Hey, folks, the critically acclaimed comedy AP bio is moving to Peacocke for its third season to pick up where we left off, starring Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt, AP bio tells the story of a disgraced Harvard professor who returns to his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, and lands a gig teaching at Whitlock High School. Howard Dean plays Jack Griffin, a schemer who decides to use his students brain power to his own benefit. Every episode of AP bio, including the brand new third season, is available now on Peacocke, the new streaming service from NBC Universal.
Sign up at Peacock TV Dotcom to stream.
Now turn your great idea into a reality with Squarespace. Squarespace makes it easier than ever to launch your passion project. Whether you're showcasing your work or selling products of any kind with beautiful templates and the ability to customize just about anything, you can easily make a beautiful website yourself. And if you do get stuck, Squarespace is 24/7. Award winning customer support is there to help head the Squarespace. Com slash WTF for a free trial. And when you're ready to launch, use the offer code WTF to save 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain like the gates.
All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fuck next? What's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast. How are you? Are you OK? Are you doing alright, man? I've got to assume that everyone's tired of this shit. And by shit, I mean this fucking president. Anyway, today on the show I talked to. I'm going to talk to J.K. Simmons, the actor, you know him, he was in Whiplash, Juno, Oz Law,& Order.
He just did a movie called Palm Springs with Andy Samberg. He's on the Apple TV plus series defending Jacob right now. He's a he's an up front dude.
Man. Straight ahead, straightforward, no bullshitting. So that's happening, that's going to happen. You're going to hear that happen in your head. Got to confess, I did some crazy I really I did some crazy and I'm fucking going to have to get another test because I don't know if it was worth risking my life for, but I went and had my car washed.
Can you fucking believe that? What is wrong with me, man? I went and had my car washed.
I took it to the place. It's not as good as it used to be, but it was that was before covid even they sold it and no one goes there anymore, but whatever. Watch it go through the machine, just like old days, like old times, that weird, strange feeling of pride as if you're doing something, watching your car go through the machine, through the brushes, thinking like, look at that. Look at I'm this is great.
I'm doing something. I'm out in the world. Then it goes out and the guys dry it and then they open the door and they get in your car, other human beings that I don't know. Getting in my car to wash it, to clean it in my car. But everyone's wear masks, and when they got done, I walked over, I tipped them, I kept all the doors open, that opened all the windows, and I brought with me a spray bottle filled with alcohol.
And I sprayed the inside of the car bit, misted it with alcohol, drove away quickly with my mask on with alcohol fumes, kind of filling the car and then air coming in from the outside.
I think I got away. I think I got away with it. I don't know. Oh, where's the thermometer? Where's the fucking thermometer?
Quick, you guys. Look, I. I'm grieving the loss of a loved one. And I know a lot of you people are up to your fuckin necks. With your loved ones, you've had it, you're at the end of your goddamn rope with your loved ones. Because how could you not be? I mean, when is this going to stop, how much can you take of your loved ones? Am I right? Cherish every moment.
That I can tell you right now from somebody. Who is dealing with loss? And that's not an unusual thing to say, but it's hard, you know, the cherishing every moment, the living every moment, the being grateful for every moment, the to sort of like make sure you know how amazing it is to be alive. Warren Zevon said, enjoy every sandwich. Fine, but five months of sandwiches.
Come on. It would take a fucking saint, am I right? I'm sorry, what I meant to say is like, I know things are difficult for some of you in terms of, you know, the stress of proximity.
Both so think that probably some of you are going pretty deep, you're going pretty deep, probably deeper than he ever imagined possible with your significant others, with your children. With yourself. But again, five months is a long time, and maybe we've all it's time to repel out, it's time to climb back out, gone deep enough. Let's get back to some surface shit guy.
I've got to assume that people are just just just craving passing attention from strangers, even just the feeling of walking by some people at the mall.
And you can see their faces, remember? I imagine some of us are missing behavior that borders on inappropriate, you're looking at me. Yeah, mild flirtations.
Office crushes. You can hang in there, we're OK, we're OK. All right, talking to Lipsyte last night, we have our nightly phone call me and Lipsyte Sam. Got a new book out. We're just riffing, talking about public bathrooms, because he went out into the world for the first time in months to his office and he owned up to using a public restroom.
And I was like, dude, I fucking use the bathroom on the way home from Albuquerque at a rest area in the Mojave Desert.
Man Just a bunch of trucks parked in the lot. People coming and going had to go. Yeah, and I had to do that one, yep. Who knows? I think I'm OK with the covid Nome's in their door was open, have a mask on that those little things that you put on the toilet seat, I don't know what that stops, but covid is not the issue.
They're going to get some sort of like trucker butt.
And we started trucker Exuma.
We just started riffing on what one could possibly get from a trucker's ass. And I came up with the winning answer, and that was rigt chiggers, guy, watch out for those rigt chiggers, that's you. You sit on the truck or toilet, you can get some rejiggers winner.
Bing, bing, bing cried to Sam Rockwell. I did that.
I went down into the bunker at DreamWorks to record some voiceover stuff for this movie that I'm doing. Animated movie, Bad Guys, it's me and Sam Rockwell and Aquafina and I believe Craig Robinson now.
And but you rarely read with the people, but they like when me and Sammy read together. And I met Sammy a couple of times and I've interviewed him and he was in a Lynn Shelton movie and I hadn't seen or talked to him since then. And it wasn't that he was there. They let him in on video. It's very clean there. No one was there. I was the only one, the sound engineer, the guy who walked me down into the bunker and me very clean, very safe.
And they brought Sammy in on the video. And then you got the producers on. You got the director and you got the sound guy on.
You got the guy five or six people on. And I saw Sammy and he said, you know, how are you doing? And he's talking about land, and I just lost it. I started crying. It's hard to me it's hard, so I know, man, I can't imagine had some time with Sammy in front of all those people and. Sadly, they're not going to be able to use it for the character, um, the the the sort of criminal snake character I'm playing, there's no use for tears.
So we don't have a blowout moment. Nope, but stay strong, be there for each other, it's important. I'm here by myself. It's not great. Don't love it. Dealing with it don't like it scary somehow. Is it, though, is that what it is, loneliness, is loneliness scary? No, it's not so much. It's scary. It's just sort of like, OK, I guess I'm just going to walk over here now and eat this.
All right, look at me, I'm sitting on my couch, it's my couch, I like my couch. This is a good couch. I'm glad I got rid of that old couch. I guess I'll just watch this movie that's on in the middle, I guess I'll watch it. I feel like I just watched Munich. So, Joey, huh? Oh, yeah.
OK. All right, so.
Listen, let's do this now, J. Case Simmons, the actor, is in this Apple TV show defending Jacob that's on Now Palm Springs.
The film is streaming on Hulu. And this is me talking to J.K. Simmons. Nothing lasts forever, right? So how come for some itchy allergy sufferers, it seems like allergy season never ends if you've had it with rubbing your itchy our eyes all the time, you need padded day once daily relief pad today contains the number one prescribed eye allergy itch relief ingredient, and now it's available without a prescription with pad. Today, just one drop once a day, works fast and lasts all day.
