Sunday, October 09, 2005

Dermot Mulroney & Luke Wilson: Family Stone (Q & A)

Like I'd mentioned earlier, I got a chance to rap with Luke Wilson and Dermot Mulroney who were doing press for The Family Stone which also features Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson. Here's some of what went on earlier today at the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena...[Luke was in another room finishing his breakfast but Dermot came in and started to roll]...



Q: You want to wait or do you want to get started?

DM: ...Yeah, before he comes in here. (laughs) I was thrilled to work with Luke then I'd heard he'd got into the movie and I was afraid he was going to bail -- you know, for some higher-priced part -- and drop out at the last minute. So, honestly, I was rather anxious about that at the beginning of the movie [shoot]. And I knew that I was going to like him right away too -- I mean, I could just tell from his movies that we'd be compatible. And he'll probably tell you different, but we ended up being pretty good friends.

[Luke walks in and his people leave]

Q: So, for the both of you are you guys like the kind of people who like to greet [others?] with the hugs like the family in the movie?

DM: No, we shake hands. Don't we?

Luke: (sitting down) Yeah.

DM: He's a "non-hugger," for sure.

Luke: I'm friends with the tennis player Pete Sampras and he's always criticizing Hollywood men for hugging each other -- which they do.

DM: You fall into it.

Luke: You do...it's part of the [Hollywood greeting] process. You roll up to a guy you barely know and...(hug him).

DM: ...it's really weird. But, I'll tell you what -- you work with Sarah Jessica Parker and Claire Danes and Rachel McAdams, believe me, you're hugging every morning! (laughs)...Good morning, dear - all that...

Q: Have either of you ever went out with a girl but you really liked her sister?

DM: No. That has never happened...

Luke: I liked the mom. (laughs)

Q: What about growing up, did you ever steal Owen's girl or anything? Or vice versa?

Luke: It never happened. I just never would cross that line, I don't know. That's the kind of thing that might cause a serious rift in our friendship or family -- I wouldn't do that to those guys.

Q: Different tastes in women?

Luke: Um, that's a tough one. I don't think so, not necessarily.

Q: What's Christmas like in your houses?

DM: It's pretty crazy, (looking at Luke) you've got two brothers, I've got three and a sister and so, at this age it's so hard to get everybody together and have this kind of thing. But when you do -- our family really plays hard too (looking at Luke ) --

Luke: It has to be nice to have a son, though. I figure that once you have a child, like Dermot [has], then it kind of comes full circle. You kind of enjoy [the holidays] again.

DM: Yeah, and you get to bring him over to the family house and you get to sleep in -- which is nice -- because he's hanging with his grandmother.

Q: I can imagine a Wilson family get-together is it as fun and funny as one might think?
Luke: Um, we like to have a good time. And yeah, I think, we're one of those families that instead of -- our way of showing affection is to kid [around with] one another --

DM: That's us too.

Luke: -- sometimes we have to, kind of, tone it down or else it kind of builds and builds and builds until you're being kind of mean. (laughs) But no, we all get along great and my folks are still together and so we all enjoy being around each other.

Q: Can each of you talk about what brought you to your respective roles in The Family Stone and what did you like about your characters?

DM: Sure...um...

Luke: You want me to get started here?

DM: Yeah, why don't you? You've probably got your arms around that one already.

Luke: For me, it was just one of those things where it was my character on the page -- and then also the other characters -- where it seemed like it would be fun to be around those people. And I don't know that there's anything I don't like about Ben, except that maybe he does seem kind of aimless. But I mean, my feeling in the movie is that a lot of the way that each character is driven by what's going on with Diane (Keaton's character) like maybe Ben's extra easy-going and extra-relaxed just to offset this underlying tragedy. And the same with [Dermot's character], maybe he's getting more and more uptight just because of what's going on with Diane. You know, like when Rachel McAdams -- or maybe it's Diane's character -- says "what're you doing wearing a tie?" Like maybe he's trying to keep everything in his life together because the thing that everyone cares the most about in the movie is Diane and Craig (T. Nelson) --

Q: -- Do you think comedies or, like, family comedies are becoming a Wilson family business with you and your brother?

Luke: I think we -- and maybe we're kind of drawn to comedies -- maybe that's what we have the most fun doing. But yeah, also, family comedies and I like the idea of working with my brothers -- which I've had the chance to do a couple of times -- it's just like working with a great old friend or something. Not that we don't have our differences but we do have very similar tastes and stuff like that where you don't have to spend the time on a movie getting to know somebody. Starting a new movie is like going to a new school -- it's like, maybe, you're kind of awkward. You don't know how everybody works and you want them to like you and you want to do a good job. And you need to feel comfortable.

Q: With Wendell Baker coming out is there a lot to live up to with all the scripts that Owen's done?

Luke: Um, maybe in other people's eyes but, I mean, not for me. I mean I'm more, kind of, influenced by Owen and Wes Anderson and I would hope that it would have some of the same qualities those movies have. But I liked the movie and people that I'm close to that have seen it, seem to enjoy it. Like people whose opinions I respect but yeah, of course, you worry if it'll do well. But in terms of living up to those movies, I mean, I hold those guys in such high esteem with the work they've done together that I wouldn't think of..[having to live up to or top them].

