Bob Balaban was born into show business and he didn't even know it until he was 10. The ubiquitous actor tells Marc how his immigrant family came to Chicago at the turn of the century and broke into the movie business, eventually winding up in charge of Paramount Studios. Bob also talks with Marc about Charlie Brown, Midnight Cowboy, Altered States, Christopher Guest, Francois Truffaut, and his many roles in film, stage and TV, including his new show Condor.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
All right. Let's do this, how are you what the fuckers, what the fuck bodies, what the fuck and ears what the fuck Adele it's what's happening: marc Maron. This is my podcast wtf. Welcome to it. the show thanks for coming. It doesn't always sound like this, I'm in a I'm in a hotel room and I become fairly sensitive to sound Lately, I don't know if that's a sign of aging or what, but my taste buds and my hearing has become a bit more acute. My jane is of not as good as it used to be, but whatever the case, I'm self conscious about this And I'm in a hotel room, as I said, did I say it said: that's enough It happens when you get older, I'm in sara. Guess brings new york, go into Sarah, the painters, family and visit She got other things got meeting at a museum up here. It's very pleasant up here. It's been a rough few days
I'm getting a lot of email about the passing the death, the suicide of anthony bourdain. We were able to post that that epic know that we did back in two thousand eleven, it's with a heavy heart that I do that stuff, but yeah be that I have the archive to take it out from behind the pay walls. Everybody can have access to gain, but it seems to be a very beneficial thing to people grieving somebody who they respect and in and loved theirs think about that window. That portal back into another time, had a lot of people pass away that have been on the show, some old and some it's always sad, but sometimes it's not so tragic. Anthony ordain was a tragic situation and I had a mind recently in not too long ago. I just saw him. He seemed full of life in his rented muscle. Car seem d engaged
and I don't know I can't say happy, but he was definitely himself cynical. Intense engaged, passionate. heart was always in the right place, stood up for the underdog brought people together. with any means necessary around the world, usually food, but intellectually, as well and very just to unique guy and a real american, original, that guy and after he passed and we had the episode eight hundred and eighty eight it's hard to really know just how Important somebody is in in other people's lives, based on popularity or whatever, but this this guy went deep with a lot of people and- and I was glad to have had the experience with him and glad to have talked to him and also
happy in a very unhappy way to be able to to give that episode back or to repost it or to to make it available to remind people, because this is a two thousand and eleven that the episode came from and and a it was a different guy. Really I mean the same guy, but you know looking back on it of what he's gone through in the last seven or eight years, what we've all gone through, and it's just that you know that there was definitely a different tone to him. He was not as angry was not as cynical about to the world because it's hard not to be if you are awake and engaged, but but a beautiful guy and a good hearted guy, and you just can't know the sadness in somebody or or or almost anything about anybody other than what they're giving you right up front. I don't either you just don't know people you don't
what they're going through- and this is where this one ended, and I and I do yeah it's weird, but I I feel like I should say this. But uh you know. Don't don't lose hope, because somebody that represented your hope or represented your you know ability to persevere or to model yourself after has has done this type of you don't know what anyone's going through. You don't know if your situations of the same- and you know- and I know that these kind of things, if you are prone to depression, are prone to that type of self reflection or prone to taking drastic acts with your own life. Don't don't use it reason or as a barometer for your own feelings. You just don't know what people are going through
we all know the act is horrible and it has its effect but tat but there, but but tried it to stay in the lane here, try to stay in the the lane of life. If you can, I look it's it's hard for me sometimes for a lot of people, but just don't use this as an excuse and if that seems like a sort of drastic or unnecessary public service announcement. I don't think it is it's a sad thing that happened, but it doesn't It doesn't mean that what he stood for isn't amazing and what he did is an amazing and that you know it is an indicator that you should dare you should pursue, dress, action. I m sorry, it's heavy. I know it's heavy, but I just felt like I had to say it and.
So here's! What we'll do you know a bob bow band is on the show today by bow a ban is a. I am a huge fan of Bob Taliban. I've been a fan of his for years. He's been one of those guys that has showed up in movies over the years you may know from or the christopher guest movies go. Google him right now, but I have actually been following him since I saw him and I think the first time I saw him was an altered states when I was a little film nerd, albuquerque new mexico and very excited about that. William hurt movie. I'd read about him. I body heat. I heat. I don't remember which one came out first, but Bob bowed was that he was in closing our eyes to the third kind. By like when I went to see. Midnight cowboy. At a revival house, there was bob ballard in the bathroom scene. If you know what I'm talking about you know what I'm talking about, but just an interesting guy comes from an interesting show, business background in any so funny and so natural and such a selfish
seeing wonderful actor, I was very excited he's. One of those guys were a lot of people may not know him, but I couldn't fucking believe that I was talking about bower ban big saturday night in saratoga springs we're just parades of it. Seems a middle aged wine drinking people. So we we want to go to bed we we get in bed, I'm exhausted and then like right next door, seemingly in our room, a band starts playing. Theirs beer garden next door and a band starts playing And we thought we and yet we thought we could handle it. Maybe we could just go to sleep, but it was just the worst kind of Medium classic rock cover soul, death play, It was just that it was. It was just a. I don't even know how to explain to you it's not that the music was bad because I knew all the fucking songs. I knew all the songs does that mean like them. I don't know, does it mean that they were drilled into my head at some point yeah? Does it mean
We're not going to be able to sweep even with earplugs in yes, I mean we start with. You may be right the billy, joel song, and then we do see they eat into sister golden hair. Do you remember that one that was from when I in junior high dont. Don't even know who did it was an america song and then they they they. Into a maggie may and then a tie. the dancer and then open course, maybe a second village or song. Why not don't ask me why? How would that be habit, well that so now, you're on board, sweet. It's coming through the window, the double pain window into the in through the year plugs just at an evening of horrendous brain worms. I didn't know how to feel like. I was mad at the music, but I think I don't if that was it two layers going on. I was mad at the music because it was. I was trying to sweep I was mad at myself for knowing all of them, and I was mad that, like I, couldn't transcend them sweet, because my brain, just you have,
into the melody of every single one of them, except for the more modern, soul, deadening, classic rock based tunes. How much you suck up as a person, I mean how much You take. You know, obviously this in some great I'm not fighting for justice and it does not a big fight, but the decision to call the desk and say, like hey. You know I don't know if you know this, but there's a band next door and how often it happens but It seemed to me that on this side of the building it would be impossible to sweep. If one wanted to. I, of course I had a different tone Not yelling, but it's likely a but they immediately moved us to a different room, a nicer room. Even that was quiet, so we could sweep- and I I guess, thanking them. For that, that's what I'm doing right now! Thank you for that. little bit of a hassle, but thank you because their cause,
I don't know what would have happened, given that I haven't eaten sugar in a week and a half. If that couldn't have happened, it would have been ugly. It would have been a bad phone call but but yeah, so we moved in. He had. Bed and there was there was nothing I could do really had him. His walk quiet unless I went to sweep the you know that don't ask me why tiny dancer maggie may sister golden hair and you may be right- we're all playing in my brain? There was no stopping that there was no ear plug for that. there there's no new room that was going. Take down that noise. I just want before we do due the bar bow ban bit with me and Bob talking, real, quick email, and I think that there is encouraging email for people that debt that are public speaker Maybe you know I just I just want to,
your mind a little bit this just a subject like I've been ripping you off dot that that high mark hope you're doing well in settling in after the move. I'm writing this. He met with a bit of a confession. I've been it you're in long island, new york for eleven years now- and it took me a long time to really come into my own in the classroom. After listening to your show for me, for years now. It recently struck me that I'd come to see teaching in some of the same ways that I've heard you discuss comedy it's taken me years to develop a personal style dependent on timing, tone and point of view that felt right, and I thought that I had crafted a unique persona for myself that didn't feel totally artificial. In short, I believed that I had found my voice, as I've heard you discuss with other comics recently I was confronted by a pair of students who had a question they'd been meaning to ask me all year. They asked hey mr mac. Where does the whole hey folks thing come from? I guess. While I was busy developing what I thought was my own style. I was really just stealing yours for the rest of the day I caught myself falling into rhythms and patterns of syntax that felt natural
but I realise our unmistakably marin ask I guess the hours listening to your podcast of layered into my things and when I open my mouth your voice comes out. I can't help it, but when I greet my class fallen into the habit of using your hey folks and passing it it is my own. After these students asked me this question, I lied and told them. It just came naturally so to ward off the wings of guilt and hacking is I'm writing to you now to confess. I thought you'd appreciate this. Thank you for all that you do with your podcast, its refreshing, the tune into someone who reminds me to stay and gazed with our theodore and the human experience you'd. I'm not even give the guy's first name just me. As I can. I don't want him if a if by some coincidence, one of the students listens to as I don't want to embarrass him too much but yeah you're free to take it. If it's to teach and whatever you know what I mean
everybody's guy, you know what I mean like right now. I've got to don't ask me why my head? Yes, sometimes brain worms fall in the form of of styles of speak yeah, you got a warrant somewhere and if its work and view I'm sure you have your own life in your own history and pass and everything else he just using a certain rhythm and you can have hey folks. Believe me, I did not too it's not mine It is not that I don't have any sort of copyright on hey folks, hey folks, that's it that's been around since the beginning of entertainment, so Bob bauer, as I said, Europe is a tremendous comic actor and dramatic actor in interesting presence in the history of modern syn. I've always enjoyed him and I've been wanting to talk to him for a long time. So this very exciting. For me, this is me and bob our back at the new girl. she's in a series. That's on the audience network called condor sort of a modern update of three days of the condor we talk about as much as we can related to mister.
