« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 725 - James L. Brooks

2016-07-18 | 🔗
James L. Brooks is responsible for something you love. Probably many things. Marc talks with the prolific writer-director-producer about all of it - The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Taxi, Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets, The Simpsons, and more. They also talk about how Jim dealt with writer's block, what he considers his worst professional experience, and why he and Jack Nicholson had to send the crew home one day to make things right.

Sign up here for WTF+ to get the full show archives and weekly bonus material! https://plus.acast.com/s/wtf-with-marc-maron-podcast.

Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The guy or I'd words do this. I worry about the butter is what the bug buddies, what the fuck congrats, what the pub gillikins god you guys, I got back from salt lake city this morning. and had a great time had great I wise guys the good club the guy, runs and owns a place. A good guy is all silent crowds regret I've been to Utah many times I like Utah, I don't know why there's no place like Utah there's no place like salt. and every time I'm I'm captivated and mystified, because it's it's very play. And the very weird like when people ask. What's it like what
ex ante. Like I don't know, I don't know what to tell you no place to compare to very pleasant in very ah debt, and we all know why it was a city built. by a relatively new religion, religiously speaking, it's a new one. Franchise exciting new offshoot. Joseph went up into the mountains came back. my ideas, some visions to air To make Jesus american tempter americanized Jesus and it took Yet, who knows so? They set up shop, you talk they built they built there there widow cosy theocracy there and I like it. I like it a bit fascinated I'm. Bid fascinated and who am I.
necessarily to judge the faithful, and those with hope. when I don't have anything in place, but hopefully coffee works. In the morning. Hopefully something I'll keep me afloat, good sense of the being grounded in my body. In my jobs creativity, that's what I'm come on, no big system that cause me. Ten percent of my jack we basis sums Ask me money, but it ain't that, but anyway, dimension. James Brooks is The show today the honor James elles brooks amazing creator rear in show business. He was He created the maritime more show taxi simpsons directed in wrote. endearment broadcast news as good as it gets.
Is an and in innovator, intelligent, a mould breaker. One of the great also did a great care, me, oh in now modern romance without brooks. I know I cannot say enough about James L, brooks I had a wonderful conversation with him. I do tell the tale tale of the baby. The bay detailed from marin from that, and thank you so much for all the amazing positive feedback on the last season of merit in the finale of the season in finale of of the yeah the show itself. Just really people are really getting it, and we, I put a lot of effort into your balancing that last episode. I did write that one I didn't direct it, but I was certainly up the director's ass a bit explicit go about that last shot boy.
The deal in the finale. I have to tell you that there were three babies and the only need to- and it was not a comfortable sid wasting. It was not what happened. Here's! What happened We need a baby and I needed the baby to at least pass as something that could come out of a union between me and the woman in the show anna com, who did a great job, but so atta will guide. Our baby had do So you end up daring casting you. Like e g, I go through stuff, then, the casting agents and the stuff, when you deal within a month old. You don t need to be that specific. You just need to get babies, you need babies and well,
I had other things going on, so I left it to my show runners I left you know they showed me a few pictures you have of babies that were on the computer on the site, babies that had dark hair, look like day, they might be me be my kid and you know that I let them cast a baby. I okayed a bunch of possibilities that was ass. The day shooting the finale and look man shooting schedule is tough, you I mean it's quick yo I'm a rehearsal, you gotta just shoot. You choose to make dang get everything in without going over time too much we rarely went over type, but I'm in it seen. I'm on preparing and I am offset set and a minor in my trail or get make up and gone over the lines, and they take me to set in the first seen that we shot. If you watch finale was me my trailer with binoculars, looking add shea way by Anna Congo
and your mom and the baby chaise weaving giving the baby to her mother and there's that scene where, get in the tree in the van with their friends. That's the first time, the baby, literally through binoculars, that we cast and I felt like something was up. I ensure. You know I'm like that, be my baby. I don't know it's still pretty far away and and and I dont meet the baby, I don't meet the mother. I just go start rehearsing for my next yet because I'm not young, not in a scene with them then the next scene, that we shoot. Is the scene where I'm having the conversation with J at the table and her mother walks him with the baby, and I have that exchange with the baby and it's a pretty powerful scene. an important scene now rob collins directing show runner cv. It My arm is out there out at the video village everyone's around watching this writers.
Then they bring the baby and an end. You know what I'm doing the scene and the grandmother walks in holding the baby in this the first time I'm seeing the baby of close. And and it's a it's it's a little awkward, because the the baby, It is definitely not white and I was like I don't want to be an appropriate. I don't want to feel you know like I'm. You know racist, I guess in this way, but I went up to rob calling the director I said is that baby reading correctly it's like yeah yeah. I mean the the baby's dark, but I mean you're, jewish, and that happens. A lot of jewish babies, you know are are dark when they're born and I'm like, but you know I ok, all right and then I go out to sea. And I say this that baby I mean you look. I.
and she reads like a year to worry bout I'll, be fine, be fine, ok and in a matter per madonna and I'm not you know. I don't put my foot down much by the assumption was quite right. what made you know and then we do this. I mean again, and you know I'm holding the baby and I'm like you know this baby's. It is. The baby's has black features and you know is not. It is just it doesn't. He was a very difficult thing for me. I guess cause I knew, gonna wanna idea. I want people to work. I certainly want babies to work, in the I don't wanna be weird, but this baby looked ethnic, looks black leather, look lights, skin black, In writing it- I just was because I thought I suppose that's ok, but then you would give you wouldn't imply a completely different thing. That would be another layer of of history or meaning to it? Or so?
think already- and that was not what I wanted added the finale of my show. This is my script. It's my decisions, my show ultimately and I went after robert and I think- and I said I don't know man that baby it. It doesn't look like do you. I mean you, don't want to be a dick here, but I I mean this babies gotta, look a little like my baby and the funny, was is that they knew, but they just kept. trying to rationalize because they do. We don't want to lose the day of shooting. We don't want. There is a lot at risk, so they were willing on some level. If I would go along with it kind of like a bee, our right and it creates a barrier. weird situation, but you know come I three m oldness baby and unlike dude, you know you gotta do something. Is the finance the show this is not supposed to be an art film. This is supposed to be pretty soon, If I get one of the parts of the the net
It is not for people to go at wait. A minute were where's that baby from So I went out, I said seaver we we can't, we can't do it, I can't do it and I felt bad, but it was casting decision and we had to we gotta get another baby. I mean that baby got paid for the work that was contract to do in the mother. I don't know what she was told, but apparently after the They told me that dumb they, these two babies, yeah Twins were fifty percent latino, twenty five percent black and twenty five percent white and things said that that they could play white on their resume and. And in that was that was it, so we we had to em, I guess, fire a baby for it. First, migration reasons from just amiss. Eight. Maybe it was misrepresentation, but I will say this that if you
Look at the baby in the finale when I'm in the I'm in the army? They were not yours and the chaise handing that baby to turn the mother. That is, that baby, so that baby made it in and And find other babies, but it was hard to find babies. That yale would maybe look like my kid, because you need two babies. If you're lucky, you can get twins, we couldn't get twins. So in this weird frantic cluster fuck of a casting call we had young find some babies nor twins available, so we had to find to do babies were kind of alike because they can only a few hours a day, so we somehow managed to find a cure. A baby's ever a few months apart, that look enough alike day in day out there's three babies in that show by day was kind of an embarrassing and difficult day. Five,
during a baby is not easy specially for somewhat racial reasons. Moving on now, Mr James Elles brooks work. This guy is one of the great and it's very interesting is a lot of talk about luck. and yeah a lot of people, though necessary factor interim some. You know that. But this is a great you know very prolific creator and and writer, any Actions luck aloud and in luck is definitely a factor most the time in getting yes and holding onto it. I got you know this. Timing for the first time in my life when I started this bike has just happened to be cosmical e in line my timing was lucky. I didn't have any reform What about it? It came when it did, but everything saint up and I got lucky I.
guy can deliver the goods, but sometimes that that initial push is just a comedy. the forces that you had no control over, please enjoy me, and and and james Brooks hmm nice to see you mister brexit, to see it feels like it's been a long time coming for some reason. What swayed you? What swayed you this way? I you know they always do indigenous people. There were certain time when they felt cameras captured their soul, and you know I I think they were absolutely right. Yeah and I'm not you know, I'm not, but I I just love your show so much that I thought you know it was almost like a responsibility to show yet to come. Do it You have added, he began to be too self conscious. Not do I think that the first
am I reached out Theo s, guest judd tried to put us together right a few years ago, number that man really yeah what what was that for well know he was a. He said that you should do the show. Apatow said you should talk to James l brooks and mike are right. And I emailed you and then you're like oh okay, maybe we'll do it or something sounds like he has a few years ago. You are writing something, as still am still on it still on I'd, always writing Jesus yet, but we'll writing that nobody will ever do you know what it is now yeah yeah is it and never ending thing? No, I hopefully yeah, though there are days when it seems like that. What is it it's screenplay, I think as a technical term, yeah, and it's been ribbon riding in for couple years of years, does a generally take that long, yeah really yeah. This is this is stretching this. If I kept records like kept records like which would have which I don't
This might be a record setter, really yeah. How long is it is in this, but it's in this groove, it's it's it's! It's been that kind of rhythm for me, a high and wait what what what is that entail? Every day with that I mean you have a story, obviously in your head, so I must now see that's great that you think that and they'd assume that and and I'm flattered by your having that believe I would I I I sort of I sort of found it. I sort of started with some characters on this and and it became a story I never would have imagined at the beginning, and I saw it so I wrote it with a great deal of freedom which I'm paying for oh yeah yeah or did what do you mean what kind of freedom and justice. The scene doesn't have to go this way to match in outline ok, you can surprises. happened dry and they did and
you know, I'm gonna sell more positive than he had a good, but it sticks, but it it it was. with it was exciting and asean way doing it. That way, roughly knowing what I wanted to redress, but but on care, but not having a story yeah based on characters and seeing where they went and and and a lot of money. two things happen now, I'm going through and giving everything a purpose. So it's a little into thing and trying to make it here too, a spine right like to try to trying to for the question, the reason I have called you here today: yeah right, yeah, yeah, the reason I've summoned you carry years to move through and hopefully the audience yeah. That's a that's interesting that you start with characters I mean. Will you I mean there's been some pretty strong characters that you've created, so that makes sense that you would start with characters I suppose you were hurrying back. You know I just saw yesterday because these are my ease on my tv show. Occasionally jet Hirsch
well yeah- and I said I was talking to the music oh yeah, Jim Brooks is good You know we all the funniest stuff in taxis here. He said that serve it, but he had one example, which is weird and I'm trying to remember what it was. It was a tag where it were were christopher, lloyd, there's some tat was a kid you could you say it's: could you slow it down or something, and he said it so our do you not. All I want is a classic. That's it! That's a classic jochen that attack right last joke we we build but rivals that jack penny. You know your money or your life that legendary lap on radio right right up because Jim boroughs directed the episode it was it was it was you know what burnt out you known drug? I shall to which the reverend gee I was on tax, ear and and and chris lloyd grade and funny any any could be a taxi driver right right, and so we had it.
