Michael Keaton Breaks Down His Most Iconic Characters | GQ

GQ
28 Mar 202436:07

Summary

TLDRThe transcript offers an insightful look into the acting journey of a renowned performer, highlighting the creative process behind iconic roles in films like 'Batman', 'Beetlejuice', 'Mr. Mom', and 'Multiplicity'. It delves into the challenges and triumphs of embodying diverse characters, the importance of physicality and improvisation, and the impact of working with visionary directors. The narrative is interspersed with humorous anecdotes and reflections on the evolution of the film industry, providing a unique perspective on the art of acting and the magic of movie-making.

Takeaways

  • 🎬 The importance of humor in a comedy script is emphasized, with the notion that if a script makes you laugh out loud three times, it's got potential.
  • 🦇 The casting process and character development for 'Batman' is discussed, highlighting the significance of the director's vision and the actor's physical transformation.
  • 🎭 The actor's approach to playing Bruce Wayne rather than Batman, focusing on the character's humanity and backstory, particularly in the context of the Frank Miller approach.
  • 🤣 The creative process behind 'Beetlejuice' is revealed, including the collaborative nature of the character's design and the improvisational aspects of the role.
  • 🎥 The physicality of acting is explored, as the actor discusses the challenges of performing in a suit and the importance of feeling the vibe and impact on set.
  • 🌟 The impact of 'Mr. Mom' is highlighted, noting its ahead-of-its-time portrayal of gender roles and its comedic yet realistic take on a man staying home with the kids.
  • 🏆 The actor reflects on the complexity of performing multiple versions of the same character in 'Multiplicity', and the improvisational skills required to bring authenticity to the roles.
  • 🎭 The experience of working on 'Much Ado About Nothing' is shared, with the actor expressing initial reluctance and eventual appreciation for the unique approach to Shakespeare.
  • 🎬 The actor's directorial debut with 'Knox Goes Away' is discussed, emphasizing the challenges of directing oneself and the importance of being true to the character's journey.
  • 🏆 The role of an actor in 'Spotlight' is described, focusing on the responsibility of portraying a real person and the research involved to ensure authenticity.
  • 🎥 The process of character development for 'Clean and Sober' is detailed, with the actor discussing the importance of understanding the mindset of an addict and the motivation behind their actions.

Q & A

  • What is the main criterion mentioned for evaluating the success of a comedy script?

    -The main criterion mentioned is that if you laugh out loud three times while reading the script, then it has potential.

  • How did the actor describe his initial reaction to the idea of playing Batman?

    -The actor was initially surprised and skeptical about the idea of playing Batman, but he eventually embraced the role.

  • What was the actor's approach to playing Bruce Wayne in Batman?

    -The actor focused on who Bruce Wayne was as a person rather than Batman, starting with the character's background and personality.

  • What was the actor's biggest challenge in preparing for the role of Beetlejuice?

    -The biggest challenge was creating the physical appearance and movement of the character, including the mold effect and the constant energy.

  • How did the actor describe the creative process for the character of Beetlejuice?

    -The actor described it as a collaborative process with director Tim Burton, involving improvisation and a 'yes and...' approach to ideas.

  • What was unique about the actor's preparation for the role in 'Mr. Mom'?

    -The actor had to justify and rationalize the character's young age and large family, working with the director to adjust the script and direction.

  • How did the actor approach the role of a sensitive character in 'Multiplicity'?

    -The actor decided to play the sensitive character by taking inspiration from Jerry Lewis and focusing on the unique traits that defined the character.

  • What was the actor's experience like while working on 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'?

    -The actor found it to be a fun experience, noting the high quality of the cast and the contemporary feel of the character he played.

  • How did the actor prepare for the role of an addict in 'Clean and Sober'?

    -The actor prepared by talking to real addicts, understanding their motivations and struggles, and finding a personal connection to the character's obsessions.

  • What was the actor's approach to directing himself in 'Knox Goes Away'?

    -The actor found it easier to direct himself as he already had a clear vision of the character and the scenes, which helped in making quicker decisions during filming.

