Melissa Rose Bernardo
December 20, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

In De-Lovely , Kevin Kline woos Ashley Judd, croons Cole Porter classics, and accompanies himself on the piano — all without wrinkling his Armani.

It’s been far too long since On the Twentieth Century and The Pirates of Penzance; it’s great to see you in a musical again.

Is this a musical? It’s sort of a hybrid — a love story with music…. It was always a fluke that I found myself in two Broadway musicals. I love music, but I thought I’d be on the other side of the footlights. I wanted to be a conductor.

You were also a pianist, a good prerequisite for playing Porter.

I thought, Now I’m going to have no excuse for not practicing! I had to have those songs under my fingers. I had to own them.

Are you still playing?

You really have to carve out time and make it part of one’s discipline. And, by God, I’m going to do it any day now.

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