Now a ban sower enjoy how old your house do live in a house. I have a house country, where I in new york and live in the country in new york, which looks like an old house, but it's it's about ten our boat. We ought to be a traditional sheena, conk style, shingle house, and is it yeah. It gets right these. This old houses, things from nineteen o, eight and- and I can hear fuckin everything also it must have plaster right, I think, there's a lot of plaster involved. I wouldn't believe that whatever that's too what is it? We are houses out of that kind of worm. It doesn't push it back to wake. You know probably a smooth plaster so you're, not a builder. You have no I've never built anything much now. Now that you know I used to make I made some puppets. Are you there what kind of puppets?
Well, when I was in summer stock- and I was seventeen- I was reginald place at rio, interested it had the dregs of left over movies. It would come to it right like they were great, like edward everett, Horton sure and marjorie. Lord came from danny thomas show, and that was the kind of thing where, where was this Sullivan illinois guide you guy little junior's theater on the square in Sullivan illinois? That's right! So all these elder actors that were just sort of allentown last year they would work for what weeks to months knew they would tour all the time, Oh certainly, one hundred and two gigs, most of them in the summer. So the stage wasn't that complicated. They just throw it up and you they come. Do the states what they need yeah and I was an apprentice. There wasn't hired an make, a kid, and so we in their protests musical and they all it's Saturday is, I did the fantastic there and then I did it and I did the choice. staying, where I was, I was the miller in
instilled skin yeah and, and then I was in the chorus of my fair lady yeah, and I also built all the props and some of those were puppet and one of them was in carnival and I had to make out of an act out of a thing called so last tech. I think discovered to be like the most cancerous product in the world. I made really good puppets yeah. I didn't. I didn't know what to do, but I was going and I had to build a couch once which I would angle between it, looked pretty good yeah, but just put it together with a lot of wood. It weighed about four thousand Violence is words areas eighty ever set yet and euro, like fifteen seventeen, seventeen, and that was outside Chicago. It was about two hundred miles south of shoe was in southern illinois. How do you get that gig? I me why that place where you and I were studying at the second city I announcer, I wasn't. They had an apprentice work a teenage workshop. Then vial. Splendid at the second city, which was in the middle of not too far from where I lived right
I was always interested in theater, I was the terror. When I was really will my family was in the movie business in various ways in chicago chicago and in los angeles, so you grew up. AL all in chicago you're like blonde in order chicago. Yes, I've groaned aloud the congo widen. I don't talk to a ton of people from Chicago. What will help me brothers this year, I had twins on my, just who were twins they're. Both gone panels are, but they were there. There my grandparents, are or garcia Hampshire. Oh my god, I had a grandma, goldie, n and aunt Gussie. I think everybody did really. Although I've not met that many people, golden she's she's in fiddler on the roof is caribbean golden age of america and I think it's a traditional polish name. My girl, from belarus, but I think they will rule that sort of where my family, with from I just found that out much about it. Minsk were pin screw something like that. I think that's in the russian polish jews and they fled and progressive as everybody tried to tour,
let us remain ended up in chicago on a street called Maxwell street yeah which was a really interesting, bless your grandparents, then my dad's parents. They really my age wise. My great grandparents, because they had to Children in my dad was the baby, so the oldest child was like twenty three four years older than laugh. So I never knew that text. Sharon father, probably died one thousand nineteen twenty in my grandmother, one thousand nine hundred and thirty five or something, but he intended a before. I was born, so they get to Maxwell street. It's the what's the lower east side of chicago and it it's been different gallows, it's been a blanket, always been an irish ghetto. We ask whoever the downtrodden or when they first get to Chicago end up on Maxwell street. It's not there anymore or rite of passage here. Your history, everybody will speak your language, our something they'll sell. You you'll be allowed into their stork, as you think you know. Nobody wanted jews anyway, attic they still don't particularly but
Any really the run of the mill wedged our way into your only too to take over businesses that nobody else wandered on, get really successful them, and then they were hated for doing so. They had a little delicatessen. It wasn't doing very well, and father was evidently a sweet nicely. I and it was beneath him, like collect money, at the end of the month, because she had a delicatessen and everybody would go in and say I want to. Let us handle this in the end of the month. He had to go around any number one around, so they didn't make any money particularly gave away food, yes and she hated being in the delicatessen business. So in nineteen o eight the year my father was born, but he might have been born in nineteen o annoying. I know no say I run there, but there are laudable: older brothers when she saw nickelodeon and she got excited about it. She said democracy, while a man, my dad's oldest brother We are going to go in the movie business, so come with me. So will why do you like it so much and she showed it to him, and she said first of all, there's no waste here. It's not like the letters
yeah yeah he gets. People are squishing it as I can kind of throw it away to the movie, gets old and stale. You send it back you gonna do new one. The, like. That's how the movie business works. And they ll know riding food, no bad smells neuron, thea, no vents rules, and also on like that. it doesn't business where you buy a piece of fish it doesn't so good they don't like it. You get your money back. You pay your nickel before you. Though in you don't even know what you're buying. If you hate the movie, it doesn't matter, it is there, and these were merely guys at the time they re register that machine right there were short. Did you have to take our little thing? I think in nineteen o eight. It probably would you like a view masters. I can act. It wasn't quite like yours, andorra, the strongman, going like this area as arms, but they want me he's right, o them, so they went in the family one in the business. They all hawked, everything that had barney, who is the oldest, worked at an ice company and he provided eventually blocks of ice for air. He was the first air cooled theatre. Basically, so they go.
