Danny Devito Interview The Lorax & Twins Sequel News
Acclaimed actor/diretor Danny Devito spoke to our very own Bernadette McIntyre at The MCM London Comic Con Expo 2012 about his new animated film the Lorax and confirmed that the long rumored Twins sequel is officially happening with Eddie Murphy joining Danny and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a new brother for Triplets. read the full Interview below:
Hello, how you doing, nice to see you. I think I’ve been in London so long I’m starting to talk like you guys!
At the heart of the Lorax do you think it’s a love story?
This is the thing; this is the great thing, falling in Love! It can be a woman and a woman or a man and a man it doesn’t matter, it’s falling in love! Boy I’m telling you, you can move mountains when you fall in love. That’s what happens with Zac’s character here, he just falls totally madly in love with his neighbour, played by Taylor Swift, rightly so because she’s gorgeous. It’s also that thing where you look at the age difference and say this girl’s a tiny bit older than he is, maybe just a year or two. Everyone had that experience in school, maybe with a girl who was like a grade ahead of you and you go “Oh Man! I would do anything to get next to her”
Have you ever been through that yourself?
Oh yeah! I mean I’ve never had an opportunity to go and plant a forest for a woman. But I’ve certainly had the feeling that I would go tackle that task if the opportunity arose!
The film has a strong environmental message but it’s also been used to promote SUV’s and disposable diaper, how do you feel about that?
I know there’s a too big to fail sign in there, but basically I’m a green leftie. I drive a leaf which is a car that was available a year ago from Nissan in the United States. It has no emissions and I pretty much never go to the gas station. I do everything I can to. I can’t do it as well as Ed Begley though. He does it to the point that he’ll ride his bike to charge the batteries to do his laundry in his house. But I’m not built that way, I can’t do that. But I am totally 100% behind the film I terms of its message of sustainability. But what we have to do eventually but pretty soon to clean up the mess we’re making all over the world. Not only in our respective countries but also in all the places we’re paying people to cut down rainforests to grow crops. These simple things are throwing the world out of balance. I just a book about a year ago called Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond and it’s really cool book that people should take a look at.
I’m a big YouTube freak; I go on there all the time. I look at all these science things, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson who’s the head of the planetarium in New York. He’s totally into talking about space and what’s going on. But this guy Jarred who was talking about Easter Island and civilisations. Not to get too heavy about it, but those kinds of things remind us that we are this tiny little butterfly blink as a species on this planet. There’s so much stuff that’s gone on before us and so much that’s possibly going to happen in the future. I’s not a question of blowing a dust speck off a table and saying there you got solved it. Those things are scary but in the film we handle it very well. It’s out there, it is in your face a bit, but it’s done with love, care and a sense of fun. Going back to the kids love story as well I felt really good about that being the catalyst for all this.
What would you say is the enduring appeal of Dr Suess?
The thing about Dr Seuss from my perspective is that I have a family of three kids; you start the ids out reading. The main thing about parenting is dedication; it’s about being there as much as you can. Everybody has to work and go off to jobs to make ends meat, but with kids if you put in that time when you come home from work. You start them out with beautiful picture books. Stuff that you can look at. Winnie the Poo and all those things. Then you start moving into word books. What happens is you find Dr Seuss. You find that it’s not only fun, with a story about someone who hears something in the middle of a flower, he’s also got the rhymes going on. They’re silly ass rhymes, I love that stuff! It makes it more palatable for us as parents, brothers, sisters or uncles. It makes it easier to bridge that gap. It varies it up and chops it up a bit. You throw in some Roald Dahl, like Matilda or The BFG, and then you’ve got something else going on. It makes it more enjoyable and it’s a better way to reach the mind of your loved ones.
You’re in the West End playing a furious character in Sunshine Boys how furious is the Lorax?
The Lorax is a ball of fury for sure! Once he found out what’s going on. This guy is naïve, he’s chopping down trees. The obvious thing is that if you do it indiscriminately then you’re going to chop down every tree and wind up with nothing. That’s it, that’s basically the tale. It’s not against the logging industries at all, it’s just about awareness. If you’re going to take a tree, then plant one as well. Figure something out. Don’t change the environment to the point where you’re having mudslides because you have no ground cover. It’s simple things like that, that men and women need to think about.
Now in terms of being bombastic and crazy… I love that, you know that about me. One of the things about the Lorax he’s not a guy who keeps his feelings to himself. I relate to that. If I see something that I feel needs to be taken care of I’m going to say something. I’m not trying to win friends an influence people. If something’s on my mind I’ll say it, I’m not saying I can’t be wrong, I’m not invincible. But I’m saying that if somebody does something to somebody that I don’t think is right then you have to speak up. You could keep quiet, but that’s not my MO.
Can you tell us a bit more about your West End Play Sunshine Boys?
In the Sunshine Boys my big problem is that I’ve spent 43 years working with one partner who’d had enough at the time and quit. He left me 11 years ago with an act where I ask questions and there’s nobody there to answer. Now I’m already an old guy, doing the same thing for 43 years and it’s very hard to break into other things. It’s hard to get into commercials, it’s hard to get any work when you’re older, but you still have that desire to work in you. You’re caught between a rock and a hard place.
In Neil Simon’s wonderful play Sunshine Boys the thrust of the play is that they have a chance to get back together for a television special. My character in the play is still resentful and holds a grudge. My partner retired to go live in the country with his daughter in New Jersey.
