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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Al Pacino; Interview with Susan Boyle

Aired December 17, 2010 - 21:00   ET



AL PACINO, ACTOR: Say hello to my little friend.


LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Tonight my good buddy, my best man, Al Pacino.


PACINO: I love the people I play.


KING: One of the world's greatest actors and a very private guy. He's going to sit down for a rare and revealing interview.

We thought that "The Godfather" would bomb at the box office.


KING: You ever turned down a role you regretted?

PACINO: Let me see -- yes.


KING: The Academy Award winner Al Pacino. We'll talk about George Clooney, Brad Pitt and others all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

KING: We're in Al Pacino's backyard in Beverly Hills. Yes. The last time he was with us after much begging and cajoling was back in 1996. We thought it would be the start of hundreds of interviews, and this is the second time.

We've become very close friends. We spent a lot of time together. This is only the second time on the show.

Let's show you a little clip of the first time from 15 years ago.

PACINO: No. No, don't. Don't. No.

KING: Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING: Why have you finally come?

PACINO: Come here?

KING: Yes, finally, after years of asking?

PACINO: Senility, I guess.


KING: Why do you dislike interviews?

PACINO: Well, I don't -- I think it's because it starts with the whole idea of being an actor, which is something that is kind of -- the anonymity of an actor. The more anonymous you are, the easier it is for an audience to accept you in the role. I think it starts -- it starts there. And it's also basically because I think I'm somewhat shy.


KING: You still feel that way?


KING: Do you still feel --

PACINO: Yes, I do. But I'm so shy now I wear sunglasses everywhere I go.

KING: I mean you play so --

PACINO: I sleep with these.


KING: You do -- you do so many things, you're so outgoing, why would you be shy and --

PACINO: I've often said there's two kinds of actors. There's a more gregarious type and the shy type. And both going to acting for the reason that they're able to access stuff because they have these big personalities and they're able to get involved in -- and they're open and they do things.

And the others go into acting because they can't do that. And in acting it allows them that freedom. So I think there's -- I'm sure there's people who are a little bit of both. But --

KING: Do you enjoy fame?

PACINO: This play I did, remember the local stigmatic, which you saw, the movie of -- I filmed it -- that the quotation in there from the author at the start was, "Fame is the perversion of the natural human instinct for validation and attention."

Can you follow that?

KING: Yes.

PACINO: I didn't make it up, but I just said it. It's a strange thing. When it first happened to me, it was quite daunting, and I got the best advice I ever got --

KING: Was it after "Godfather"?

PACINO: Yes, after the big movie started coming out. It started early in the theater, too. It was escalating. And I got the best advice I could ever get from anyone, Lee Strasbourg. The great Lee Strasbourg said to me, "Darling, you simply have to adjust." About fame.

KING: All right. Al is currently starring on Broadway --

PACINO: I haven't adjusted, but I'm trying, you know?

KING: He's currently starring in Broadway in "Merchant of Venice." He played it in the summer outdoors in Central Park. That was free, right?

PACINO: That was free theater. Yes.

KING: You worked for nothing?

PACINO: Yes. Yes. Joseph Papp, the great emissary --

KING: Started it.

PACINO: He started it, yes. It's a great place. And they do it every summer. They do Shakespeare. They're even doing other things.

KING: Is it different when you're working without pay?


PACINO: No, of course not.

KING: No? I mean no?


KING: You don't even think of that?

PACINO: No, you don't think about that. I mean you don't think you're -- because again, it's a job. It's -- and again doing it in the park, it's so -- because you're dealing with all the elements in the park. It's not quite what you think it's going to be. It's outdoor theater. But it doesn't work out kind of the way you think it would be.

KING: And so like these planes go overhead while you're acting?

PACINO: Everything happens. Everything happens. KING: It rains.

PACINO: And it rains. As a matter of fact, we were in the middle of a scene and it started raining.

KING: What do you do?

PACINO: You stop the show. But you don't stop until the announcement comes up by the stage manager. He announces, all right, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to stop the show for a while, and the audiences love it. They love it when that happens. You know? You go back --

KING: Why?

PACINO: I don't know why. They just do. They're like -- they're a part of something that's different. You know? And so -- but we did and we stopped for a full half hour and went back out again.