Our own little theater and like fifteen people on his folding chairs, so they buy one nickelodeon name. They made themselves a little store that he turned into a nickelodeon one of the brothers played the piano. So he was like the accompaniment and they all had. They will I shall deal dad was baby, so he didn't do anything tranche of that time and in about they built their first right. Theodore theater, about five years later and in fifteen years they had built seventy five theaters in the chicago area, the largest of wood, bigger than radio musical and it was Balin Van and in so that its interesting to media, to you to hear about how the though it, when the business was just a business that there were these relationships built between. Yet this is before distributors. So oh you're. Your family's theatres had a relationship with zoo kerr.
and yet you ran the movies. He supplied all the movies you needed and, and then you in and that's our move, the business was built in and it was originally. I don't know that it always was like as friendly as theirs, but they were really friends. Yeah I mean my my uncle didn't want to do it and worker booked up, I have a room on a train that barney was going in to go to california for some creation reason he had to go there here. One hundred know why had to go and Her was waiting for him in his in his will state room on the on the train and he so all I run into you are you Harry said. I'm here because I want you to want to convince you to take over permanent, I'm old. I love company- and I can't run it in these troubled times- are not know what to do and barney literally said well, I'm very happy I like stay with my family and Chicago in Chicago seven brothers and everything else, and he in jeopardy. Instant, doing and barney said well. I must find a way to if you on in some way so is, was the chairman of the board and then eventually is over
Barney was both the president and the chairman of the board, but he would would only do it if, if, if it was It was an edging out of Zucker and kept him part of it, and they were really friends wild, so so you're, just by being in the by starting with nick allodial an ice. It will place he this be built this. He built this market which the chicago market for movie, basically now and then I like the lows of Chicago every now and then he ends up where we are running paramount at what at what time in history is this? What movies were made under your uncle's reign? Eighty million of them are Alfred. Hitchcock was a mistake. I believe as though they were so they had arrived and our main louis amory. So they were a downright right over here and how he would only barney. All the executive office is a permanent starting with sucker and, as you know, all the people who have actually created the original studios. They came from the east coast mostly come from poland, poland and they were living in upstate new.
Making gloves in gloversville, but they eventually all ended up in california, except from paramount number one Barney ran paramount from the parent, building on forty street and broadway in. They would give messages back and forth time any. He went to California, someone, but he was famous for being very businesslike. He kind of, who can also be a humble. He was one who did weird that no movie the paramount made. He didn't know analysis and you said some arm costs three million dollars. He said there is no reason to spend more than a million dollars on a movie because he looking the ones We didn't do any better business. He said he is only just not make anything over a million dollar and he was hey. There are people, I forget who wouldn't be. I don't have a great old fancy directors like I don't want to. Could bear amount, but they all work did paramount, knows shower and who? How do you get the stories.
How do I hear about it? Yeah I mean, like my parents, never like to talk about it. I'm you know: where are you from my people are from jersey? I grew up in new mexico was chicago if you're, jewish in Chicago yeah you you at least I am here is very important that you not seem pretty twenty keep your head down low. Just just be as much like. In Gaza is, you can possibly be resolutely didn't know much about any of my relatives. A kind of did seem special to me. I liked it no love movies around theater and all that, but it will. Was ten years old I broke my arm. I was a puppeteer, but that didn't help anything. But I was interested in this stuff, and I broke my arm and I was hyperactive and they didn't know what to do with me. So my mom and dad, and I got on a train and went to visit my Parents who lived in belarus It was my there's mother and SAM Katz, who are now married to my mother's mother, and I can't talk too much about him cause. He did bad things, but
not that bad. He didn't kill anybody, but anyway he was kind of complicated now it's don't. I could detect development, so I know no one from the congo. I don't like it and of hundred years ago with us, it, sam cats, elude he tried to fuck. My aunt who was his is, daughter here. So that was a nice here, not no good any allowed in millions of affairs with people which is fine. That means that you will have our is sam it is a notorious it's my slightly predatory, film guy guess from the old days sunday order and He when Louie be mare was away, he wanted. He always I judy garland to be dorothy in the wizard of oz, so he didn't
and run about louis and be mayor who wanted shirley temple, as you probably knew. Who cares you know, but I don't know I like the movie. I think it's better, because judaism is Judy's great and key kind of main duty be in it. Now isn't a good thing: SAM Katz, your grandmother's husband, my grandmother's husband used to be my father's sister's, husband or israeli. We are here and So I get to the studio cause. I find here the intolerable right now. Sam can possibly there We are not yet I'm think it's great. There were funding getting into this, but The world is run all the time everywhere, so you go out there to SAM cats, his house and there I again we stayed the beverly hills, saudi, as my grandparents are very formal living here. I ten eleven. I was ten and they take me to the studio to watch a movie being made well. This is you know like if you're I was like, my nose was pressed up against the glass.
exciting all the time and yet they were in california, so they might as well have not existed to me. Do you remember the movie, your wife's being totally? I remember everything about it two and dan daily restoring and meet me in LAS vegas. It's a mid level comedy where she put. Her hand. Undine dandy need damn daily, while he's getting any wins is magical. It's like this, this kind of like a little supernatural romantic. There is not very good right, but I was just overwarm by the whole thing, because I like scenery are more like a scenery, finale yeah and it was in one. It was in a on a casino and- and there were three hundred extras and it was would require neural standing there, and then they went actually go. Oh look me Henry I'm on tomorrow show the guys. I write thousands of things. You know, then they go cut, quiet and I had a chair with my name on it, like a lobby valentine's, something instead of the gym, and I was really excited. I never got over it
came home and made public shows about hollywood, and then- and now is it for you, your show business all how, as a done deal on wasn't show business because I was small, when funny. Looking certain who would I be you know, and or me I can be arnold stang, which is not exactly my dream, but better than nothing, and I love arnold stang yeah. I was in all the the school and in all those kinds of things and studied a second city, what what was seen mobile second city like, as did you go see the shows that we're going on the mainstay of Europe? I saw the key. Take her, I mean they were serious. You know it wasn't all funny. Reading, but it was all based on improvisation. Was it like as there and who was there at the time of the people that you would know? I can't even remember the names are really. I mean they're famous in second city lore, but my because in a lane may had left and zero lampert was rendered. I kept member, they were there from that. There is now really relate you're, homey disorder and they sort of morphed over here and they were grade in Paul sills, who found our elinor was no longer there. He had already come to be a star in new york, but Paul
It was hard or eleanor story, theatre and the one who taught improvising for teenagers, which is what was the class. That idea was staggeringly She wrote a book called cedar name, which you can buy now it stolen, but their name viola, stolen and she's literally like the mother of improvisational theater, she invented the games that unlock, though world of improvisation, but we have Remember old improvisation is a little the different from what close from stuff dough close. Was there I'm sure here maybe hamilton I can't remember who, how is it different? because now it so commercialize, it doesn't mean, is bad and there still great people come out of it, especially in a like sings, indian toronto and mean them great things, very oriented towards ok, let's improvising improvising now will set these need our favorite routines and will do them every saturday night in the show, but originally.
