Exclusive Interview: Little Focker's Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson is a busy guy, particularly this month. Not only was he busy promoting How Do You Know, but this weekend’s release Little Fockers, too. Right after the Little Fockers press conference, Wilson bolted to promote How Do You Know and then came back to talk Fockers. All it took was a little Sports Center, a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit and Wilson was ready to go.

If you think you know his character Kevin, think again. Wilson did have some screen time in Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers, but here, his role is exponentially larger. After a failed marriage proposal, Kevin decides to travel to Chicago where Greg and Pam (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) are throwing a birthday party for their twins. Sure enough, Kevin gets a little too close for comfort, making Greg increasingly concerned that Pam’s ex-flame is going to move in on his territory.

As eager as I was to ask Wilson everything and anything Little Fockers, so was he to get my take on the film and on his character in particular. Regardless, there was still tons of time to discuss everything from Wilson’s mini make-out session with Barbra Streisand, his bright blue unitard, his hopes for the future and more.

Let’s just get right into it; how was it shooting your more intimate moment with Barbra Streisand?

Owen Wilson: That is cutting straight to the chase. It was actually kind of an exciting scene. To be able to say you kissed Barbra Streisand, that’s pretty major. That’s one you can check off the to do list. But it was kind of surreal; you kiss Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman comes in.

How was it working with such a big cast? You’ve worked with so many fantastic actors at this point; is it just more of the same or can this kind of ensemble still be overwhelming? Do you ever get star struck?

I do. I remember on the first Meet the Parents having to give some speech when I’m showing everyone around my house and I turn and I see Robert De Niro and I just literally forgot all my dialogue just because you know his face, it’s so familiar from all these great roles.

It seems like you’ve grown pretty close to some of these iconic performers especially after that press conference earlier with you and Dustin Hoffman. Is that what it was like on set, too?

Especially with Dustin. He’s so funny so getting to do this press stuff, it makes me think we need to be doing a buddy comedy together.

Would you really consider doing that?

I’d love to! You know what’s funny? Of course he did Tootsie and that’s a funny movie and he’s won Academy Awards as this dramatic actor, but you see him, what’s your sense of him? He seems more like he’s Robin Williams. Doesn’t he?

Exactly! So is he the funniest of the bunch?

Well, I would say Dustin is definitely a nice person to be paired with when you’re doing press junkets because he’s really going to do a lot of heavy lifting because he says so much funny stuff. He makes it so entertaining. But Ben and I have worked together on ten movies or more, so yeah, we end up really getting along.

What’s it like moving from film to film with Ben Stiller and having shared so much of your career with him?

I just saw him now and we’re talking about doing another Zoolander movie. In a way it kind of doesn’t seem quite believable. Like, geez, have we been in Hollywood that long where we could have worked on this many movies together? It’s a little bit strange to think that we’ve worked together so much and we’ve been around so long that we could have.

Speaking of Zoolander, what’s the status of the new film? Will you go into production soon?

I think so. I think there’s a really good script and I think we’re going to do it.

Do we have a new fashion line to look forward to? No more Derelicte?

No more Derelicte, but I think that people will be happy with some of this new stuff we have.

So both you and Ben are coming back, but what about the rest of the cast? Will Ferrell?

I think so. Yeah, I think so.

Back to Little Fockers, is it hard to get the work done with a batch of comedians on a set?

Yes! [Laughs] It is hard to get the work done. It’s hard just to organize everybody. You have such a big cast and it ends up being like a reunion. You’re seeing everyone again and I’m just laughing and having a good time. Ben and I have worked together so much that anytime we’re in a scene we were always kind of laughing and stuff together.

What’s it like balancing so many strong personalities? I imagine you all have very different ways of preparing and performing.

Well, I’m pretty loose the way I prepare, although maybe I should have gone to Cirque du Soleil to prepare for some of that end stuff. I think everyone kind of knows the way their character behaves and acts, so everybody’s pretty comfortable at this point.

Speaking about that ending, how comfortable was that blue unitard?

That unitard was surprisingly comfortable. Yes, I can really recommend them. If you haven’t worn a unitrad in a movie, go out and get yourself one. They’re the new fashion item.

Did you get to keep it?

Yes, I did.

Ever wear it for fun?

Yes. [Laughs]

So, how was it doing that last scene? I think it’s safe to assume you had a stunt double for that scene, right?

Yeah. Although some of it no, but they had a wire that they green screened out that allowed me to kind of hang upside down and do some of the stuff. But it’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? How would you describe my character in this movie?

Like a misguided guidance counselor.

[Laughs] That’s good!

He has a good heart.

He’s not mean spirited at all with Ben. He doesn’t know how annoying it is for Ben. De Niro still seems to favor Kevin, but yeah, a misguided guidance counselor. How else would you describe him?

I’d say he’s an all-around good guy. He may not be giving the best advice, but there’s still something warm and lovable about him.

Yeah, that’s good. What scene did you like with Kevin? It’s interesting for me because I haven’t seen the movie.

That last scene with Barbra is pretty funny and the tattoo part, too.


If you had to get a tattoo of someone’s face on your back, who would it be?

Churchill. I like Churchill. That would be a very odd, but good tattoo to get.

What was your favorite scene?

Well one that seemed kind of what we were talking about, very strange and surreal was the scene with Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, to work with them. It was really funny. I have fun doing those kind of awkward scenes between Ben and me. What would you say was one of the awkward exchanges between Ben and me?

I’d definitely say the hospital scene.

Yeah, what happens there? Where I bring a toy?

That moment, and your whole performance for that matter, reminds me of what you said during the press conference about the kind of comedy where the humor comes from the character keeping a straight face.

Yeah, it does. What happens in the hospital exactly?

Kevin brings the gift for the son after he breaks his arm.

Yeah and the kid seems to love me. I seem kind of like a child whisperer.

It’s like the relationship between Kevin and Greg’s son and Kevin and Greg’s wife where you’re invading his territory a bit.


How was it working with Paul Weitz? What do you like in a director? What makes you the most comfortable?

Well, what made me comfortable with Paul was how relaxed he was and supportive about trying new things and that you always felt comfortable in a scene to do different stuff.

I know you have a knack for adlibbing and improv; did Paul let you put it to use?

Yeah, you did get to adlib and they were also good when [writer] John [Hamburg] and Paul were working on the rewrite about [being] open to hearing ideas and stuff. Does it say in the movie about how even though I have a great house that I volunteer at a homeless shelter?


That stuff we added in the script and that seems to kind of work for Kevin’s character.

That line says a lot about Kevin.

Yeah, it does.

You are a talented actor, but your heart is also in the writing. Ever think about writing again?

Yeah, I saw Wes [Anderson], went to a couple of dinners this week in New York. It would be really fun to work on writing something.

What are you working on next?

I’m still working on Cars 2.

That voice cast just got better and better. Do you get to work directly with anyone on that?

Yeah, I got to do a scene actually on the first one with Paul Newman where we came to New York and we worked with him one day in the studio and of course, you know, that’s incredible. In this one when I’ve done the sessions it’s just been by myself, so far.

What are your plans for the holiday?

My plan for the holidays, I’ll go see my family in Texas I think.

Perri Nemiroff

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.