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A Guy Thing - Jason Lee Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. This is one of your first lead roles. Was that part of the appeal of A Guy Thing?
A.
Definitely. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do it - to see if I could handle it because it's a lot of work. Also I knew it would be more physical.
The stuff I'd done with Kevin Smith was more about the dialogue. This was about dialogue and the physical comedy, and it took a lot of energy. But as I just dove into it and let myself go, I found myself improvising, which is something else I'd never done because, of course, that's forbidden with Kevin Smith.

Q. Was that fun?
A.
It was kind of exciting. I started saying a few things here and there and Chris, our director, liked it and let us go with it. It was a real confidence booster, which was great, because I knew I had to feel comfortable given that I was in every scene.

Q. There's a scene where you get the whole wedding party stoned. We hear James Brolin was particularly hilarious off-camera during that scene.
A.
Yes, and I think he's really funny because he doesn't really realise it. He's big and brooding and serious and intense, and a little intimidating. When he lets that go, he's like a 13-year-old kid, very goofy and silly. It was great.

Q. Apparently Barbara Streisand saw the film and said she's not a particular fan of comedy but really liked A Guy Thing.
A.
Did she? I wonder if she liked James' performance in it.

Q. You get into one jam after another in the film. What's the worst jam you've ever been in?
A.
Well, I'm a really bad liar. I'd always prefer to be honest. If you lie about something, it will eat you up, as we all know. So I've always tried to prevent such situations, so I wouldn't have to go through that. At least in a movie you get to make these things funny.

Q. Did you get along well with Julia Stiles and Selma Blair?
A.
Yes, they're two wild and crazy women. Selma much more so, to the point that she wasn't allowed sugar on the set. I mean, she's vulgar. She loves to tell dirty jokes and talk about farting and bumping. She's just off the radar.
Julia is more contained but very funny, a little bit of an outside. Luckily, we all had a good relationship, and with our director, Chris too, who is very funny and made sure the atmosphere on the set was light. The only problem was I hurt my back and we couldn't film for a week.

Q. Did you hurt it filming?
A.
Yes, there's a bath-tub scene where I was sitting in it all crooked for an entire day. I woke up the next day and my back hurt, and I sneezed and that was it. It's happened before. And I have to have a lift in my shoe. And a guy had to come to my hotel room every day and do an ultrasound and the twisting and straightening of my muscles. I had to do all these stretches. I was literally in my hotel room for a week.

Q. Does that relate to your skateboarding days?
A.
Maybe. But also my right leg is a little shorter than my left, so I have to wear this lift. Apparently, everyone has one leg a little shorter. But the way I leaned when I was skateboarding might have had something to do with it, and I started that when I was five. So I grew up a little twisted. Maybe up here too (points at his head).

Q. Do you still skateboard?
A.
No, at 32 I'm too old and rusty, and especially now with my back. But I've taken up snowboarding. I've taken a few falls but I caught on pretty fast. It's pretty easy to adapt to.

Q. Did you have a bachelor party before you got married?
A.
No. And I've never even been to one. I think they're a silly ritual, as even my character says in the film. Isn't it a ritual that stems from the idea of it being the man's last night of freedom. That's a pretty silly idea. If you feel like you're losing your freedom, why the hell are you getting married? That's what I think anyway.

Q. What about marriage as an institution? You've been married once, and you're getting married again so you obviously believe in that.
A.
Yes, I think that's pretty cool. If you make it what you want to make it - and it's individual to you. I think it's about saying I love you, you love me, let's be together, do it this way and make it our own thing.
I certainly wouldn't do the $300,000 wedding with 900 people and everyone has matching this and a giant $3000 cake. It's so stressful. It should be 'I do', 'I do' and it's over. You're nervous, you haven't eaten enough, you drink too much champagne, you throw up, you wake up with a hangover and that's $300,000 down the drain. I'd rather go to Hawaii with my family, so yeah, I will get married again, to Beth. But I don't know when.

Q. Is she an actress?
A.
She was acting a lot, but when we met she took a break and in that time, she's been doing a lot of photography with me. We're doing an exhibition together in the Summer - a series of faces that are about 6 feet by 4 feet. It's going to be great.

Q. Are you hoping to do more serious dramatic acting?
A.
Yes, I want to start slowing down on the comedy and leaning the other way. I'm doing an independent film right now, which Adam Goldberg from, Saving Private Ryan, wrote. I have a few really intense films with Giovanni Ribisi. He's an actor in it and I'm his stalker. He's an old friend of mine and we've never worked together. Before that I did this big film, Dreamcatcher, and this one is so small there's practically no money.

Q. Have you ever had a stalker?
A.
No, I think I'm too nice a person. I'm not unapproachable. I think that might have a lot to do with it. The people who get stalked are the ones who aren't approachable.

Q. As your career takes off, can you remain approachable?
A.
I would hope I'll remain approachable for the rest of my life.

Q. Even if you start earning $20 million?
A.
I don't think that will ever happen. But I have a good story about that. I went to a comic convention to do a Q&A about Dreamcatcher. And, of course, they want you to sign autographs. So there was a massive line of people, mostly because Kevin Smith was there.
They're obligated, I guess, for insurance purposes to provide you with staff security. So I'm walking out and this girl rushes up and practically tackles me to the floor. I say, 'Hi, how are you?' and I'm being escorted away.
She tries to come back over and one of the security guards just knocks her in the neck and she falls back onto the ground. And she says, 'But I've been here three hours, I just want your autograph'. So I got her DVD, signed it, and everything was cool.
This older guy was watching and said, 'You probably just made that girl's year'.
And that was just me being me and not wanting to see a person get knocked on the ground. I'm sure guys like Ben Affleck must not have time for stuff like that, but what that guy said really moved me.

Q. Do you still talk to Ben?
A.
You know, we were never really friends. I saw him the one day I worked on Jersey Girl. And he finds a lot of humour in everything that's going on, which I thought was pretty impressive.
It also made me realise how much stuff is made up. He was saying, 'That didn't happen, I didn't buy her this, we weren't there'.

Q. Don't you have your own project you're trying to make?
A.
Yes, I'm finally wrapping up something I've been working on for 11 years. If I can get the money I need, I'd love to do it this year. It's kind of a comedy-drama, a dramedy.

Q. Someone compared your performance in this to James Stewart and Cary Grant in those old films. Do you have any idols from that time?
A.
Jack Lemmon. He could do it all. That mainly came from Cameron Crowe turning me onto Billy Wilder. When I saw my first Billy Wilder film, The Apartment, I couldn't believe how great Lemmon was and how sophisticated it is. I've seen it about 20 times now.

Q. Did you ever meet Jack Lemmon?
A.
No, but I've made a point of watching every one of his movies but I still have a way to go.

Q. You were so great in Almost Famous. Any plans to work with Cameron Crowe again?
A.
I hope so. That was a real treat for me. I don't know what he's writing but I just hope I'm in there. I'll play the janitor or anything.

Q. You have your own Arts Foundation. Any ultimate goals?
A.
Definitely to have a museum. For now, all I can really do is keep donating what I collect to the foundation and I'm working on finding a building so I can find people to go in with so we can have our own museum. I've been buying paintings for years and years.

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