Relief season is here to stay get paid a day online in stores everywhere.
Folks, as we slowly adjust to a new normal, we still need to be smart about how we do business.
Luckily, Stamps.com is there to make things easier. We've been using Stamps.com for almost a decade and it just makes sense. Stamps.com brings all the mailing and shipping services you need right to your computer in the comfort of your home or office, whether you're a small business, sending invoices, an online sellers, shipping out products, or you just working from home and need to mail stuff, Stamps.com can handle it all with ease. Use your computer to print out official U.S. postage 24/7 for any letter, any package, any class of mail, anywhere you want to send it.
Once your mail is ready, just leave it for your mail carrier, schedule a pick up or drop it in a mail box. You also get great discounts with Stamps.com, five cents of every stamp and up to 62 percent off USPS and UPS shipping rates. Stamps.com is a no brainer, saving you time and money right now. WTF listeners get a special offer that includes a four week trial plus free postage and a digital scale without any long term commitment.
Just go to Stamps.com, click on the microphone at the top of the homepage and type in WTF that stamps.com enter WITF in New York.
Mark, is that is that when people call you that, that's what they say to you. They go, Hey, Jack.
Yes. Generally speaking, there are a variety of nicknames that the people who have known me for more than 40 years. Yes. But we haven't we haven't known each other that long. So you don't know.
We've known each other literally 30 seconds, I think. Roughly. But no one calls you by your name. Name?
No, I don't get a lot of Jonathan or except actually it's a good thing, too, because when I get, you know, a random phone call and it says or email or whatever it says, Jonathan, that I know it's going to be.
Yes, right. That guy didn't know me. Yeah. Not reading that shit. When did what. But when did you become J.K.? How does that happen?
I've never gotten that. I've never gotten abbreviated or I kind of wish I wish I had a nickname. How does that happen?
It happened actually. Every time I joined an actor's union, they would take away part of my name because somebody else already had it. So.
So by the time I finally got around to joining SAG for for a job that I ended up not doing and paying money that I could not afford on my regional director salary to join SAG and have my name taken away, I just Jaquet actually kind of made sense. My father had occasionally called me Jaquet or Jake when I was a kid, Jake. And I said, yeah, that's one of the nicknames of some of the some of the old pals called me, actually.
I liked that. Jake's a good name. I gave it away. Yeah. So literally when he signed up for the union, they're like, no, we got to Jonathan Simmons, we got a John Simmons, we got to Jonathan K. Simmons.
Jay Kimball Simmons. Yeah.
Oh yeah. All taken. None of them popular actors. That's the thing is all your names are taken, but you don't know who the fuck those guys are.
Yeah, well, but, you know, maybe they're making a living somewhere. That's true.
That's I mean, doing what I was doing for twenty years before anybody heard of me. I know.
It's like it's sort of astounding that you you hung in and seemingly didn't get miserable and bitter and resentful, but I don't know you that well and and perhaps try to keep that only in private, only for those near and dear to me.
So I so still I only really annoys, you know, it's the the close people.
Yeah. That's how you test your family. That's what they. Absolutely. Yeah.
But I mean where, where do you come from. Born in Detroit. Well I have to say Growthpoint but then people see mansions. So I was born in the slums of Grosse Pointe. Yeah.
Detroit adjacent and then and then spent several years in central Ohio growing up and then a few years in Montana. I went to college there.
So you don't remember Detroit. You would think Detroit would have been said? No, I do. Yeah.
I mean, I was ten years old when we left. There are still a big Tigers fan and all that. So but but it's really it's mostly a baseball team to me at this point. We don't really have any family or friends back there anymore.
So, yeah, I like to I'm always curious to talk to people from Detroit in its heyday because it sounded like, you know, industrial the industrial period of Detroit must have been amazing with engine. The rock and roll period must have been amazing, but it was, yeah, I was 10, so it was my rock. Spaceguard was in was in the suburbs of Columbus when my dad was teaching at Ohio State. Oh, yeah, I did have a couple of bands.
You were in bands? Yeah, sure. One was well a duo and a trio. We were I was very acoustic and and very mediocre. We wrote some, some original Trion and I am going away love songs and stuff.
And there was this. How old were you in the 60s. Yes.
Sixty eight. Sixty nine seventy. You know, early, mid teens, long hair.
Do you have the long hair or had the hair. Had the had the beard. As soon as I can grow it beard coming in. Yeah sure. Yeah. I went from went from jock to hippie freak at an overnight age.
We just. Yeah.
Just you just had to happen to blew out my knees which was, which was a blessing in disguise and you know I was like OK, football wasn't quite as fun as I was pretending it was anyway. So I'm just going to turn on, tune in, drop out and play, play, rock and roll.
So you started as like a jockey guy?
I started as a lousy guitarist, singer songwriter.
And then, yeah, when I got out of high school, I ended up I thought I was super cool and and I and I got a gig at Ohio University as a disc jockey on a not even the campus radio station that was each green had its own tiny little radio station that basically broadcast to three different dorms.
So I was doing the graveyard shift and doing my rock, you know, playing like entire album sides of for for Homer's first album.
But 12 people who might have been away.
I was optimistic, but that was why it's so funny, because when I said Tjokkie, I thought like I was talking about football. See, you blew out your knees in high school that was behind you. And then we ended up, you know, turns out, you know, you're a long haired. Yeah. But you're not even going to the college. You just got a gig being the DJ.
No, no, no. I was going to the college, OK, I all the way to get out of high school. You're early actually and and started Ogu when I was just such a child, you know.
Now looking back, were you playing coffeehouses? My friend and I had played coffeehouses. My friend Randy and I had played coffeehouses in high school. All right.
And we were at OGU together, but didn't didn't really continue that. At least we didn't get any gigs. I don't remember. We kind of still strummed around a little bit. Do you remember when Kent State happened?
Oh, all too vividly by we were I would have been a freshman in high school, I guess. Nineteen seventy in Columbus, you know, at Ohio State.
And we had I mean there were things going on there, not, you know, with the same awful consequences, but you know, a lot of student protests and stuff going on there and and you know, the cops shouldn't be bags of people and quelling the crowd.
Your dad was he taught there.
My dad taught at Ohio State for several years before he went out and became the head honcho at the University of Montana. Yeah, that hunting. Not like president of the university. I mean, he was head of the music department.
Well, I mean, that's let's not diminish that. That's very important.
No, no, it was it was it was a great game for him. And Montana was was a beautiful thing for our whole family of five and then six, ultimately with my my mom's mom ended up joining us when our mike passed away. And we had a whole Waltons thing going on there for a while.
How many siblings you have? Older sister.
Younger brother. So my little brother was at high school. My sister and I both transferred to University of Montana and we all ended up graduating from there. And yeah, we lived under one roof again after my sister and I had both been away from home for another two or three years.
Well, so you got lucky with the it seems with the parental draw in that it seems right. That they were encouraging of the arts in that there wasn't there couldn't have been much resistance given that that was your dad's job.
