Last weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival, frequent collaborators Ben Stiller and director/producer Jay Roach — who worked together on the comedy franchise films “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers” — sat down to talk details of past and future projects, sneak previews, improvisation, what scares them and how not to show it on set, protecting the story, and Stiller directing himself in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which judging from the footage screened at CinemaCon, could be a serious Oscar contender this December.
Stiller loved the Steve Conrad adaptation of the 1939 James Thurber New Yorker short story, he said. “It’s definitely a comedy; what I liked about about the script Steve wrote is that he’s in touch with the emotion of story. Mitty is a daydreamer; audiences have heard of that character but don’t know the story. Danny Kaye did a musical comedy in the 40s, but this one isn’t because I don’t sing or dance. Why does someone live in their head? It got into interesting areas. If you’re living in a movie and not questioning what it’s supposed to be–it’s the director’s job to create a world the audience feels comfortable in and enjoy the ride.”
Tribeca live-streamed the event as part of the Tribeca Talks: Directors Series. Hear some decidedly juicy “Meet the Fockers” trivia, learn about Roach’s approach to working with actors who are also directors and more in the video below.