During the course of the interview, we got to find out a little about his working life and how he relates to Larry in the movie.
Read on for more info or click here to view all our coverage of Larry Crowne.
Have you ever been sacked?
I have never experienced what poor Larry does where he walks in a room on top of the world and found out that he’s losing his job. Once I thought I was doing a movie because the Producers, the Director and the Studio all told me I was and then had a meeting with them only to receive a phone call the next day from my agent who says ‘What happened’ because I’m not doing the movie anymore!? I don’t know what happened and no one explained.
Was that early on in your career?
Not as early as you’d think. You’ll never know what movie that was but it didn’t do that well!
How did you find directing your wife and how did she come up with that look?
She said ‘what should I do’? I said ‘Baby, do something wild’. I kept getting text photos of her trying on different wigs and I got red ones, black ones and when she put on that blonde one she looked exactly like her niece and I said ‘That it’s’. I told her to find herself a good tight power suit and soem stilettos which go clakity clac and she was constantly upbeat lady at the bank with a complementary coffee which says ‘you’re not getting the money’.
It was fun to direct her. It was a great scene because she powered it. We only shot for a day and we added the scene at the end where I give back the strategic foreclosure as I saw a news article on it the week before about people who say I can’t pay for myself and give it back to the bank and walk away.
Why’s it taken you so long to direct your second feature?
Directing is a constant test of your communicative powers. You’re constantly trying to explain to people a vision and want you want. I didn’t have those instinctive talents when I did ‘That Thing You Do’. I love that movie and loved everything about it and it came out pretty dang good but at the end of the day I wish I hadn’t been worried about things as much as I were and had paid more attention to some other things which were in my power.
I have that a little bit more at my disposal now so I’m not nearly as intimidated at the idea of directing. I have a certain degree of strengths. None of them are cinematic unfortunately. I think I know how to get a spirit of a scene together and there are some scenes which make themselves perfectly and other times where I need the help of the actors, the cinematographer and a few other people.
I’m not a director at the end of the day, I’m a storyteller, I run a company and I can direct but instinctively I’m an actor and that’s where I went in the 15 years between ‘That Thing You do’ and ‘Larry Crowne’.
What kind of ambition did the guy that made Bachelor Party have and how does the reality matched the dream?
The guy who made Bachelor Party couldn’t believe he was in a movie, being paid to come on and do this stuff. The guy was hoping he would get another job after Bachelor Party and that seems to have worked out ok. The guy in Larry Crowne hopes he’s going to have another job after that.
I still have the same amount of enthusiasm and fun. The day before we start shooing a movie I can’t sleep because I’m too excited about doing it. Whether it’s Road to Perdition, Apollo 13 or The Green Mile I still can’t wait to get up and do it. He’s a little slower, older and heavier but still has that enthusiastic boyish smile doesn’t he?!
How did you find writing the lessons scripts that we see in Larry Crowne?
We wrote so much of the speech class and then we did research by videotaping public speaking classes at Santa Monica City College and it was almost verbatim. We’d made it up! I thought a teacher might say something like this and she might get people up and saying something like this and it was literally the first day for public speaking with English as a second language.
Are you a natural on scooter?
I am now! It’s one thing to pass a written test but there is a question with multiple answers and I swear, all the answers work! The man who was testing me was so overjoyed to have me that I don’t think he was paying much attention to all the mistakes I was making!
Was there a point in your career where you thought you could take control of it?
There’s a period of time where you just can’t believe (Bachelor Party or what have you) where they offer you a job and you just take it. After I did A League of Their Own, I said ‘I’m 37, I’m not a young man anymore and I wanted to play men in bitter compromise rather than ‘the dad who did the thing’ or ‘the man who wants to fall in love’ or variations of those 80s movies, so many people made including me. It was the type of thing that I could control.
Larry Crowne hits UK cinemas today!