Interview: Owen Wilson
"You, Me and Dupree"
Posted: Friday, July 7th 2006 1:57pm
Author: Paul Fischer
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Owen Wilson can not stop himself - one comic hit after another, and as he confessed, he has no doubt that this comic niche is his permanent comfort zone which he'll never change reports Paul Fischer.
Question: What jokes are stashed in your Blackberry?
Owen: You know, I get criticized for being on my Blackberry especially from my girlfriends... you're more interested in that than having a good conversation'. But, I will say, in my defense, that I feel like I do sometimes write down good ideas or funny stuff, ideas for scenes and stuff. But, sometimes I'm just on there just bullshiting.
Question: What do you think of your nickname of 'The Butterscotch Stallion' and do you have a 75-year-plan like the character in 'Bottle Rocket'?
Owen: Yeah, well, the 75... well, that was actually a reshoot that we added and I remember that Wes and I had a five year plan and Jim Brooks was like 'why don't you make it like a 75 year plan? What do you get out of being subtle?' And I've always remembered Jim Brooks saying that because you do get more mileage and definitely more people quote that. It's also my handwriting because I'm left-handed, I have kind of a chicken-scrawl. Wes always thinks it's funny to see my handwriting. And I know in 'You, Me and Dupree' when they see me writing the thank you notes, people start laughing. They think 'oh, he's doing that for the character, making it look so bad' but that's my penmanship.
Question: Dupree is a very lovable kind of character. How do you see him? Was he inspired by something? Did you know someone like that? Can you see this guy going on for more movies?
Owen: Well, part of Dupree definitely was kind of a little bit like... we had this Dalmatian that we had when we were kids that my parents got us named Nutmeg and this dog, at least was just insane and tore up everything and my parents wanted to send it to go [using quote marks in the air] live on a farm. That's what they were telling us, where it would have more space and we were crying 'noooo' and finally my parents began to fall in love with the dog and Dupree has a little bit of that quality. That was the inspiration, after some of our family dogs growing up.
Question: Do you see Dupree going on as a motivational speaker like he is at the end of the film?
Owen: Somebody was saying the Tony Robbins used to live in his car and so, if Tony Robbins can do it, I don't see why Dupree couldn't become sort of a force out there because I think his message is kind of a good one, 'stay loose, stay liquid, laugh a lot'. What else is there?
Question: I'm curious about chemistry carrying a film. You and Matt Dillon have different approaches and personalities as actors.
Owen: I think with chemistry, seems like very movie I'm in they talk about, if you're in it with another person they're always talking about the chemistry and it just seems to be based on if the movie does well, 'you and Vince have great chemistry but you and Eddie Murphy, your chemistry wasn't so good ['I Spy']'. All I know is that when Eddie and I were working, we had a great time together. We were really laughing a lot but, for whatever reason, it just didn't quite play or connect. But, I think it's just enjoying the people that you are around and kind of play off them. I know, with Kate, I think why Matt and I liked her and the crew loved her and the directors, is that Kate is very easy to get laughing and she's always kind of smiling so you feel like 'wow, I'm really on fire today!' Then you realize she's like that with the prop master and the caterer. She kind of makes everybody feel like they're great. And, it doesn't hurt that she's super pretty.
Question: What about chemistry with your brothers?
Owen: I think, with your brothers, it's feeling very comfortable, not just comfortable but to say 'you're my brother and I love you' which we would never say. But it's feeling very comfortable to say, 'you're driving me crazy' and to sometimes say sort of mean stuff. Because they're your brother, you sort of have to take it.
Question: David Spade just did a joke about Ashley Simpson getting asked for your autograph. Did that ever happen to you?
Owen: You know, that has never happened to me but people will call me Luke sometimes. But, I don't think we really look alike or maybe just being from Texas they'll sometimes confuse you with another Texas person. But, I would say that would be the main thing I would hear is people calling me Luke.
Question: We see a lot of you in this movie. Are you particularly proud? Are you an exhibitionist?
Owen: [laughs] I was thinking, that scene where I run out of the house practically naked. I'm just covered by those pillows. Yeah, this might me one that maybe I should give my mother a little heads up on. She might want to go see 'Cars' for the second time.
Question: Is there any embarrassment involved?
Owen: Yeah. There's a lot of embarrassment. Believe me, there were other shots that they had in there that I was like 'no, we're not puttin' that in'. People would say, was it hard...
Owen: Touché.. uh, was it hard not cracking up doing the scene where I have the sock and there is an adult-themed movie playing and I was like 'no. It was really embarrassing' so it worked for the character. You've got all the crew standing around and teamsters and stuff and there you are kin of simulating something that is probably not meant to be simulated in front of fifty people.
Question: There's a line that love can conquer all the challenges you might have. What's you take on that?
Owen: That's what I think is kind of nice about Dupree, is that he definitely wears out his welcome and he doesn't have a job and he rides around on a bike but he's not like a cynical, jaded slacker. He's got this sort of Labrador-like enthusiasm and he really does want their marriage to work out.
Question: And, do you think love can conquer everything?
Owen: Yeah, that's a nice idea, the idea that love conquers all. That's a nice idea.
Question: Audrey Hepburn was Dupree's idea of a perfect girl. What's your idea of the perfect girl?
Owen: I like that Dupree's ideal is Audrey Hepburn and when Kate is saying that she is having a hard time imagining Audrey Hepburn listening to Funky Cold Medina, Dupree says he doesn't have a hard time. He can picture it very clearly. My ideal girl, obviously you have to be attracted to them and be on the same page sense of humor-wise, I think is the biggest thing. Just enjoying the other person's company, liking stuff they have to say.
Question: Favorite romantic film.