Yeah. And they had met in college, actually, in a musical theater production, Kismet, as it turns out, literally.
And so. Yeah, yeah.
They were they definitely encouraged us. And we all, you know, at least dabbled in the arts and performing arts.
And did your mom stay in the arts while she stayed in the arts as an administrator for a while at Ohio State and then with the the Arts Council in Montana and then and then more in the business sector after that. But yeah, they were always big supporters and and continued to, you know, leave a real legacy in that way.
And in Missoula, Montana, Missoula, I just talked to somebody else from Missoula. Who the hell was that? Dana Carvey. Is he from there? Yeah, that's the one guy you know.
Well, he I haven't even we haven't even met. He grew up there, I didn't I didn't move there until I was in college, I always pictured Montana to be beautiful. It is indeed. Don't don't don't tell anybody else, though, because they don't want more people there to have a place there still or anything.
No, we've thought off and on over the years about getting the place, but we just, you know, we go there almost every summer and visit and either Missoula or up on the lake and doing my summer theater there.
So I have a lot of friends I've had for 40 years or more now that that we go back and have a little mini reunions oftentimes in the summer up there. It is. It is beautiful.
Yeah, I got to get up there before, I don't know, someday when we can when we can all move freely if that day ever comes. Yeah.
I noticed on the credits I was looking at some of your credits that you've already you've already done a voiceover for a covid informational video.
Yeah, that was weird because we did it's a it's a Netflix show called Explained where they explained different scientific things, you know, rocket science, you know. Right. And I did. And this was over a year and a half ago now, like more than a year before covid hit the United States. The really was pandemic's in general. Yeah. And and the thrust of the show that I narrated was was kind of like, hey, we're not ready.
We could be. Maybe we should be, but not at not just the US. Nowhere. I mean, the world is not ready for what the scientists kept saying was an inevitability, not if but when kind of scenario. And then. Oh yeah.
Shortly shortly after it happened here we, we did a little home recording updates and made it a little more, you know, coronavirus specific.
So it was not a happy recording session, but hopefully a helpful one.
Where are you holding up? We're holed up in L.A. now.
We were all our kids are in college in New York. Yeah. So my wife and I are stalking them.
Was all good parents do at that age. Right. We had what we had met in New York and done Broadway.
And sure, I love New York.
So so we got a place in New York a little over a year ago and the four of us were there just at the time when New York became the epicenter.
So we got I rode my bike on the last day before everything just shut down. Every non-essential things shut down. I, I rode a bike to Queens and got a minimum. Through my bike in the back of it, I went back to our apartment and through a bunch of junk in there, our son, we were pretty sure had been exposed. Well, he had been exposed. Turns out he's not he didn't have the virus, but we thought he did.
So my wife my wife went full on MacGyver and manufactured this like boy in the bubble kind of thing for him with a bunch of little plastic recycling and duct tape that we had really stuck him in the third row of the minivan and the four of us, you know, pedal to the metal from from New York to L.A. in about two days with the kid in a bubble with with the boy in the bubble and the girl up as far away as she could be from the bubble in the passenger seat and me doing most of the driving and and oh, my God, my wife, my wife partly documenting some of it.
And then and then, you know, when when we stopped for gas, once she commandeered the driver's seat and made me take a break. But yeah, I mean, we just we just got out.
And of course, now we're in the new epicenter in Southern California. So, yeah.
Well, I guess there's really no benefit other than it's easier to isolate here in Southern California.
Yeah, that's definitely the having a backyard. And yeah. I mean, New York. There's no way you can avoid anybody ever. Yeah. There, you know, that was just built for, you know, spread.
But how that how'd your son feel when he found out he didn't have it and spent, you know, forty two hours on the road in a bubble.
And of course we could, you know, testing was not available. So we didn't find out until maybe two months later, you know, he and I both finally got tested and got tested for the antibodies and what he didn't have and his roommate had it.
And, you know, do you get still? All right.
It's nice to know the roommate still cannot smell or taste anything, which is a lot of people, especially back then, didn't know that was one of the symptoms is so fucking terrifying every day to be alive right now.
It's it's it's just daunting. Yeah, daunting. That's a good word. Yeah. The good word the good news has been did not get really sick. The bad news is you can't smell or taste. But again, the good news is, you know, then why not eat nothing but broccoli and spinach if you can't taste it anyway. So that's healthy.
Get in shape. Yeah. It's time. Yeah. There's no pleasure in eating.
So so you might as well get in shape. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yeah, exactly.
Now when did you shift from bad singer songwriter into acting and just mediocre.
Not bad. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. Media. I apologize.
I was my I transitioned from acoustic coffeehouse James Taylor wannabe into classical Leonard Bernstein, Pavarotti want to be and those singing study studying classical music in college, which is singing like obviously smellier.
Yeah. Singing composing conductor. Oh wow.
No really how how are you at sight. Reading music. Good use to be adequate. You know it's one of those muscles I haven't used in a long time, although when when whiplash came around or whatever, that was five years ago or so, Damian and I first met to talk about me doing that. And then I had read the script and, you know, was not an idiot. So I was in love with it, but wanted to do it.
And the first thing he wanted to assure me was that that I shouldn't worry too much about the technical aspects of being a conductor and a musician, that we could fake a lot of that and we'd have a body double with a technical advisor and all that. I was like, dude, I have a college degree in conducting and composing and things like that.
So so that was I mean, that was one of the coolest aspects of that gig, especially as we were doing it. That's crazy. He was the guy.
Yeah, I was actually reading those charts and, you know, we were and all the guys, all the musicians and I said, guys, because it was ninety nine percent guys.
Right. Those were all actors, musicians. They weren't you know, the music we were making isn't as great as the final mix sounds, but but during all those band scenes we were we were really cranking out the tunes and I wasn't just waving my arms around. I actually kind of knew what I was doing.
And it's why it's interesting, because it's probably not something it would take the effort it would take to fake. Well, would have been extraordinary.
That's always been one of my one of my growing list of pet peeves that you see in films is, you know, somebody, you know, playing a baseball player who, you know, clearly has never swung a bath until he picked it up to do that or or musicians. I mean, conductors and musicians. I mean, it's such a hard thing to fake.
You know, it really. Because you're usually playing, obviously, a character who performs at a at a high level. So I just did a film I was in. I played Jerry Wexler in this upcoming Aretha Franklin film and with Jennifer Hudson. So there's all the Muscle Shoals scenes. And they hired to play Spooner and Dave and all those guys. They hire real musicians. So like all the dudes could play.
And that's that's the way to do it. It really is.
It's not like they and they you know, they had a few lines. There is you are kind of there's a balance to it. It's like they're going to look like they're playing. But you don't want to talk too much.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
The musician actor crossover rarely successful. Yeah. Yeah.
So so you study music and you're studying, singing, composing. And is this like and your dad must be thrilled.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think you know, it took me a while to wrap my brain around that. That's what I really wanted to do because it just seemed so oh I want to be like daddy, you know. So which is why I didn't gravitate towards immediately, you know, when I was 16, 17, 18.
But but yeah, yeah.