you would go to see a show and they really would be throwing out a name and they really would be making it up on the spot The great ones never bombed they just did but they may were less funny sometimes, but it was intriguing and interesting so it's all comedic improvising, no I can see it is just just anything, that's real that you can do when you learn here, but I learned some great. Things like what don't tell don't come in with us to preparing any stories script here, be there know your circumstances and then will you circumstances story: every you can do. Where did I come from whatever the circumstance you get a character and and then don't anticipate anything? You have to actually be rembrandt's corny to say but you have to be in the moment and you have and what you're doing, in fact, by somebody else, you're, not you and you're, not coming in being somebody spewing all over everybody, it's gotta be given tat. So when you say no use
consensus that means you put to you put together a story for yourself of the person you are and then, when your interacting you kind of react in relation to that, and you can make. Will you weren't gets refined as you going on to serbia with the other personnel yeah? You learn to deny other people you some somebody say to you. Milan, blah blah blah blah running any shows. No, I'm not your father after all area cannot be. I guess you could. If it turned out, there was a store. it was important right. Would you you you're, not simple you're supposed to support the other person doesn't mean make it easy for them fighting in having an argument and in providing is the deadest and you can find it it it just it because it can become is the easiest thing for many people to do his fighting our position and the best fights improvin and do you know a woman named minor Kolb as as encourage she was one of like the and the while unheralded geniuses, yeah the early days of improvised yeah and I put together,
improvised movie that we never made, but we did it. We did two weeks of workshop for it with great wonderful hoffman was LISA kudrow hawaiian minor, minor, coldplay, LISA kudrow, his mother, and I had set up a movie that- and we did in two weeks we basically improvised the growing one scene it in time than I had organised and then we had somehow like we can make a script like Michael would do if he was your and we never made a movie. But the circumstance was that this, couples getting married and it was really about. It was a comedy about getting, What can go wrong and that they were about to appear in a big quiz show conquest, the brine which I'm trying to set up desperately as an actual quiz show, but I still get getting ready it just. I think it's a great. What is what what is really autistic lord lay down on the movie studio in a tv studio here the bride and the groom play for various prizes. and on and on a square, and it says on what three
things? Did your mother in law do this morning and you right to know it and you guess things and then there are games like beat the clock and you have to you- have to theirs. There's a game called bridle night, and you have to do six things that are sort of like metaphorical. Silly sexy things behind folded and fallen vat of dough- and you know just ask pensions raymond as a reality, show yourself no? No, nobody wants it. Okay But but this thing, mine, kobe's character. Was she it's just a bitch. who is the grandmother of the family and lisa lisa was her goudreau was her granddaughter. He added instantly at least and leases one situation. We didn't tell her anything about where she's out of rehab, he or she shouldn't have left rehab, but she wanted to come home for the wedding right so she's, just like this vicious bitch. But because it's LISA it's hysterically funny, but it's real is completely a bitch
and she sits down and her grandmother. Maybe minor was young enough, then to be her. Mother was a while ago I might as about ninety two. She could have been her mother when we did it and we don't have footage, but when tape recorded, they sat there at the table and destroyed other, but because it was a family and there were other people there. It had rules. You handed. You could If things were more like you would really do it if you're in a family, you just don't say get out of here. I hate you, I'm never talking to you right, you had to deal with each other and it is the funniest hateful relationship when a child in a grown up at least being a thirty four year old child the time ever seen in anything but in general, writing is a rule. You do not want to fight in improvisation. You wanted to disagree and you can do different things, but out and out fighting is it. Be a closed door. Anything and you don't play. The weird thing is like you say it's funny, because it was her, but, like you don't play for laughs right, I mean
when you're improvising like. I always wonder that I mean there's a slight tweak in people. I think I noticed a best where you like, when you This is an improvising. This is acting polite, your. What is the difference between you know then playing the character, casino and near applying the character and analyzed. So you just put your finger on one of my favorite things, I'd like to think about what makes funding, and why aren't they funny? And it can be the same thing in the same person and nearing and and some people can't do it, I mean there are people who are only made not to be funny, and there are some people who are maiden don't be snot to be syria, but an awful lot of people. can go either way and is very hard to analyze it, but you just sort of brought it up. So I'll tell you believe that the best funny actors can turn on a little switch in their head right. That knows it's going to be funny right and then proceeds to be very real, but it's funny right and I think it has something to do with the grip. It's everything, but this
same material year can do you can do a lot of tragedies and have them be funny. If you really want us right now, so we are playing off and the year, but he added he's a little swimming around a lot of it. Has you I would milton berle we see you know who mountain mature and I directed monitor on an episode of amazing stories that thing that Steven Spielberg produced a nightmare. He was martians came down to earth and they had to only the funniest person on earth because they were look as they loved american television. Did you did you end up seeing his penis at all? No, but my father did. He came to be about here. He didn't act, somebody in your family size, penis algal theater. Here there were seven brothers and he came there to get the box office receipts, yet the Miliband brothers, abe and barney and had ad and harry and everybody else were in the office because he had offices above the theatre and Mountain came by and he said: okay, we got the receipts,
I do two shows on wednesday, but don't forget? I can't do the show on thursday here, and I know you won't want to see my penis so here it is and he took out his penis and he put her on the table seriously. I don't even think I don't want peter bring that up to milton when you work with him. Do you remember my uncle's? He did it everywhere. I don't think he could have differentiated who it was. When I worked within yeah, He would say to me: ok, I know we're doing, we'll see now now is supposed to be funny because I'll be melty media, and it's not supposed to be funny I'll, be milton. So, who am I in the scene of my milton multi and I would have to tell him which he was only because it was an amazing story is preserved. He was melting like all the time, but it was kind of he could be. And most of them turned it already and Alan king. You're a great example pia he can be funny man in a movie can be in the godfather. I mean he's a good
right here I mean yeah. I don't. I don't think it's that difficult for comedians do not be funny I I do when I mean they can actually be good actors. Yes, that's more than many other people nigh. I believe, that's true. If they get past the self consciousness, he I think it's has to do with self consciousness, with the comics act, yeah. The ones that are good are the ones that can get beyond right they even control it. I just think they can share and I think that's true about acting in general. I would say so yeah. So when did you really start in earnest to act, ever. Since I was in the place in our I say in second grade when I was the troll in the three billy goats gruff. I was by then pretty interested in being an actor you, so you do this. What do you do? After did you go to college? I went to summer stock, because it goes everywhere. When the went to a second city, I met people,
ran this girl that I knew I was really nice. She was eighteen, lincoln's, grandson, granddaughter or niece, or robin menken. She really smart one of these who's going to summer stock theatre on the square in southern illinois, come with me, your audition you're, saying you'll get a thing and I went to an audition. They said, oh yeah, you you could fit into this thing. Are you willing to work for free and clean the toilets, and I said yes I'd love to do that and I went and did a season of summer's doctor and that's when I started acting so I ended up there and then came back for a second season and got my equity card and then, you know made him. I was very, very aggressive, much more aggressive. I would be doing so much better if I could have never changed him in seventeen all the time here we saw aggressive as a young person, and I auditioned and I got into play- when I was eighteen in chicago on Chicago he at a stones. Pheasant run playhouse and got a part. A television series and went to California was on a tv series which series
you never heard of lying hank, hank yeah. It's misbegotten television series and then I went back to be a freshman in college by right. So we only training you really had was at the second city, yes and then after couple of years in new york I studied with with oda hunger at the age, be studio, ninety class with it so as to come back. The and then you go to college after the hank experience, and I wrote a college with your your grandpa SAM now I went yeah. I did sometimes stay with them yeah when he came here. Nobody he died when, when I was about fifteen show he died and then my grandmother moved to chicago night, so you go back to your freshman college and any you do you just do four years, in june two years, and I I get a little. On the guiding light on lincoln under fire in new york. I'm in and you on the shown, you're allowed to say three. It's like hello or ups, or something, and I didn't yeah and then my wife to be
Who is my best friend in college she played on musical auditions. Could I see I pretended I could sing and dance and all that stuff cause. I didn't know what I would ever do here and she me and she said, look they're casting for charlie brown, the musical, and you can sing and they need people who are I put five and under think of the chance. if you getting a part, it's like already not that many people are, as short as you are yeah. So suddenly, my being a dwarf became sort of a positive thing in my life and I went and I auditioned to be the the brilliant linus ear and began a succession of the only parts I get or if you're supposed to be really really brilliant, like you're a doctor or scientist. That's what I've been doing my whole life, so you guys don't tend to I'm not that smart, I'm not that well educated, but but I seen by the impression to people that I'm studious easy? What yeah yeah? I'm not ok, but you know you can act, sort of fear, but let me tell you play linus chosen on us in that was for about a year and on guard way. It was
if Broadway it was an embroidery, but it was huge hit. It was the first giant moneymaking on broadway musical cars on broadway used to be you know, off on guard and without our results there? No, he doesn't trust so he never ever came in didn't fly, but obviously it was with. blessing and we all got to. We all got a little thing signed charles shoulds welcome bob. Now I hope I can find it I'll sell it next year on Ebay, yeah and and and then I got cast in two movies I got cast in midnight how boy when I was in my city senior year of high school after I was finishing, charlie brown here that young for that bathroom role, yeah you, while you were supposed to be sixteen whatever's yeah yeah. I was like nineteen. I remember being very excited because I I think, when I saw a midnight cowboy bathroom role, is that what you got it is really the novo. I remember like cause I've gotten familiar with you. I think that first time I really knew who you were was in altered states
I guess, because I was in high school and I was a fan of hurts and you know we're very excited about the movie. I mean I don't remember his bills first movie, but alright, yeah and I and I was into like I liked I liked william hurt. I liked it, and I liked I'm trying to see one says nineteen it's a year- be lowering graduate high school and they now my whose act I so then you know I start to follow you a bit and thence at some point, I saw a midnight cowboy either for the first time are again and that was like eleven of years before altered state. That's right. So I get. Why was fifty four? So I wouldn't have. I don't know that would have seen it when it came out by. I remember seeing at the revival house you had because if you saw on television in those days, I wasn't in right here. I could not have my seeing right so at the revival house and I'm like shit. That's bob like the wizard. There was an excitement knowing was you where's, waldo and use of energy is part. We have seen interesting looking into the other, while their glasses and failure. But I note where ridden white ever now react people.