Owen: Favorite romantic film would be... I like that movie 'The End of the Affair', I thought it was really, really good. Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore. Was it Neil Jordan? I thought that was great. I read the Graham Greene book after that.
Question: Have you been over in Europe recently?
Owen: Well, I just went over to Europe a couple of times. I went to Barcelona for the Grand Prix to do 'Cars' stuff then I just went over to Italy to just hang out and visited Woody Harrelson and his family and I got some soccer games in Rome, all the world cup stuff. People are really fired up about that.
Question: In another world, would you like to try a more straight-laced character?
Owen: Yeah. I definitely could identify with a lot of Carl's feelings and the lines that he says. When I originally started working on the script with the writer, he pitched me the idea, I did think of myself as maybe playing Carl and, there was a possibility, at one point, that I was going to play Carl and I think I could have definitely related to some of the stuff that he goes through but I think everybody can. You've either experienced a Dupree or you've been a Dupree and, in my case, I've had both.
Question: What is your favorite book?
Owen: I would say that probably my favorite book is 'Huckleberry Finn' or 'The Great Gatsby'. I love those books. I just feel like I get a lot of ideas from those books. I know that there's stuff in 'Bottle Rocket' that's lifted from 'Huckleberry Finn' like the whole ending where Jim is already free but Tom and Huck go through this whole sort of charade of freeing him. That's kind of put into 'Bottle Rocket' in the beginning where I'm trying to get Luke out of the mental hospital even though it's a volunteer hospital. 'The Great Gatsby' I just like some of the themes in that, being a little bit of a dreamer.
Question: How do you find your 'ness?
Owen: I think I try to find my 'ness the way that Dupree does with 'stay loose, stay liquid, laugh a lot'.
Question: Could you see playing a villain?
Owen: Yeah. I think it would be fun to play... I saw Robin Williams in this movie 'Insomnia'. He's like a killer. I was like 'what is Mork doing? This isn't right'. I would like to do that also but I wonder if people would have a problem with it. 'Behind Enemy Lines' isn't, obviously, a comedy. And, I think, hopefully, comedic actors can... I think that I could probably pull something off like that if given the chance.
Question: Are you going to pursue it actively?
Owen: Yeah. I would definitely like to do a movie where the burden wasn't on that you had to get big laughs in set pieces. I think it would be nice to do a movie that had funny stuff but it was more sort of from the characters. I loved that movie 'Sideways'. That has really funny stuff but it has a lot of emotional stuff. I think Wes and I tried to do that in some of the scripts that we worked on. I can't imagine ever doing a straight, serious movie that didn't have anything funny in it because I don't think that life is ever really like that. Even in 'Raging Bull' the scenes between DiNiro and Joe Pesci, some of those are hilarious.
Question: Didn't you play a serial killer?
Owen: Yeah, I did play a serial killer, he says excitedly and laughing. 'The Minus Man', Hampton Fancher and I had a great time working with Hampton. He wrote 'Bladerunner'. That's actually the only part that I've ever gotten from auditioning so, I don't know, maybe I was able to tap into my inner psycho I guess to play that part.
Question: Dupree tries to get his girl back. Have you ever had the experience of trying to get a girl back?
Owen: Oh yeah. I've definitely had to try and win a girl back. All of a sudden you're sending flowers and you're pretending that there's nothing you'd rather do on a Sunday than go antique shopping, drive to Pasadena and hit the flea market and usually that relationship doesn't last because there's only so long you can fake that.
Question: Do you write any poems?
Owen: I've probably pawned off some poems as my own that I got from like a song lyric, yeah.
Question: Are you and Vince in a competition this summer to see which one will do the best after 'Wedding Crashers'?
Owen: It's funny. We have the same agent and she was saying that Vince gets so into stuff and Vince has this natural exuberance and I feel like he's now getting ready to do press for 'You, Me and Dupree' to help this movie like this is one of his projects also.
Question: Do you and your brother have a kind of competition?
Owen: I don't think so. We'll stand out on the beach and throw rocks at a post for four hours and get in screaming matches but I don't think we've ever been competitive about this stuff because I think it's the feeling like 'Gee, if Luke does really well, I know I can always get him to be in a movie with me'. It's kind of hoping that a rising tide lifts all boats.
Question: How many different swimsuits did you guys make Kate try on?
Owen: Probably about seventy-three. And they were all good. That was a fun day!
Question: Would you say you are a messy or a neat person?
Owen: I'm probably ...well, slob would be too strong a word but edging in that direction.
There's an extra coat of hot wax on Pixar's vibrant, NASCAR-influenced comedy about a world populated entirely by cars. Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is the slick rookie taking the Piston Cup series by storm when the last race of the season (the film's high-octane opening) ends in a three-way tie. On the way to the tie-breaker race in California, Lightning loses his way off Route 66 in the Southwest desert and is taught to stop and smell the roses by the forgotten citizens of Radiator Springs. It's odd to have such a slim story from the whizzes of Pixar, and the film pales a bit from their other films (though can that be a fair comparison?). Nonetheless, Cars is another gleaming ride with Pixar founder John Lasseter, who's directing for the first time since Toy Story 2. There's the usual spectrum of excellent characters teamed with appropriate voice talent, loads of smooth humor for kids and parents alike, knockout visuals, and a colorful array of sidekicks, including a scene-stealing baby blue forklift named Guido. Lightning's plight is changed with the help of former big-city lawyer Sally Carrera (Pixar veteran Bonnie Hunt), the town's patriarch Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), and kooky tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). The Incredibles was the first Pixar film to break the 100-minute barrier, but had enough story not to suffer; Cars, at 116 minutes (including some must-see end credit footage), is not as fortunate, plus it never pierces the heart. Trivia fans should have bonanza with the frame-by-frame DVD function; the movie is stuffed with in-jokes, some appearing only for an instant.