KING: By the way, the advance for "Merchant of Venice" was the largest on Broadway this year. That was $4 million as of weeks ago.


KING: Before you open so you should be very proud. The reviews were amazing. I want to touch a lot of bases.


KING: You play Shylock.


KING: In a times Shakespeare -- was Shakespeare anti-Semitic, in your opinion, when he wrote that?

PACINO: In my opinion no, he wasn't. But it's hard to tell what was going on back then. That's 400 years ago. What -- what was being interpreted. There's a lot of interpretations of the play.

To me, I think there is anti-Semitism in the play, of course, but I also think Shylock is also a blatant cry against prejudice in some ways, when you think of what they do to this person because he's a Jew. And how he reacts to it and what he's become. What he is made into.

KING: So before you play him --

PACINO: Because of prejudice.

KING: Do you think about it a lot? Do you think about, how I'm going to -- how I view him? Do you have to like him?

PACINO: Well, yes, I mean -- you know, you don't -- you first of all, you think of anybody you're playing as a human being, and what his needs are, what drives him. Why he is where he is and what he's doing. These are the things you focus on. And in that point of view, you are -- as far as I'm concerned, I'm looking at the play through Shylock's point of view, and he's defiant. He's defiant in the face of prejudice. He defies it. That's what I love about the character.

KING: You like playing Shakespeare?

PACINO: I love playing Shakespeare, yes. Yes, I do.

KING: And I just saw "Salome." Another one. When is that going to come out? You directed it, you star --

PACINO: Well, one maybe knows. You know you -- you know this has been an ongoing thing for me for four years. It's sort of -- it isn't rare for documentaries to go on for a long time. You work on them, you develop them because there's no script to start with, so I had an idea.

As I did with "Looking for Richard." There was an idea I had. And that took me three or four years to do. And you do it while you're doing other things and it goes back and forth.

KING: Do you then -- by the way, it's a brilliant movie, whenever it comes, see it.

PACINO: Awesome.

KING: When you do Hollywood, sometimes are you doing it for money? Because you love theater so much.

PACINO: Well, I wouldn't do some of the pictures I did for nothing, I'll tell you that.


KING: That's a good way to put it.


PACINO: Sailors but men. There be land rats and water rats. Water thieves and land thieves. I mean, pie rats.



KING: "Godfather", "Serpico", "Dog Day Afternoon," "Scarface." That great line. Do that line. The great lines --

PACINO: Every day -- every day above ground is a good day?

KING: No --

PACINO: That's an Oliver Stone line. KING: No, my little friend.

PACINO: Oh, say hello to my little friend, yes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PACINO: Say hello to my little friend.


PACINO: My little son told me that. He said someone said that to him. What's that line your dad says? Say hello to my little friend. It's a catchy -- it's a catchy phrase.

KING: When you take an accent like that, a Cuban accent, do you keep it the night you go home for dinner, too?

PACINO: You sort of get involved. And you -- yes, it becomes a part of your fabric, it becomes a part of your life. But even after the movie is over, you're still a little bit in it. Your frame is -- you know. It was interesting because it was a relief for me to come home.

And I was lucky enough to be -- I had fallen in love during "Scarface." I'd fallen in love. Doing that 10, 12 hours a day, and then coming home and listening to my girlfriend's problems and her day would take me out of what I was doing. And it's -- because I -- you know, it's like you don't talk much when you're doing something like that afterward.

You're not in -- you know, it's almost tantamount to being a fighter, like a boxer, right? Who's in the ring. He doesn't fight much afterward. You know? He doesn't go out and get into a brawl in a bar. Usually, it's because it's -- you know it's what we do. And doing "Scarface" every day for 12, 14 hours a day, kind of -- I want to hear other people's issues and their problems.

"Scarface" was written -- people don't realized this -- by Oliver Stone, and directed by Brian De Palma, produced by Martin Bregman. But Oliver Stone wrote that text. So when you say, say hello to my little friend, I think of Oliver.

KING: When you see your films, are you very self-critical?

PACINO: No, I stopped being that long ago. It doesn't serve -- you know, let the others be because I'm going to have enough critics without it being myself, so what I look for is where the actor is working, where it's working, what I can do about it. I don't like seeing movies when I can do nothing about them.


PACINO: Who put this thing together? Me. That's who. Who do I trust? Me.


