Al Pacino understands his character’s struggle (and can joke about it).

Like the actor he plays in The Humbling, real-life Pacino has memorized endless pages of lines during his stage and screen career — but he’ll admit, there are periods of his life that are a little hazy. In fact, he says he cannot remember an entire decade (though not that many people who lived through the ’70s would blame him).

“[My character] goes on this journey trying to re-live or find a new life because his whole life is made up of acting other characters. He has very little memory of his life, actually,” Pacino said.

“Somebody even asked me about a couple of movies I had done in the ’70s and asked me to talk about the ’70s, and I remember saying, ‘I don’t remember the ’70s!'”

Pacino has paired up with Barry Levinson for The Humbling, which hits theaters this Friday. The dark comedy, directed by Levinson, stars Pacino as an actor whose career (and psychological well-being) is unraveling at an alarming rate.

Pacino told Entertainment Weekly that his fans can sometimes pick up the pieces where his mind gets fuzzy. He says it’s not uncommon for fans to quote his famous lines back to him in restaurants or even on the streets of New York City.

“This guy comes up to me and says, ‘Excuse me? Are you Al Pacino?’ I say, ‘Yeah.’ He says, ‘Congratulations. You look like you oughta.’ That’s the best line I ever got,” Pacino said.

“Sometimes they come up with lines that are obscure! Someone says, ‘Can I go now?’ I thought, ‘Can I go now? Where’s that from?!’ And it’s from a movie I made!”

Listen to full interview on EW Radio on Friday, Jan. 23 at 1 pm ET.

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