You recently directed a post-apocalyptic thriller set in a hospital, how’s that going?
I’m working on it now. It’s one of those things where you bite off more than you can chew. I thought while I’m doing he play I can edit it. So I’ve been going back and forth with it. I have a wonderful cast. Lance Reddick is a wonderful actor who played Lt Daniels on The Wire. He’s an amazing man and a great guy. He’s my partner basically; he played a character on Sunny. Then I have bill vicknor who was on tons of movies like Perfect Storm and is going to be playing the bad guy in the Johnny Depp Lone Ranger movie. He’s terrific. Constance Zimmer, who played one of the main guys girlfriends on Entourage , she’s cute and a really pretty girl who plays our nurse. When I say Apocalyptic it’s like the city is under siege. There’s a lot of exteriors, there’s a lot going on outside. But the dilemma of these two people is that one of them is drug dealer, the other guy is a cop and they’ve both shot each other in the stomach. The nurse is taking care of them because there are no doctors; everybody has split because the city is under siege. There’s other people that the nurse if taking care of and there’s clues all the way through as to why people are really all there. But you’ll have to go see the movie to figure it all out!
I’m editing the film now on my trusty final cut pro. I got all my material with me. I shot it on a Lexa camera, it’s a beautiful camera. I send stuff back and forth with the composer and sound effects. I sit in my room eating French fries doing it all.
A lot of your work comes from the dark side where does that come from in yourself?
I think it’s like I like the idea of the banana peel, I love the slapstick stuff. I always loved Gerry Lewis, the Three Stooges and all that stuff. There is a thing about comedy which is that it lends itself to farce. I just take that and apply it to something like War of The Roses, two people fighting over material objects. It turns into a fun story where I can kill the people. I kind of enjoyed the fact that I was mean to Matilda, but in the end it worked out for her and she ended up with Miss Honey. In Death to Smoochy, Edward Norton’s character is a total environmentalist but he’s running around in the ridiculous dinosaur suite. In the first scene he’s playing this song on a little ukulele dressed as the Smoochy character and it’s all about Heroine! He’s singing “You can get yourself off the smack, yes you can!”. He’s singing it in a methadone clinic to people waiting to get their juice.
Is the Twins sequel going to happen and is it really going to be Triplets?
Yeah it’s going to happen. What’s going to happen is I’ll tell you the way it’s going to go we talked about it once you have the dinner about it then you can start. I went with Arnold first we had an initial meeting. There were couple of agents there, which is always a terrible thing to have. The studio was there too, which is really crazy because once the studio wants it they’ll string up your first born to get it. We like Universal; they’re the people who are doing the Lorax. Universal have been so good to us, especially me. I’m really looking forward to it.
Then we we’re trying to figure out what it should be and someone had the idea that maybe we should be triplets. Who better to play the part than Eddie Murphy as our new brother. So we don’t have the story yet. But the idea going to be that we wind up as scientists. I did the movie Gattaca with Jude Law and Ander Niccol, it was with a great writer and that blew me away. Reading about all the sh*t you can do! We’ve got an eleven finger piano player in that movie and it’s unbelievable.
Would you ever want to direct an animated film of your own?
Chris Meledandri brought The Lorax to me, he did Despicable Me and he’s got a ton of other movies going on. He’s got a company called lamination Arts that works with Universal. I think his son got him hooked on Sunny and Frank Reynolds just sold the deal with those guys. They brought a drawing of The Lorax over. They said, wow imagine your voice coming out of that guy! I just go for it man I was like wild in this movie.
I do this thing that’s really bizarre hat you probably don’t know about called Blood Factory, it’s a hobby it’s not something that’s commercial. My friend is a horror aficionado and he writer these like 5mintue, six minute things. But we’ve done like ten of them and they’re all online. You have to go see if you can find it at The Blood Factory.com They’re very sick and twisted, don’t let your little kids watch them! They’re all about revenge and comeuppance ad usually there’s a lot of blood. The one point I was thinking was doing a game with The Blood Factory, but then you know I am doing a lot of stuff.
Would you like to see the stage production of Matilda while you’re in the West End yourself?
The movie is amazingly popular. Everyone watched the movie. It’ one of those classic stories about where you fight to get a movie made, which I did. The studio beats the sh*t out of you while you’re making the movie. It happens to very film maker and every director. They beat you down and make you feel like you’re wasting money and you’re piece of dirt. Then all of a sudden the movie comes out half way decent. Then every single kid in the world owns the movie and they make a lot of money on it. Now that movie is evergreen. Whoever watches it passes it on to their children, their nieces or nephews. I have no desire to go and see the play. I just don’t feel like I’d want to go and see someone else doing it. I’d pick it apart.
Final question if you could have lunch with any character form the Dr Seuss world who would it be?
That’s a really good question. You know I have to say, I don’t want to be prejudiced or anything, but the Lorax is a really good character. Here’s what I think, I figure he’s probably a vegetarian, I figure he eats a lot of berries and nuts and stuff. He does come out of a tree but he’s got some magic. I wonder what the community of Lorax looks like. I assume he’s a guy. I’m assuming there’s going to be a girl in his life somewhere, probably living down in the ground under a tree stump. He’s a rare creature of the forest; you don’t get to see him often. But if there’s one of him then there’s got to be two of them. I wouldn’t mind going to lunch with the Loraxes, I’m sure he’s not going to eat one of those little fishies!