Outlines

00:00

🎬 Reflecting on Comedy and the Evolution of 'Batman'

The speaker discusses the essence of comedy and the impact of laughter on a script's success. They share personal experiences from working on iconic films like 'Batman', highlighting the importance of humor and the creative process behind developing memorable characters such as Batman and Beetlejuice. The narrative delves into the challenges and triumphs of embodying these roles, the significance of physicality and costume in character development, and the influence of collaborators like Tim Burton. The speaker also reflects on the transformative power of such roles and how they contributed to the evolution of superhero movies.

05:02

🎭 Embracing Improvisation and the Creative Process in Acting

This paragraph focuses on the speaker's journey through various roles and the improvisational aspect of acting. They discuss the importance of 'yes and...' in improvisation, where ideas are built upon rather than rejected. The speaker shares anecdotes from working on films like 'Beetlejuice', 'Mr. Mom', and 'Multiplicity', emphasizing the fun and creativity involved in these projects. They also touch upon the challenges of portraying multiple versions of a character, as seen in 'Multiplicity', and the joy of working with great casts and directors. The paragraph underscores the value of taking risks and the unexpected rewards that come with it.

10:03

🌟 The Art of Character Transformation and the Power of Stand-up

The speaker reflects on the art of character transformation, particularly in roles that involve playing multiple versions of oneself, as seen in 'Multiplicity'. They delve into the intricacies of acting alongside different versions of their character, the challenges of maintaining consistency, and the use of visual cues for scene partners. The speaker also discusses their love for stand-up comedy, the sense of power it brings, and the satisfaction of making people laugh. They share a humorous anecdote about attempting to make Annie McDowell laugh so hard that she would pee her pants, showcasing the influence a performer can have over an audience.

15:04

🕶️ The Challenges and Rewards of Playing Complex Characters

In this paragraph, the speaker explores the complexities of playing characters with depth and nuance, such as the role in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'. They discuss the process of understanding and embodying these characters, the camaraderie with the cast, and the contemporary relevance of the story. The speaker also talks about their experience working on 'Much Ado About Nothing', the challenge of portraying Shakespeare's characters, and the unique approach they took to make the character their own. The paragraph highlights the importance of taking risks, the value of a supportive director, and the joy of creating something that resonates with both the audience and the creators.

20:05

🎭 The Intricacies of Portraying Real-Life Stories and Characters

The speaker shares insights into the process of portraying real-life characters, as seen in 'Spotlight', emphasizing the importance of authenticity and research. They discuss the challenges of inhabiting the world of journalism and the ethical considerations of representing real people and events. The speaker also talks about their previous experiences playing journalists and the unique preparation required for each role. They reflect on the emotional aspects of the job, the need to respect the privacy and experiences of those they portray, and the balance between professional curiosity and personal boundaries.

25:06

🎬 The Directorial Debut and the Multifaceted Role of an Actor-Director

The speaker narrates their experience of transitioning from an actor to a director with their film 'Knox Goes Away'. They discuss the decision-making process behind taking on both roles and the benefits and challenges of directing oneself. The speaker shares the intricacies of managing multiple aspects of a character and the importance of having a clear vision for the project. They also touch upon the learning curve involved in directing, the need for adaptability, and the support of a reliable director of photography. The paragraph highlights the speaker's growth as a creative professional and their willingness to take on new challenges.

30:07

🌟 The Journey from Sitcoms to Film and the Value of Persistence

The speaker recounts their early career in sitcoms and the transition to film, highlighting the pivotal moments and people that shaped their journey. They share anecdotes from working on 'Night Shift' and the importance of perseverance and taking chances. The speaker discusses the impact of being fired from projects and the resilience required to bounce back. They also reflect on the variety of roles they've played and the importance of staying true to one's creative vision, regardless of the challenges faced along the way.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Comedy

Comedy refers to a genre of entertainment, often in the form of film, television, or theater, that is intended to amuse and evoke laughter from the audience. In the context of the video, the speaker discusses the importance of humor in scripts and how certain lines or scenes can make them laugh out loud, indicating the comedic effectiveness of the material. For example, the speaker mentions a scene from 'Mr. Mom' that made them laugh in a way they didn't expect, highlighting the role of comedy in their acting choices.

