The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A visit with Billy Crystal on the set of â€œParental Guidanceâ€
9:05 am October 26, 2011, by Jennifer Brett
You already knew Billy Crystal was one of the funniest and most talented actors of our time. Heâ€™s also one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet.
We visited the set of â€œParental Guidance,â€ the movie is he filming in Atlanta, on Tuesday when the project was shooting a scene in Piedmont Park. Crews had constructed a professional half-pipe for the scene, featuring skateboarding pro Tony Hawk. In the movie, Crystal and Bette Midler star as a couple whose three young grandkids run them around in circles. The scene they filmed Tuesday involved a 6-year-oldâ€™s unauthorized, al fresco bathroom break.
â€œI have a 6-year-old peeing on a half-pipe,â€ Crystal said. â€œLife is good!â€
Amid the movieâ€™s comic scenes, the couple he and Midler play work to reconcile with their estranged daughter, played by Marisa Tomei.
We got a few minutes with the comic genius during a break. â€Hi, Iâ€™m Billy,â€ he said, sitting down in a canvas-backed chair.
Hereâ€™s a Q & A from our visit.
AJC: Tell us about â€œParental Guidance.â€ (Itâ€™s due out next November).
BC: We wanted to make a fun movie that had a good heart. A whole family can enjoy this movie.
AJC: Itâ€™s somewhat autobiographical?
BC: This is how the whole thing started. Janice (his wife of 30+ years) and I had the kids for five days.
AJC: Oh my.
BC: That was the original title of the movie: â€œOh my!â€ Kids are the toughest take-home exams. Listening is more important than talking.
AJC: What do your grandchildren (ages 8, 5 and 2) teach you on a daily basis?
BC: To take a deep breath before I bend.
AJC: Did they sort of serve as consultants for the movie, to ensure the movie authentically portrayed young people?
BC: They donâ€™t even realize it. You watch them and get ideas for scenes.
AJC: What did your grandparents teach you when you were a child?
BC: Donâ€™t put your finger in the pot! (His grandmother was a great cook). They taught me love, responsibility.
AJC: Tell us about your character in this movie, Artie.
BC: Heâ€™s a minor league baseball announcer whoâ€™s just gotten fired. Heâ€™s not in good shape.
AJC: So while itâ€™s a comedy, it sounds like the movie also touches on more serious, real-life issues.
BC: It says something about fractured families. Itâ€™s all about real things.
AJC: Eddie Murphy seems a little stressed about hosting the Oscars. What advice do you have for him?
BC: Youâ€™re always nervous about it. Just have fun! Heâ€™s a great talent.