the driving test- and it was what do you do it a flashing yellow alive, the answer slow down, and what do you do on a passing? Well, it kept on going Moi, do you and jimmy bert and they laughed kept on getting bigger right and jimmy boroughs just arbitrarily at one point said: that's you know, adjusted god we and I would have any great to see when we started to go down the mountain than a laugh became less, but you do not believe that the fats, the biggest joke never been around really matter Who wrote it s? How you don't have any area with me? I'd really dont know my doubt, because I heard that about someone else said that I heard another rumour that that even with this and to this day of their stuck there, I'll call you in your deliver a tag. What were the stuff? We at least we we sort of all live on this little conclave. Doing the same, since I saw em around and its great yeah you're, their everyday army are living on my three days a week. You see
love to work. I love that. work, I love that job. I love. I love that every week you norman Room with writers I respect and your pitching jokes in europe. It keeps you exciting ride, it keep it. It keeps you level, keep should go and in the freedom that you were able to to sort of you know get from from animation. I mean, I think, we're sort of gone backwards, but but let's, let's not do that, cigarette startle. That's let's go backwards. Let's go about come on man away. When I was looking when I was doing my minor bitter research on you like I I I realized tat. My mother was I remember room to twenty two, because my mother wash irregularly. It's in my mind. Karen valentine is in my mind and the guide the guy point. The principle was is in constant, Michael Constance, might Michael constantine and then Mary tower more rhoda. These were my mother shows. I used to sit at the base better watch. He shows where her in there all your shows-
and- and I guess maybe my obviously wasn't just my mother was wasn't. A small audiences were huge shows, but Did you like start because you seemed your reverence for writing and for the writer is, is deepening and you know you put the writer at the top of of the sort of artistic pay scale and away Where did that? When did you start writing officially into in your mind? What was the drive. I you know, I don't think I have an honest answer for that. I I always read plays, and you know when I was a kid I read plays, I read plays more than books for some reason really books yeah, but I never imagined that anybody could actually become a writer and even though you know, and then I took some courses, some good ones
yeah, some some you just such just some courses in writing, and but it's I still so I always it always was the thing to me, but I don't think I'm alone in that. You know because I went when I talked to other writers, and and maybe you have it in your way and that it takes about twenty years of working as a before somebody says: what do you do for a living and just say, I'm a writer of I'm a writer, but even even out. You know if you know what I'm talking about you're. Yes, europe was eight there's a confidence element to, but there is also asking whether or not you ve been paid to do the job. I mean on some of your paid to do the job I may, even after your page to the because its every you know, people who do it, love it wanted it. Do you know it's just you know were everything. It is it's so that so You can't believe that, at your preferred for a long time right right doesn't but think you're getting away with something here Yellow that's generally true. In hollywood, could irish guy s you
because it was on my mind from before you know, when you talk about freedom and stuff like do you feel very free in your work. Do now you do you feel yeah. Do you feel like I feel like it. What what's happened for me as a united found this weird little niece that that enables me to do pretty much whatever I want and I'm relatively hard on myself about your conversation. in retrospect- and I'm still pretty hard at myself about my comedy in step with the freedom that than one thing I think about constantly is much money. Does anybody need so I and I'm not really driven by that- and I sometimes I'm worried about that- doesn't make sense, Yes like I can do whatever I want. I don't know if I'm utilizing the best, I can so there's that, so what freedom. I have it's not allowing me peace of mind, but maybe it will. I think you have to get up re honest, we don't give a shit on someone and also comes down to me. Sort of like waterway D ever asked
What do I really want to do or you doing exactly what you want to do? I'm I. I never asked my I never. I never question what I never question, what I do and my right now for your fun in virtually all that that I'm that I find like I I'm sort of I never you know my thing. People people's joke about me for sole lawyer was that I'd always turn good fortune and miss. Fourchan and talk about it. That way, a half and people- and you know I have decades of people doing those kind of jokes off me that I'm with you know that I'm always worried about something and end for while now I've been quite the reverse, and and and that's that disorienting a little weird for me. Well, that's, I think, that's freedom right that
it is your freedom of mind, it's peace of mind. It's a you know. Okay, things are okay and and you're very lucky as as in you're very lucky, when you can, you know like there used to be a time and in in movies where if you, if you went in and said you know, I have a crazy idea, people would lean forward right. I don't think they're leaning forward any more. I think, if you come in and say do you know you too, DR, your movie is another movie. That's been made reacting like that! That's and I'm not it down and I'm not saying things are bad because great movies always happened somehow, yet so any bitching about it is erroneous. But but but its is becomes but he had to talk business talk in a certain way. Right now, The conversation is mothers what a panic there. There I mean there seems to be up there that, because the media landscape is so vast and the possibilities to really make money something unique and original has become
in less in things get lost very easily. I would imagine most executives you're talking to or seventy five percent king, whether or not their willing to take a risk or whether or not there were no. The answer and movies is pretty much. No, I'm not I'm not your rather I'd. Rather not they don't seem to that's. Not. They don't seem to want that out of my bit about what what what they wanted out of here them was to make it a business, and that was always impossible. Now it's been done right. You know, you know is always crazy too. and predict what a movie would do right off commander you kidding and now it's a science. Now science, but it doesn't mean we're getting quality movies that we always do still equality sunday times there is by re used to be because it was nurtured. Television today is low. That television, this you know the search originality is commercial right. You know that the pursuit of excellence as commercial wasn't always in television. Why me
and always the drive to hold sponsors me from the very beginning from wine, but uncle milky was in a holding a box of soap. Then there was a time There was a time when sameness was very much in television, and you know the the the the the situation comedy right, meaning that was a kind, a comedy then what he did where something happened, trial and Then the people involved or somebody's quirky idea or a rider producers sharing also to look at the world so that used to have a saint but now tv is, you know, exciting and did you like what was the beginning? How did you get from jersey and whatever you grew up in the? What was the path I got very lucky and got a job as a page at CBS after I messed up college where'd, you go to college briefly, n y. U, and what were you studying, You remember it's no eye on time, a guy I would know. I I I think I think it was public relations. I think it was as follows.
I could think of coming to writing. I didn't know quite what it was. That's one of those great vague major yes yeah, jar, yeah and and and and were you writing in college? No, I was. I was was the first time my life that I was having any fun. It also rights ice on a mess things up. Your withstand what year was asked him. What was the I don't know? I don't know years I find that was I'm asking you up. Was it was? It was it was, I actually was in a fraternity now, yes, yes and, and, and I had a good time there you eddie, I am, and there were women and the plo and the air was which I had MILAN myself to consider and my school and where you were used or withdrawn in high school. We like a bookie guy, we're. U we I was already- and I was a class clown.
Good, not a beloved now, where they say class clown in the year book and I'd these smiling, and they were the girl with the same smile like that at all. Never trouble indicator with the rage in his eye, you know there were there were beatings after school, it was, it was their form of applause and you had an effect yeah that one yeah yeah, I I you know I I I I would. I would act out in class, a salons trying to bits and stuff. Yeah. Well, who are your inspirations when you were a kid? Were you always a comedy fan, always a comedy fan: yeah yeah yeah. Always a comedy fan and like what? Where did you? Who did you gravitate towards early on? Let's see there was there? Was there were some people who who wrote books funny there was I I read plays I read comedy plays I your show of shows was like a miracle was like a michael yeah.
Well. That was really the first three m of situation comedy right and since these are was an original emergency talent. You never any body like him do you get. Did you ever have get build a relationship with him you get an amendment. I never knew him. I knew mill, I know male brooks. I remain moreover, melbourne australia. There was a time here in the at the fox studios every once in a while, when it's supposed to be like a dream, tat would be a you which, at every once in a while, like my fantasy, is in front of me. The you'd go to the common To de mille brooks would make a round of tables aha, making Everybody lap hilariously here do including you each day in a certain way, very general idea, and it would be a man This is what show business is yeah. I'm here, yeah and you'd hear the pockets of laughter follow them around made the rounds. It was amazing, he's an astounding force of nature. That kind of I he did. The tracey ullman show once which was which gave birth to the
Send drivers know what nobody was watching. we want a brand new fox network, Tracy, brilliant, crazy, brianna and and the show so tough. Look the one time that I will heed to. He did the shows a guess, star, nea and and I was literally on the floor laughing I was just so exquisite. the act in order to be to be honoured, amazing. Yet still has that too I mean it's really astounding yeah, I too go you get a job. Is a page tb CBS you ve got to you. I comedy you don't know what you're gonna. Do you screwed up college and you get this gig how'd you get that gig. My sister's best friend was the secretary to the person hard pages. It was just that, because Everybody else had a fancy or background in media, and then we all It was amazing because I was a kid and- and you know I was eighteen or something here
and we all their worth. There were like twelve us on staff and I was from new jersey And I and I didn't know anything and I think, like seven were gay, and it was my first time and I'd idea. Clamorous stories people having these social lives were on a lounge. All data gather bullshitting all day every, but with little like taxi. Somebody. could it be an actor? Somebody wants to be this air and an you and you are uniform and you were signed like soda toots to receptionist duties and everybody got promoted- and I was still there- and everybody went on- and I was still there and and and and Eighteen and you put on that that that cape verde aware when it's cold and you have to stand outside where it is good to have doorman duties as well. How really yeah- and now you ve, been doing it for two years and now the faces and lounger different man- and you start to two and a kind of terror starts
at the open. You again I ever getting out of here, and it was really like, like yeah. What did they do and what it? What age they call you within and ready to turn over is about ass. He knows you're back hunches under bugging. You might have been that guy. You know the guy that you know in the nineteen. Eighty, that's why we spend pay you shut up, or do you hear us? God bless them and they just keep. You want out of charity in any way. We avoided that I call the executors by their first nay jack jack anyway, faced with that yeah, I got a vacation relief job as a copy boy. At CBS news went away for two weeks. I went in and built and CBS news you needed. Ivy league you needed to get in that door. For vacation replacement, that you just fill them and that was editing copy know that no
boy is? Get me coffee get me out on that. I'll get a copy of the wire machines in a real right and he didn't come back. So I stayed animals that that was my rake, so you did it. You did a good job and, unlike the kids gone light and into such a good job, you know I didn't. It was a mean, there's no good way to get people caught. I guess I guess I don't even think I spilled less than the next guy yeah, and that was a break in in the sense that you were afforded the education of what that that position was. I, I have always been a news buff in some way. For some reason you know I'm a crazy news buff. What does that mean? exactly the motors, why current events or that you will all right now I'll iming? Might you know I'd, try and read? Two newspapers cover to cover how every day aunt always to undertake the linear pays. Opening new york times and allay times blackmail eight times knock.