become at heads really while there yet. But the bathroom seem like those of those who could see. It was fine and I got the part because I because the auditions for that thing that scenes We didn't have a lot of dialogue in them, so it's messenger, Jon voight was there. just call me- and I didn't know much about this thing or what it was. I thought it was a tv show frankly really like how could it be a tv show? I literally thought I wasn't sure where it was. I thought. Maybe a t v show yeah and I went in and he said now you and John void you've just you've just blown him it is now your and now you're in the bathroom improvise something and he wants you and that's the circumstances you don't want to give them your watch. You cause your mother will find out that you might to tell your mother your right, giving some guy a blow job and gave him your watch. So that was improvised and while I was in the audition by believe me, I could have gotten I got an academy award for best like
the teeny little part in it wasn't really a supporting player. Is it the best teeny part? I was wonderful. I could always improvise much better than I could ever act yeah and then we get there and we have to do this and we did the scene backwards. There were presents. When I meet him on the street in front of the theater, then I'm in the theater on my knees for like a hundred hours with my knees, getting robbed rene, we did not commit a sexual act or do anything. I just disappear. go the seat and he watched a movie where a rocket ship was taking off their telling you. Without the media, and then I mean in the bathroom. I came up with a wonderful piece of business that I'm throwing up. Yonder know who they get their negative. You I can't remember there are watching them with the early. these either. I was known that and- and we did that part first and that was in may and then July the thing in the movie theater and then in october we did the part where I him in front of the I guess I've really been introduced to movies because, like I don't even know who I am or where I'm going at this in a is my watch in the first scene. and we're doing it and like
asked my hand, went to go and crashed my eye I really hit some people really badly with my with my. I almost got knocked out. I remember dizzy. For the rest, it will be good for my part and that's how actors look there in front of the real pain it'll play. Everything will use use. He and I went to visit uncle barney, who is president irma, which released him in Manhattan? I came to see him in his office at the paramount building or maybe by the new york, often western india and he was only the chairman of the board, then because it was all getting corporate and everything else, and I I can, and I notice the cancer films film I get way sitting on his desk. He said yeah, I'm needed see it this weekend. oh really I think he knew I was in, and I think he really knew what it was about a year and he never mentioned it. I saw him like a passover or whatever he did now that we're not so then your story,
I have been running her orphans. Often I wouldn't call it running. I would god creeping with what he did like some hippie movie, then I got in too, as I got into plaza. Suite which might Nichols was directing on broadway with george c scott. That was a play. really Simon play, and I was I had a little cute funding part in it and it went well short sea. Scott man, how is ass out for your first thing to be with people of that magnitude. I love them both, but george was very, very complicated, but to me a arsenal. Much and Maureen was the earth mother the loving fabulous amazing. The most drank but when marine drank you just got funnier sweeter area and very outgoing they had of inappropriate, but our lovely and sweet all the time the non drawn marine was like a church. Lady, practically with a drunk mooring would like. we took her to dinner with my dad once at some fancy. Restaurant me too
literally in the middle of dinner. She got up, stood on the table and started pink cigarette add spinning and empowering putting cigarettes out in the palm of her hand? It was never bad. She was never mean to george george could get really wicked because he was tormented armenia and he hated being an actor. He thought it was. I don't I dunno if he ever said it, but I mean clearly he thought it was debasing. Wasn't man's work to be an actor, but it was the thing he did brilliantly that he got rewarded for and I but I was always scared. He might turn on me, but he never did. I mean I was too insignificant and right on alright. So I'm going to I loved him and when we got it out of town in philadelphia and the play was about to have it's first public performance, george, there. He just simply want to wait for a week and we were most to talk about andrea thing, but I he we just didn't, never play and we'd come in, maybe he'll show up. You know I was here and then a weekly They came in maybe five days when having him. Well,
Basically, we knew what had been going. One hundred as was, he knew every line. He was sober. Surely he always was really professionally and perform drunk or anything, but he'd go, a bender and they just had to wait for it to be over you. Couldn't you can't push? drive to get off a bender? And I especially if they're worth multilateral and volatile. So these things came to us then only like four people unemployed, maybe five and he's in hers Nobody says welcome back since it was gone. We just pretend nothing happened. And it was fine and he never never had any trouble, no problem. He got great reviews. He was and he and marine adored each other great actors. working together really do appreciate each other and he was great with the other. I seemed so intense yeah. Well, he was very, he was very good. He was very ambivalent about his work. It's interesting, isn't it gutter. It's like it's weird, isn't it I guess now it's not uncommon for actors too,
desperately not want to be in front of people are, though I mean, but it sounds like it was more than not wanting to be in front of people. It sounds like you know, he didn't know, he thought it was. He thought it was. It made him think is that what he didn't repulsed him so When was the next big movie for you I mean, like I see that's when I got, I got catch twenty two from right and I remember that not play and when I'm condition for my country, I couldn't believe I was an additional four if- and I was only like twenty one at the time or something right and in addition you. He said if you ever read the book. Catch winter is a yard. Then we all read it and he said maybe you'll be in touch wanting to? And I said okay, then that's ok with me at my audition. You know it's my god, and then during the play I probably had to read for it I don't remember really and I got to be- and I was going to be milo, mender binder, which would have been in
with Jon voight ended up being manolo, etc, and instead I got to be your syrians roommate organs, roommate, captain or yeah. What a have you did you see the movie? I saw it then- and I sought a year ago and how to hold up. I think it holds a better than it did when it came out, because it was under a great burden when it came out which was the most famous book in the world most beloved book in the world and a very hard book to translate into anything and when the double burden that mash came out weeks. for catch. Two they did, and only I know is mash was you know the history mash gnomon they hated the studio was gonna burn it arrived well, I did a little, I commend to you about Robert Altman, before I knew him terribly well and and in heat me the story of they had done tortora? until we eat of java things like that. They were all like twenty million dollar movies right and which now is like a two hundred norm million non we're and they
at robert altman, make mash for two million dollars or a million point six dollars yeah, because it's like always some famous tv guy. We don't care it'll, be nothing. He was forty, eight years old he's a has been here all be over and but in his contract he does said dj They had a dj then, but you had to get one preview sown they, reluctantly said: ok, we'll go to san francisco and give you a preview whoever the head of the studio was like now, Robert they're, going to hate your movie We hated already we're about to leg, bearing the negative. Some were willing to do this, but just let's leave after the first ten minutes. You know we don't want even see it they go to see the movie. The karate just go. Robert describe this to me. Now it gets dark. New orleans is sort of thing. They know nothing about it because they don't in those days. It didn't. Warn you too much about what the preview was going to be, and he said they were sad. Nobody said a word during the first ten minutes, the movie, but they they didn't laugh but they just didn't russell or do anything to elaborate thought. Maybe this is going well in the studio had sent they really really hate? Unto you sure you don't want to leave right now and
so the movie goes on and it builds and it builds and it builds. There are some laughter. There's some laughs. There's like people so excited, and he and in the movie the movie is over. For ten minutes, people stood on their chairs and screamed because it captured the anti war movement and camp the spirit of it. It. Nobody had seen a movie like mash before their robert only unscripted scripted television for this, and I don't think he had done that cold day in the park. Yet I can't remember, but there was like no Aunt said he was going to do something and could imagine in the audience this a genius shows you what he can do and he never showed it to anybody before it was very, very exciting and then it became a big hit deal wow. That's a great story is a good story Did you do any omen movies? Yes, used, and I was in gas for progress report yet course bay, dejectedly, the other ones, no accept I mean
a little duh. I made a little documentary about them, which is actually kind of angry. Did you do that during gosford park? Know it in about ten years before gosford no kidding so you're sort of fascinated with him? I loved him. in all, my friends were friends with him and he he was very much the community and of actors. He really did whatever demons he had or didn't have he adored actors. He was great with actors, he didn't like movie stars. The only people he ever really didn't get along with there a couple of movie stars. I don't have to mention them. They know exactly who they are here. They were like oil and water. It was like. No, you don't get a special trailer. No, Don't get the only close up people's? Why are there people having lines through just extras well you're in a movie who have to do for data base. Gonna be babbling and and some people did not react while to a cave m is ignored or my pheromones gathered there. It's great to see them after some