Ultimately in my brother my younger brother got a degree in music too. And he's a real renaissance man, you know, singer, performer, writer, conductor, teacher all around World Saver.
Oh, really? In Phoenix, Arizona, the U.B. You Project Dog and and our sister.
Yeah. Also dabbled in a lot and ended up having a career as a college professor. She just retired from University of Washington.
How's your brother doing that? That place is a covid shit show right now.
Yeah, well, I mean, like everybody else is doing a lot of Zoome and a lot of this and that and, you know, just hunkered down and trying to get through it. It's feeling more and more to me like. Hibernation here and just, you know, yeah, waiting for language which will come, I guess, with the with the vaccine, I guess hopefully.
I mean, people people are definitely getting a little squirrelly, I can tell you that. Yeah. So.
All right. So when do you start where do you start training as an actor?
Well, I did a musical theater community theater production of Oliver when I was a music student being the pivotal role of the bass grinder.
And he had like a bar so low, very exciting.
And then the guy that directed that, an old pal, Jim Cameron, was directing it this summer theater in Bigfork, Montana, looking for a music director. So I got the gig as the music director and then they asked if I'd also audition for the shows. And I was unwisely cast as the lead in Brigadoon. Yeah, because I could sing.
And that was the beginning of me being a terrible but passionate and willing to learn young actor.
So we so not mediocre but truly bad.
Oh, absolutely awful. And so such a blessing that there's no video from those days. But you could sing, right?
I could sing and and I had hair and so I was you know, I did a lot of sort of musical leading man things. I was there for for four years during college and after college, going back to the Bigfork Summer Playhouse, doing my thing and learning and having some great mentors, Jim Cameron and Todd Peters, and got to work with some some really wonderful directors who are sort of age appropriate and and taught me how to be less terrible.
So you mean as an actor, as an actor and a human being.
And so I did so because I when I watch you do of your roles and I've watched your work, you seem to be like a sort of like, you know, I almost like a practical actor.
Like it seems like you've got a set of tools that you apply and you transform your emotional spectrum appropriately and your intensity appropriately.
It seems like that it seems like you you you lock in a certain way.
Well, and I've learned certainly from from a lot of people since then to, you know, I mean, up to and including Damien Chazelle and, you know, some of the great directors that I've had an opportunity to work with, Jason Reitman and the Coen brothers, Sam Raimi.
And so you learn something from all the directors. They actually. Most somehow, I think so, certainly, certainly back in my theater days, you know, working with Jerry Zaks on Broadway and I mean, one of the things I preach and try to practice is, you know, I mean, to be open to learning something new every day at work or every day or whatever in life. So when was that?
So what is the sort of trajectory you were after Montana? Where do you go to pursue acting, really?
A lot of people from Montana did what I did and went to Seattle, which is kind of the nearest, you know, big city with a specialty at that time, you know, late 70s, a real burgeoning performing arts community there. Yeah.
Stumbled into my union card, actor's equity card at Seattle Rep.
And I was in Seattle for almost five years before I finally got up the nerve to to go try New York City Seattle Rep.
And that was like you were just doing, you know, a rotation of plays.
Well, it wasn't actually a repertory company. By the time I got my card there, it was it was one show at a time. So I got my equity card as an understudy in a production that I was never on stage and and then worked at it at a few different. I worked at Seattle Rep, you know, a few other times in small roles. And at Acte there was a dinner theater there at the time and equity dinner theater.
So free food three times a week I was, you know.
It was a great a great beginning and really equipped me well for for, you know, another even after I moved to New York, I was basically doing regional theater for another seven or eight years before I got my first Broadway show.
And like regional theater, generally, those are you know, what characterizes it is it's just accessible productions for older people in in other ways that will bring it to really selling it, man.
Yeah, well, you're not just the blue hairs.
It's I mean, look, every every decent sized city in the country as a professional theater going on with, you know, usually a combination of local actors and sometimes, you know, imported talent from New York, L.A., whatever.
I mean, I work to you know, I went back to Seattle and did a show there. I worked in whatever Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo.
But what would they hire? How did that work, though? You would just get cast? Yeah.
In Inwood, they would have casting sessions in the in New York and L.A.. Right. Right. And and I got to know enough different casting directors in New York got to know me that that saw me in different ways. One guy would see me as the musical leading guy. One guy saw me as a Shakespeare guy and another person saw me as, you know. So I so I actually was able to have a pretty well rounded career as a theater actor and not get pigeonholed too much.
And yeah, I mean, you go back to New York, you'd wait tables or tend bar or whatever and, you know, play softball in Central Park during the day and wait for another audition and get a gig. Go to Buffalo for, you know, four weeks of rehearsal and a four week run and then go back and do it all over again.
Yeah, I didn't I didn't mean to come off as condescending. I guess what I'm confusing certain things with, like regional theater is really it's real theater. Every city's got its its theater and it's usually nine times out of ten. It's a well operated well, you know, sound structure. You know that some some of them have been around forever and they're just doing real shows.
I think I'm confusing it with like in my mind it was dinner theater where you're doing some sort of shtick with that.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, which I certainly did. That was, you know, some dinner theater, as I already have confessed to.
Right. Mixed in there where I did. I played the third night from the left in Camelot. Yeah. And also did a play, an old chestnut called Bell Book and Candle. But but yeah.
No, most of it was, most of it was regional theaters, you know, doing really good work. And believe me, there's, you know. Well, not right now. I mean right now. Good Lord, stage actors are among the most devastated group in this because there ain't no work for them. And they go pick up a gig tending bar, waiting tables. So. Right.
But, you know, in a non covid world, you know, there's thousands of actors that most people haven't seen, you know, making a living out there, doing doing good work and regional theater.
And would you like would you have you considered yourself one of those actors for a good chunk of your life or. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah. For five years in Seattle and then another thirteen years or so. And then and the. When I was, you know, a Broadway guy for five years, really, what were some of the big shows? Well, the first one. First one, not a big one. It was it was a little musical called A Change in the Air.
HPI are subtitled A Musical Tale of Good and Medieval, huh?
And that was the funniest part of the show.
The title. Yes. OK, did not do well. In fact, the contract in those days, the production contract, the Broadway contract, you had a four week out. You could give four weeks notice. Right. At least on the contract that we had. Yeah. And I ended up giving my four weeks notice two weeks before we opened because the writing was on the wall.
That was terrible.
Among other notable things about it, though, was it was the first time my wife saw me because the show was so terrible that they were papering the house, they call it, you know, giving away free tickets to all the other Broadway shows to come on their night off. So my wife was doing Cats at the time, an actual Broadway show.
And, gosh, she she was among the people who subjected themselves to an evening at a change in the air. And she saw this magnetic, incredibly good looking, charismatic, sexy guy up there.
And lo and behold, a couple of years later than I did a big revival of Guys and Dolls with Jeffrey Sachs and Nathan Lane and Faith Friends.
And Peter, again, that was a big show. That was fun, right?