The cover, and this is sam. This is an area of of expertise and unnecessary responsibility to other, you're. A large debt is that is deteriorating reporting that must be frustrating on some level did tat. that you know that common plaint around writing his egg? You know what's the integrity of any one story and we live in a culture where anybody can pick whatever truth. They want for many every source that they want and- and there's no bearing on the truth. It's the new york times falls for any reason we're all in trouble. Really we are really we are, and you know, and that's not absolutely not going to happen. I guess yeah. Well, it's it's!
and it's a scary thought so- would use this commitment to the news. Where did that lead you early on me like? I was a news writer. I got a job as a news rider how'd. You learn how to do that. Just by reading copy, I auditioned for the local radio station. That was also a cbs station in jersey and in new york and in new york city and- and I was- Union job was a right, is of america, east job, you know, and- and I did that job and then I and then somebody I worked with- came out to california and became a big shot at war production, which was independent documentary how's that there were there were a lot of people coming from all over there and they did Syndic did series and davy tv, young and- and they call me out- and I came out here- and I was era uprooted you I was in a newly married and- and I think I want to have the guts to leave a union job, but but god bless my wife at the time
and uh. You know she said, do it she she was very supportive and cheese supported us and I was laid off six months after I got here, which I was so. What was the gig out here? What you do I was, I was on a for for while and then did you documentaries, I did do documentaries, I I did do documentaries alive. I got rid of my phobia of insects, doing document Besides, I had a real phobia that you know like like I'd make I make me feel whale sounds when I saw a bug in that recovery. That was at a thing that happened and often I remember, and it and and then I only job I could get after I was laid off. They call me back to do a nash. Well geographic to write a national geographic where you looked at a small screen movie all all day, long most massive shots of funky of his saw, and it was the war against wasp and bees and and and it would be- I I look at the screen? I shudder. I'd right, I'd, shudder,
then it was like a version therapy. I got rid of that so you're writing the narrative, the narration? Yes, yes, in the world of these and was did you have to later edited, although, like? Oh, my god? Oh my god, this is horrible horrible wash. If you can read this is just held out. So what is done in in looking at where your career went from there? You know what what were you acting, intellectually or or or skill wise. During that time it bill. Freakin came through their as a young directness, talked him really. you gotta. Listen to that I go easy. It was amazing. So ok, this
interesting because you are a contemporary those guys and he came out of chicago with that documentary about a fugitive chicago. I mean glittering eyes a store at what, because of that document area at the inmates. Yes, that's what the river to him out here, so you you met up with heavy, was way ahead. He was way ahead of me on the pecking order. I mean I mean I was. I was like in the documentary those who produce well, he was a star he came. He came here is a star director in the documentary were. right there on the ambitions to direct right. You know and- and he was the first one to bust out and do because everybody I think, wanted to do that. We all did here and he busted out and he and he did the sunny and share movie moran and and And- and I you know I remember. I wish I could really talk about that and if I did I- and I can't I can't get- I can't get it out of my mind then cause I talked about. It was a god like presents, you know and still is to me and what was your first encounter with the belfry gave? Was he he was dead
and yet a personality, a little like Quentin turned tina really little or a little like that. It was just you know. Just a big yeoman vienna was great to be around the idea and and and he and he and with his first movie, he he was giving script revision notes to whoever was riding area and in his and is one will. Was you gotta put him on the high dive kind of put him on that that. Would that was his line. That was that was his yes, that was ever first irreparable audience how you audience it yet to get them a real again with the sunny and share movie with the sun is shining. Oh man, and when he did french inaction, did you spend a lot of time with him? Did you us army was aiming we we, I guess we all! I we all looked up to him. He we really worthy of early. I again the other gather produces other people who aspire to this. There was a while long, green name of really prominent screenwriter, but these are on the documentary feel that, as we are on the document, we feel and freedom,
the guy that broke out here with this, the share movie and then, when he made french connection, were you like holy shit here? it was, but you know he was gonna when those guys they saw how thanks shine. Do I hear he was? What is that? I'm gonna up that just their capital as a writer and documented area is years made? Are you always say that where it is, The ball is say, he's gonna. Do it so So when did you? What was your move out of
commemorate me how I was unemployed and for six months and I try to write spec scripts for dick Van dyke, everybody wrote a spec script, there's your dick van dyke at the time and nice guy and friends, and I and I actually had a friend who came from new york, who was actually making it as a comedy writer. Who's at her name was trevor silverman and she was writing the monkeys. Sure when, when there had all fresh edgy writers write, she she was one of them, haha and and and then I went to up. I went to a party one night and new year's eve party, I'm unemployed, my wife is working and, and I cant get any action I can find a job. I that standard thing in my head. That I'd had that. You know somehow somehow the only chip to me at the time, yeah in all reality to show you know in all reality. If I couldn't get a job writing in some way, I would get a job selling lady shoes, I hadn't.
I know. I know that there are more choice: hours, you're back. You know how those aren't the only new jobs in the country, but that was my reality for some reason that is women choose that. I often hear that I'd be amazed. Yes, yes, but I had no other retail jobs. It came into my eyes, I know, and I had I done some selling I dont know what that was. A self motivational thing, or not more than a reddish, just no, no, no, no, no, no, you ve got it being in television or ordinary. My men are determined to psychological applications from the thinking. I want to be on my knees to prevent crazy, and that would be the only land weird played at a girl. James works is, are we playing be at the beginning? Was women shoe yet so I'd more shoe stores and studios. That's for sure- back then there were so
anyway. I went to that new year's eve party and we're all months and and and a couple walks in from another party and yet and the guy said, thank god finally, real people and their dressed formal in and and where the months, and that was Alan burns, who is one of the greatest guy pillar, the community, talented, you know and an eye I got a conversation. What was he doing at the time? He would he had three series on the air at a very you know, young a worthy them. I don't I'll go, but there were like it was that time and he adjust greater fifties. What are we talking? No were in the early sixties, mid sixties, late six. Wait lately mid sixty sarkozy, the monkeys, mid, sixties, yeah. I'm sure it's funny to me that liking ocean this person that you knew the woman. Who is your writing for the monkeys when they had edgy writers at there was we're here no none of you ever thought of monkeys it.
Gig right, it was a good gig was a funny show? Yes, it was a way. It was a show that wasn't a break break barrier ok, it was a show that wanted a screw around. Ok right, so very much so that was that was a rebellious show absolutely, and she, because she later one emmy running for maritime more for you some time later, yeah you gave her that gig. She yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah, but she she was very important to the maritime for sure and so Allen had created. My mother, the car haha not familiar the show was: was a network show near about a man whose mother came back as an automobile? yeah, and you heard a woman's voice. You didn't see anything move units, any mouse, move mature woman's voice and it was the car, but it was yeah. It was and and a hit show no it it lasted a season. He had done number of pitcher yeah
but he had created, he was no longer with it. He was, he had a partner and they were creating other shows ran on. He and she, which was an amazing, show an she got me a chance. He got me a chance to write a script. I mean just being a nice guy, just you just did it make it out you know, and and then we ended up then, the night, then that back up that got me into freelance right. In the freelance writing got me a chance to do my first pilot, which was room to twenty two and then He came in and began producing the series it I had created and then they the studio where we did. That show was Mary Tyler Moore's husband, the the much beloved grand tinker and he put it together. as a writing to you and Alan men now and burnt, and and now room to twenty two at that time like, I kindly I'm not I'm not. I'm not nostalgic, but I have to assume it seems to me that at that
I'm hollywood, television, business, the movie business, was more income. Business, it was a smaller business and an and there were three major networks once you were in did you kind and no each other. You know I was late at the time where I really felt what you're talking about in the way that that that you read books in the movie sudden, thirties and forty right, like this- was television in the seventies at paramount studios, where it was exactly everything you dreamed up there. A bunch of us bristle, there was an absolute wall, a literal wall and and and and I figured of wall against p and television going into the movie sites literal. we drove him through a separate data. Literally, all our space was on one side of the studio. The movies were on the other side of the studio yeah and we end, and so that you but he was doing great, it was, you know, is Tom hanks robin waves and rob reiner and run howard and penny marshal and and
and you know there were there- there were. We were all of us there and road and we want we did taxi there and we all did go to each other shows it was by the way it was. It was the seventies with everything that was and behavior and everything else, and we all do indeed yeah packs taxi had a really good party here that you had fun at every week cleared up up up up, but getting there I mean from room to twenty two getting the taxi. Emmy there's also other credit semi it. It is interesting to me. Can you now that you're? you did. These other shows me wrote a little bit for the anti griffith show. You wrote a little bit for my three signs right, so you were sort of After all, yeah yeah, you are onset for that stuff right. No, no, no writer didn't go there. Didn't I never saw an actor until I opened the wrong door one day and went oh yeah really yeah yeah. You were kept separate
because now you other writers are on said new absolutely resolutely. Absolutely we did that way on on we not that way on. Every show that I was some the creative- but that was a big change- was it I mean it seems to me that liking a writing that the eu, in going with the theme of the writer is, is but most important said that during those that Oh, your television, that merely you deliver the script, and that was it all. You got no send you to draft and it was rewritten there was. There was a show hold hey landlord when was which was in old, jerry, belgian and Gary Marshall work, fantastic, comedy writer didn't team and they did hey landlord and I got the Simon hey landlord, which was much was my first audience show, and and it was very early on coming was I think this second, the third thing I did and they had a staff that I would have given anything to beyond, but I wasn't up to that stage.