mangos by to all men that I got to watch catch twenty two. Not so you work with our kennerly on that must been fun and Allen cast me and jules feiffer blake on little bald white house murder case after I work with him and catch twenty two, and I got to be in that with all the great people from second c in the next year russian like Paul, dooley and andrew Duncan and tony holland. you probably don't even know who they are, but they were really like is great like a lame when they were in and you'll wonder if they just didn't get to be famous. They were just character, actors and Allen directed at allen directed it, and it was fantastic. He's a bright guy right. I'd love to talk to him. I have no sense of him. It would be very hard for you to find him. It would kind of like green sitting there. Or just know. If ever came I mean he's delightful and smart and wonderful and I've worked them five or six times. Yeah he's elusive, he doesn't wanted talk about himself yeah. He doesn't want to talk about acting. You just would like to live. His life he'd be and star in a movie once in a while yeah, which he does,
So I would say to you I'll, find a I'll tell you to come he wouldn't come he's not going to do it. nobody knew do you have a great instinctive? Who would be good to talk to obviously, and he would be great he's This guy's funny or not. Funding would be like. If you said you wanted to talk to Christopher guessed. What are the chances that he would sit down with you? He might he he's reclusive than Allen is, but I moved that he would come. so then you like, like ve, go on you do the close encounters which you you'd play like and is that how you got altered states because of close encounters? I don't really know it all sort of blends like mush, buddy, in gaming, I love close encounters close encounters, your scientific guy, to write I'm another scientist. Yes, when I was in three and- and I didn't threes three out
space movies added while altered states are considering outer space here and close encounters in then I did two thousand and ten, the sequel to two thousand and one where I mysteriously played the indian guru, dr chandra. Without any makeup or anything, I'm just doctor Chandra and I invented hal and I have to kill howe he did and killed do. I received was very sad for me and I is based on like a you know, wronged us, yes, yeah sure using he's another Will they all hoodwinked people who don't you will? Maybe our rammed us was a good run down store round. I think he is become a sort of the guy the deal with transitioning into death. Well, that's a good thing. Yeah yeah, I know but if you don't transitioned into death die anyway. Yes, you do you see how you want to feel at the end that last seconds their last second Have you wanna be ok, you won't be ok with it.
Sure I don't know yeah I know, is we don't I want to be. I want somebody to hit me on the head. yeah. I that hammer sitting on the desk forget it takes zones on your head for an easy drones, and I will say this at your heart attack and deconstructing harry was a genius thank you. I really enjoyed that movie. I thought he made a very good move. I do too I do we made the movie if you remember this, but there's a scene in it where I'm dead and I visit woody Allen in jail, yeah he's dead and he visits me in jail. I forget what it is and there's a line in that scene says: what's the jail like I him, and he said I think it's a lot like being on jury duty. this area, so two months after that, I'm on jury duty and all the stuff is happening with soon and it's a mess and terrible, maybe six months later and
the giant pool in the beginning before we get put into individual groups to be selected to see what juries were going to be on and he gets to a person like wedding What do you want raises? What is at? barbaric manner and that he looked over a disease me. It is like oh shit, we're we do to get in there we get taken into a small room here and that that's within the volunteer. I guess they call it whenever and they have to figure who's was going to be on the jury there and is there anybody in here who has any reason they think they should should not serve on a jury duty on a jury and what he raises his hand. He said yes saying: why do you think you shouldn't be on a jury and he said well, They had some interaction with the law. Let me- and I don't have a lot of faith in the judicial system and, as like okay, get outta. Here you don't have to be on jury duty. Then we go along and on you know, then I'm going to get selected and the court. Maybe I shouldn't be telling this story and a court person comes in whenever they call those people a bailiff
One of them here argues his family was clerk. He wasn't as fancy as alive and he came and he said. Excuse me, Mr Mallon tennessee, as he said, come with me and I'm like shit? What I do, maybe they discovered an old crime and committed, and they take me on as what's happening, said what he says. I have to be on jury duty. Okay, don't have to be a jury, so what do you say? Get might get barba off, get get get came and it was sweet. So how did your relationship with I mean I love altered states. I love that movie. I was very painful movie to be involved with really well he's dead. So I can talk recently a london, but he hated patty in his goal, big in the movie his go directing the movie was to kill patty. this is going. Patty died not long after the movie, that's terrible, patios genius. He was a genius, but was used to the new york city moviemaking, in which everybody was your friend and howard. Godfrey was the producer of all of his other movies, and arthur pen would be and of his and it also around and patty would
whispered arthur here. I think little there. I think really should be this agitator and was like it was like a play. Yeah Don't do that in movie making in the hard and harsh world of real movie make, but nor do you get a contract that patty had I think it was literally the only screenwriter I've ever heard of who had dramatist guild contract, which meant that you could not change word of his dialogue or anything else both in the movie, without checking it. Betty had complete approval of year. As you know, people by people movies in turn it into cinderella, they do whatever they might exert and do than in the movie. So arthur pen was the director of altered states and it's getting kind of close to during the movie, and we get this little message while arthur isn't directing the movie any more with is a huge rupture, because they're all rocks friends. You know the new york kind of friend. Yes, it really spent decades, he added artists, degree anywhere, and whoa. What's going to happen, will ken erecting the marine news approved the four of you who work as blair and brown in me, and bill hurt and charlie head and he's improved you so we're just.
make the movie and it'll be fine and I'm well. That's interesting, they're, very different, the arthur penn, sure so I can done at that point like women in love, everything we do all the crazy they music lover and all sorts of things were. Everybody transfer we'll find into demons hair in some way it made sense. Cause can could deal with the EU. The world's did Alex only like. He was a little too involved with the world of psychedelics and it really wasn't a very good match. But you like the movie solo, worked on some level, but on the first day we had four weeks of rehearsal because bill hurt comes from the theater and it was his first been he and his agent wanted him to have a real rehearsal burnt and, frankly, his character talks. one minute from the beginning to the end of the movie, so having rehearsal was really good. Quite a normal rehearsal beard with the four of us. They didn't have that other parts week it was kind of going on, and then we noticed in the second week that the lunch break was taking two or three hours and in the third
It was like all day there was a lunch break and we'd. Like said hello, with the end of the day here, cause he was drinking, can go doing whatever you're doing. surprised? I was really worried about KEN Russell, and here we are in very normal and like it's going to be okay, we're so encouraged and you can what do you say I mean I am you know I want to, but I'm not going to be the one does anything and now it's up to him. If he wants to drink, he can probably direct very well when he's drunk right, but not really so what happened the first day of shooting, things very normal. It's a very relaxed little scene. The two couples who are best friends were scientist. Back from the haven't seen you chose. Somebody was on sabbatical. The woman playing the character of my wife is Nine months pregnant is blair brown, with bill cause they ve been away and were altogether and we're having lunch, abuse, little cafe outdoor cafe somewhere in the first few hours,
or like a normal movie and then all of a sudden can suggest that everybody get drunk during the scene. While I don't I hate to drink, I think uncle repulsive. I am sorry to say that of the argo industry is losing its arms Don't worry, they can take it. I just don't like to hear they can take you. So you know some people are drinking and then it's like well and to throw up- and it has come wilder and wilder- and all this is- is one of those little interim scenes in a movie that is necessary. Is now the story's going to begin because we're all back together again and it was cutting one and water and suddenly it's lunch, and we're hearing yelling from the trailer you couldn't quite tell who is yelling at it as happening and then patty, Are there any more than the first day of home? And he is going to be there every second of the day and he did do a lot of leaning over, can shoulder and zhang to really think of pregnant women whose a scientist whose norman strike is going to drink, twenty gallons of b. I realise this is unlikely this without aside from everything else, so they how the hell screaming fight, patty, left for new york and kin and just gone wild and
the image that ended that day was twelve. The executives in giant limousines and nobody on their own limousine have come to watch the devil and can is on a crane. A crane shout we're just People having lunch and nothing much is happening he's on a green. I remember I could be wrong. He had a cowboy hat was going to be epic. thirty feet up in the air shooting of being the cinema turnover and he kicked off the cinema, dad of renews the shooting here and that, was the beginning of the end of the movie, but would say and seen on the them curious little I feel like creature played by miguel goudreau a great ballet dancer. Yeah, you see a shadowy hand, it's got a little hair on it. You see, if you see it, in shadow in the thing, and instead of that there's a shot of MC miguel neutral fully naked with a little hair covering his genitals cuz monkeys, have hair standing in front.