KING: But it's that universally wrapped?

PACINO: Yes. Yes, it did. Yes.

KING: Yes, it's a cult, right? It's -- everyone talks about it?

PACINO: Well, there's probably -- yes. I would say it's the most successful movie I made. And -- for me, yes.

KING: You mean, dollars taken in?

PACINO: Yes. Yes. It's really -- and it's been that way for -- it's gotten all this -- and it's across the board. When I go to Europe, when I go around, that's the picture they --

KING: Have you ever turned down a role you regretted?

PACINO: Let me see. Yes, I did.

KING: Without embarrassing the actor, what did you turn --

PACINO: I don't want to embarrass anybody, that's the problem. Because, you know, you mention a role you turned down and -- but I realized about this role that I could have -- when I first read it, I said, no, this is -- I'm not right for it. But later when I saw it, and I -- when I saw a comic, I gave it away now. Anyway, it doesn't matter.

KING: It was a comedy?

PACINO: I saw somebody doing something in a club, and I suddenly saw what I would want to do with this part.

KING: Plenty?

PACINO: And what happened -- it's going to -- that was a great performance by Dustin Hoffman. It was a great performance. It was amazing.



PACINO: I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.


KING: "Godfather I & II" may be the best movies ever made. Many consider that now, right? Ranked with "Citizen Kane."

PACINO: Wow. I know. I know. I know.

KING: Did you like Michael Corleone?

PACINO: I loved him. I loved the people I play.

KING: He killed people --

PACINO: I loved -- you know, that's like saying to a painter, when he paints a painting that, how could you -- you know, how could you paint this painting of who ever? Do you -- you know, you don't feel as though, you don't do that? You see always looking at the metaphor, you're always looking at what the character is, what is the deeper -- what is being said about our life and our world through this character.

You know? And one can make the argument that Michael Corleone -- why did the audience like him? Because it was couched in a drama so it had a different -- it comes at you differently, it comes out of the drama.

KING: Do you agree "Godfather" is about a family, basically?

PACINO: Well, that's what I mean about this -- that was the thing that turned people on so much at the first one. I remember I was there, and, you know, the reaction was so universal across the board. Had a lot to do with family, the family structure. And people related to it. You didn't have to be an Italian American or -- you just related to the whole family dynamic.

KING: When he goes into the bathroom, gets the gun and comes out and shoots the cop, was it your idea to throw the gun in the air?

PACINO: I guess it just happened.

KING: It was very effective.

PACINO: Yes, I think -- I think --

KING: You tossed it and out.

PACINO: Yes, it had that -- the way it was going, sure, it was in the script. I can't remember that far back. But it's sort of -- yes, I think it was in the script.

KING: Well, we're all over the board tonight because I'm just so happy to have you.

PACINO: I don't mind.

KING: No, I'm going --

PACINO: I'm glad to be here.

KING: I'm going everywhere with you.


KING: Do you ever watch --

PACINO: You want to stay here tonight?

KING: Do you ever --


KING: Do you ever watch other movies and say, I would have liked to have played that? PACINO: No.


PACINO: No. As far as I can see, any part that anyone's doing, I couldn't do. So I just look at it and say -- you know, because I look at all parts, movies, as an audience looks at it.

KING: You do?

PACINO: Yes, it's like going to a baseball game or something. You watch them, the pitcher pitch the ball. The hitter hit it. You just -- you know, you don't want to go out there and do it yourself. But you know --

KING: But you were at a film?


KING: Your own craft?

PACINO: Yes. I don't see it that way.


KING: You don't cry?

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: There's no crying in baseball.

KING: No crying.


SEAN CONNERY, ACTOR: And I'm inclined to agree with that but --

SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: They know when he or she is missing the mark.

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: I can't tell you anything more than it just felt right.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Apparently now I'm in big trouble.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: We start training now.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: Well, we're humble guys, Larry.

MARLON BRANDO, ACTOR: I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.

KING: Good-bye.

BRANDO: Good-bye.




PACINO: "Godfather" is a term that was used by his friends, one of affection, one of respect.

BRANDO: Michael, why is it not done?

PACINO: We'll get there, pop. We'll get there.

In my home, in my bedroom where my wife sleeps? I know it was you, Fredo, you broke my heart.