I was huge. Still the most fun I've ever had in in the business or in life was rehearsals really in previews for that show and sitting around with that group of hilarious people listening to Jerry give notes. And I was really, really, really Flávia. And then I did a few good men. I did the Peter Pan Revival, which is where I finally met my wife and Michele Schumacher, by the way, I was Captain Hook and she was Tigerlily.
Oh, there you go.
So we had a kind of an illicit romance going on there. Then a Neil Simon play laughter on the twenty third floor with. Oh yeah. Really fun cast. Yeah.
That was about the writer's room. Right. It was loosely based on the old Sid Caesar show shows. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And that was Nathan Lane.
That was so nice. And I did sort of two shows in a space of three years because we did Guys and Dolls and them and laughter together. A great cast. John Slattery and Lewis Black guys.
Yeah, yeah. Nathan's a great guy. I really like him. Really, really great guy.
And you know, so like so unusual. I mean, almost unique that there's a guy who's like got a really, really great career as mostly a theater actor, you know, I mean, obviously Nathan's done a lot of really great TV and film stuff, too. But but, you know, to be, you know, an actual theater star, you know, that's really his thing.
An unusual thing now. Yeah.
So now during all this Broadway time, you're going you're going to auditions, right, for TV yet?
No, not really. I mean, I was really happy to be where I was, and I'd never really even thought about a career in television or film. I did once guys and dolls hit. And we were I mean, we were like the hit of the century. It was crazy.
How did that run? Like a year that I ran like four plus years.
I mean, you know, most of us end up leaving for greener pastures after a while, no matter how big a hit you're in, you know, when you're doing your four hundred and fourteenth performance, it's it's a little like punching the clock at the factory. You know, how many you did I.
Well, let's see from from the first rehearsal to when I left the show to move on was a year and a prop. Yeah. Yeah I probably did over four hundred performances. Oh my God.
How does that, how are you not like hearing that in your sleep.
Oh dude. I mean it, it gets into your head sometimes and even with laughter which, which we did for like just under a year, 11 months and and but still that's almost four hundred because you're doing eight a week so.
And then I did out on tour again with my wife, Michelle Schumacher. Well, that doesn't make it better. Yes. Oh, yeah.
Yeah. Well, we're back in double jeopardy. You couldn't. We were shacked up. I mean, it was it was great.
But it wasn't really until after on the twenty third floor, which was my last Broadway show in Naeemi for me, I'm already I'm already pushing 40. And most of the people in that show, Nathan, John Slattery, Marklin Baker, you know, he has those most of those actors had, you know, theater and script, done a lot of television. Yeah.
Yeah, they were they were getting, you know, mailbox money, as we call it, you know, residual check once in a while. And I was like, well, that sounds pretty cool. So when that show put up the closing notice, I told my agent I didn't want to audition for any more plays. I wanted to see if we could get some film and TV done. And a couple of lucky breaks came along with an episode of Homicide Life on the Street.
Tom Fontana show that then we had two oz and Law and Order and all that.
Well, I mean, what about like. Yeah, it seems like if you live in New York and you've got any chops at all, you're going to end up on one of those procedurals at least a few times.
Oh, you read every play, Bill. You go, you know. Yeah. You see, you know, television includes law and order.
Yeah. What about the films? What was the first film first? The very first film was The Ref, Dennis Leary's movie, Denis Leary film.
And I had was that John Dmae?
Did he direct that those Ted dummy to Ted Kennedy, his nephew?
I remember that because that was a big break when, you know, I'm a comic. So when he got that, we were all like, oh, man, Leary doing it.
Oh, yeah, no, I was his first big movie star. Yeah. And and he was great in it. And it was yeah. I was a really terrifying and great experience because I was this, you know, I mean I'm I'm this whatever, 40 ish, you know. Average bald white guy, I don't look like it's my first rodeo, but I was, you know, I was like I was shot out of a cannon, of course, Ted.
I mean, the directors, you know, I don't know how much younger than I was at the time, but, you know, I grew up in the business and, you know, even even at that time felt like a seasoned pro. My scenes, some of my scenes were with like a 14 year old actor who had done 14 films.
So I was a little bass ackwards in many ways.
Yeah. But really fun experience. And Larry was great. He was he was a really a great guy.
So the TV, though, it's interesting because I think my first memory of you, the one I can't get out of my head.
I don't know if it's the first memory, but when you were tattooing a swastika on that guy's ass in a jail cell. That's. Yeah. I mean, I'm never going to be able to shake that.
And, you know, I this was my mother. My mother was so cold because and this didn't make the final cut because of because of a rights issue I get. But I was as I was tattooing for Beecher's buttocks. Yeah. On that show, I was humming a little lullaby that my mother had some to me when I was a little boy covered.
Hush little baby, don't you cry. Hush little baby.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I didn't want him to.
Oh my God. That show was so heavy man. So twisted. And what was the name of that actor. Lee Turkistan. Good actor.
That guy beats a really good actor. Yeah. Yeah. Used still working a lot and keeping busy and. Yeah. I mean a lot of guys from that, from that show I've stayed in touch with over the years. That was a long run.
That was, that was an intense show and that was an intense character. I mean that must have been an education in and of itself to stay in that groove for that long. Yeah, yeah.
I was a huge you know, first of all, you know, put a lot of us on the map really for the first time. And second of all. Yeah, and education in many ways. And really we got spoiled in a lot of ways, too, because the way that show was run, you know, largely because of budget limitations, you know. Yeah. The the days before there was no I mean, well, it was over time, but we didn't go over twelve hours.
It was like seven a.m. The bell rings at seven p.m. everybody goes home. Guys were still doing Broadway shows. I was same time. Yeah. You know, no, no long waits in between shots. It was like bang, bang, bang, set it up because we were shooting, you know, fifty six, seven, eight minutes show in a seven day shoot.
I mean, so yeah, we're shooting, you know, nine, ten pages a day a lot of the time.
And it was, oh my God, that's a lot.
You'd get a take in and they'd go OK, did anything fall on anybody's head. I mean let's move on. You know, it's like, so then when you when you get onto a big film where they're actually, you know, taking two and a half hours to set up the lighting and doing nine takes or something, you're like, oh, my God, it's tedious, right?
Yeah, absolutely. So where did they shoot? They did they shoot that at Silver Cup?
Would they shoot us like, no, I don't know, a silver cup even existed then? Well, it probably did. No, we shot the first we did six seasons.
The first four we shot at the flower well warehouse in Chelsea I the avenue and it just built sets in there and that was not enough.
They just rented the whole top floor of that warehouse, which was not anything like what it is today. I mean, it was just a few florists on the ground floor and a bunch of, you know, mostly unused offices. And and of course, you had a handshake deal with the landlord.
Hey, if the show's a hit, don't worry, I won't screw you, you know? Right. Four years later, he tries to screw Fontana.
And so the last two years, yeah, we're going to quadruple the rent. What do you say? You know? Yeah. And the last two years, we've shot on a pier in lovely Bayonne, New Jersey. Paone.