💡Character Development

Character development refers to the process of creating and evolving a character's personality, backstory, and motivations throughout a performance or narrative. In the video, the speaker reflects on how they delve into the psyche of their characters, such as Bruce Wayne in 'Batman' and the various versions of themselves in 'Multiplicity', to deliver a convincing and nuanced portrayal. This involves understanding the character's core traits and what drives their actions, which is essential for bringing depth and authenticity to their performance.

💡Physicality

Physicality in acting refers to the way an actor uses their body, movements, and gestures to convey a character's traits and emotions. In the video, the speaker emphasizes the importance of physicality in their roles, particularly in action-packed films like 'Batman' and 'Spider-Man: Homecoming', where the actors must embody superheroes with unique physical attributes and fighting styles. The speaker also discusses the challenge of wearing a suit and how it affected their performance, showcasing how physicality can significantly influence an actor's portrayal of a character.

💡Improvisation

Improvisation in acting involves the spontaneous creation of dialogue, scenes, or actions without prior planning. The speaker in the video highlights the use of improvisation in films like 'Multiplicity' and 'Night Shift', where they had to quickly come up with lines and reactions based on the scene's context. Improvisation allows for a more natural and unpredictable performance, which can add authenticity and freshness to a character's portrayal. It requires actors to be highly adaptable and responsive to their scene partners, enhancing the overall dynamic of the performance.

💡Meta

Meta, short for 'metafiction', refers to a form of self-reference where a work of art or entertainment comments on or acknowledges its own nature as a creation. In the context of the video, the speaker discusses their role in 'Birdman', a film that explores the concept of meta through its narrative structure and characters. The speaker relates to the character's struggle with fame and identity, which mirrors the speaker's own experiences in the entertainment industry. This meta-commentary adds a layer of depth to the performance, as it reflects on the nature of acting and the industry itself.

💡Casting

Casting in the film industry involves the process of selecting actors for specific roles in a production. It is a critical aspect of filmmaking that can significantly influence the success of a movie or a show. In the video, the speaker shares their experience with casting, both as an actor who has auditioned for roles and as a director who has been part of the decision-making process. The speaker emphasizes the importance of finding the right fit for a character and the impact that casting decisions have on the authenticity and believability of the story being told.

💡Directing

Directing refers to the role of a director in guiding the creative vision and production of a film or television show. This involves working closely with actors, managing the technical aspects of filming, and making decisions that shape the final product. In the video, the speaker discusses their experience as a director in 'Knox Goes Away', highlighting the challenges and rewards of directing oneself in a film. The speaker also shares insights into the decision-making process and the importance of collaboration with the crew, particularly the director of photography, to achieve the desired aesthetic and narrative.

💡Acting Techniques

Acting techniques are the methods and practices actors use to prepare for and deliver their performances. These can include various approaches to character analysis, emotional memory, physical expression, and improvisation. In the video, the speaker touches on several acting techniques, such as the use of personal experiences to inform their portrayal of characters, the importance of understanding a character's motivations, and the physical transformation required for certain roles. The speaker's experiences in films like 'Clean and Sober' and 'Batman' illustrate the application of these techniques in creating authentic and memorable performances.

💡Collaboration

Collaboration in filmmaking refers to the process of working together with various individuals involved in the production, such as directors, producers, actors, and crew members, to create a cohesive final product. In the video, the speaker emphasizes the importance of collaboration in bringing a character to life and achieving the desired outcome on screen. This includes working closely with the director to understand their vision, collaborating with fellow actors to create dynamic scenes, and communicating effectively with the production team to ensure all aspects of the film come together seamlessly.