KING: Working with Brando, what was that like for a young guy?

PACINO: Well, when you think of growing up with the image of Brando as your sort of source of inspiration, because I remember seeing him in a movie when I was 16. And I went into this movie house and I saw the "Waterfront", I was alone.

And I had seen "A Member of the Wedding" came first with Julie Harris and Ethel Waters. It was a great movie. She was great. You know? And then I saw this movie, and those days these two movies -- so I'm sitting there, and this movie comes on, "On the Waterfront," and I'm just -- you know, I'm just locked because of the degree. Kazan directing it.

It's over and I just sat there. Did not move. Sat through the whole "Member of the Wedding" movie again. Just to see "Waterfront" again. So that's how it impacted me. And it truly -- it -- it's -- it was a -- you know, today when you tell young people today about it, the response isn't quite the same.

You have to understand, this wasn't that period, it was a revelation. It was a breakthrough. His acting on screen was different than anything we had all seen. So it was a -- so playing with him in the movie. I'll get to that answer.

KING: What was that like?

PACINO: It was a little --

KING: Nervous?

PACINO: A little -- a little unnerving, and you don't know. And Marlon would play that a little bit. You know he was -- he was always -- he was --

KING: Very sharp.

PACINO: Yes. But he was so good to me. He was so sensitive to the condition that I -- because I was in a precarious condition to say the least. Because they were going to let me go, I think.

KING: They were going to let you go?

PACINO: Yes. Yes. They had made a mistake.

KING: They thought you were wrong for Michael?

PACINO: Well, they did. Yes. Because I started out slow. And that was my plan. My plan was to do Michael Corleone slow. And discover it. He discovers who he is in this thing, in a way. He really doesn't know who he is by the end of the picture, he could be anything.

And I wanted to see if I could get to that, so that when the moment of whatever comes, we know that this guy, where did he come from? That's what I was trying to get. Because he's kind of a schlep during the thing a little bit. He's a kind of he's here, he's there. We get a sense that he's an independent kind of guy. But he's the kid. You know? He's the kid. And eventually he becomes the don.


PACINO: Then I'll kill them both.


PACINO: And I thought, you know, if you start like this, you got nowhere to go, really. And that impact of that moment of change won't be strong.

KING: Was it difficult for --

PACINO: But you know what kept me was that restaurant scene, you see? When they saw that scene, they kept me in the movie because I would have been gone.

KING: Wow.

PACINO: Even Francis said to me, you know I had a lot of belief in you when I hired you, I wanted you, I just felt you could do this thing. And now there you are. You're not cutting it for me, kid. So I want you to see some of the rushes. I said, all right. By that time I didn't want to be in the movie any more. I just -- you know, you get the feeling you're not wanted so you don't want to be there.

KING: So you're thinking like, you might not be in a movie when you did that gun shot scene?

PACINO: Yes. But I saw the rushes. I went it and saw what he was talking about. And I looked at the movie and I thought, wow, I don't know. I seemed to be doing what I wanted to do. But I'll just pretend like -- I said, oh, yes, you know you're right? I can see it. But I know I was into something right. But I didn't say anything. But they kept me after the -- after the shooting.



KING: "Scent of a Woman" playing -- you are wearing glasses now, sun glasses. You wore glasses as a blind man, right? No, you didn't. You had them off a lot too.

PACINO: I had them a lot too. I didn't wear sunglasses that much.

KING: When you're playing a blind person and you had to do that scene of the dance --


KING: -- what do you see?

PACINO: It's the oddest thing, you don't see anything.

KING: What do you mean?

PACINO: You don't focus your eyes. And what happens is, you just go into a state. As a matter of fact, I had an eye injury during the shooting of the film, because I fell into a bush. And the worst kind of eye injury is when plant life gets into your cornea. It stuck into my cornea. But as I was falling, my eyes weren't focusing and the thing went into my eye. So it's also dangerous to do that.

PACINO: So you're saying you were blind during that movie?

PACINO: Yeah. You know what's so interesting is because I asked my little daughter at that time -- she was at that time about three -- I said to her, Julie, could you show me -- if you were doing something, how do you do a blind person?

She was spot on. She was just perfect. I said, bam, no work, no preparation, no nothing. She just did it. So it's -- I didn't -- I did a variation on that theme. But --

KING: Was it difficult?

