Ben Stiller interview: Little Fockers star talks Bob De Niro

Ben Stiller interview: Little Fockers star talks Bob De Niro

Ben Stiller interview: Little Fockers star talks Bob De Niro

0 comments 📅18 April 2011, 04:11

The Godfocker makes his entrance as the Meet The Parents trilogy reaches Little Fockers…

Who would have thought Greg Focker and his crazy family would be back for a third film?
Yes I know. None of us predicted back in 2000 when we made Meet The Parents we would be back for number three, but I think everyone can relate to the Fockers and we have such a great cast – Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, Owen Wilson and for the two sequels Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman. It’s just one of those themes people relate to and love to see. They love watching the screws being put into Greg [Laughs]. In Little Fockers the ensemble gets even better with Jessica Alba, Laura Dern and Harvey Keitel.

What’s it like working not once, but three times with Robert De Niro?
It is truly amazing. I remember before we made the first one Jay Roach the director said to me ‘What do you think about Robert De Niro playing your father-in-law?’ and I said ‘Great. Nice one. I’m sure that will happen’. But, then it became a reality not just once, but now three times. I thought the first was a fluke. Now we have done one every five years.

Are you on a first name basis with him now?
I’m pleased to say I know him well enough to call him Bob. He actually prefers that.

What’s it like standing toe-to-toe with Robert De Niro? He is, after all, the Raging Bull. He can throw a punch. Were you intimidated?
No, because I do a lot of mixed martial arts and UFC fighting in my downtime so I felt pretty competent. I was glad we were able to mix it up a little bit and get out of just the boxing and a little wrestling.

In Little Fockers Greg’s twins, Henry and Samantha, turn eight. Can you tell us about the child actors, Colin Baiocchi and Daisy Tahan?
The kids aren’t kids. They are actually 40-year-olds.

Really? It’s amazing what special effects can do these days.
Yeah. [Laughs] No, Daisy is a real little lady. A delight. Very intelligent and polite. Colin was funny because he is such a kid. He just wanted to play. We’d have to say ‘You have to act in this scene’ but he’d go ‘No, I just want to play’. You’d feel horrible. We’d have to say ‘No, you have to act. Act!’ Then he’d start to cry. It’s great being a child actor. No, I’m joking. But yeah, the kids are very talented.

Barbra Streisand made her Focker debut in 2004’s Meet the Fockers. How did you entice her to join the cast?
We called her up and asked her and she was seriously thinking about it. Then Jay Roach said to me ‘Maybe you should give her a call’. I’d never met her at that stage so it was quite intimidating. She’s really smart and had a lot of questions. She wasn’t sure how she would fit into the film and what her part was about. It helped that we wanted her to play Dustin Hoffman’s husband because they have known each other since they are teenagers.

How does your real family compare to the Fockers?
The Stillers? Oh, we are all sane. We are nothing compared to the Fockers. Well, maybe not. We are crazy. What is interesting is my life has pretty much reflected Greg Focker’s life. When we did the first movie I was asking my wife to marry me and now 10 years on I have two kids and Greg has two kids.

Your parents Jerry and Meara are in their 80s. Is it true they have their own website now?
Yes they have moved into the internet and are planning to take over all media. They have a Twitter account. My mother loves the internet, but I don’t think my Dad knows what it is. Their website is www.stillerandmeara.com. They have a show I sometimes produce and direct that involves them just talking about current events and it always ends with them arguing.

There’s been three Focker movies so can we expect a fourth?
You never know. If people still have a desire and we can figure out a story that does make sense. I think it helped having a few years between this last couple to have the characters progress. So, sure, I hope we can do a fourth.

The great thing about the franchise is that it can continue to grow as the Focker family grows…
Yeah, like the Mother Fockers and Grandfockers. We could do a prequel that happened in the past called the Forefockers. It doesn’t matter if we have a script. As long as we have a great title.

Little Fockers is released in the UK today on DVD and Double-play Blu-ray by Paramount Home Entertainment.


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