Many of us dream of fame and fortune. Zach Galifianakis has both. But despite what certain celeb mags might have you believe, he's not just like us. He could really do without the whole fame thing.
Along with the likes of Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts and Edward Norton, Zach Galfianakis turned out for the New York Film Festival premiere of Alejandro G. Inarritu's outstanding comedy Birdman. (Read our rave review here.) There, the star of The Hangover trilogy dropped a bomb, as reported by THR:
"Being a celebrity is shit — it's dumb and I'm not interested in it. I like to be an actor, and that's it. The blurred lines are, I think, man-made. I think celebrity is a man-made thing. It's not innate in us. We have people telling us, 'We should pay attention to these people,' for all the wrong reasons, their personal lives and whatnot. … I'd rather just do my work and go home and watch Lifetime."
Michael Keaton, who went from being the world's Batman to willfully stepping out of the spotlight, echoed Galifianakis's disdain for our modern concept of celebrity, adding, "Anyone can be a celebrity now, this is not a big deal anymore."
Edward Norton scoffed at the idea of celebrity insisting that viral video stars are better known, saying, "The dog running into the wall is a bigger celebrity than any of us!"
In case you have no idea what Norton's talking about, here's the vid:
The seeming irony of these statements is that they were made at the press conference for Birdman, a film that centers on a has-been (Keaton) who is fighting desperately to remain relevant and famous. Alejandro G. Inarritu said the inspiration for the film "came from this struggling battle that we all have with our ego." And plenty of egos clash within its narrative. As Keaton's best friend, Galifianakis councils him and soothes his ego repeatedly as the old movie star gears up for his Broadway debut, a moment that will for better or worse define his career. For his part, Norton plays an arrogant and tempestuous Broadway icon who deigns to join the production, but only on his own terms. This causes him to repeatedly but heads with Keatons' willful writer/director/producer/star, and culminates in that fight scene in skivvies that has been teased in the trailers.
However, it's worth noting that Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance is a film that's critical of our need for some sense of celebrity, especially in an age where the internet makes people (and sleepwalking animals) famous for a variety of inane reasons. It's a film that explores how celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be. So in some sense, it's press conference--where the snapping of photos was so intense that Norton had to ask one photog to silence his clicking camera during the Q&A--was a pretty perfect venue for Galifianakis to proclaim: "Being a celebrity is shit."
Birdman opens Friday.