PACINO: No, it wasn't. Having an affliction of something, it's sort of like having an accent. It gives an actor something to feed into. It feeds you. It serves you as an actor.

KING: How did you come up with Hoo-ah?

PACINO: Well, I had this guy who was teaching me how to assemble and disassemble a .45 blind. And I would spend countless --

KING: You did that yourself?

PACINO: Yes. And I spend hours just learning how to take it out on. He was there and he was a real lieutenant or one of the guys, I don't know what his rank was. One time I did it right and he went Hoo-ah. Hoo-ah.


PACINO: Hoo-ah.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PACINO: I said, what's that? He would do it every time I did something right. It's an expression that's used in the Army. So I thought -- and it worked its way into the part.

KING: That was a hell of a movie. "Sea of Love."

PACINO: "Sea of Love."

KING: That sex scene.

PACINO: Yes. I thought you would never ask, Larry.

KING: You and Ellen Barkin, one of the sexiest scenes ever filmed. I don't want to bring up names.

Marcello Mastroianni --

PACINO: That's because I had all my clothes on.

KING: Marcello Mastroianni told me that sex scenes are the hardest thing to do, because it's hard to be sexy when there's 43 cameramen around.

PACINO: Yes. Well, you know, I think that had to do with Harold Becker's direction, because he had orchestrated that in such a way all you had to do was show up. He had just moved it in different ways. Yeah, it's not the hardest thing in the world to kiss Ellen Barkin. That you do.

But at the same time, if it's orchestrated, if it has a purpose, if it's made to do something, and it's orchestrated, literally planned and worked out, moment by moment, step by step. And that's what Harold Becker did. He knew what he wanted. He knew how to get out of it this quality, this sexual --

KING: Did you get excited?

PACINO: Well, you know --

KING: Well, do you or don't you?

PACINO: I'm excited now. I'm always excited.

KING: You're kind of passionate.


KING: "Godfather," "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Scarface."


PACINO: I'm done with this cockroach.


PACINO: It's like you don't talk much when you're doing something like that afterward. You're not in -- you know, you've -- it's almost tantamount to being a fighter.


PACINO: I'm going to get him.


PACINO: Like a boxer who is in the ring.


PACINO: Inch by inch, play by play, until we're finished.


PACINO: He doesn't fight much after. You know, he doesn't go out and get into a brawl on the bar.


PACINO: See, this is how we keep score.


KING: Are you easily directed?

PACINO: Well, yeah, kind of in a way. If the director knows what they want, yeah. Sure. I kind of like -- as Sidney Lumet once said, a director directs. He says, go here, you go there, you go there.

KING: You follow it well? But have you --

PACINO: Well, I don't know if I follow it well -- well, look, with a guy like Lumet, he tells you this is where you go when you come in the bank. You go here. You go there. You go around there. You do that. You do this.

And you know what, you're in a bank robbery. You don't have to act. You're just doing what he tells you and you're there. There's the bank robbery. That's genius. So when you work with a genius, that's what you -- that's good. That doesn't happen often, but sometimes you get lucky.

KING: One of the great movies ever made -- you made so many of the great movies ever made. "The Dog Day Afternoon."

PACINO: "Dog Day," yeah.

KING: And that actor you worked with --

PACINO: John Cassell.

KING: He was a great actor.

PACINO: He was a great artist. KING: When he was Fredo, was that different? He had to play such a weak character, yet the oldest brother. That was quite a job he did, because -- yet you were sympathetic to him.

PACINO: Yeah, I tell you. Nobody liked John. How about the guy in "Dog Days".

KING: Yeah. That guy -- you were two gay guys robbing a bank?

PACINO: Well, that's what he -- he wasn't. Remember when that moment comes?

KING: He wasn't? You were gay.

PACINO: I was gay. Well, I was AC/DC. So it was this moment where they say two gay robbers in the bank and John's character says, I'm not gay.


JOHN CASSELL, ACTOR: I'm not a homosexual.


PACINO: John Cassell says to Sidney Lumet, why do I say I'm gay? Why do I say I'm not gay? And Sidney looked at him and said well -- they started talking. Knowing John, I know this is going to go on for a while, right. Because I know John. I worked with him. And Sidney starts to satisfy his question, but it won't get satisfied.

