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October 02, 2000 10:39am
Ben Stiller is Playboy's November Interview
Source: Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
by: Company Press Release

(CHICAGO, IL) -- Ben Stiller, whose latest role is an ill-fated groom-to-be in the comedy ``Meet the Parents,'' co-starring Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner, is the subject of Playboy's November Interview (on newsstands Monday, September 25).

As a writer, director and actor, his resume includes a writing Emmy for ``The Ben Stiller Show,'' directing credits for ``Reality Bites'' and ``The Cable Guy,'' and acting roles in ``There's Something About Mary,'' ``Flirting With Disaster'' and many others. In the Playboy Interview, Stiller discusses being a workaholic, the downside of sex scenes and more.

The following are key excerpts from Ben Stiller's November Interview:

On life with dad: ``Once, when I took acid in high school, I freaked out. So I called my parents, only they were in California. I got my dad on the line. He had no concept of what acid really was, but he knew I was afraid, so he said, 'When I was 10 years old, I smoked a Pall Mall cigarette and was sick for two days, so I know what you're going through.'''

On his father: ``Everybody loves my dad. He's very quiet, soulful, spiritual, contemplative. He's not the screamer he played on 'Seinfeld.' He was always there for me.''

On sex scenes: ``I've done a couple of sex scenes, and they're not fun. Everybody gets stressed out. You're in a room with lots of people, trying to pretend you're alone -- and you're naked! I've never met an actor who says, 'Yeah, let's have fun and do some love scenes.'''

On acting in the dick-in-the-zipper scene: ``I'm a method actor. I pictured in my head what that would feel like. I didn't try doing it, though. Frankly, the hardest thing was being in zipper pain all day while everybody came and went. I had to keep finding new ways to look like I was in hell.''

On his childhood: ``Everybody has childhood pain. You know, I feel bad for anybody who's had to read any crap about me. This supposed dark pain is not a clue to who I am. Yes, there's pain. But so what? There's good stuff, too.''

On his workaholism: ``The time I spend inside a project is the most freeing. Life, bills, the other stuff -- that's tougher for me. My life becomes much simpler when I work. It's almost like a drug or watching sports. Get immersed and you don't have to think about real-life problems.''

On his mistakes: ``Let me get out my list. One is that these past few years I've taken some acting jobs that I wasn't 100 percent, in my gut, happy with. Of course, I enjoy acting; no one has forced me to do anything. I just didn't totally follow my instincts. But in the end these were good mistakes because I realized that what I really wanted to do was my own stuff: writing, directing, maybe acting in it.''

On box office bomb ``The Cable Guy:'' ``The six months after 'Cable Guy' were hard for me. My agent said, 'You've got to chill out for a bit.' So I rode it out, which was great because it forced me to look at what I really wanted to do, regardless of being accepted or having a hit. I got to see the true nature of the business.''

On his own clout in Hollywood: ``Trying to make Budd Schulberg's book, 'What makes Sammy Run?' into a movie (has been) incredibly frustrating. Sammy is a tough character for people to embrace, because he's a guy who will do anything to get to the top. He represents the underbelly of show business that people in show business don't really care to explore. This is probably why I can't get the movie made, why no one's been able to get it made since the book came out. I'm not the first to try. Actually, I'm sick of talking about it; it's been one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.''

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