💡Casting

Casting in the film industry involves the process of selecting actors for specific roles in a production. It is a critical aspect of filmmaking that can significantly influence the success of a movie or a show. In the video, the speaker shares their experience with casting, both as an actor who has auditioned for roles and as a director who has been part of the decision-making process. The speaker emphasizes the importance of finding the right fit for a character and the impact that casting decisions have on the authenticity and believability of the story being told.

💡Character Motivation

Character motivation refers to the driving force or reasons behind a character's actions and decisions within a narrative. It is a crucial aspect of character development that helps actors understand and portray their roles more effectively. In the video, the speaker discusses how they identify and focus on the core motivation of their characters, such as the desperate need for recognition in 'Birdman' or the obsession with scoring in 'Clean and Sober'. Understanding a character's motivation allows the actor to deliver a more authentic and compelling performance, as it provides a foundation for their character's behavior and emotional state.

Highlights

The importance of laughter in comedy scripts and how it serves as a measure of success.

The creative process behind the making of 'Batman' and the significance of the character's introduction.

The unique approach to character development, focusing on the essence of Bruce Wayne rather than Batman.

The challenges and physical adjustments required to embody the character of Batman, including the iconic suit.

The collaborative nature of filmmaking, highlighted by the actor's relationship with Tim Burton during 'Beetlejuice'.

The improvisational aspect of acting and how it contributes to the authenticity of the performance.

The impact of personal experiences and memories on the actor's ability to find humor in scripts, as exemplified by 'Mr. Mom'.

The significance of the film 'Mr. Mom' in addressing gender roles and economic challenges of the time.

The creative and technical challenges of portraying multiple versions of the same character in 'Multiplicity'.

The importance of staying true to the comedic nature of a role, even when it involves unconventional methods, as seen in 'Beetlejuice'.

The experience of working on a film that breaks new ground in storytelling, such as 'Birdman', and its one-shot technique.

The actor's approach to playing real-life characters, as demonstrated in 'Spotlight', and the responsibility it carries.

The transformative power of acting, where the actor's personal experiences and emotions contribute to the character's authenticity.

The challenges and rewards of directing oneself in a film, as shared from the actor's experience in 'Knox Goes Away'.

The actor's reflections on the complexities of playing an addict in 'Clean and Sober' and the research involved.

The value of persistence and taking risks in one's career, as illustrated by the actor's experiences in 'Night Shift'.

Transcripts

00:00

- If you pick open a script, a comedy,

00:03

and in all those pages, however many pages there are,

00:06

if you laugh out loud three times,

00:09

you have something.

00:11

Three times. That's if you go, "Oof. That's funny.

00:14

That's really funny."

00:15

[upbeat music]

00:19

"Batman".

00:22

- Don't kill me, man!

00:24

Don't kill me! Don't kill me, man!

00:26

- I'm not going to kill you.

00:28

I want you to do me a favor.

00:29

I want you to tell all your friends about me.

00:31

- What are you?

00:33

- I'm Batman.

00:35

- When they said "We're thinking of doing Batman,"

00:38

I said, "Wait, you're gonna make a movie of Batman?"

00:40

Yeah, there was "Superman", but that's Superman,

00:42

which Dick Donner did, which was really, really good.

00:45

Very charming actually.

00:46

And Chris Reeve was great and it had humor

00:48

and it was like, you know.

00:49

So the fact that Tim said, "That guy,

00:54

I want that guy."

00:55

Like why people even cared

00:57

one way or another that much is still baffling.

00:59

But still that was a ballsy move on his part.

01:01

We also had a nice working relationship,

01:02

you know, from "Beetlejuice".

01:03

So I think he felt he and I will get along through this

01:07

and we can, you know, we work well together.

01:10

[dramatic music]

01:15

[utility belt clicks]

01:16

We literally were figuring out how to make it work,

01:19

like the day before my first shot in the suit.

01:22

[dramatic music]

01:23

What his idea was, and a person would get in it

01:25

and this would actually work.

01:27

Was that, you know, that's a big leap.

01:29

And so a lot of it was

01:30

adjusting the whole thing physically, you know?

01:33

And also, how was I going to move?