and I wrote a script and they gave me no tonight and I went back and I gave it back and my sister and I went to see the show we got to see the show but Europe yes and it and we're on line, and then somebody realise that I was a writer and he said you know this is the audience like you can and- and I came and the show started, and my sister would say, is that yours now is that you now and then somebody comes in a bare suit address. Somebody came in he entered the scene in the bare suit one single woman in a barrister that was clearly it'd, be there for the whole show was not in my script at all, and- and I don't had a line in and they were very kind to me afterwards, but it was just I didn't see it coming. I didn't see being completely rewritten coming like that. Oh, my god, in that day was that must have, scarring on some level,
one of the lighter ones: pretty firms are known as the first, so there lie there are only a great reactive. Yes, yes, that workers are more time to fade rights, even if that one was: u s, experience in television that would have been the biggest economy yet do the guy in a bar by me in story. Remember that guy air episode- hey you remember that could I show you to scrap the original outta. There were not all fuckin bear. Tell me what you think. The point is that, from from room to room to twenty two, an ear. Your meeting or or becoming part of grand tinker's thing that It seems to me that grand cars is very veered for
were giving? The writer was certainly did a messy and end the executive positions deserves like like don't going back to our conversation earlier by about not having you dont have a boss right right down. Ok, now, ok, I've, I've! I've had lost all my life right, it's it's it's! It's I'm saying, there's one thing better than not having a boss. That's grant acres of oak yeah yeah and am when did that start as was reported, we started it out and I started it because grant Mary tyler Moore his wife had an on the air commitment from CBS yeah. He gave us the the the opportunity to do that yet, and he couldn't be part of it because he was still an executive at fox right. So it would be conflict of interest, so he had to keep sort of hands as much off as possible. Yeah. We went into an office not not having ever done this together before you and I we hired the show accounting for some reason. It was like crazy. It was really as close to
it's running the asylum. So he basically gave you a producers job, oh yeah. We were We were right to show runners rice anybody, but at that time the showing that we are no company rhymes, no production companies that we had a so something what we did sort of form the production company which we that became entity owing yes and any event he he recognized at he rate he set up the company before he hired. You were well, there was a company. There was his. There was a married man, it was part of it in the ad lawyer, and there was us- and rightly so, retire more. So now, you're in the position you hire the accountant. You've got all this freedom. We got this amazing talent who, from dick van dyke show, and how did you- you guys developed. That show I mean what was the picture was involved with that just the two of us listen. We and we started out with a bad idea which, which we went to new york to pitch to CBS, which was so much the top network, then visa and and it was a bad idea and and and we pitched it
and they asked us to step outside and what was the bad idea. She was divorce, tia end and the guy. It's it's it. Some. Is this really happened and the meeting that the one the guy in charge and that all these vice president around the guy in charge, explained to us that there are three things that the american public doesn't want: a forced woman s, men with moustaches and Jews, This. Is madness and nobody's gonna mistake me for anything, but you know our hammer thirty hours up where you do I'll throw up when I had a problem and they told they told grant of fire us and he didn't and then weak up with the idea that became the show and grants who? became the chair, but she was a avoid wasn't. She knows she was no shoot she and, in the pilot,
besides she was she moved to Minneapolis because the guy she put through medical school dumped or when it became a dark, ok, yeah right, so never married here, right, yeah, never marry So when he started doing this show an eight year, how long did it take for it to become ahead and what was we? we handed in we we did the show we had a very bad run through with an audience that was, I mean you want to die like like how was the only time, my life, I try to do warm up out and I were going into the warm up to the audience right and I did like that classic jackie police and when he was onto you know me I own utter a word right. I was paralyzed and an allen had to carry me and stuff and dumb and the show you two together did what do you do? It? Leaning was, and it was it was. It was the first time to understand I and the playtime yeah only time- and I just don't know what possess me, because I choked right away and state
Ok, I was never a moment when I could, in that, words out. I didn't steal, comfort in July body and ended in Allen had poor alan soldier dawn every once in a while. Turning to Me- and I really was like a sketch having happened in libya and then did a re write that where I think it's just that we didn't what was wrong and the script supervisor ma mullen weak sunday we had every. It represented marry everybody around grant. We had fourteen stricken people staring at us in the in our office after the after this disastrous run through and and and and Marge Mullen said what, if the kid cause one of the characters that a kid said. She liked rota. What if we did that- and we did that and we cut week, we long and we cut those- are really basically the changes we made
and it went from Zita a you. You know, because, because they didn't wrote it and get one laugh and run ma and we were long and yet those are the two things, but I don't think we would have. I think it needed. Fixes we needed to the audience. It's ok to like rota, who was being now due to marry right right. and then what they gave us a disastrous time period, we can succeed, and then this thing in television history, the business like President CBS just took over as president yeah and he was the only one ever in the history of television to cancel top rated shows really top rated right and show because he thought their time had passed and they were bucolic and he wanted of a new kind of comedy uh huh changed our time period on the family went in, went in at about this times lad of us and change television for that one guy yeah, who had the courage
yeah who, who, in a very you known republican american business man, who did this thing that nobody has ever before or since I don't think I've ever will happen again and change The two noticed setting for changing the any said the business has to change. I guess so what thank god that guy huh, yeah yeah, and so he gave you knew time. Swine everything took off. Yet we ve fallen on the family, which was amazing, and did you general relationship with norman? a little bit a little bit, we were competitors in a way out, cause word doing shows and we were always up against each other and the arab like that, but we we weeds on Saturday night always watching on the founding saying, oh shit, where no good, you helped us, it was so great, yet I'm really yeah. billy web. We we I mean just so, you know what it was all the family was just a revolutionary show. We were An evolutionary show ah interesting debate, but the thing is
is that you, you were fairly revolutionary. I mean you know to have mary is essential character of a career where timing was. Our timing was very fortunate because it was exactly at the feminine revolution, starting you know, so suddenly, just what was happening around sk, eva stories and put meat Our bones are the same within the family. I don't, I think it's a equally revolutionary show, because it was your maybe like this, to be good companion pieces. Really I mean at the time you both for a politically in otherwise I am, I guess, I'm just some, I'm tryin make you feel better. I might I've got up earlier maritime while I accept that not so
case are now known. They will decide if they wanted to go that way. We will have every we had meeting one day when they wanted to go up high, so they said, let's, let's, let's, let's leave after six seasons. Yeah- and you know I was seeing this thing swirl around me this meeting about you know we decide when we go up, we wouldn't be kicked off. You know, let's go at six and I said seven, nobody said. Ok, I got an extra year doing seven seasons, you did you in any way. Spin offs? I did rota mia, and now one well, my mother, that show too yes, yes, we were hoping she d ya, he hasn't she loved it yeah yeah, and that was found. She was great and dumb. We did a crazy thing there, because we had a wee wee divorced her in the second year, the chapel, and it turns out that guy from CBS was ripe alone. I remember the husband kind of what was there a lucky guy and anna? Just you know I just We were just stifled and on it was hard to come up with. Stories was hard to come up with stories with road a married. You know the quintessential
sailor was unnecessarily a romantic. yeah. It was hot. We were having a tough time with stories, really that was sort of it, but not with the mary tyler Moore, because he had so many characters. Yeah yeah, yeah yeah, no, that was that was yeah in in ted, was like what? Where did you find that I haven't seen her, I mean look at: how did you develop had caught plus a man? It was. He was like a spirit he was so intrinsically funny. an amazing thing to be intrinsically to be a comic spirit inside yourself, the end? And he and he was almost like that's why the show was great for me, because I mean clause was a method actress. She could. She goes back to the group. Theatre brando had called her the best actor to come out accordingly doesn't play out. He did course liegemen. Also, inherently funny the right she was, she she's she's she's, a glorious actress who grow anything here. She's Where is our right and then there was thou, who is from second city mary
who was from television comedy add, was edward said second, syria, edward second city as well, and then betty I came in and you know who hilarious who was just and and talking to them their backgrounds in their training, was my college. That was like an I ate it up. I love talking about here. to see all zealand and val was story, theatre is well and she would do she would get her old. Acting teacher out may do exercises and sometimes we jointly acting israeli. It was fantastic, so that was your whole education about how to work with actors and cast in and see how things we have gathered ass yet and see what they could bring to characters yes and wait a bit like. We need an hour is fundamentally a fine ease, one, those guys it. Could you just watch breathe be funny here? He also can do heavy stuff, yes, absolutely but tat. It was just a comic spirit, comic spirit and any yes, yes,
Where did he come in georgia angles who came out with her on my she's she's? She she is mainly funny anytime. She wants to be so. So the ensemble imagined what it was like. Yeah yeah see you get it in, but you know in working through the scripts. How many were on staff or mary tyler Moore? It was you and and Allen, and edwin berger stand Daniels and then- and then I think that was that was When did you re one? Any David Loi did alatas a lotta scripts every year, unwanted erratic name from the monkeys, freebies silverman. She claimed, I think everybody was free lance except for really a handful of us yeah yeah, very different on this since now yeah and did you guys I buy. You know just committee, did you sit in a room or pitch and cause? I know I I've only worked on one tv show in it. You know how a war seems to work, wondering how long that was in place. We gotta writers room and you get up on the board and everybody pitches, and then people go right there scripts
outlines. How did it worked in it? They are we put enormous, work compared to what we do now into the into the story conference? Where the story was key, jokes, its act breaks, we you would, it would be a very thorough and then we get it in and an eye or ed and stand would do rewrite and then we had a run through and then we will need to have an easy rewrite night or be there at all three in the morning rewriting sometimes throwing out you know really area, but in but in what was sorry, what determines that I mean like he envisages yours ability way in terms of the the comedy or how a story balances. You know what determines like. You know, staying there all night to fix. Something, ah, are feeling jace and richard directed almost all the shows he he would. He would give his input, but basically we were. It was up to us and and
and the goods ike. We don't do it for that reason, but we are when you attack your script yeah, it's just makes everybody else feel secure, because you know not blaming everything on the actors in rail aiming you know right, you're, taking your responsibility, but then, if you believe in up, if you believe in a script is not having on the stage then, instead of going to the right room, you stay on the stage and try and make it work and that the other thing that's all I've audience right, yeah you! So you you knew when the hour tagging and every once in a while. You there's an easy laughing. You know TED mispronouncing. We stop doing at a certain point, even though there was it was like If you go slowly yeah that could go on forever right, right, yeah, yeah grace dictates that you take another step anyhow, because you thought that he was cheap after a point at a certain point, and then you did the the lou grant show for a little while for awhile, which is amazing, because that was a comedy character, spun off into a dramas which was which
and that was the easiest thing to get story addressing that he could evolve, that you that's my testament to his amazing chess. Yes, So we get like dazzled whose idea was ass. I think it was. You know modern Alan stay tuned to take off the comedy, to make that character, have more depth or done a spin off, and we said to ourselves: one is a spinoff, not a spin off and then, when you spin off into another form, uh huh yeah. So that was a big experiment in a way it felt like a. the idea what you work here, while I o amnesia yeah now Actually I think there is a whole another generation of people that that came to that show. I I've been writing women shoes for seven years- and you know- and I wanted to show with which was primarily a male show just for just that. You know for that reason
How did that? How did how did the magic of that the creative process? How did you come up with taxi? There was an article in new york magazine, amatic, a cab company where everybody wanted to be something else, and this is how great grant tinker is man and he owned the article and bought it. I e option the article I think he and and now four of us who were very important to the company left to form our own little group right myself, which was empty and myself left empty em to do to do too took to form a company of our cell radiant where women on the erika we had a few on the Permit me I'm different networks and we we went over the paramount that if we were going to use, we were hoping that that with television weaken, we could make a contract that if we did a television series, they would give us a chance to movies of course, was not a unique thing. Tat was this revolutionary thing to create what would be a production company of your own that,
We function, which was already films. This know this was John Charles walter's. Ok I was the name of it. Yet we wanted a sound like a great protestant guy. I thought I'd, recommend we love in a bid to be formidable. Have a british wrangle we raised on nobody's name. It was no we made up the name and then somebody found us a sign that a big wooden sign that said John c walters someplace and we all get up- and this was this- was your production shingle for taxi for a taxi and the associates which we did there and and and all and the pr the contract to make pictures. I was never fulfilled by paramount there were, there are all sorts of gizmos in it that way cause we were supposed to be able to make very small movies as as part of it and somehow there was a flaw in the contract where we never got that need and know that go on in near you know. No, we thought with his yellow the lawyer now
