Explore the Hollywood actor Ben Stiller in an exclusive interview. Ben talks about his role in The Battle of the Smithsonian in quite some detail. CalcuttaTube thanks Ben Stiller for his valuable time.
In this sequel, Ben Stiller is back as Larry Daley and is once again embroiled in an astonishing adventure with a host of enthralling historical figures who have come to life. This time though, the stakes are far higher.
Q- Is this sequel different from the first film?
A-“It seems to me that this one is even more exciting with a better story and an actual antagonist, and Larry is in a different place this time. In the first movie, I was discovering things and having to react; I cannot believe these things are coming to life. In the second one, Larry knows what is going on and it is really more about having to interact in a different way with the things that come to life because he’s already experienced it before.”
Q- What are the challenges you face with this sequel?
A- “I think people have an expectation form a sequel; they want one, but they don’t want to see the same thing. They want it to be better, which it should be. I thought the script was better this time. It was exiting to have all the main actors come back and great new actors coming on board.”
Q- How has Larry’s character developed and moved on?
A- “In the first one, Larry had taken the job as a security guard because it was his last chance to hang onto a relationship with his son. In the second one, he is really successful; he is rich and has a different journey, which is about reconnecting with what makes him happy. He still comes back to visit his friends but he’s moved on and has become a little distant from the life at the museum. And then he gets the call from little Jedediah (Owen Wilson) because they are updating the Natural History Museum and all the old exhibits have been shipped to the Smithsonian. They are in trouble and so Larry has to see what’s going on with them. I get back in my uniform because I have to sneak into the Smithsonian, and it is there that the adventure continues.”
Q- How challenging is it working with characters who are not actually there when you are filming?
A- “You have to commit and react to something that’s not there, and just trust that it’s going to look believable and real. In the first film working with the dinosaur a lot; or the lack of a dinosaur, was very educational for me. Having that knowledge in my head made it easier going into the second one, doing scenes with a squid, or flying cherubs that aren’t there. You use your imagination a lot more because they’re going to do all of the animation later so you actually have a lot of freedom to improvise.”
Q- Are there some interesting creatures in this one?Last time you had lots of antics with the monkey for example.
A- “Yes, I felt it was important to have a lot of fun with creatures in this film too. We have a giant squid and another monkey, a space monkey. It was challenging. You don’t think ‘great I am working with the monkey today’, but it is funny. The first one was an exploratory process in many ways with the animals because we had no idea how the movie would turn out. With the second one we have a head start because we know what works.”
Q- I know you love museums and continuing the historical museum theme must be great fun. Is it?
A- “I loved museums growing up. The Natural History Museum in New York was such a special place for me as a kid. I had been to The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. just once when I was 15, but I hadn’t been back till we started shooting this film so that was interesting. I love the technology at The Air and Space Museum; I’m a big STAR TREK fan and they have the model of the USS Enterprise (the fictional starship), and then just to see the actual Spirit of St. Louis (the monoplane that was flown solo by Charles Lindbergh in 1927) or the space capsule that John Glenn orbited the earth in, was fantastic. Going to the actual Smithsonian to shoot for a couple of days was also fun; to actually go behind the scenes was incredible.”
Q- Obviously the film is entertainment but it is actually quite educational because we learn a lot from these movies don’t we?
A- “Yes that’s the thing. I joke with Shawn that there should be some kind of warning- ‘this is not based on historical fact’ because we definitely aren’t sticking to history precisely but I guess it is good to get kids interested in these historical figures.”
Q- Overall, what can audiences look forward to with this film?
A- “An exciting story with so much more going on because the Smithsonian is not just one museum, so there are many different environments. We go into photographs; you see paintings come to life. You see rockets take off and fly around the Air and Space Museum. It is definitely a lot of fun.”
Q- Having grown up in show business, is acting still a passion for you?
A- “Growing up, it was exciting being around the business because my parents did so many different things: TV shows, movies, night club acts, plays; there were so many different experiences. I loved being around it. I have a great job; it’s always different, and to have the chance to choose projects in the way that I can is a real luxury as an actor so I don’t ever take that for granted. It is still a great passion and there is no reason to do it if you do not love it.”
Q- Is it difficult for you to be a comedian when the public always expects something from you?
A- “The thing about doing comedy is that people go into a theatre and they expect to laugh and that’s it. People are either laughing or they’re not laughing. It’s a tough room. It’s like you’ve got to get people to laugh so I hope I don’t have to do that forever. It’s not like I want to do that every time out. It’s also a great feeling when you can do it and you can feel like something that’s your personal idea of what you think is funny, is actually funny to other people too.”
Q- Are your kids impressed by the goings on when they come to one of your movie sets?
A- “Not really. For my daughter Ella she’s not that interested in movies. She’d rather be playing with her dolls, which is good. I think that’s healthy. And my son Quinlin sort of gets it. I also kind of feel bad showing them how movies are really made, because when we were on the set of Night At The Museum, they have to understand that all that stuff was not real. So I’m like, “I’m showing you this so that you can understand what Daddy does, and I’m going to destroy the illusion of the movie for you at the same time.”
– Hollywood Interviews / Sampurn