James Cromwell, who has appeared in numerous big-budget Hollywood films, is becoming known for his outspoken activism as much as for his prolific acting career. Cromwell has made headlines in recent years for his acts of civil disobedience against SeaWorld, the Dakota Access pipeline and fracking construction sites. For him, the threat of arrest is nothing compared with these pressing environmental issues.
"For those people who don't get involved because they think there is a consequence: There is also a consequence for doing nothing," he tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer during this week's episode of "Scheer Intelligence." In the interview, the two discuss Cromwell's legacy of activism and politics in Hollywood.
Cromwell explains how his activism has opened his eyes to inequities in the American justice system. "It's very difficult as a white, middle-class, privileged individual to empathize with what black people go through every day," he tells Scheer. "They experience this incredible oppression."
He talks about his experience in jail:
"When I was in an institution where I recognized what the purpose of the institution is -- which is to demoralize and dehumanize and subjugate and confuse -- the people there [were there] in order to disempower them. And they were not able to do that with me because instead of being a number, or a crime, or an individual of color that they can somehow dismiss as having no power to affect them in their job and the institution in the way it is run -- suddenly when they get a celebrity, they have to take that into account."
Scheer and Cromwell also discuss the overlap of politics in Hollywood, and Cromwell recounts his father's experience as a blacklisted Hollywood director.
Listen to the full interview in the player above, and check out past editions of "Scheer Intelligence" here.