Yeah. So we went from like I was riding my bike to work. My wife and I were. We got married. No, we got married like the year before I started. Yeah. I'm riding my bicycle to work. We're having an hour walk away at lunch and you can actually walk away and go to one of the hundreds of restaurants in the neighborhood and, you know, run. I could do a voiceover audition. Yeah.
You know, in between shots and then and then, you know, the last two years were marooned at an old military barracks in Baihong. It's so odd.
Like he chose they do it that way over a soundstage, I guess, for for budgetary reasons. Yeah.
I mean, it was it was cheap rent. It was. And honestly, now that I think of it was probably just because Fontana could walk to work from there because he was he was he still lives in the neighborhood.
So. And then what do you think was the like. So that puts you on the map. So what do you think was the big kind of film break for you? Where because I remember I think it was probably, you know, for me in terms of remembering, you know, like, who's that guy?
Well, that was huge. I mean, God bless Jason Reitman. I was I was in his first movie, which is an under scene, and I think maybe underappreciated movie called Thank You for Smoking.
That's a good movie with that blond guy. What was the lead guy? Aaron Eckhart. Aaron Eckhart.
Yeah, that put Jason on the map and justifiably so. Obviously, he grew up in the business. He made a bunch of short films then. You know, that was another one of those experiences where I was kind of like. You know, still felt like a kid, like a beginner as a film actor and this guy who's, you know, I mean, like basically could be his father, you know, his is like a mentor to me.
He's got a good pace on those movies. There's like. Yeah. Yeah, it definitely got a good feel for it. Absolutely, and makes I mean, you sort of, you know, can tell Jason Reitman film, but he also, you know, he doesn't he doesn't repeat himself, though, in sort of the obvious ways, you know. So, you know, each one is really its own unique self. And before Juno came along, he had no intention of directing any script that he hadn't written himself.
But then he read Diablo's brilliant script for Juno and actually handed it to me at a poker game, handed me the script back in the days when people handed people scripts. Yeah. And and and just just said and I had I had sort of welcomed him into an established poker game at that time because. I asked him if he played poker and he said, not really. And I said, perfect. You're in the spring of. Yeah, of course.
Like after the first four times he played with us, he became one of the best players at the table because he's just a super smart, annoying guy. Yeah, but he handed me the script and said, you've got to read this. It's great. And I didn't say, you know, I'd like you to play the dad, you know.
So I read the script and I'm and I'm falling in love with the part of Mac McGuff, you know, and but then thinking, well, let's be realistic. You know, he's going to get some big movie star to play that part.
So maybe this one scene part or that one scene part. And then I called him the next day or a couple of days later, I was just trying to sort of show him it wasn't cool.
You know, that's a pretty good script.
And and I was like, dude, we want you to play Mac McGuff.
I was like, oh, yeah. He and Dan Lubezki were putting that together at the time. And really, they went out on a on a real limb casting both Ellen Page and me, because Jason Jason knew when he read the script that he wanted me. He wanted Ellen, he wanted Allison Janney, Michael, Sarah. I mean, he knew most of the cast in his head already. And he also knew that it would be a hard sell because the producers wanted, you know, the young pop star, you know, at the time who was really becoming a film actor.
And they wanted, you know, they wanted somebody established, you know, to play my part and. Right. So so Ellen and I and Ellen was just coming off that movie, that hard candy. That this horrible I mean, great film where she had played this victim of this kidnapping who'd been starved, and she was I mean, she was already a tiny little, you know, ninety seven pound thing, but she had starved herself and I mean, she looked like hell.
Yeah, probably eighty seven pounds and and she and I did a full on old school screen test together. And you know, Jason went and you know, sold us to the powers that be the money people and we got to make the movie. Yeah.
And that was obviously huge in my career because I had done, you know, some kind of high profile stuff like the Spiderman movies where I was just over the top, you know, screaming guy and. Yeah, and people people knew me as the bad guy from Oz and stuff. So it was a great opportunity. And often Indiana became what it became. Yeah. To see. Yeah. The kinder, gentler side of whoever that bald white guy is.
I thought it was. And also there was something unique about the language of that movie.
There was a pattern to it, that brilliant colloquialism that that Diablo created that was. And the talent, you know, and the rest of the especially the young actors, you know, really ran with so brilliantly.
Yeah, it was it was it was great. Everybody was great. It did sort of. It was I was happy to see you in that role. Yeah. I was traumatized by Oz on some level.
I watched it every week. And it was a relief to me that you weren't a monster, but it took you about it took about a decade for you to erase whatever Oz did to me in terms of how I looked at you, you know, and that was that was one of the things that, you know, when when when they first asked me to do Oz and I realized what a huge opportunity it was.
But I also realized, you know, if this takes off, it's going to be hard for me to get away from right and hard for me to do anything other than the Nazi Bastard of the Week on every procedural. And I actually expressed that to Fontana in a meeting. And after he got done looking at me like, are you kidding me? You know, like this this this guy that's making four hundred dollars a week, you know, he's thinking of turning down this career changing opportunity.
He he said he said, look, I understand that. I appreciate that. That's really smart and forward thinking of you. And he said, I'll tell you what sign the contract signed, the six year deal. He said, shake my hand. And if you ever want out, I will kill your character off the next day.
Really just between you and me.
So. So it's a win win. I want you to do it and I want you to feel comfortable doing it. And then and then the other blessing was months after we finished the first eight episodes of Oz, it was only eight episodes per season. They asked me to play the shrink on Law and Order. So I'm playing the psycho here of the psychiatrist there. And right away, audiences that had never seen me before, or at least some audiences are seeing two very different characters that I'm doing.
So that that helped me not get pigeonholed the rest of my life.
Yeah. And then it became a right. And you become a character actor, not just a lunatic.
Yeah, exactly. Which is a far preferable. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
But when what was the first Coen brother movie you did. I had auditioned for them a couple times. Didn't get hired. Yeah. Although one time there was a film that they had offered me a part in but yeah. But because of Oz the part was to play this southern racist Nazi, you know. And I was like, I just know I can't, I cannot do that. Please. Maybe this part. That part. The other part.
Yeah, even smaller parts because I was dying to work with them. But but they have such a specific vision, you know, so that one didn't work out. And then I auditioned for The Ladykillers and and they put me through the ringer, they put me through the wringer every time those guys because because they always have such a specific vision in their minds of everything. I mean, when they're writing the script, they're already in their minds. They're there in the editing room doing the final right.
They're so thorough and brilliant.
So I was very different physically from what they saw the character as in The Ladykillers, but they kept coming back around to me, you know, and and finally, the last time I auditioned, it was the two of them, you know, sitting on a couch in a hotel suite somewhere. I guess L.A. probably.
And I and I read, you know, two or three of the main scenes for my character, Garth Pancake.
Yeah. And and, you know, I did the last scene and and they sat there and, you know, looked at me for a bit.
They looked at each other for a bit. And then. And then. All goes well, damn it, Jake. That's exactly right. OK. All right. Yeah, I guess. And I was like, oh, gee. Well, thanks, that's.
