Monday, March 28, 2016

Seriously as an actor: Garry Shandling profile from GQ 2010

by Amy Wallace  – "He’s a boxer, a Buddhist, a hoops junkie, and a kind of Yoda to every funny person born since 1965 (Sandler, Silverman, Apatow, Gervais, Baron Cohen…)." Somewhere in the middle:
Downey likens being with Shandling to watching plates twirling on the tops of sticks that are balanced on the tops of other twirling plates. I know what he means. When I ask Garry why he chose Iron Man 2 as his comeback movie, here are the topics he explores on his way to an answer: the emotional pull of the Olympic Games; a recent boxing match at Madison Square Garden; the Dalai Lama's admission that he dreams about sex; the importance of being aware; the unmarried status of the greatest religious leaders; the appeal of powerful women; the four ulcers he had by 1998, after the sixth and final season of The Larry Sanders Show; how it feels to land a punch; the difficulty some men have expressing emotion; his love of Jerry Seinfeld; his respect for the Coen brothers; his disdain for cynicism; his fondness for the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh; dogs; the familiarity of every noise in his home; and the way his mother answered him when, as a child, he asked what she thought of him. ("'What do you think of me?' is what my mother said. It was a stalemate.")

"I'm coming back to you," he reassures me, sensing that I'm lost. "When I give notes on a script, I say, 'Guys, I may drift, but it's part of the process.' So I'm aware that I'm drifting, but I'm grabbing a lot of stuff." It takes fifty minutes, but eventually he answers. Except that all of it is the answer.

"Favreau called me in Hawaii, and he said, 'I know everything about you, and I have a hunch that I know what you can do as an actor that you haven't done yet.' And he got my attention," he says, his voice suddenly doubling in volume. "Anytime my voice raises like that, it's because I've locked in," he explains, then veers back to his story. "It was that fast. None of this is about 'Oh, I got a part!' It's so much deeper. Jon Favreau called me up and said, 'What are you doing, man? I think you can act, and I don't think this is the time to withdraw. And I'll put you in with Don Cheadle and Sam Rockwell and Robert Downey Jr.'"

I mention that Peter Tolan told me that Garry's greatest desire is to be taken seriously as an actor.

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