01:36

You had to feel it.

01:37

You had to feel the vibe

01:39

and feel where your position was literally on a set

01:42

and what the impact was just in this,

01:44

and what the whole thing was.

01:47

And all the loneliness

01:48

inside that really deep lonely thing, you know?

01:51

The guy was already inside, you know?

01:52

Now he's really inside this thing.

01:54

Like I said, work the suit, baby. Just work the suit.

01:58

That thing will get you

02:00

three quarters of the way there, you know?

02:02

What I never talked about really, which was easy,

02:06

to be honest, was I never thought about Batman.

02:08

It was always Bruce Wayne.

02:10

Who's Bruce Wayne? You start with that.

02:12

- Could you tell me which of these guys is Bruce Wayne?

02:15

- Well, I'm not sure.

02:17

- He witnesses the murder of his parents. You know?

02:20

That's a lot to start with.

02:21

Especially the Frank Miller approach, which is what we took.

02:25

And also determining with Tim that he was so not cool.

02:29

Kinda odd, you know, an odd dude.

02:34

- If you wanna know the truth,

02:35

I don't think I've ever been in this room before.

02:37

- That scene wasn't even there.

02:38

That was me. We were working on it.

02:39

I said, "He probably has never been in this room."

02:42

Also, it was probably cold, kind of damp, you know.

02:44

Nervous about this date, you know,

02:46

and finding those spots to be funny, which was not there.

02:49

Where's this funny? You know?

02:51

More people have asked me about it

02:53

than I've even volunteered talking about it.

02:55

So people make a bigger deal out of this.

02:57

But it was really, really, really hard.

03:00

Like physically hard.

03:01

It took me a long time to realize,

03:02

when I just did "The Flash",

03:04

I don't know how stupid I could be.

03:06

I was training to be really fit.

03:09

And I was training one day. Jack Nicholson walked by me.

03:11

We were just starting to shoot

03:12

and I was kind of working on this bag.

03:14

And I had been training to get, you know, fit.

03:16

And he walks by me and he goes, "What are you doing?"

03:20

[chuckles] I said, "You know, just working out."

03:22

And he goes, "What are you doing that for?"

03:23

I didn't have an answer for him.

03:24

He just walked off and went into this other trailer.

03:27

I approached it totally wrong.

03:28

It's better to be real small and little

03:30

and thin inside the thing.

03:32

You can move, you can breathe. There's room inside.

03:34

I don't know what I was thinking, but I thought, you know,

03:36

I'm an actor and I'm gonna do all this stuff.

03:38

I mean, it helped in terms of

03:39

carrying the whole thing around all the time.

03:41

And I was part of something that was a frigging game changer

03:44

in terms of how they make those movies.

03:45

I mean that changed everything.

03:47

[upbeat music] "Beetlejuice".

03:52

[dramatic music]

03:54

- Yeah!

03:55

- I think he had some sketches

03:56

'cause Tim always has sketches.

03:58

I think even then, he wasn't quite exactly sure

04:02

what the whole thing was gonna look like.

04:05

But he clearly had images in his head.

04:09

He had set images and character images

04:12

and who these people would be and everything like that.

04:14

But he gave me something that I took home,

04:18

and I said, "Okay, let me start with this."

04:21

And then we never rehearsed it.

04:23

We never screen tested it.

04:24

I went and I said, "Here's what it's gonna be.

04:25

Here's what I wanna do. Here's the look."

04:29

And then Ve Neil and Tim had even better ideas, saying,

04:32

"Ooh, you know what I want? I want you to add..."

04:35

Like, the whole mold thing was only

04:36

because Tim said "He comes and goes

04:38

from different time periods.

04:39

I mean, he might be like buried under the ground for,

04:41

you know, he could be out, you know,

04:43

it could be anything, kinda."

04:44

I went, "Buried under the ground. Okay, buried.

04:46

Probably mold, you know, mold would be a good thing."

04:48

So I said, put mold, you know,

04:51

and that the idea that that he's kinda like

04:55

electric all the time.