And, you know, I mean, that was one of the best times I ever had because Tom Hanks was such an awesome, you know, sort of movie star, team leader know to be doing that with and and the four of us who were playing the the gang of Misfit Knuckleheads all had a great time together. And as usual, as I found out, as usual, I did a a little part in Burn after reading.
I remember that that was a funny part, a really funny part that like considering that I did a whole thing in one day. Yeah. Really paid off brilliantly. The scenes with David Raucci and myself were just like just teed up everything in the entire movie for us to get to pay them off.
Yeah, there's a couple of great beats in there, you know, when you when you have to troubleshoot the situation. That's very funny. Yeah.
And yeah. I mean, do you make a how do you do you make a big differentiation when you know that something's written to be funny, you just got to play it straight.
Right, really. Oh, yeah, I mean, certainly the vast majority of the time, yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean, if the intention isn't there, if it isn't grounded is the sort of actory word, you know, then that it's just, you know, how would he mean silly of me to believe.
Right. Teach me the grounded one has that the intention has to be grounded in reality or in the character. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. Well both. I mean, you know, you still have to have an objective. You still have to have something that you're after and some place you're coming from and some place that you hope you're going and.
Right. If that's not a part of a part of the not even necessarily the style but but the substance of what you're doing, then it's just, you know, you can laugh at stuff. But but if you're going to be with these characters, especially for an hour and a half or two hours in a feature film, if you don't believe them and care about them, why would you? It's going to get pretty old after so.
So it's so funny because so many comics, so many comedies like big comedies just just throw that whole conceit out of character in the garbage in the third act. And I find it annoying.
Yeah. That you know what I mean. It's weird. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. Like, you know, if you're going with it you're like, all right, I'm going to suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy this thing. And then like, what's happening now?
This is stupid. Yeah. I don't I ah. How are they. Yeah. Yeah.
It's not supposed to matter at that point.
But working with the Coens though, they say the primary takeaway is they know exactly you know, what they want and they're, and they're, and they're, and they're, they're so low key and, and obviously just, you know, genius and brilliant and that that you know, that line of dark comedy that they that they straddle so brilliantly and I mean, they can make a film like No Country for Old Man. Yeah.
You know, and then and then, you know, and then something zany like The Ladykillers or burn after rewrite and and do what are really vastly different films. But but if you think about it, have a very similar sensibility. And just like being low key cool guys to be on the set with, I think sometimes actors have a difficult time with them at first because they don't do that thing after a take where they come up and go, oh, that was great.
That was great. Yeah, that was great. You know, they just they just come up and they kind of kind of stand when they go.
OK, so let's do the next, you know, if you're if you're one of those actresses, you go like really needs that feedback, you're in the wrong, you're working with the wrong guys.
Yeah, but there are a lot of actors that do that. I mean, a lot of directors, I guess, like you said earlier, that you learned a lot from a lot of these directors.
I mean, most of the time directors, when they hire an actor, they're like they know exactly what they want that actor to do. They're hiring you because of what you do. You know, they're not there to teach you how to do it. They want you to show up. Ready to do it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And whether it's whether you're, you know, like when I was beginning and they're looking at you on tape, you know, and going, yeah, that's it. Or whether it's, you know, you're an established guy right there. Certainly not. You know, they're not in the business. They're not, you know, college professors. They're not in the business of teaching.
Well, yeah, but there's this idea, I guess I had a naive idea that, you know, it's some sort of collaborative process whether you're helping you make choices. I mean, I guess some of them guide you if you're not hitting it right. But most of the time it's like do the thing and like do a different book.
But but where the brilliance lies in a guy like like a Jason Reitman or Sam Raimi, the Coen brothers, is those little adjustments where, you know, you're you're obviously, you know, you're in the ballpark or you wouldn't be there to begin with, you know, but but they're not getting exactly what they want and the communication, the way they're able to communicate and get out of. And that was one of the things I noticed about Jason in the first film we did together was his ability to to deal with a vast range of actors, you know, some really established, some young and nervous and, you know, this and that and, you know, some more open to direction than others.
And, you know, and and really able to to effectively communicate and get his point across with with anybody. And that, to me, probably the biggest I'm not all that visual a guy. I don't I don't appreciate, you know, the brilliant cinematography and the and the creative vision.
You know, as much as some movie people do to me, that's about communication. Not ability to communicate with a wide variety of actors is the main attribute that I really respect and admire and appreciate it, I'm sure, Director.
Right. Right. So that they can you know, you're all it is a collaborative work to honor the vision of the the director and the writer and, you know, or the or how they interpret the work. So, you know, if they can sort of in a nuanced way and in a, you know, an encouraging way, make that thing come together.
I mean, that's the whole trick, you know, where they're not an asshole, you know, because you hear about the hero and not being not being.
That is a big part of it, too. Yeah. Which is another another common thread between the directors that I that I, first of all, have really enjoyed working with and second of all, have worked with multiple times.
And you've worked with some assholes. No, never.
Not in show business. I wasn't going to ask names.
I was just going to ask, of course. Yes. Yes. And, you know, I mean I mean, you know. Yes, directors, actors. I mean, you know, craft services guy.
I mean, you know, they're everywhere, but yeah, you throw the craft services guy under the bus.
By and large, I've been I've been fortunate and mostly been surrounded by people that you don't mind being surrounded by when you're working for 12, 13, 14 hours a day. Yeah.
And like, I have to assume that. Well, obviously, but like to get a fucking I don't know.
I'm saying fuck so much with you, but it happens to get an Oscar, you know, for whiplash.
And, you know, you know, at that age, after that life you've led, that must have been like just the best thing in the fucking world.
It was ah. Oh, come on, come on.
No, it was I mean, honestly, I'd had this sort of stick in my rear for for my whole life about about the whole concept of a church, you know, and for, you know, for creative, artistic things.
So, yeah, I get it.
And, you know, and nobody I mean, you know, with a few small exceptions, you know, nobody's ever really been wanting to shower me with them anyway.
So I'm in the same boat party and I got the same attitude about him out there. Bullshit right there. Bullshit.
What do they. Yeah. What do they know?
So, I mean, honestly, I was in that whole thing was just taking off and we were the the belle of the ball at Sundance, that which I didn't even go to. But but I was talking to, you know, the powers that be the Sony Classics guys, Tom and Michael, about, you know, this is what's going to happen and there's going to be all this and it's going to get a lot of attention and there's probably going to be nominations and yadda, yadda, yadda.
I was like, yeah, no, now, yeah. Now I'm not interested. Thanks. I'll be you know, I'll be at home with my wife and kids or working on whatever next. Yeah. And I really kind of have to get talked into it. And again, it was Jason Reitman who kind of talked me into like you look, you either you really need to do this or you can be that guy and you can be like, no, no, no, I'm an artist and I'm not going to do all that.
Yeah. Or he said, or you can do it. And obviously everybody is telling you to do it. And there are reasons you should do it for your career, for the good of the movie, for Damian, for Miles, you know. But he said here's the reason that you really should do this, because everybody that you've known your whole life from from your best friend in second grade before you moved away from Detroit to all of your fourth cousins, he goes, all of those people are going to be so excited and so happy and so thrilled for you, the people you were doing theater with in Buffalo in 1970, that, you know, all these people, it's your and obviously your close friends and your family.