Q: Is there any particular character, in a movie, that you've played that's more like "Luke Wilson in reality?" I mean like this guy, Ben, in The Family Stone or maybe Mitch from Old School?

Luke: I think, it's like I'm not doing, like, Gary Oldman parts -- you know, totally transforming myself --

Q: -- Like Bram Stoker's Dracula or something?

Luke: Yeah, so I think there's elements of me in everybody I play. But yeah, I mean a lot of the time I'll start out with good intentions but usually I just end up playing myself. After the first couple of weeks. (laughs)

DM:...it works.

Q: Have either one of you ever ask a girl to "fly her freak flag" like Ben does in the movie? (got tongue-tied on freak flag)

Luke: It's hard to get out isn't it? Um, I don't know --

DM: -- I like women that are already loose. (laughs) Q: That wasn't your line, that line was already written in the script, right?

Luke: No, that was one of Tom's lines. That was a phrase that I didn't feel comfortable saying so I tried to say it like it was some piece of sage advice. Something like, " I once heard the Dalai Lama say 'fly your freak flag' or something like that. (laughs) I was trying to make it seem very [Biblical]...

Q: Dermot, what're you working on?

DM: I'm on a low-budget movie called Griffin and Phoenix with Amanda Peet -- we have another six days of filming in New York.

Q: So that is happening?

DM: Yeah, finally. It was almost started a year ago and then the financing fell apart and so forth, so, they're making it [properly] instead of hurrying it and doing it the wrong way which was what would've happened a year ago. But we started with the script and now we're in the home stretch now.

Q: Is it a romantic comedy?

DM: It is but -- there's illnesses involved.

Q: Was it difficult learning sign language for your parts for this movie?

DM: It was pretty fun. I really was fascinated by it. Jack Jason is a really well-known sign language interpreter -- coach or technical advisor, I guess you'd call it -- and he was great to work with. I ended up just trying to do exactly what he did, you know, and just imitate his hands. But the more you learn it, the more you realize how really beautiful this language is --

Luke: -- Certain people were really good at it. Dermot was really good, Diane was especially good -- I think she'd [learned] it before -- I had trouble with it but I think it was a horse race between me and Craig (T. Nelson ) who was worse.

Q: The director and producer said it was Craig.

DM: Yeah, it was...

Luke: But he had more lines and I just quietly, kind of, stop doing them -- and hoped no one noticed. One time I was trying to make Craig feel uncomfortable about it, to deflect attention from myself, and I was like "Craig, you looked like a third base coach up there and he's like "I know, I'm really having trouble with this." He's like "I was practicing in my trailer and I almost put my damn eye out." It is difficult yet you do see when people are good at it -- it is one of those things, that it makes, most of the stuff makes sense, all those signals. And Thad (Stone) was really helpful and patient with people. And he always has a guy with him, who's translating for him, and...he's also good at reading lips too. You know, you'll kind of see him focusing on your mouth -- I thought it was just because he thought I had a pretty mouth. (laughs)

DM: And what [Thad] will tell you is that people really do start to enunciate more when they know that their lips are being read. But then of course, he says, then I can't understand a word you're saying because it doesn't look like you're actually talking. Even like when Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) does in the movie where she talks too slow and people start to laugh at her and stuff, like "what an idiot."

Q: Are you working on Super Ex?

Luke: Yes, I start this week.

Q: What's that about?

Luke: It's um -- it should be funny -- it's a comedy with Ivan Rietman directing and Uma Thurman. I play a guy that starts going out with who I think is just a regular girl and she turns out to be a super hero for Manhattan. But then, she's kind of tough to be in a relationship with and I break it off. And then she starts using her super powers against me.

Q: A lot of special effects?

Luke: Yeah, there'll be a lot of stuff. I fly but I had to do this thing that's called the scan. You go up to this place in the [San Fernando] Valley and I went into this room and they were like "could you just put that on for the scan?" and you like see a bikini. I mean this thing was like, literally -- I looked like I had both genders when I put it on, it was so tight. I looked like I had everything.

Q: Dermot, I wanted to ask you, have you seen Capote?

DM: Yeah.

Q: So Catherine's (Keener) seen it too is she excited about it?

DM: Yeah, definitely. I think she's really pleased. It's a beautiful movie, the way they made it. It's just incredible and all of the performances are off the charts, it's unbelievable! Have you seen it yet?

Q: No, I was reading about it in Vanity Fair, though, and they had a little bit about Cathy and they said she blew it up.


DM: Yeah, she sure did. It's really, really a great work. All through that movie -- yeah, she's phenomenal.

Q: Do you guys work, like she'll do something then you'll do something...?

DM: Well, you try but you really don't have any say about the [shooting] schedule so much -- and that one, for example, I was working on that terrific movie, Must Love Dogs while she was travelling back and forth doing Capote. So you know -- I mean the only reason that I was back at work was because Must Love Dogs was [shot] in town. Because of the age of our son and so forth, it's pretty complicated but we have worked at the same time...

Q: Well, you tell Cathy I said good luck with Capote, fingers crossed.

DM: I will, I will. Thanks a lot, man

The Family Stone opens nationally on November 4th...

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