in bright daylight. You see this thing will letting it's not scary and it's not mysterious, just a small belly dancer with a lot of hair on anybody hear and heed any thing that patty wanted in the movie that KEN could fuck up. He changed cause his contract. Patties contracted in the dramatists guild. Only said you can't change that yours, if it said to her in a dark cave and their wandering around and there's a little snake over there, it would become literally blair, morale and bill hurt wearing white suits drinking tea. In a way room in a white garden at home. Where did that? There was done a spite you think on, while I think so because when he would send dailies ken would get less vigorous des los muertos and little puppets and the skeletons would be dancing around saying fuck, you paga. I think it was, I think it was I don't think he did it because it was like he felt that he was gotta watch the movie again, but I remember it was sort of like you know. You had to spend a lot of disbelief to think that you know I yeah yeah,
primordial, beginning of the universe, was happening in that lab that as working in and that he Does you know became matter and anti matter in the hallway of an apartment or whatever it was. But I would have been easier if it had been subtle, you don't I mean there were ways that you could have serving think I but listen can. Whenever I horrible things. I said about KEN Russell. There was something really the sign of a real director is that somehow personality as mixed up with a movie, and you get that you get some kind of feeling during a movie and I think you did get they feeling and wondering what it wasn't. What the writer woman, but also can give instructions to the actors to everybody speak twice as fast as you would normally speak, because again he couldn't jameson dialogue, but if he could make an unintelligible that was a step in the right. or a charm, my god. What would a nightmare rights is, don't know where these guys get the entitlement to do this shit. well, you know turn director in his first directors under his first
Movies were really interesting. I went out on a limb and he just got too foreign and lemon that was his sankey working. I didn't do it was malicious in a way to patty, but he didn't do it to be malicious. So how did start, your relationship with guest in those guys Christopher gusta night, where the two husbands of the two girls and girlfriends, Claudia weill's, movie haha, so we met when we were thirty about and we will. I remember, I loved him and then we liked each other, and I trust it because in the end of the movie the girlfriends go off together. I don't think I know not to fall in love or anything, but they become pals right and their ex husbands have the two girlfriends. We drive off into the sunset on christopher's motorcycle, which he real christopher, is so macho. do know he was like a black belt karate a motorcycle driver. I mean he's just everything. He I mean I'm just I'm just off his
a gift. So you okay, so you guys meet on the movie and we are really really really good time with him and I trusted him so much then I would I need to get on the back of a motorcycle and hold onto him for dear life as we drove off into the sunset- and I don't like motors around here- I'm kind of a chicken is, you could profit now? And then, ten years later he maybe fifteen years later I hadn't seen him or known him or anything or just liked him. He called, and he said you want to be in a movie, I'm doing an improvised movie. It was the first one waiting for government because people sort of think that he directed the rob reiner movie spinal tap, but he was in it right and was very crucial to it was Michael Mccain near I sure and others, but heating direct it right this time. The reason these movies got made is because rob reiner was the big executive castle rock and nobody in the world at that point, nor should they ever do it again would give. In to an improvised movie. It's a recipe for disaster, but but yeah, but rob new Chris well enough to know that Chris could probably do something special. Any really did
and so Chris called me, and he said, would you be in this thing, monsieur I enough to be. Where do we go? What does it start and he explained it was completely improvised I didn't realize that that meant literally there's an outline. It's not terribly long, and it will say they all me they discuss the show and that's the first and then christopher and bob talk about. Making plays or whatever it is. This and- one said, oh by the way you're going to be the musical director in you, and they make an assumption because, Michael Higgins, and and Michael mckean and christopher, they all play one hundred instruments and they can sight read and they can. I think if doubts can dance with the gothic, everything I can barely do one thing properly, so he says to me. So your current of course play the piano. You proud play the piano and I said I couldn't do my closing Hunters thing all over again and pretend that I spoke french when I didn't really speak for so I said: okay, I'll, be honest with you. I've ten had piano lessons, and if you give me,
and I can't read- lead sheets, but if you give me the britain out six months before the movie and a coach, I can learn all my music than a habitable. Isn't will give you an assistant, who plays the piano and that's how that worked out, and I had the best time I ever had being a movie. I I I to feel the joy of just coming to work and going vaguely know who I am but I'm going to learn today and I'm going to be with these other actors, who are only there to give each other things. It's like truthfully. That is what acting is really. Supposed to be about is taking, people who are giving to you and you giving back to them. It's not like it's whenever anybody's in trouble over I'm in trouble, which is not infrequently necessarily. The first thing I do is alive. I do I forgot to listen. I have and when you're listening not run. will I act will react what will happen? It's like. We all nothing, it's just like. Okay, now I'm listening, and then you
two places, you more planning to rise, because it's because actually happening, in the simplest way. I just didn't improvise movie. I found it to be very. I should have added a better. I should have had your attitude about it. I found it to be kind of exhausting and intent. Well, all up to the director. You know christopher sets. When I see rules their non rules really. Were I very early on that? No, please don't come prepared, except if your friend, willard and then free will is characters. Come prepared friend doesn't really come, prepared rise, characters till junk, so he's gotta his. It has to come up with a bunch of jokes and then he comes in and does something that I don't I've never seen. Anybody else do that. Well, but mostly it's bob just be there. You can, I don't know it's here and he do not try to be funny. not him! You if you are funny, that's great whatever it is. He carries a very on. Can feeling on you're gonna be great,
My everybody's great, if you notice that there are some people, are in these movies that don't get to be a number two. Three and four rhino. A few people drop out along the way, but you after in your own rise movie. Now she was great, I just found it to be like there is a part where I I don't know I. It was hard for me to find a way not to get stuck in some character. Things like you know I through. you scenes, unlike longing to be this guy. Well the decision, but you sort of me I would in the during those whose, when it worked out the best for me, I would by mistake, which is so to know that you're going to be in a movie in your trusting for a mistake to happen for you to be okay right christian, I didn't write a little joke for me to say in one of the you know where we introduce ourselves to the amra, and this is how I am he gave me. Talk about how my mother was so protective that when I played chess she made me wear a helmet in case I fell on the bishop and that was it for me.