04:56

- Welcome to Winter River Museum of Natural Greed,

05:01

a monument to the bored businessman.

05:03

Come on a little closer!

05:05

- I just started working on ideas

05:07

and you know, hit the ground running

05:08

and it was either gonna work or it wasn't gonna work.

05:10

It was one of the great "yes and..." experiences,

05:15

you know, you can have.

05:16

You know, that thing in improvisation, you don't say no.

05:19

You know, you're a FedEx man and you don't say,

05:21

"No, I didn't order anything."

05:22

You say, "Oh great, you know, just bring it over here."

05:24

And then you go from there.

05:25

As soon as he saw that, he started to get really excited

05:27

and then we ran through a scene

05:28

and that's when he took off.

05:31

It was like, "In that case..."

05:32

A lot of "in that case,"

05:33

"Oh if you're gonna do that, hold on a minute."

05:35

He really had to explain to me how certain things

05:38

or how the head spinning was gonna work.

05:40

He said, "Watch, I'll show you something."

05:42

And then he'd show me and I'd go, "Oh, oh, I see.

05:44

I didn't know what that meant when I read it,"

05:45

or "I didn't know how that works."

05:47

You know, literally,

05:48

I didn't know how it technically worked.

05:49

"In that case, you know, how about if I do this?"

05:51

And it was like that. It was just the most fun.

05:54

Just tremendous fun.

05:55

Just going off. There's nothing to lose.

05:57

Well, there was a fair amount of money

05:59

to lose from the studio, but...

06:02

- What do you think of this?

06:03

[horrifying snarl] [they scream]

06:05

You like it?

06:06

- Once you wear something,

06:07

man, very often you go from here to there.

06:10

I mean, when I was a kid, I would goof around.

06:12

I'd make my family laugh.

06:13

You know, walking funny or imitating somebody.

06:16

You might grab something and put a hat on.

06:17

You might put your dad's coat on or something, you know?

06:20

And you go, "Ah, yeah,

06:22

of course that's what he wears," you know?

06:23

"When you wear something like that,

06:24

you probably don't walk like that. You probably..."

06:26

You know, it's just, it's huge. It's huge.

06:30

I don't know why, but it's huge.

06:32

I mean, it's one of my favorite things,

06:33

if not my favorite thing.

06:34

If you had to put a gun to my head

06:35

and say, you gotta pick one.

06:37

just for the creativity of it all.

06:40

- [Producer] And now you're returning to

06:41

the role of Beetlejuice again.

06:43

- Yeah. The approach is, can I do it?

06:45

The rest of the cast is so good

06:48

and what's going on as the story is so solid.

06:52

Yeah, I got there again.

06:53

But I think for some of it, it was a little bit of oof.

06:55

Boy, I think I'll get out.

06:57

I'll escape because it's so good.

06:59

[upbeat music] "Mr. Mom".

07:04

- Dad. - Yeah?

07:05

- This is cold and the cheese isn't hardly melted down.

07:09

- Okay.

07:13

[iron hisses] [cheese bubbling]

07:16

- [TV] and I'm gonna stick around

07:16

to make sure that he's okay.

07:17

- There you go.

07:19

- [TV] What you're really interested in is the baby.

07:21

- I remember distinctly laughing about something

07:24

that I never normally would laugh at

07:27

ever in any other script.

07:28

I remember where I was sitting,

07:30

I was in bed, I was at the headboard.

07:32

I think my head hit the headboard.

07:33

I remember distinctly going,

07:35

"I can't believe I'm laughing at that."

07:37

Because people who love comedy

07:39

and read comedy and have done comedy,

07:41

you just don't laugh at a lot of things other people do

07:43

'cause you're kind of looking at it,

07:45

is that funny enough or is there a better line?

07:46

Or how do I do that? Or has that been done?

07:49

All that stuff.

07:50

And I went, okay, this could really be something.

07:53

So I meet with Hughes who came out from Chicago

07:56

and I'm listening to him and I'm talking about it,

07:57

and I looked at him, I said, "You should direct this."