it you know: it's not the sun moment. It's it's the attrition, as you realize, though, right right conditions that have to be there and yeah and so tinker was like h, e k, and so we called tinker, and I were for people who have left his employ right there and it was a jolt to the company at the time and- and I I said, can we buy a back room and he says I'm giving it to you. So that's the who this guy was whoa yeah, that's that's as heavy yeah and and then you so you had this property. Had this article and and and how did that? Did you start thinking in character? First thing we had here's, how lucky
where I'm this is this suggested, I'm sounding like someone who's just making a list of breaks, but I mean I guess nobody says it's it's true, but if it breaks filled him with with process filled him with the creative thing. It's all good. We went to do research in new york, we went to the company, the article had been written about the cab company yeah. Where will we stay in the cab company all night? We were overnight from like midnight to whatever it was, and and then we wanted to have breakfast with a group of cap drivers in the morning and that was gonna be by basing our research right. During that time we saw the dispatcher being given a bribe for a clean cab from a driver. We saw that surreptitiously and he knew we were watching these waving the guy who's, offering the bribe away just for a clean cab. What does that mean? That's not a filthy cat, if not banged up, it works right, a good cat, bright and, and that was the birth of the danny Devito character. Just seeing that, seeing that created that character here and now
problem was: how do you make a hero offered? How'd you make judge her, she hero what what any eight sam and the article was about everybody wanting to be. You know something else, a boxer, an actor yet, and and, and now now we're we're there. We and all the cab drivers who are going to have breakfast with say: let's wait for whatever his name was to come in and now this really solid sort of clearly charismatic young guy comes in with his cab and they and you can tell he's a hero to everyone. They area, and if everybody wants to be everything else, are we asked him the question about? What do you want to beat me? I'm a cab driver, and that was in the end. immediately. We knew that's what made him here and that was judged. That was that was it. That was the basis for judge, character where'd, you get reverend Jim, this is so ray danny. Of course you know in derry. I mean you can't you can't talk enough about it. He had just been in cuckoos nest,
and slowly but surely all the all, the all the character actors from the cuckoos ness therapy grew started to come on the show, Chris being one of them- yeah, oh really yeah. So it was a guest but that evolved into it. It was one episode that went through that that, where reverend Jim was born- and we wanted to do a drug casualty and we wanted to do- somebody's brain was fried, and not men, adding an end but pump. It's always like. I can imagine anybody else who could have done their poor danny. I can't imagine anybody You could have done that part. I remember I. I went into a b c with one hundred and three fever when we, when Judd Hirsch, his contract was a part of me, do we needed and actors great as he was, or else it wasn't. Gonna work I mean this is this is what so you know this is. I guess thing that you can't face day in and day out that come out. That's so many things have to walk in the door to you for something to really work
it's just you need the right out. What how big was the casting process, though hold him along. We go long casting prostitution, usually long unusually long where it we're we need somebody due to hold them back. You know yeah industrial. I still do that yeah, and veto was was was was just part of a process or even to veto, we were trying to find the courage to trying to find the character he d It came in one day to audition and he said what are you guys wrote this shit and he was hired immediately, ha ha and that's that's a trick, story, we just all fell down laughing, and that was it yeah, I and the other ones a year. It took him while Mary luke's had a lot of which fishes
tony Ali dance, it never acted before buddy. I don't know how he was a box. He was a box right here and kaufmann, all god, Andy kaufman man we go to the comedy store, was here yeah here, ok and we're watching Andy here, who was grey right, were there to see and hear and tony clifton opening. Forum breath and we are seeing tony Clifton was a comical insulted. The orient got road, yet people almost physically went to the stage. He was a slime ball here. Note, Andy's manager comes over whispered in our ears, that's Andy, you know, and it was a long time you don't know about twenty Oh, I do yeah sure you know, you know, Andy did I'm sure a courtyard Had the mood in here for three hours,
I know the mythology of it and I know the reality of, and it was amazing. You know, because I mean andy- was the father performance of your way. You know and and and then he comes, and kills is Andy. After being, loathsome as tony clifton and we we wee, we couldn't get over it. I mean you just you can't get over. It was just years a unique talent and andy as a condition for doing the show, insisted that we hire tony clifton as well as again then the beginning? I was a prize from the beginning. What was he and what season did he come in on first? We therefore need to Bulgaria and and what about the lack of character very? How do we do we have we had we had a foreign mechanic now? Is it yeah, and generally speaking, yeah. yeah. We do know what foreign meant yes right, yes and um, and we
so he gave my dressing room and what would what happened? He was there for seven shows and what would and Andy was brilliant and when you know he was always in character when Ok came in to play his wife, and here you know, Qaddoumi ward nominee coming into play his wife. They went out one night night, fuck the foreign language together and nothing else all night long. You know because Andy made up a language that we started to integrate. Whitley I work with and- and it was the greatest thing to write because He came from a mythical country and we can make up religions. We could make up social mores, it was. There was a treat to write me a boy meanwhile, while while Andy's characters working tony clifton in the show shitting all over the actors he's acting like a prick to all the actors. You know offsets,
during rehearsals we're going to you know you didn't know when kill him going to show up and they knew and they knew who was how he would tony like tony clifton, rightly wouldn't fuck you and I know when it's there was just no way I could continue. So we have an end we can buy. It was did you not know when he was going to show up tony it? It was, you know we wrote he started to. It was like and he loved it. He has it in his alter ego his tone cliff area he was starting to be written out of shows. He would give him very small parts. It was a perfect tony clifton excursion to tell of network elevation. It was perfect right, but we can't do it anymore. We just screwing up morale of a huge problem.
and and tony clifton wife, tony Clifton was so so, and ed Weinberger conducted the negotiation to ask Andy to accept that tony clifton be fired and, and and Andy said, and he was still very private about. I mean he and he would never talk to any of us about being about tony right and he wasn't tony right. It was Barry and, and- and he said, if you do it this way, if you give me it and and they set up a plan so that he wanted to be publicly fired, so tony clifton shows up with two prostitutes on his arm here and ed comes down and fires him and and and and tony Clifton starts to resist, to resist being fired so much that security guards at the studio who were not in on it. He has had to be called tony clifton was dragged out of the studio
thrown out of the studio physically yeah and then and then tony Clifton went to a phone and called it and said it was best time of my life yeah, you guys just had to indulge had no choice. I mean, even even when you saying that you everything was effect, Michaud negatively, you are. part of this. Yes, yes, we did it to get a ticket, Andy and, of course, and they were just part of a talent negotiations. These were the condition. Yes, by which we have you they behave under to keep end yes. Indeed, You ever feel like you got to know india at all
great giving him notes, because when you gave him notice, stay in character, so you'd walk over to locker as parrot. His name and you'd give him an acting note and he'd. Look at you like what was he doing here and what were you doing here and then he do the note exactly you know and then Andy also brought back pro wrestling. I mean singlehandedly he's the one who popularized that again and then he had this match this wrestling match. He had. He had the the famous one with lawler, with his name where he was taken to the hospital yeah. It made headlines all over the united states and he had taken the hospital put in traction. He was almost paralyzed because of because of take actually doing this wrestling match and then we We saw the tape from Saturday night live or something and we saw we slowed down and we saw that it was a stunt. A brilliantly perform stunt. Iming men right knowing as yeah well that that many dry,
it was apparent I'll drive or where he was putting down his head, and you could see just how perfectly rehearsed it was. So he was able to break the ball and I called him up because I said you know how should it was for us to the two. To you, know to think you were badly injured. You said you know what it's like to be in traction for a week, yeah it it a solid four. yeah. that where you met the sam Simon, SAM Simon was yes key to the show ya to attacks, He was that he was a story editor and on a producer, kenneth and they were partners and what did he bring? Charles brothers who went on to chairs were also on staff. It was a great writing. Staff and David lloyd came with us from you know from Mary. It was again writing stuff, how many were in their more yeah yeah and in the same, are balanced and earn the same sort of tat, her the same kind of the structures may term or you guys would you were dead
be story heavy and then india just work through the to you Ultimately, there are four of us, then, and- and you know we each we each did our thing, but you know how you can tell a show with a great spirit, because you know the the producers for this. for the run through just before you do the show stand where the audience hind, a rail right and after the actors do a scene in the final dress rehearsal after the actors to a scene and eighty says, actors, the rail and you can tell a good show if the whole, if every actor, just russia's up to the rail to get notes, talk it over to think I d do sunday, I to rehearse algeria and that's that's a spirit we had on that show and remember talking the seventh age in ending the great time for the media were paramount, widen yeah radio each other in it was fun, yeah, yeah and so, and taxi ended, ended on purpose.
Since you were hanno, we were cancelled after I think we won. I say that because we all feel religious about everybody on tax epa, religious about the experience yeah we. we. You know you look back and say that was a great time. We knew every minute we were having a great day. I asked It amazing to know it as its happening and the show was cancelled. After we won the best comedy three years in a row and the show was cancelled by a b c by a guy who was in there for one year on the job where he could cancel us, and I called up grant who was now chair of n b c drunk cause. I was because I I started when we were canceled. It was a you know, and
I started to drink really when we were cancelled. The area will cancel the morning and I started a drink. I wish it was. You know, we'd love this year and then bit by bit every after drifted into my office. Without anybody calling anybody until everybody was there and now we're all dragon l and we we we and I called grant the apple, well drunk yeah and just the great guy- and he said I can't do anything for you and I said I'm not asking you to I just wanna just vent yeah and- and he was unhappy saying they picked us up for a year, I've been so it's grant again man a grant to the rescue. Did you stay in touch with these still untouched? I haven't, seen him in a long time in a long time, but but the way I feel about him. Everybody were firm feels about him. He was sort of a champion of modern television, and he was he was of decent writers, friend man. He very. He was a writer.
Well yeah, I it seems like he, you know he really gave the right the physician. He deserved. Yeah! Well, yeah, as the creator of shows- and you know, and and given the freedom this area to do what they do, yeah, which it elevation does barometers. By now yea, it's pretty amazing that debt, that you know there are some pretty incredibly talented people that do very interesting things, given the freedom to do it and if they take it beyond the seriously in their fear, truly creative, it's amazing, so after taxi, how long was it before you decided to do motion pictures? Let's see taxi, took how long did you drink for the thought of it? I think we also this
come up, you got yeah, I think so it's always just a night. There was an extent. It was no. No, no, no I'm a discipline guy yeah good for taxi. We started taxi in the late seventies. I I I did my first movie. I took my first movie. I think I did. I took a break from mtm to write a movie which was starting over then I also produced and and and then I went back and then the director Allen, the cooler of starting over was offered a book terms of endearment to do and he he didn't want to do it, and he suggested me for the job
and so I I I read the book and I think I think at the time. It's certainly because I did DA all the president's men are the man he was and he was my top choice, and I read this book and I Allen who is terrific and really sort of mentored me, because I, I'd written the picture I was its produce and I was barred from the set. The second day of shooting starting already here. Why, and rightly so, because of making faces wealthier, the were working in our I was the worst thing of all the the law, they went to the line right in my face would show up- and this is your first experience and a movie set for six years on a movie set and at an alan took it for two days. Then he said can cover the set anymore. It's not like a direction knows everything, but he needs the illusion that he dies, but I know you and then but then he let me in the editing room and I was fully part of editing the picture which was a great education, and then
and then he he. He recommended me for this job and I read book, and I think at that point it was the second time, my life, that I really cried. When I read part of that book leaving having it was the second time. I think I think when I it was not. I was not so it was an expert. In some way to cry Maria and, I said not acquire. I said I could well at that time will not have. I think I've cheered up four times and this entered ninety I felt it. I thought I felt the too, and so I I did it and, and It took me four years to to raise the money after I had the script. It was very involved and grant tinker. I didn't have enough money to take. I I felt it. I felt the picture with the bullshit unless you are on location yeah
I am powered down you mean where was it no just texas book by one of the great texas writers they are going to do it on a backlot you're, starting like you're, full of shit royal yeah yeah, and so we we we were short of the amount of money needed to make it a location picture and and and grant bought it for NBC pre bought it for television ran b c, and that was the difference. So we were able to hear what do you think that was a that strike you as a an actual business move or a friend who is absolutely absolutely absolutely helping. Their ended gets this guy's beer for this. Guy he's your angel disguise it'll, take her and best can guy in the world excellent earnestly up. Just how do you know jack odin? You know the opposite. You in ITALY's witty don quixote was weak. We telling anybody. You have your anybody.
imprint of your work with this guy or talk just the way. I'm talking now yeah. No, no, I mean he's he's revered. By yet nobody has anything bad to say about that guy, but it is interesting. I just see how these sort of, like your strung out, the account erotic, jewish writers and he's right there they're happy. Yes, yes, he is, but so greene mcmurtry wrote it. They do have a relationship with him. Great great brief relationship yeah. He he's he's quirky he's a quirky human being and he had written a brilliant screenplay himself. I totally humbled writing about it, state that I've never been to before I started doing the research and I went to see him in washington. See where he read and a rare, bookstore and binding and he's a very problem.
