If you want to experience a night out in Madrid, you go to dinner about 10:30 or 11. Then you see the sun come up and you eat churros with chocolate. That's like the big tradition in Madrid. I've only done it once. But it's part of the ritual to end like that, eating churros in the morning. Then you go to sleep.
Speaking of sleep, are there any particular hotels you'd recommend?
I very much like the Santo Mauro. It's smaller. It has great gardens, great food, great meeting rooms downstairs, and a little bar. It's a very private hotel. Beautiful. It's also near the Barrio Salamanca, where I have the store. The Hotel Villa Magna is a big hotel with a Chinese restaurant downstairs. A lot of people go there just to eat at the restaurant.
Can you recommend any great bars?
Chicote. Manolete, the bullfighter, used to go there, and I believe Hemingway did also. It's very old, and you can feel all of that history. They have a lot of pictures.
Is there a drink that's unique to the city?
Not to Madrid, but to Spain in general. Sangria. It's wine with cassera, which has bubbles. But it's got so much sugar it doesn't taste like alcohol.
Flamenco dancing is another Spanish treasure. Tell us about it.
My sister, Monica, is one of the best flamenco dancers in the world. I love seeing her dance. She was dancing with Joachim Cortez for a long time. Now she has a TV show called Un Paso Adelante, which is really good. There are bars in the center of Madrid where you can see dancers. But the best thing is to throw yourself in the street in the south of Spain and look for a group of gypsies who are singing and join them. That's really the thing. You just go and sing with them. I once did a party in Madrid, a party for Tom when we were there for Vanilla Sky, and I did a flamenco party. So I called some friends and said, "Okay, bring some of your friends who play drums," and they improvised it. It was magic what we saw. They can play music with a fork, anything. They have it in their blood.
If flamenco is the national dance of Spain, paella is the national dish. Where do they serve your favorite paella in Madrid?
There's one place, Casa Benigna, where my friend Fernando Trueba took me. It's also where I met director Stephen Frears for the movie I did with him, The Hi-Lo Country. That's where he told me he was going to cast me. It was my first American movie. So I have good memories of that place. It was a good lunch.
Speaking of The Hi-Lo Country, I understand you donated all of your salary from that movie to charity, much of it to Mother Teresa.
I met Mother Teresa a year before she died. A group of journalists from Spain called me to go to India and interview her. I was there for a week and talked to her every day. I started to cry when I saw her. I was hugging her, and I couldn't control myself. Because I felt that she had such warmth and strength and I admired her so much. She was so tiny and so strong at the same time. She would put her forehead on my forehead, and she was saying, "Even if everyone gives one penny, even if it's only that, everything counts!" It changed my life, that trip. I saw horrible things there. I talked to Mother Teresa about it: "I've seen this and now I leave and go back to my normal life. And I have a good bank account and a job and I travel and I have privilege. What do I do with what I've seen here?" She said, "Don't change what you have. Use what you've seen to contribute to a change." Right now, I'm looking for things to do. I want to put together an event in Madrid for the tsunami. Not that it's going to change anything, but I can create something to contribute a little bit. Contribution counts.