And he goes on and on. But I knew enough to go off to the side and sort of practice whatever I wanted to --

KING: He didn't want to say I'm not gay.

PACINO: He didn't understand why he said it. Then Sidney finally -- you hear Sidney say, you're saying it because it's in the script and I'm telling you to say it. He said, oh, you should have told me that in the first place.

KING: That was a hell of a movie.

PACINO: But the thing about movies that's so interesting is that you can -- and I've heard Dustin Hoffman talk like this -- is you can suddenly do something in a movie that's absolutely spontaneous and right there. Like in "Dog Days" when I was going to say Attica, Attica.


PACINO: Attica! Attica! Attica!


PACINO: I have to go out there and talk to a mob and this guy, Bert Harris, a great AD, assistant director to Sidney Lumet, comes up to me and says, why don't you say Attica? Just say Attica? Because it just had happened where they went into the prison and killed all those prisoners. And it was really in the air, hot and heavy in the air.

And I just got it. And I thought, OK. And I went out there and said, you know, Attica! And the crowd just went Attica! I said Attica! And there was like this -- you know, it was a cyclical thing. It came back and forth, and before we knew it, we were in the zone together.

KING: Working with Deniro.

PACINO: Oh, my, Bobby -- Well, Bob is --

KING: The two of you are like -- he doesn't do theater?

PACINO: No, he doesn't. You know, Bob is a kind of artist who has always been connected to movies. That's his art form. That's where he expresses himself. And it's a different kind of thing. He's -- there are actors who find their art through film. A lot of them today, most of them today.


PACINO: Now that we've been face to face, if I'm there and I've got to put you away, I won't like it, but I'll tell you, if it's between you and some poor bastard who's wife you're going to turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.




KING: What are you going to do after Venice?

PACINO: What's he talking about?

KING: After "The Merchant of Venice."

PACINO: Oh, "Merchant of Venice?" Venice, I thought where am I going, Venice? I'd love to go there.

KING: Did I lose your train of thought there.

PACINO: After Merchant, I'm going to probably do a movie, I think, with Adam Sandler.

KING: Adam Sandler?

PACINO: Yeah, I think so.

KING: I heard about this.

PACINO: You don't want to go into it.

KING: You play yourself? PACINO: You don't want to go into that though. It's not a done deal yet.

KING: But it's a very funny concept.

PACINO: It's very funny. And Adam is great and he's very funny. And not only is he a great actor but he's a great comic writer. I want to go on stage again, too.

KING: Why do you keep working?

PACINO: Because I'm here. Because I still, you know, have my health. And you know, I had a few setbacks, as you know, that people have heard about in my life, financially and --

KING: Guy took all of your money?

PACINO: Not exactly.

KING: He took a lot. He's in jail.

PACINO: He's in jail, yes.

KING: You have to work?

PACINO: In a way, I do, yeah. And maybe that's good. You know?

KING: Al, an honor to have you here.

PACINO: It's an honor to be here. Congratulations for everything. Congratulations.

KING: Al Pacino.



KING: Susan Boyle became an international singing sensation as a competitor on 2009's "Britain's Got Talent." Her new album "The Gift" entered both the U.K. and U.S. charts at number one, the first musician in more than 40 years to have two albums number one in both the United States and the U.K. The last act to achieve that milestone, the Beatles.

What do you make of al of this, Susan?

SUSAN BOYLE, SINGER: I think it's really amazing. It feels a bit unreal at the moment. It takes a bit to sink in.

KING: You deserve it all. Let's go back in time. April of 2009, Susan's extraordinary audition for "Britain's Got Talent." Video of this has been viewed -- get this -- more than 300 million times on the Internet. Take another look.


BOYLE: I am 47. And that's just one side of me.

COWELL: OK. What's the dream?

BOYLE: I am trying to be a professional singer.

COWELL: OK. And who would you like to be as successful as?

BOYLE: Elaine Page.

COWELL: Elaine Page.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What your going to sing tonight?

BOYLE: I'm going to sing "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables.


COWELL: The biggest yes I have ever given anybody. Susan Boyle, you can go back to the village with your head held high. It's three yeses.


KING: How did you feel that moment?

