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ISSUE
  Thursday
167
  March 4
2004
c o n t e n t s
 
Set to Sail on Songwriting Chops: The Decemberists’ Colin Maloy Talks About his Band’s Haunting Pop and its New, 18-Minute Prog-Rock Song
RED Reviews
 
A Dance By Any Other Name?

Lab’s ‘Hard Heart’ Hits Hard

A Tale of Two Johns:
A Review of the books by presidential candidates John Edwards and John Kerry
 
Stiller and Wilson Meet Starsky and Hutch:
The Funnymen Talk About Bringing a ’70s TV Show to the Big Screen

WEB EXCLUSIVE
‘Starsky and Hutch’ Revitalizes the TV Show Remake

Paris in the Springtime:
Bertolucci Returns to Form with ‘The Dreamers’
 
 
 
 

 theReel
 
Stiller and Wilson Meet Starsky and Hutch
The Funnymen Talk About Bringing a ’70s TV Show to the Big Screen
 
by Jeremy Mathews
The RED Interview

It’s unclear whether a conference-call interview with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson stops the two actors from lying or encourages them.

Wilson: “What I look for in scripts is… who’s going to be involved— if it’s people who I think are good— and the characters I’m going to play, if I think I could make funny or be believable in.”

Stiller: “You told me you wanted to do it because of the three-way kiss scene.”

Wilson: “Well, there’s also that…”

Stiller: “So you just basically look for any sex scene with multiple partners in a script, that’s kind of what attracts you to a role.”

The two actors, also known for writing and, in Stiller’s case, directing, have worked together on six films and have a strong rapport that brings life to their new film, “Starsky and Hutch,” based on the hit ’70s TV show. Their comedic acting extends to public events— the Oscar ceremony on Sunday included two amusing staged fights between the two, one while presenting and one on the red carpet.

The two think this sort of relationship was key in the original show and the success of the new film.

“I think that the reason why the TV series was such a phenomenon was that David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser had a sort of give-and-take and a natural chemistry. Hopefully the fact that Ben and I work together a lot and are friends in real life [will give us] our own rapport and help the movie,” Wilson said.

“It’s trying to find like-minded people,” Wilson said. “Especially when you’re doing funny stuff and even dramatic stuff, you want to find people who you believe in. I’ve been lucky. I met Ben I think my first year when I came out to Los Angeles. So I’ve worked with him a lot and I’ve continued to work with my brothers and Wes Anderson.”

“Yeah, um, I just can’t find anybody else to work with,” added Stiller.

Going into the film, Stiller and Wilson felt that capturing the TV show’s fun would mean translating the spirit rather than the specific character traits.

“I don’t think they were as delineated characters on the original show,” said Stiller. “By the end of the movie, I think they become the Starsky and Hutch they would have been if [we were] playing them.”

Stiller said, “Part of what we were trying to do was make the movie that we would enjoy seeing… I remember the show. I think people who have seen the show and who remember the show are tougher to please because they have a preconceived notion of what the show should be in their heads. I was actually surprised that people who didn’t know the show do enjoy it as much as they do… We were approaching it from trying to capture what we loved about the original.”

The two enjoyed working in a film that takes the ’70s attitude to sex and police work. “[The original Starsky and Hutch] were very quick to rough up a thug. It was kind of a looser attitude toward relationships and the way men and women interacted,” Wilson said.

Stiller added, “You could just be a cop and be a tough guy and not worry about offending anyone, and that was how they were.”

“Starsky and Hutch” features a fun set of supporting actors including Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis and Jason Bateman. Stiller and Wilson enjoyed working with their fellow comedians, especially Snoop Dogg and Will Ferrell.

“Snoop was great to work with,” Wilson said. “When I looked at the call sheet and saw that Snoop was working, you could count on having a fun day and having a sort of ‘Cheech and Chong’ element.”

Stiller said, “I remember laughing a lot when Will Ferrell came on and did his scene,” said Stiller. “It was so ridiculous and he played it so serious. He’s just one of those guys who makes everyone laugh.”

Sounds like Wilson and Stiller, who even try to keep their interviews amusing.
jeremy@red-mag.com

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