08:00

I said, "You know how to make this movie."

08:03

"No, I just wanna write it."

08:04

And then he went off and he really never was much around.

08:07

And Harry Colomby and I, my manager

08:09

and partner would basically rewrite a lot.

08:13

And then if you look at that cast, that's really great cast.

08:17

The fantastic,

08:18

the greatest.

08:19

Teri Garr, who doesn't get mentioned enough for me,

08:24

Jeffrey Tambor and Martin Mull, you know.

08:27

When I read it I said, "Man, this is really funny,

08:29

but it has to be done a certain way."

08:31

'Cause I looked like I was about 10, you know?

08:33

So I go, okay, married young, I get that.

08:35

You know, I come from... family's all pretty,

08:36

my family kind of married young,

08:38

but I still look like I'm 10.

08:39

And I said, you have three kids.

08:41

So we had to kind of justify that and rationalize all that.

08:45

And then we had to, you know, kind of work with the director

08:47

and kind of guide certain things.

08:49

Saying, no, I think we gotta,

08:51

you know, change the direction of that,

08:52

it's not really funny because it looked

08:54

old-fashioned or whatever.

08:56

But he had a great ability visually.

09:00

And he made it almost look

09:03

Norman Rockwellian, in a way.

09:06

[kids yelling] - Forget the paper.

09:08

[dryer whining] There we go.

09:09

There we go. That's it.

09:12

[kids yelling]

09:14

Would you forget the paper?

09:16

- He put the campaign together, the ad campaign,

09:18

like that great, great idea,

09:20

of that shot of me holding up the baby to the air blower.

09:25

Really solid, nice hit, bigger hit as the years went on.

09:28

Here's the reason I like to talk about "Mr. Mom".

09:30

Totally before its time.

09:33

People go, "Yeah, just, you know,

09:35

a little funny, nice, lighthearted movie."

09:37

Yeah, it was, except that at the time

09:40

the economy wasn't doing very well.

09:42

No one was really talking about a man,

09:45

a woman going into the workplace and a man staying home.

09:49

But that now you could probably go back and find,

09:50

in fact, there's a great Gary Cooper movie,

09:53

I forget the name of it.

09:54

He had to kind of take care of a baby or something.

09:55

But nobody was really talking about that inequality,

09:59

opportunities for women, women going into the workforce

10:03

and what they come up against.

10:05

Guy having to do

10:06

what were traditionally woman's roles, you know,

10:09

and doing it comedically, right?

10:11

I'm extremely proud of that movie.

10:13

That movie was ahead of its time.

10:15

And funny and really good natured

10:17

and a John Hughes script.

10:19

[upbeat music] "Multiplicity".

10:23

- We didn't destroy your life, slick. You did.

10:27

As a matter of fact, we were trying to save it for you.

10:31

We were doing pretty good too. We just had one bad day

10:34

- "Multiplicity", to make today,

10:36

we could do it in about 17 minutes.

10:38

It's '96, right? You don't have all the toys.

10:41

But it was Harold Ramis, the great Harold Ramis.

10:44

He approaches me about this idea.

10:46

And I immediately liked the general idea.

10:49

Didn't know how we were gonna do it,

10:50

but what I didn't wanna do was go,

10:52

"Well, when he does this one, we'll put on a fat suit."

10:55

You know, he did this makeup,.

10:57

You know, that, to me, was,

10:59

it's not cheating but I thought,

11:01

because what if you cloned yourself, you'd still have you,

11:05

but what is the thing that's not you in that,

11:07

that was the premise.

11:08

You know, what's the little thing?

11:09

And so we saw very, versions of me.

11:12

- You can't just go out and meet some strangers

11:15

and bring them up here.

11:16

- Hey, where are we supposed to live?

11:17

Like a couple of monks.

11:18

- I think two was like the testosterone-driven version,

11:22

you know, the testosterone level got a little off.

11:25

And the second one they adjust.

11:27

It was an adjustment, I guess.

11:29

And just really sensitive.

