Director, Ben Stiller, Alan Alda discussed on Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda


I'm Alan Alda and this is clear and vivid conversations about connecting and communicating the fun of directing for me. Is You know I know what my responsibilities are are. And then I want the actors to feel like they can really bring you know. Whatever it is they're going to bring and feel like they can have the opportunity to take the chances listen to know that they don't have to worry about any of that other stuff? That's Ben Stiller. Ben Knows about moving making as an actor and director and as a student of actor Comedians and mirror and Jerry Stiller who were his mother and father he most recently directed the seven part series escape at data. More more for showtime. It's his latest work in a career. That's included more than fifty movies. And I worked together on a couple of those pictures so so I was really happy when he agreed to visit our studio and compare notes with me about the delegate art of communicating director to actor actor to director and actor to actors Ben. I'm so glad to have you here today. It's really fun I haven't. We've made two movies. The headliner partly sunny show. I know I know said and yeah. I know. I'm so happy to see you to that. First movie flirting with disaster. Wasn't that fun. I am so proud to be a part of that movie. So am I yeah. I love that movie. I mean it was quite quite an experience making it but you and I remember one thing I think it was I seen together. We started to started to amuse each other with the way in your way of working was to go under and then when you went on die when under you right as I think I was probably first of all I was probably kind of in the same way that I remember when I first worked with With Robert Deniro meet the parents. Cents is like you're working with somebody for me. Somebody who is you know in my consciousness because I you know watched you so much That there's that moment of like okay. I'm with this person who I'm used to just watching. And now I'm interacting with them. Yeah and you know it's a bit of trying to be cool and trying to like when we were both trying to be and the cooler. We got the more amused US yes. We've got in trouble with the director. That's right we started to break each other and I felt like we were getting in trouble for being funny and I mean that's the best. I think the best feeling when you feel like you're connecting with an act thing. Yeah that's what. That's I think. One of the things that makes me want to do it until I'm finished as human woman. Yeah no and I think you know what's interesting is that you know the other actor's GonNa give you something that you don't you don't know what it's going to be and for me when and we were doing that I remember thinking. Oh wow he's like he's just so he your character was So much who you know who you you were making that character like. It was such a clear point of view for the character that it was so interesting to me to kind of see what was going to come back for the thing of the Ping Pong ball going back and forth. Yeah if you don't have that if you're playing Solo Ping Pong is not so interesting. Yeah Yeah and I think you know sometimes You know actors will. I've been I've worked with actors. Who are like that who you know and figuring out the night before flooring? Come in and do it at you. No matter what you give them and that it can be good what they're doing. Yes Jesse wonderful. In fact I've I've worked with people who were big stars ars and actually people whose performances I regarded as first class when I saw them on the screen but in working with them when I finally worked at the mine didn't have that back and forth thing and it wasn't as much fun. Great right because yeah because it was just what it was. Yeah and WHO's any adjust just A. You're going to do it right. Yeah I mean you know that's the interesting thing with actors and working in different situations you never know also as a director of sure you know that too. It's you know you see that an actor auditions for something. And you get what you got in the audition. Maybe and it was great in the audition but then there's the has to be a problem when I was a kid there were still there were still radio dramas and soap operas and that kind of thing and actors who only worked worked on radio could pretty much do one performance really so the you know they were used to getting the script maybe maybe running through it once and they're on the air right but you put them in a play. We have to rehearse it for six weeks and then do performance after performance the the epithet was they were radio actors. 'cause they only gave you the surface performance had highs and lows in the dynamics. But didn't that much under yeah. They never went deep right. That's so interesting because I never experienced that and I wonder what what that process was like did and you never ever did that did you. I'd I'd I wrote and Directed Radio Shows on Mike College station so I had some kind of amateur radio experience but but my father was an actor you know right and Robert Altman. He was also aside from the movies and the stage was in radio right so I was exposed to a lot of that and I heard stories about that I heard. Oh he's he's a radio actor. Did you ever go and see as a kid go. See Him work all the time. I stood in the wings and watched guys and dolls Al's twice a week for two years. Wow what about you your parents. I mean I grew up. We grew up around it watching my parents do well. They did You know it did a lot of different things. They did their nightclub act. So there is a lot of working at you know places like you know Reno and Las Vegas. I guess you were there. How did you travel with them as a as a little boy? Yeah my sister and I would go round with them and then when we got older and became you know time go to school. We'd go in the summertime. We go with them. They used to do a lot of summer stock. Though they would go and do they would. They would do. They would do. And they do Like they do neil assignments prisoner of Second Avenue and they go to do it in Cape Cod at Cape Cod Melody tent or they go to Dayton Ohio. The Kenley Theater these you know these places where you go and do it for the Kenley Theater. When I was sixteen? Do you remember John Kennedy. Remember John Candy very well. We would be walking past a parking meter. Her and Heathrow his leg over like ballet did he do about fifty or sixty was a very flamboyant guy very interesting person and did did you hear his theory who've acting no shout and duck. Yeah I could I could. I could understand that having experience in that theater. Yeah and we'd watch my parents do there Do like prisoners second avenue and my sister and I would memorize it. I'm sure that's the same way with the watching. Your Dad two guys and also he was doing it on Broadway right. He originated the part of sky. Mansard incredible that is so and one day phone call while I was working part time. Time is a clown in front of gas stations is trying to try to make a living relationships getting waiting for acting work and they say we did your Father Robert all the yeah. Yeah you know you know the part of Sky masterson because our leading man in this little theater in Illinois just got sick and we opened in two days and so the question is do you know the part and I look over at the paper bag with my clown suit in it and I say do I know I went in a nightmare. Oh my God I did. I was so nervous. That must have been really interesting. Because you probably just had it by Osmosis. But you've never Donna for exactly I to sing and I was having trouble singing in tune in those days..

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