And because of the fact that it's easy for me to be afraid, I knew always at any time. I could find a way to be afraid or not understand, showbusiness, because I was in a show, business family, but I wanted and I somehow knew that my character was just a kid hidden round a hidden right when you think so I I everything made me afraid. That's it that with it, and it was the key to everything that you are terrifying. I didn't know how or why or what. But it's like. Oh look at those giant plants. I mean, a good trip on them. You know my uncle has a cane what what if he dies you have to have insurance and and that that was the key to that. Now is the key, but it was totally real because I come from fear yeah you do and I'm also very brave every once in a while yeah I'm here who doesn't come from fear, I'm more fear and caution. I mean I'm really cautious. Sometimes you're. Always we always show up on tv and a lot of like shows that people love. I often I fell broad city, your you know,
It was on my favorite, the the good wife a couple of times how yeah, and that was to be with those actors and when I saw the show a couple times do watch did do you know I did. I couldn't understand it because they would always every show seemed to be kind of the same year and yet, when I got involved with it for only a couple of episodes yeah I was like no wonder it's always the same, each fun to do the things that they get to do on that show because usually you're inside of one of those things is it's not quite as delightful as it is to watch right sure. But this is like I'm in the middle of the best the machine I've ever been in his gray and love. Didn't I love the actors, and what's this thing the what's a conduit thing: the counterfeiting is a television series for the audience network. I think it's called directv is more names attached to it, but everybody seems to know where it is. I just don't know where it is, and it's got great
still hurt and I had a reunion and it because I haven't seen him since I was thirty three years. I'm thirty. Two years have been that long. I just saw him in a the the the billy ray, though the Billy bob thornton thing, not goliath, yeah, oh because you do you're about two years and then or something by me. I use in our first season yeah yeah yeah. I was good to see him. I love So we had an reunion and was that great, I loved, seeing how I was doing good he's totally unique, as he always was. Nothing has changed, he's older and wiser. We're not wiser, and I love him and I am very happy to be with him Brendan fraser's. In it he's fantastic, where I don't know him that well, but I heated passover at my house once about twenty years ago- and I always was condor right. He's in condor you know wow and some other wonderful people, it's based on three the condor it's actually based on the book. I guess based on that? It's about the cia adventurous we've done he's. Never then we don't know if it's picked up but John it it could be really good. Are you going do
something. No I don't know you know I am just I'm acting in a in a show. I I directed a couple episodes of my show. Maybe it would be nice to try it without being in the show and to sort of put on t v. I I found it. leaving to be directing the show that I was to be acting in the shower erecting really. I don't think you would indeed be yeah. Why do I didn't feel like I was directing, I feel like I was doing a scene them running back and checking with the dp. If it came out good and then going back well, then you mustn't be in one and then you must direct one. That's what you should do more of that. Okay, if you like it I would like it. I don't know what to. I am just working out of this stuff that you've been doing, because you direct a lot of tv here and there. Yes, I directed two for two seasons of nurse, Jackie so? You know the people I'm working with probably was betty. Gilpin on
Betty. I know he added with a lower fathers want a friend of mine and I worked with them since I was twenty five season. Glow ACC was so talented, young sharing other really like or sale from me. Please, I will have you no father, oh, I know it. I've always work. We we did a short and yell rep with patty barks and whence news she was a student and we were like in the rubber company and and jack. I think I I can't remember it was a comedy, but anything that might have killed him and he always been one of my favorite actors and his tuna- is he he's an ordained minister, immigration or me, I might have am, is congregant it. What do you mean he's some people could be going minister and become very heavy handed and bombastic is just part of his real spirituality because he's by nature just whatever you think of whenever I think a spiritual than we did jack's the real deal and widely.
Well, you glossed over a story that you didn't tell, but it sounds like you've told it before what was the pretending to know french for class all inside. It's like blaming my little story, shed told my little story and end with your little story. So get a call old Steven Spielberg. I was thirty yeah steven Spielberg would like you to be in this new movie, close encounters of the third kind of stuff. What's the title, I can't hear that title and it took me like time and again want this movie? Won't? Who knows what it'll be? If you don't? You can't even say the title. Why did he done before any? He had already done. Jog jaws, yeah, that's pretty big, but when he would he didn't do it was growing. Their laws is right, rome, he added. He was a sort of one may wonder, except he had also done the thing with within his weaver in a duel in two minutes in the duel, which was like that's even more of them. I mean really more amazing because there's nothing but speed in a car yeah anyway. I knew we'd be great, obviously, and he said which You know you don't have to audition or anything, but they just want to make sure you can speak french cause you're going to be translating for france want rava said he's
We couldn't get the movie friends who are oh shit great essay on why I speak fluent it's my great I'm really good, and then I go home. What am I going to do because I did. I do have a really good friendship, pretty french accent it and I did study for four years and ice go right, but now that was, ten years ago and mere I am right now, so I'm I made up his thing to say and then I will the poem that I had memorized in eighth grade and I went in it was like Julia Steven Spielberg and the casting director. Well, you know we just love you to be the waiter and you'll, just translate whatever francois says and and you'll have to translate for him into french and sometimes maybe it'll be scripted, but you'll just have to really speak. French you'll have to go with a flog gnaw yeah. Well, so can you speak really speak? job will speak so I said earlier they both good and if we could, I believe, wholesale he reuben unusable. Those subaru losses are trade. If you see
it's been many years since I've spoken french and if you give me this job, it will be very difficult for me, but fortunately nobody in the room spoke french and they were like hers, If you speak french, so we talked but more and then it became clear- and I was really gonna have to make my way in french. This move is. It was leaving thing so Few more words in french and I said la cigale a also wanted days to vat, a supervisor coronavirus fever new, so I had to bury the rhymes. the rhyming story of the ant and the grasshopper. I can do it for ten it's, I memorize memorized in eighth grade and I rehearse it every week or two in case somebody asked me to speak french those congratulations. So I rushed to berlin and I immediately had the script translated into french and then I met france. You want true foe in why gel at why only where the first exteriors were being formally animals tower and go say hello to francois, but he doesn't speak english and he didn't want to speak english she embarrassed him. He wanted to be cool,
adapt and he wasn't in english- and Do you get up in the morning and little tape and say my name francoise truffaut I live in paris. I mean he would really do that, but he never got very far here and so worried some little tech. Next there wherever we are in the middle of July? My only and that is that he said, acts or side that wasn't his accent. Guy do very bad accents and he pointed to chicken Friday and like you, try sang chicken find stake in front and she's. Like an I somehow cause. I wasn't just not that good at french. I was better at this point, but I was awestruck. b with france roger fall in the middle of. Why arming the hummer here and I were going to be like standing, for the next eight months talking to each other. I just couldn't over, and I managed to somehow explain to him that, even though I was playing is translator. I basically didn't speak french. I had lied my way into the movie and at once,
for right away because I thought I'm Antoine one. L and you know like I'm fucking up bitch like it's human and I and he just from then one hundred was like I dunno that we were best friends when I felt we were best friends and I loved him and I got to just. shadow in france about movies and life and our families- and we double dated, Harry garden going around with. And my wife came and we all have a double date and it was just a dream and did he. Did he eventually speak english to you or translated for him and he kind the boy he had paid translator to be with him. I going but legend, preferred me to do the translating because he and somehow that she was serious and she I never really knew when he was kidding and it's hard when you translate to from an in and out to maintain humor. It's a really difficult. You have been here for well, I know meta, ryan, reiner and, and he was very scary to people have received. He wore great clothes you election,
alfredsson he and matching luggage which nobody I knew had matching luggage and were talking. This spielberg and richard drivers and Julia phillips and again on these one grown they who just like wonderful children- and I think you scared people a little bit, but if you knew him Believe me, I mean who is the opposite of scary? He was just all he was doing is like talking about when she was and how pretty leg was there. Who are you in love? and and just the world in life and made some great movies, echo I don't think you're really ever made a stinker except he made here told me, he said his philosophy, many things he told me and I remembered like everything- and I put it in my book- that I wrote about the movie called spielberg truffaut in me yeah, but he said he he he he said just keep making movies over and over and over again, he said know I could live that long. Little did. I know we'd be dying of a brain tumor, nine years later, quite a young man when that happened or the late forties. He was fifty in her somewhere
and he said so. I'm only interested I'm interested in the relationship between men, women and children, and that's it I that's a lot, but it's would you ever be directing close encounters? No, no. He said too much from from If he had been asked to write that at some giant race, car movie somewhere, I don't do from the internet to as funny, but it's great seeing him lovely I see when are you going back as soon as I can no I'm going back on sunday Okay well have fun out here. Thank you, I'm already kind of amusing myself, the you friends, I see a lot of friends and Can two people one and catch up on stuff and try to set up my next project? Okay, buddy thanks bob thank you
I was Bob our ban that shows candour on the audience network. Among all the other things he's done right, ok, awesome, take care be careful out there in your head boomer. The hm-
Transcript generated on 2022-07-19.