11:30

- We gotta sit down and have, you know,

11:31

a wrap session or something

11:32

'cause you're both feeling a lot of anger here.

11:34

And I'm just afraid, you know,

11:36

you're like two lions or something.

11:37

- Shut up. - Shut up.

11:39

- Nicest man. Do we decide, is he gay?

11:43

You know?

11:44

And Harold wisely said, "I don't know."

11:47

I said, "No, it'll help me as an actor

11:49

'cause I'm good with it.

11:50

You know, when he'd say, "I don't know."

11:52

And I went, "That's right. That's exactly right.

11:56

What does it matter?

11:57

He goes, "He's just really sensitive."

11:59

One of my favorite characters of all time by the way.

12:01

The other guy was a risk,

12:02

'cause I said, okay, let's really go,

12:04

let's steal from Jerry Lewis.

12:05

Let's be honest. Let's just steal right from Jerry Lewis.

12:08

- Sorry Steve. [saw wobbles]

12:10

That leg's gonna have to come off.

12:12

- A lot of times it was a stand, like this,

12:14

a light stand with a golf ball, a ping pong ball on it.

12:17

So I had something to focus on,

12:18

but you always had to know where your eye line was

12:21

and you'd be in the scene.

12:22

And then he wisely brought on a couple of guys

12:24

who were a great help to me.

12:25

Actors who would come in and then play.

12:28

I could play off of them. Sometimes that was really helpful.

12:30

Sometimes it was a distraction

12:32

because it would be like, you'd go,

12:35

okay, we start the scene with Four, who is the most extreme,

12:38

but he's talking to Two

12:40

and then you gotta go back to Four.

12:41

But then later in the afternoon, we're going to One.

12:44

Like a good day would've been,

12:45

hate to see Harold say to me,

12:46

"Wow, you get to be One almost all day today.

12:50

And I thought, oh, great.

12:51

There was a lot of improvising.

12:53

'cause Harold comes from a real improv background.

12:55

So that was another thing.

12:57

Say, well, if we're gonna improvise,

12:58

you can't improvise too much

12:59

because it could throw everything off.

13:02

So I'd be doing a scene, you know, with one of the guys,

13:07

one of my guy, one of me.

13:08

I'd go, "Oh, you know, when I come around,

13:11

I know what I have to say.

13:13

I know what the scene is and I gotta say this to him.

13:14

So sometimes what was great is I get an idea.

13:17

So I'd set myself up.

13:19

'Cause I knew when I was coming around to the other guy,

13:21

I did the other half of the joke.

13:23

Sometimes worked, sometimes didn't.

13:24

Sometimes I had tell the guy if it was an actor, I'd say,

13:27

"When we do that, you know, just gimme that,

13:30

you know, so that I..."

13:31

All day long, every day,

13:33

which is exhausting, but tremendous fun actually.

13:36

And really, really, really hard.

13:38

Ben Stiller was walking across the set one day

13:40

and we'd never met him.

13:41

He'd go, "Hey, what's going on?"

13:42

And we were walking, he was going to work on set.

13:44

And he asked me what I was doing.

13:45

I told him, I said, "Here, I'll show you."

13:47

And I pulled him in the trailer

13:48

and I had a chart on the wall, like this, pasted up.

13:51

"If this guy goes here, then it's Four is here.

13:54

And then he goes back to One, then I'll go back to Four.

13:56

Then I go to Three.

13:57

And then, you know, and in a day..."

13:59

And he kind of looked like this

14:02

and didn't say anything

14:03

and just walked out and walked away.

14:05

And I've never talked to him since.

14:07

And I have no fucking idea if he went,

14:09

"Oh fuck, I don't even wanna know about that.

14:11

- I forgot to shut the windows on the Volvo.

14:13

It's gonna be soaked. Do you mind?

14:15

- No problem. I-I'll get it.

14:17

- [Michael] Just making Annie McDowell laugh.

14:20

- Sorry about yelling at the kids and everything, honey.

14:23

- Shh! - She said "One day,