What do you think about this film being made about you?
Well, I consider it an honor, of course. The attention and all is nice, but it's not as important to me as it would have been if I were younger. Before, just meeting a movie star was something. To have one playing me, I'd just say "Wow." When you're older you've seen it all, and you take more in stride.
And how do you feel about Al Pacino playing you?
You know, the guy who is playing you?
Oh yeah, him. [laughs] I saw my associate Neal Nicol's shuffling through these black-and-white photos and I was sure that one was me. I was shocked when he told me it was Al Pacino. He did such a good job. He looked more like me than I do.
In the film, it seems that many more people requested your help than actually ended up receiving it. Is that an accurate representation?
Oh yeah. I would say I only treated one out of every five or ten. I didn't keep count. But the ones I talked to were helped too. They felt better. And they were relieved of their anxiety and fear, because they knew there was a guy they could go and talk to, and he'd even do it for them. That made people feel at ease, and they went on living and died naturally. That's the value of this thing. See?
What kind of service are you providing?
It's a medical service -- not political, not legal -- medical. You don't have law or politics telling you how to do a heart transplant, do you? The American Medical Association is the problem. It opposes euthanasia, comparing it to a criminal act. They called me a criminal, publicly. And they thought I should be harshly punished. They're the problem. I was fighting big money -- fighting a pharmaceutical industry that made billions on people who are dying. I was fighting a legal structure, governments, legislatures, all with billions and billions of dollars to protect. No wonder they want it kept illegal. See? They don't care about human suffering.