Writer yeah I run it won't looks down. I mean these at the casual agitation show to write the icelandic you're, shows the airing play and and he's at the cash register the bookstore and I come just to pay homage to I know, but if you you know- and finally, he just said Look, I wrote the book, you write the movie It said aloud mercury with Russian wavered. I felt pretty good too, and that is good in asylum and it was a great gift, because I was too what's it. What's the mental burst being tongue tied. I was too, you know is too caught up with with his work in trying to do justice to it, and it was a very difficult writing job. I remember it was. It was perhaps one of my hardest because at a certain point there was an option.
The book and the studio had to buy it and they hadn't seen my script ha ha and then they bought it and I'm on page. Eighty of what would at once. You know the first rap was barely husband. de pages and I didn't know where to go and how to go forward and now now in on, and that's what I felt throughout my life that you never consciously burn a bridge, but some bastard is blowing up your bridges. The and you fair, as you move forward here, and I could suddenly, I couldn't not be doing terms of endearment- is a ascribe, and I figure afford and what we stuck on. I don't we but I remember the feeling- and I remembered the emotion and I remembered that I went around physically blushing a lot yet that that you know really blushing and I felt sort of crazy. You know doing that and then I There was one there was one night. I was hanging out with some people. One of them was a concert pianist who had who had never had courage to play new york?
It right and wanted meet that test, and- and I talked about this and he- and he said- oh, I do that. I know what it is. It's a state, a shame and sunday him put. him giving a name to this condition. And for me now feeling like I was the only one who ever hung around blushing because they consult script it it. I think that freed me up, and that gave me the energy to keep I think that was the kick on and is on how you, at all and that moment, like you, see was it one, those sorts of things where you were office and given a lens to look back, entire life with that idea that that that that obstacles, shame that you you're so hard on yourself for that year. What what was it exactly knows? Just it was it's. It's happened to me since me- I'm not very often, but it does happen to me and- is the shame. Those specifically why that's an
if he gave a navy veteran name, no, no because it it's. I think it's accurate. I think it is accurate. You know you're you're shamed, your your shame that you can't solve what's in front of you right right, right, yeah, yeah, huh, yeah, so yeah. It made me yeah as fucking heavy lol yeah how he has eating the a weird paralyzing, almost nebulous thing. That has many sources, that's usually wired, deepen dear being for some reason and and it's like a it's like a it's stuck in your soul. You had to overcome it's a powerful thing yeah, so it's a heavy word. It is That's what I get that? Were you able to track it? No, it wasn't it it. It Why, then, expressly one, as I heard, I wasn't the only one to have it right right, I'm I'm hoping you'll say meets. Who at some point of course you are you getting on my garage. How The same a shame temple is, I could do.
Do it every day I live here, but so you got through that and you executed the script in need the movie and in what ways like as that was approved, astounding ensemble in that movie, was it a devastating but uplifting movie. Somehow this is it that my take on the movie was that I was doing a comedy and my definition of comedy is that people laugh frequently while watching it and nobody, nobody remembers, that's what the movie was and I got it and and but I was in in the previews, I'm clock laughs. I mean I was. You know that that was that your training and including I said to myself- I had to get up because cancer was such a horrible word. Then, when I made the movie that I just I just had this, I gotta get a laugh on the word cancer. How do I do it and it sort of built into the screen did you know, and you do and people yeah yeah yeah laughing at the words that were laughing at the were cancer and you're sort of on this.
Side of the experience. When you do it the way it worked in the script in, I was so amazing, as Debra winger was was the the daughter show him claim was the mother and yes, it's sickly, a mother, daughter story. I I I I I I created the character of jack Nicholson for the movie He wasn't an agent, but he wasn't in the book. Ah And- and that was what was it passing on this white coming was, it is like is like tv did. You have to go through a lot of people. Did you detaches people right before you know? It's like it was me The get jack jabber was very important to getting any financing at all and she
You know and she helped me catch actually out. She was like amazing at at that point. You know and dumb and surely I interviewed every actress of the right age. I think that you could think of right. You know, usually we go out to lunch or something I ever or because of you knows it is even more shameful. Then you know that the ports for women, major port, major roles for women and then somebody called me ah and suggested. Surely- and I never we both we, we both for some reason. We both stood when we, when we had the discussion the end when we were you know just the kind of getting to know your conversation we have yet we stood up when we set up at the end, instead of looking at each other and standing looking at each other. We both stood side by side looking at the wall not facing each other, and she said this can be important and and
like a strangely in a moment he how he I haven't been shirley. God knows as our way up and then she killed. in what way, when you say was some I mean at that point jack I. What? What year are we looking at nineteen, eighty? So done a lot of his major movies and what makes it something, what makes it difficult to get? Somebody like him to embrace heroic that because it was a little against type for him that I think I think you know he's it's yeah, it's a it's! An unknown person me writer with a relatively small budget picture here, though healthy enough to go on location I would just say a supporting role right. What was this interesting cause. I remember if I read it, I assume I read. I dunno that I could be this in intuitive about That role as a as as an a former astronaut that,
you direct him to be sort of constantly looking up at the moon is so so interesting. It we're filming and he's an astronaut the attic and a answered as renard astronaut and the planes plains flood planes flying over. Yet and everybody is waiting for me to say cut, but we had a very tight budget right now ignoring shirt. So so so it's like that sound ass. Looking to stop, at that and jack just plays an interest in planes and looks up at the plane and plays the moment. You know yeah and I think that's what you're talking about and man he was like he, he he'd come up to me at the at the end. The the day and are so great. You say you one of the worst direction you gave today and he tell me the worst direction. I gave you one of the best direction it was like. Heaven is helping me out. It was a he it's just. It was fantastic man. It was task- and you guys, you remove eighty get real vietnamese europe
I once one an argument about at that at the time when, when it was but whether just happen or jack Nicholson was the best actor alive and I wonder argument by saying that jacket do either role in the odd couple up what it was like. You is phenomenal for movie fans to see him do different things. Even when I was a kid and when they came out that you know when your movie fan as a kid, you love these guys. You are you your guys in india to see him yell liken you movie or and pretty zeiner anything that Oh god him out of being jack. You know where you know he would have to adjust his talent as it dare to do a role that was in no mid march. Drm, yes, more, the shining. Yes, it was a fascinating thing for me. Yes to see him really work as an actor and his comic talent, as is his you know, it's great yeah, yeah yeah he's great the balance that you are able to sort of do you, which I think
probably learned and ear is summit, because it you, when you were doing television, you didn't shy away from things so the balance of care. during comedy and something is heartbreaking. somebody dying at the end of a movie. Who is your main character and having that still their strength, there, three or other characters I mean that That was your idea, and I guess I'm just gonna blow and everybody senior without an audience. It's not a comedy everybody seeing it without an all and by out an audience it was like a played gray. What do you have to have the comedy to balance where that story? What's the story, a young woman who's got it a philandering emotionally suppressed husband and an overly protective lunatic mother dies of cancer. If you were to pitch that Wasn't quite our log libraries accurate, but you know is it that that was a phenomenal event to make a mainstream. He was a comedy and then again with you and when you do broadcast news, I mean that's a romantic comedy. My friend then Sheldon says we're we're nobody.
that's what they want, they have, as you know, that was another heavy hearted process, but where did that movie come from with that? Something that just hang you know just just cooling out after terms of endearment and just going around, and I am just saying it'll settled a figure out what I want to do next, and you know you do have at that point. You have the opportunity to get some. Done. If you want to do it because terms have been successful and and I am a friend of mine got me into the political conventions and there I hung out with some reporters and that's got my story. The idea for it and I'd always been an louis guy yeah, yeah, I've always been, and then and then it was trying to do a romantic comedy. We weren't stacking the deck, so everybody was rooting for one guy or the other, and you just saw what
then, and we shot and continuity, and I did think that at the end of it, I'd be able to resolve a romance yeah reason. I am between holly hunters our brooks. Well, the only way he goes with bill hurt. That's the only way could go and then holly hunter, yeah, really yeah,
and I I actually went back you know because it was was a perverse ending and I went back and and and shot. Oh, this is a idea. There was a french film that, at the end, the the classic french successful film, where the the the two star crossed lovers. The guy gets off the train at the end, and here she is waiting, yeah and and that's the end of the and they go to each other. And then I read that what the director had done is that the guy didn't know the group. The actress was going to be standing there and they improvise. It was genuine. I went nuts and I said letters and I said, let's do a reshoot where we do that and I told holly hunter that we are going to put her in a cab. We had to redo the part where she leaves the airport last minute,
tell her. It was gonna get in the cap. We were gonna. Tell me the right. We were going to film it, and then I knew they were each good enough to where something was gonna happen that would solve d not having here is ending for the movie yeah and then just before he opened the door. Somebody said hi bill and blew it, and I went out of body. I mean I don't know what for the next ten minutes they that people and with rage is, I don't know yet I don't know I was inside, I dont know here and and then we talk and they did something and we put together a scene and later on people tell me I should end the movie with that seen who saw it, but it was it at once. I had that goal. You know how crazy again here, so it entered the way it ended. Yeah
having levies the ideas will painful, because you know I believe it was truthful by the way. Think not I mean less reveal yeah, I don't. U isn t there the other right emotional way to go. You re, that's the thing about the about the way you balance where the comedy becomes invisible, because the the characters are so well formed and it's so listing for the actors when they are not trying to stack the deck right when you can go into each scene and not trying reach some in that, and I think that was a big sort of fairly serious first one for albert right where he really had to you know: carry a movie to some degree whose great hates grey grey, where how far back does your relationship go because my point of reference for you was you know his producer in modern romance- was that Would we the outward? Didn't you by the producer that directive the directive? I thought I thought I'd say you: were they directly guy? He told me to do this, for me, it'll be fun.
and were hilarious, it was a fourth billing man, you're areas and I'd be the were. I was the world's. I was I was a directors nightmare. I'd say: let me do it again, I'd be at his trail of before he got there in the morning. Listen. I have this idea and flood until you stand on that side of the camera you the vulnerability of that you know and, as you know, and you see why people have direct or approval in their contracts, I mean you're. Europe I mean you, you feel you haven't gotten and somebody saying move on you're, so I always consider the blessing than I you know They got to do that, yeah that I got because you you on the other side, because I felt it need not learned it but felt it sort of heartbreak of like hell just
Yes, you know johnny cash, you exactly what I wanted and like I can give you one more you I've right right, yeah, you know you know, and how did we did this, and I was that guy right. Am I right up utter usher following the director the days over the new, since you were new? Yes, how did you get to know albert? What was it we we always in the In the early seven days of rob, reiner penny marshall were married and had a house in the valley and like fifteen or twenty of us, get that no single people right now. We would always end up there. Thank you now, like every night, you know albert genius, you know just doin, maisie and people do not people doing great stand up in there we were would be would be am straight and yeah yeah god got must have been a blast of on right people. When we did when we did broadcast news, people always thought we were fighting and we were just.
