Award-winning actor, director, writer, producer Rob Reiner's career has run the gamut, from his days as Meathead in "All in the Family," to his directorial contributions with the "Princess Bride," "When Harry Met Sally," and "Stand By Me."
His new film "And So It Goes," starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas, hits theaters today.
Reiner joins Take Two to talk about what it's like to work with the seasoned, Academy-award-winning duo and why pursuing new love at an old age can be even more awkward than it was in your teens.
TT: This is a romantic comedy for people of a certain age. Let’s just say it, Rob – old people…
RR: I don’t care what age you are…basically, it’s men and women and the dance they do with each other. My take on it is that women are just more mature, they’re more evolved, they’re much more in touch with what’s important in life; and men run around like idiots basically trying to figure out what they want until they find a woman that can show them what’s important.
TT: These are people who are supposed to have a full life of experiences to fall back on, but when it comes to these kinds of [intimate] moments, we’re all just kind of fumbling, inexperienced teenagers, aren’t we?
RR: Absolutely, and I think that, you know, it doesn’t matter what age you are; the first time you’re going to be intimate with somebody, its’ nerve-wracking, I mean, it’s frightening.
Even as you get older, it’s probably even more daunting because you know what’s at stake; I mean you know that there could be a lot of pain involved.
TT: You had Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton to work with. How much direction do you give a duo of that caliber? Do you just turn on the cameras and say, ‘Action!’?
RR: Pretty much. I mean they’re both tremendously experienced. Now, the fact is, both of these great actors, both academy-award winners, work in very different ways, so you do have to talk to them in a different way so that they can mesh.
I mean Michael is much more craft-oriented, Diane is very instinctive, kind of improvisational. She said to me before we started shooting, she said, ‘You know, I don’t act. I just am who I am,’ and I said, ‘Whoever you are is pretty good because you’re incredible in all the work you’ve done.’
But, you know, you have to find a way that they can mesh and they did. I was surprised at how easily they took to each other and [that] the chemistry was so good.
TT: Both Keaton and Douglas’s characters have had their spouses pass away in this…how does that detail play into how their relationship evolves?
RR: I think what it does is, both of these characters are very, very guarded because of the pain that they’ve had to go through with losing a spouse. So, they’re very hesitant to enter into a new relationship. That’s really what makes this an interesting little dance that they do with each other. Because, it’s not something you just enter into lightly. And I think Michael’s character tries to enter into it lightly, but Diane as, I say, the more evolved, the more mature character, has to show him what’s important and that it isn’t just a romp or a hookup.
TT: You have produced a lot in your career…what’s the one thing you’ve produced as a writer, director, or actor that are you most proud of?
RR: I think, at this point, it’s ‘Stand By Me.’ For me, it has the most meaning, because it was the first film that I made that was really an extension of my personality and it really shared my sensibility. It’s been the closest to me and it still is.