BOYLE: Well, I felt that I had done my best. I felt I had given my all. And I wasn't sure of the reaction. I was quite shocked, in a pleasant way.

KING: Susan was a guest on this show shortly after that audition. Here's a brief excerpt from that interview.


KING: Are you going to record now?

BOYLE: Well, that all depends on the results. We'll take baby steps at a time.

KING: Will you change the way you look, like you changed your hair, your dress, your style?

BOYLE: Why should I? Why should I change? It would take away my identity.

KING: Has this affected you at all in any way?

BOYLE: It hasn't taken away my identity, but it's made me more of a lady. Made me more of a lady I would say.

KING: So Susan Boyle is still Susan Boyle.

BOYLE: I'm still Susan Boyle underneath it all, believe me. KING: What about the pressure, though, of being an overnight hit? Don't you feel a lot of pressure?

BOYLE: Well, I suppose anybody, speaking generally here, would feel under pressure in the same way. But after a while, it gets to be enjoyable. And to answer the question, there is really no pressure on me now because I'm very humbled.

KING: Now the whole world was shocked when you did not win "Britain's Got Talent." I bet a lot of people think you did. You finished second to a dance group called Diversity. Were you surprised?

BOYLE: I was surprised, but they were a very good group, good bunch of lads. And they put a lot of work in and they really deserved to win.

KING: So you didn't feel that you got left out in some way?

BOYLE: I didn't get left out. Look where I am now. Have I been left out? I have not been left out.

KING: All right. You sang for his holiness Pope Benedict. You sang "I Dreamed a Dream" during a Papal mass. How did that make you feel?

BOYLE: I never thought that I would get to meet his holiness because it's not something that happens to everyone. And I never thought I'd be singing at the Papal mass because again it's not something everybody gets a chance to do. I felt very honored and proud.

KING: And you also recently appeared for Prince Charles at the Pride of Britain Awards. What do you think about the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton?

BOYLE: I think it's wonderful. Good for the country. It's a feel- good thing, because everybody's talking about depression, about poverty and everything else. It's good for the country. I think it's good for the country.

KING: I would not be shocked if you were asked to sing at the wedding. I would not be shocked. In fact, I'd bet a bob or two on it.

BOYLE: I think that's something you have to wait.

KING: I just have a feeling. You were a woman of modest means and now you've had this amazing success, extraordinary sales, the album going through the roof. Have you done anything extravagant? Have you bought a new home? New car? Something wild?

BOYLE: I bought a new home and a new car, but it's nothing -- nothing too flashy. I call it the posh. Just down the road from the old one I had in Drighton (ph). Just down the road from it.

BOYLE: I want to ask you a little bit about the album, but there's been a lot of concern in the United States recently about bullying. You said that as a child you were bullied and beaten. Did that leave a mark on you?

BOYLE: Well, beaten -- if you're beaten, it's physical scars. But the psychological scars take a bit longer to heal. So I would actually encourage those who have been bullied at school to come forward and, you know, confide in somebody. It's so important. I didn't have a confidant at the time. It's important to have a confidant.

KING: tell me about the album "The Gift."

BOYLE: It is a gift, a Christmas gift. And I hope they enjoy what they hear.

KING: It contains, "Perfect Day," "Hallelujah," "Do You Hear What I Hear." It's sung with Amber Sassi. "Don't Dream It's Over," "The First Noelle," "Oh, Holy Night, "Away in a Manger," "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace," "Auld Lang Syne," and "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful."

Do you enjoy singing holiday songs?

BOYLE: Holiday songs are feel good songs. I love to make people happy. And this is a perfect time, a perfect day, if you like, to launch another album.

KING: What are you doing this Christmas?

BOYLE: Probably spending it at home with my family. That's all that's important. Very important.

KING: Susan, you are a treasure. You are an international treasure. And it's always good talking with you.

BOYLE: Thank you.

KING: Susan Boyle. She's at it again, number one in the U.K. and the United States. And she will also perform "Oh, Holy Night" from that brilliant new album "The Gift."


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. As promised, Susan Boyle is singing for us. Her new album is "The Gift," entered both the U.K. and the United States charts at number one. Here's "Oh Holy Night."


KING: Susan Boyle with "Oh, Holy Night" from her new album, "The Gift."

Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360."