Reviewing our friendship. I always knew you know their lives there and then, but then, like a again with jack Nicholson, is Dan rather character right yeah now and then I'll, do anything with the next we'll be right, but that was after the symptom, without the way, through but again yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah and and Did you get it terms endearment brok, s nerves were like huge movies. Now, as you like, make movies when, when things don't go as well as you want box office, wise has in fact used deeply yeah deeply. It's and an unarmed do anything. I did it as a musical and then we had. I guess it was the worst professional experience in my life near by
cause on our first preview. I thought we were in because I never you know, and I had. I had made some critical mistakes. I think, like I thought you know I I just love actors so much. I'm not gonna worry about their singing voices, I'm going to judge for performances, everything, yeah and and and I work with prince and work with sinead o'connor and work with italian twyla tharp. It was amazing. I worked with these amazing people in this musical and then when we previewed it the first number- and I was sweating, the first number and after the first number happens, it's we got em and you know we're getting our laps and I am my editor and I give each other comes up and then it went so downhill and then they were laughing as your mother. One might have told you at at yeah at the ob and stuck with it, and then people started to leave and- and this isn't a test screening the first test screening on the lot. Oh, you know the end of five years and now, but it gets it gets worse
I hear ya- and I called everybody in- and I apologize to them- you and all the people in them working in post production here that I led them to this path and let's get to work tomorrow and figure out what to do next day. The l a times writes about the screening I had and they assign a reporter to go to every screening. So everything all my all. My all my attempts to pull the movie together and screening it again. Everything was written about like a series of horrible talk about a kind of shit. You talk about a state of shame, oh my god. It yeah it was. It was brutal and finally, the and everything public, and so we were notorious we're the musical that had cut most the music out and and it was the you know, they were clearly holes in the thing that was released. I think the heart was true. I think their performances there but it was, but it was as that bad is it was you know you can
but failure and it opens and closes right. This was dragged, it'll we cut before even got there for a guy therein, and you know they that with when it got there was an anti climax ashore. I couldn't tell you anything at all: people wrote about was the fact you know, whereas the music and then because I've been through such a horrible experience, and I knew everybody you not everybody, but I'm not the only person who said you know. I mean it it's it's it's it's common to do to help. Disappointment. He a common experience here. So I wonder to a documentary about that experience and what did I wanted it? Just? I thought it would be great for somebody to be able to see we're. Ok, the guy still walking any went through that this is the under your weight, overcome and a shame. That was not that you couldn't contain and I started it get excited about equity. I thought I thought I'd. I do the story, we documentary I'd, say and here's a movie, they say they so am. I
and showed and show that there are very big for breath and represent the film and show the first four. Yes, there can only be solved as Adela apple feature, a despot documentary that it would be a short documentary with had, I think, I'm excited now tell it. I'm fetching you have excited now. That would hinder the reasonable and for a story that James Brooks has done an amazing thing. He created a documentary disclaimer up for, as you know, we have- and I was No- it was totally responsible that why responsibility was a claimer decay and- and You ve been led wrong, even led to believe the wrong things about this film, but then that judge for yourself and a prince, we can clear the music rights with prince and due to the songs that he had done and that so that the thumb yeah for the film wait: no music. It's a basic question. I don't always understand the a and I dunno. If I'd been in a position to ask it because-
would I haven't talked to that may directors who have done this. What what we think and by doing a musical at that time. in the world and we what was it? You know. You'd made two huge films one. I I I I I I wanted to do the truth about hollywood. I wanted to do the truth about hollywood and I thought the best way to do the truth about hollywood was to make it a musical. That was my thinking and I wanted to do the heroism of a worker day journeyman, but talented character, actor haha. I wanted to do fought. I mean had real reasons I is it movie. Testing was in there. I I do think I I do think I I you know in there is is a real observation of the business time. I tour. I I think it's a district. I think that still if I went to look at her today, which I'm not totally, I I I I would think that's in there. I would think that a real honesty and report
about hollywood. At that time you know, but will you a fan of musicals? Ah, I was fed theatre, yet I was it. Was it something on a musical guy, but was it was something about that they hit? of hollywood and the popularity of musicals it led. You d d tried to do that form. No, I just thought, since hollywood is larger than life. I needed a larger than life form. Part of the truth. That's, that was my thinking that defending at this that's interesting is an interesting to you. In retrospect I mean because its get such a challenging with interesting to me here. In retrospect, I got one letter from somebody had seen it and who was these offspring of a famous broadway composer her and said my father always said the key to doing a musical was keep with plot as simple as possible, which I had not done, certainly, and nor have I done you know north and I should have honoured. I mean.
I should have had you know I? I made key mistakes clearly right, but about you know you ve been worn right. You did all I do It's you know you, you pay, you pay, you pay the dews, it's you know you. Your question initially was there? Is there? Is a recovery process absolutely and what's only we should. We need to talk about the simpsons gazette, certainly the the them, though the no recovery needed yet then how by Hemingway hideous has ever imagined. I mean ok, so it start with tracy ullman. So you you find her as a talent. Do you wanted to work with her? Some somebody's sent me her. Agent of the time model trail semi, I sent me hurt, shape and, and your knocked out and people have now, you're knocked out you I mean you know it's like you know that a genius in the same way- and he was a gene urea nobody's I mean very few people- saw the show. I mean it's, but
but I mean I may have serious called following in the sense that, like you, you can you couldn't I'd. She was undeniably unique. She an end, we were doing. A half was crazy. We are weak screw around. It was a brand new network. You know we we were doing a half hour, beriah eighty show right. We would have an audience there and it would take us three hours to do this. Half hours we'd have to keep on replacing the audience, because her make up and prosthetics took so much time between the sketches and who did so. It was brutally hard to do and she was one night. While I'm doing the show, I got a knock at the door and I opened the door and as an african american guy standing there near and talking to me about being lost and stuff like. That was a weird conversation and the conversation keeps on going on. It was sort of bizarre and then suddenly the the guy says Jim it's tracy That's that's how you may
yeah yeah. So their groaning, it just done he's out that relationships? Don't we did the tracy omen show we thought that we should try and cram entertainment replaced, don't redoing thing, I'm glad I again in space and media, so we thought the bumpers that usually you know just hurry. The commercial. I remember yeah. We do these thirty, second animations and from life, and how- and I I somebody had- I got a great gift from from polly platt who work with me on terms of endearment after turn, endearment of of an original mac raining panel from life in Hell, where the aid ways to die in hollywood, in one was freeway, shootings or stuff. Like then, the last two were failure and success. You know you're right and it was- and I had it up and I loved it, so I called him in when it came time when we called what else when he came to my office, not wanting to do life in hell as soon as as as
he had not done any live animated too. I can resolve panel hurdle and- and he came to see me and indeed it wanted to life and health- So in my outer office, in minutes he basically came up with the simpsons in like five minutes. He basically came up with them. Basically came up with the thought: we did it and why he just said is the family. I forget what the the the pitch was and I I remember some of the early pieces and if you see the mouse, luckily, as this like you ever saw steam willie little looks like a sort of looks like with clear, cried beginnings of the right aren't. I do not quite amazing amount that we and our guest europe right right, yeah and and then, and there we had these huge waits for the audiences eyes, as I said, the other, as as we wrong we're on for about five years. We gather a lot of these things and we
watch to show them to the audience. During the weights of the back to back, yeah got back in and they killed and and then and then there was one there was a christmas party. We had where our animator, who had done those yeah got drunk and cornered me and and when he cornered me, he just told me the passion of all all animators to have an animation Television show on their hadn't, been one right twenty five year here and it just knocked me out out. You know how we eyes shone with this and m, and we did it the story, how any right of salmon myself and map wait a new thought when he bright sam. Was, he wasn't working for you at the time, but you knew he was legal together, a lot right. We had worked together, I ought, and he he had and saturday morning, animation. Aha, so he was he britain, lithuania and- and it was an end- would work out what we had for the first two years was
We won't tell anybody who the actors are no publicity on the actors. We want them to experience. This is real. We want them to know we're not doing the cartoon. You know we were we. We had so many rules about that. We were paranoid on the subject and we were going to do character. We're going into the kind of we was still going to do. The kind of you know and and and we had rules that we won't go too far. You know Matt had rules, you know and and one of the things I think that happened, graining emeralds about what were you can't go into space? You can't, you know, Johannes Hahn, Roy you rightly don't. Keep this and any, and he eat said really things. He'd say this should be a teller deserves to be a chap family. On television watches television, we knew doing: dysfunctional family. We knew we were doing that. We win you know and ah, but you, to keep the emotions whom we wanted them to be believable car rice that but but due to a paranoid extent and and held to it for two years.