The real reasons to do it, you know, that that really sunk into me and my wife and I had a long heart to heart about, you know, because it's a whole thing, you know, the whole, like, awards season is it's like a you know, it's like a real gauntlet that you that you have to sort of commit to.
And and, yeah, once once we decided that it was something we could do as a team, you know, and and Michael and Tom at Sony Classics, you know, said, yeah, I sure will bring your wife and your kids along if you know if you want them to come to whatever.
Yeah. This festival or that, you know, awards thingy. And and then obviously, you know, I mean, ultimately, it just became a snowball rolling downhill. And the movie was so brilliant. And, you know, Damian had written me the part of a lifetime. And, you know, all the all the statues kept, you know, getting handed off.
You won every award.
Yeah, it was crazy. It was crazy. So really, by the time the Oscars came along, it was it was I mean, I had friends who were like, do you know you're like a thousand to one in Vegas? I mean, it's it's ridiculous. You I mean, there's no way they're not going to give you this trophy. So when they when they finally announced my name, it was almost more a sense of relief than like how big a schmuck would I have been if they said somebody else is now, right?
Yeah, right. Right.
And then, by the way, this is one of my favorite little little aspect of that whole thing, because, I mean, you know, I sort of expected it. But obviously, you know, there's a billion people watching across the planet. And, you know, you're in the Kodak Theater with every famous actor you grew up, you know, so I was a little nervous. And as I walked up and I also didn't ever, like, totally write an acceptance speech, I kind of always had a theme in mind, you know, for the SAG Awards.
I want to talk about actors and about supporting and and I and I knew that if I was fortunate enough to have somebody hand me an Oscar, that that I wanted to talk about what's most important in life, which is family. Right. So so I'm kind of formulating my thoughts and walking up on stage. And Lupita Nyong'o is going to hand me the trophy. And and I I reached out with one hand to take the trophy and I reach out with the other hand to shake her hand like we're two dudes making a business deal.
And then I realized, oh, no, it's Hollywood. You're supposed to do the fake kiss on the cheek. Think so. So I kind of awkwardly go in for the fake kiss on the cheek thing. And I'm sure you can find this on YouTube. Give her a little head.
But did you get ahead? But there are just not enough to take her down.
And and then, you know, and then went on with my speech about, you know, about my wife and my kids and call your mom and all that's in the moment that you did the head back.
Did you know you done it? Oh, yeah. Yeah, so so and I was just I was just glad that there wasn't a house laugh because because it was subtle enough that most people didn't know.
But it grounded you in the moment, huh? It did bring you back to Earth.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it looks like they actually made up new awards to give you an award for that. Yeah. I mean, it was it was crazy.
And and it was obviously a beautiful experience in every way, you know, certainly hasn't hasn't hurt the number of scripts that are coming my way since then. And have I always made the best decisions? I no, but how do you decide now?
Well, I'm telling you, I still like I still feel like I'm learning. I mean, I'm a senior citizen officially here, but I still feel like I'm learning how to make those decisions. And I and I 90 percent of it still for me is just, you know, what's on paper and is the script there is is a great writing. Is it a character that I that I, you know, understand where he's coming from and somebody that I want to play is it's funny, right?
If it's a comedy, is it is it moving? If it's something dramatic and and that's you know, that's 90 percent of do I want to be involved in this project? And then the rest of it becomes logistics.
It's like, yeah, what time we're shooting? Is it shooting in Kathmandu? I'm not interested because I got kids at school and I don't like to be away a lot, you know, and you know, and then, you know who's in it, who's, you know, is the, you know, director this that the other thing. But but I one of the things that I don't take into account still is, you know, do I see that it's going to be a big success or, you know, get a bunch of awards or does it have that kind of pedigree to it?
I still just try to gravitate towards stuff that I, you know, fall and fall in love with because it's good. Yeah.
And you're your wife is he's also in show business. Yes. Yeah.
Michelle Schumacher, I've done a couple of films that she's directed as well. Well, some short films too. But we started out together. She's I was basically robbing the Cradle. Oh yeah.
I was in my I was in my mid thirties when we met and she was in her mid 20s on that Peter Pan tour with Cathy ReGear and. Yeah. And so we're doing our theater actor thing. And then once we got married and the baby started coming along was just about the time I was getting the film and television thing kind of rolling in off the ground. And so she, you know, you can't be doing a play on Broadway and, you know, have your character go through nine months of pregnancy.
So not without a rewrite.
So she became a brilliant and dedicated full time mom for a long time. And then once the kids were old enough to, you know, be in preschool and this and that, she and some friends started putting some little short films together. And yeah, her last film was a beautiful little indie film called I'm Not Here, that that features three actors playing the same character. I play him as obviously an old fart. It's available on Amazon Prime. I'm not here.
I'm going to go. I was in and I know Kleckner. Yeah, I'll check that out.
Tichnor is a kind of a I guess I guess you got to call it a cameo for technology.
And then believe me, going in Mandy Moore love me anymore if you go with it many more.
Max Greenfield. I mean this great, great cast, Sebastian really, really wonderful cast because, you know, because again, it was a script that my wife Michelle and her writing partner, Tony Cummings put together, that once it got out there, there were tons of actors who wanted to get involved in this for even though I was paying like super low budget scale, nothing.
And, you know, the good thing about those movies, whether it's that or Juno or Whiplash or, you know, whatever it is, is. You know, everybody was there for the right reasons, you know, they're there because they love the story that you're going to collaborate. Yeah, yeah, for sure. For a for a for a money or a big career break or this or that or to, you know.
Yeah. Anyway, it's it's a beautiful movie.
But if but if you're a techno fan and you think it's going to be I just know, you know Anchorman three now it's not I it's not the usual.
It's really my my my reaction when I saw his name was like, I'm glad he's working.
You know, I'm not it wasn't like, oh no, that's that's always what I love. We go back a ways to go. That's that's always my reaction when you see any of those guys, you know, they work with over the years and you see their name on something. Yeah. Oh good. Is there is nine kids and there's cases.
Nineteen kids are going to have another meal.
Exactly. Well buddy that was it's great talking to you man.
And you do this really it worked out really well. And, you know, congratulations on everything. And it's you know, you're good, dude, and it's good to see you are so busy. Thanks. You too. I'll talk to you soon.
All right. All right, so that was good. He's exactly like you thought he would be, right. You can watch the limited series defending Jacob on Apple TV plus and the film Palm Springs on Hulu. Go back and watch Oz. Go watch Juno Whiplash. Now I will play some fairly simple but nonetheless heartfelt dirty blues music. Enjoy. I find that. Don't forget, simply say it's got everything you need to protect your home with none of the drawbacks of traditional home security.
You can set it up yourself in under an hour. No technician required. And there's no contract, no pushy sales guys, no hidden fees, no fine print. All this starts at fifteen dollars a month. Had to simply save dotcom slash WTF and get a free HD camera that simply saves dotcom WTF to make sure they know that our show sent you.