsky violin concerto from a series of artists, including actors Alan Cumming and Peter Coyote, who aren't violinists. These lessons, however, spark heated debate about music, the artist's path, teaching and more. Funny, stirring and passionate, the film will energize the artist inside you."


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