and and then started to let go of all our rules bit by bit. We saw some, but I think that was that that was up by was that just two because for story reason is more than anything else. We want them to believe the characters. But one day they were established after years and years and the actor. It was becoming big rise, too big to contain on a certain level, yeah and and and there's none of us who don't appreciate it every day. There are many of us who have been there since the beginning, they're alive, of us who have been there for a while and also, but as a training ground for amazing community got talent and actors, and writer hazard came yeah, yeah, yeah, conan, bright bird yeah yeah. I mean like like? The simpsons is the gold standard of comedy writing that e bay? I guess it's interesting to me that having created these these sort of seminal you know alive,
non animated, shows around committee characters in in in human emotions and stuff. Was there? Then you now we're looking at the simpsons in these amazing impact, its hat on culture and continues to have. I mean gazette does in your mind, has the power of of in a real people in their capacity to generate comedy and emotions and coming up in diminished, somehow culturally know its cause, its unique. It's it's I caught a you know. I it's we're all we're all small parts of this final thing: that's iconic, which iconic as a weird deal. We yeah and and there's a language about it. So it's we want is a sense of services like we working the vatican, some of the greatest for the churches in overall yeah, yeah, you're right there You know that we we we care,
Obviously, when we did the movie, you know the movie was the toughest damn scrip one of the toughest amp scripts. We we're dead or any of us, because the pressure put on yourselves, I think we were white, knuckles and and the whole thing with the simpson. Is yours screwing around right, your eyebrows, and we will white, knuckled and and and had to pay the breakthrough that we had to get to the point with something we care out so much to write as if we didn't give a shit right. You know the right that was the idea challenging the yeah. It took us. It took us a while to it, but yeah yeah did you were you able to at some point is break loose in writing process? Yes, yes, yes, Yang, where you are conscious of the fact that the reason why you are having to guess what, you do about that. Happy nervous, dont be nervous and artisans vehicle. What are you? Ok thanks and your company gracie films company? You know you ve worked with,
You know who obviously put out your movies in the simpsons movies, but you know it. You did cameron crossed two very big movies for him, yeah and, and we did bottle rocket and just one anderson, yeah, yeah and and which were first time, writer directors, and I'm doing for that. At the time right now, he said he had and and and we're in post production on that which is interest. What's your relationship with cameroon, like I mean how involve we you with there, with jerry, maguire and standing in terms of light did he come to younger, like how do I fix this issue? exerting was, can you help me out this moment with the seen what he was my much one form on that we just we just, must have top we in our dna just but not be, but not in a conscious way. I mean it was just you know he the thing that the thing that that I respect so much on what's really fun for me, is that with cameroon, with
ass with the young woman on working with right now they have voices there too thanks to their distinctive writers and it's fun for me to get out of myself and try and help they had. And that's already having. your voice, yeah yeah, especially if you get it. If you, I think it's something that you must see to an end writing for television, that there is a system that gets ingrained that can diminish voice, sometimes yes, So this is exciting. You don't want to mention this director's name or yeah yeah yeah. What's her name is kelly? Freemont craig, I mean yeah. I just don't want to be semi plugging or something when the movie come out. It'll it'll come out in the fall will come out in the fall and cheese and she and she wrote a distinctive heroin and she and she spent she served her time on it, and- and she has a real voices this this, this girl, the girl in the movie talks like not quite like anybody
in before and yeah that's exciting yeah and I don't want like, I feel like we're we're winding down, but I want to do I do I talk a minute about as good as it gets, because that was a that was like. That was his movie right. I did a year's rewrite on a on a very terrific script, written by somebody else and and- and so I I feel like it was- you know it was like it was like we were riding partners, but- We didn't work at the same time. It was you know, one of the great openings I think for a comedy where a man takes a dog and puts it down a garbage, chute and ah, and that's the opening of the picture. That was the opening of the picture that I set out to rewrite that still, as the opening of the picture and and and jack was the only person on earth that could play it, I believe cause I had went because before I had
I had to think of any body in, and you know- and I just thought maybe, but it would be different, yea and and and at but but- and I think that's true more and then any of us can face yet we're to do the thing you have in your head. You know, as you go down the list a little. It's no longer the thing you had in your head right right, sure, it'll be something else. That may be, sir and you know every once in a while something better than yet and you're right. But but in this case I felt that was the only man who could the only man who could do it Greg kinnear
ooh. Now, I'm going to say how do you tell me how I sound selling it telling it? Okay and I couldn't begin to guess the number of people I read for Greg kinnear his role. I couldn't be great actors, but just that that right tone, then that tone that you take for granted that tone that looks so simple via the greg brought to it, yeah and and which was an honesty or just justice, simplicity and brilliant and and and just elegant, comedy moves. Instead of you know, anya and and and the range of actors, dramatic actors, comedy actors, she names be a year of forty people. I respect like crazy the pleasure to work with couldn't nail that Helen hunt who was doing a series at the time only one who could do it in my mind, only one who could do it. You know, yeah and and and to work the schedule of her.
the movie and the series at the same time it just it was mine bending the act, but we, but we did it here and- and I think it needed all of that. Needed all that and it needed a dog trainer who was treated with great respect and who was who who helped us author, the performance of the dogs? He had the movie tough with animals. Have I mean not if it? If you do it that way? It's not here, if you're, waiting around that door to do it, but if you really real gift, give the dog the time you ve given actor here who gets lester there is a little dog, pivotal dog yeah one did this won't do that so I can label, as you gotta have a couple of the ira look alike so in it in it paid off. Yeah it was yeah was a war the jealousy war, the roses yeah, ok, so it's sort of war. The roses I take in Michael leeson, he
the right of their danny, directed it. I think it was one of the darkest comedies, and I I I I love that I love that we did a major studio black comedy. Yo doesn't happen to off the air yeah and it's it's it's. You know, and I think it is a classic. What may take yeah yeah, yeah, yeah and and and as good as it gets had to have elements of that had to had to get really dark in water too, earn a yeah, yeah yeah! That's where you you hadn't yeager into her, while the jury, yeah yeah, in writing that edge I had arrived here was, I think, the most difficult thing in his career and and it was murder for me- and I could not help him at a certain point. All I was doing was saying: no, that's not it driving him crazy to get the turned to tick
The two thread, the needle- do not be too angry to not be right when sick fuck, you know yet it yeah to not be doing that and my lady, his own frustration in the relaxation of the frustration is what what murder he was going crazy. Having but I mean I'm telling you where it was. It was bending. Bending may and there was one day we're doing a scene and and- and I think that movie would have maybe not been finished. If we had been france. I mean I will read. It was really a test here and then they one day and this you know where I was just we were batting our heads against the wall and and and it wasn't working and I I heard myself sending the crew home this is with like four or five hours left to shoot. Yeah we're on a huge soundstage, Larry kasdan was there doing doing as
actor and earned him for feeling so lonely when I saw Larry leave behind those huge doors that close like with this slap, yeah yeah and the door slammed, and it was jack and I alone on this stage. I have no idea what we said to each other. We talked for three hours the next day. Everything was okay and we had the character, and I have no idea what we said to each other huh and history history about it. I come off much worse. yeah. His history is that I kept on saying too angry too angry, too angry yeah and then and then in one scene. He absolutely exploded, and I said that's it, but he could have been something like that. I understand that it could have been his experience exploded in anger, but it was just it's. You can't name it What is your uh yeah? I just have. I forgot to bring this up but like what you know, Judd speaks very highly of you. Do you do you
eyes him at all ever owed no I mean, I don't think I'm rises. John. I dislike to see you as a buddha who got out tonight. I think I think that was bargia rearing. I think I should think judd's great. I think, and I love I sort of one of the things I admire is adding that he tends to give his scripts out asked for no, usually everybody's noticed same long we're and he doesn't give a shit, Then I really do admire that makes them a real filmmaker. It makes him a real you know and makes a real into you all right or year, any enemies, and as yet way of doing movies, like I think, will be reading about the way did movies, for you know deca outing. You know I mean he's good, will the interesting thing where you, too, and in relation to some of the other, the locally people. I've talked to one word
it seems that you know you're you're still like. I think that you know whatever has happened with the simpsons and, however engaged with that, both creatively in hand and what you ve been able to to get from it. Fine actually, as as enabled you to be very selective and into exactly two? I don't you feel to me as a guide is like we gotta do more movies. No! No ever been like that we have never been. It's never know is never get big has never. It's never been anything like that, but where I am spoiled. Is you know it's always been my four because I like I've, been I've been getting to do what I want for a while. So you know everything: that's wrong is my fault right, right and, and
I am privileged to be able to say that. That's that's! That's the risk you take is sort of like you. Your production company is not so big where you can throw at a producer, was working for you under the bus or you know, isn't it's always been in every picture is intimate. Every picture is like a dungeon, with the spirit of an into the spirit of the same way, the spirit with what we just did we're all going. Nuts were passionate. I I I I do believe in the simpson it when we work in the simpsons where we are into it. We you know, serving something bigger than ourselves, and you know the idea that feeling is there in the area judd I had on your years ago, and he had when using sk, we recorded in several interviews, were comedians. You now, and indeed also did something like that. Did you you didn't interview when you're in high school is at all I did I did. I did ok, yeah, I like I did I I was, as I told you that my school year, life and stuff,
but we want getting out into so not want. Not only was I somebody that wasn't exactly social hit me but my picture was on the front page of the newspaper every week, because I got interviews, I got interviews, nobody could get from my high school paper and as a person who got them, they always took a picture of the person you're interviewing and hey yeah, so this this guy that you know Well, just who will and social so so awkward, this highschool stars weren't getting their picturing the pay right. My picture was mostly we. How are you doing this? Who you interviewing china lose? My favorite was louis Armstrong We had louis Armstrong and you were a kid you. I fifteen stiffening, sixty how'd you
yet the interview like what was I arrived, I don't know how I did those but was lighted. A theatre in jersey remained where he was playing the permanent theatre, new york, city and louis arms near And- and I I wish I had a picture now. I wish I'd that picture now and I we and I asked him. I thought ask him a great question here that I don't think anybody at a brass than before on bragging beer ha. I asked him to you. Tell me you'll, do you'll be honest with me: how do you take area lips and what may re question? When will the answer made of the great question because he starts to produce creams and oil and tells me about that. The thing he has to go through a ritual performance, yeah yeah and its- and I I I I I have sense, memory of it that is so that it can now be ass. Yes, yeah yeah yeah see
Baxter easy at the pyramids, he was really louis audio. Yes, he only one, but I mean, and then that's who we was, who we're gonna yang at yale. He had a whole system yet, and I just and I've told my kids, I shake my kids had an answer to your connected. Now to a really are you have duly I'm sure, yeah yeah yeah so do here he was Sonia haha. What drove me to do this journalism or that they need to be on the cover. The paper like in us believe may I, which they were important in the few times guy got lumps for it here. I don't know, I don't know driven is wrong. Word I did it, it was. It was the only I did it yeah it serves as a graveyard testament to deserve better rules and also you learn thing dry flaws in you good. You feel good I talk about. Is there something I missed my nose, what there
No, I'm I'm afraid it was no good because I enjoyed myself so much sarah kathy and accept that. There's a certain point. I I go back to you know it's great. I won't be doing this again, really. Why now, because it's it's, it's gets. You know I dunno it's been a moment. In other words, I love your job man. I love your jaw, yeah yeah, don't you love it yeah Would the thing about me is that like, if I don't talk to some As you know, I don't want we're done here. You know I will put this in a can. In my mind, do sir, in business partner, ingenious editor yellow? we'll take a very long and have as this and like I get so attached to these relations with people that you It may help me as a person, and I you terry grows were, and I think I am and there are several examples of this, I think I think
the woman who was on your show that you are clearly flirting with that was great, but some of them say yeah, but it and it was great to hear but but sometimes it it becomes, and I'm I'll just say it, because it's true it becomes an art form, there's nobody I spoke to who who really knows Terry gross's work, who didn't hear that interview and feel the revelation of who she was as human being. A football fan and she's been on stages before and she's been interviewed before, lots you know, and and and the that you're being able to talk about the challenge of interviewing obama, the experience afterwards, but still when you did it yay that man you did it yeah you you did it he I was you know, and it was different than anything I'll ever do you know it was a You know I did. with terry, you know was, it was amazing, it was in a million? We europe must be a high. It was one
amazing things in my life here because it just couldn't have like I was it. be proud, that I was able to respect her and because I you know, I'm great man in my life, you I've gone periods. Where I do I, you know I was too self involved or to cynical to have that the humility enough to to to really respect what was happening, and it was like a big sort of rites of passage for me that you know like that that I'd I'd somehow become a a a a a decent person in in having that conversation with her. That makes sense decency. Impatient yeah thanks for talking, okay, okay, pleasure, James Brooks James brooks where an amazing career be enjoy, that don't forget to check out deputy pod back on power by square space brought your w.
pod needs, how would that be alright, right? Shall I play us out? in the and the Burma.
Transcript generated on 2022-09-06.