BootLeg Betty

Billy Crystal talks about getting old, working with Bette Midler and the pressure of Twitter

Billy Crystal: Bette Milder and I are like a pair of old shoes
Wednesday 5 Jun 2013 6:00 am


How would you sum up your character in the film Parental Guidance? Artie’s a baseball announcer but in the minor leagues. He’s done it for 35 years and moved his family around to pursue his dream. Then he gets fired. He’s set in his ways but inside is a grandfather waiting to come out. I’d say he’s funny and irascible but willing to change.

Have you ever had the same dilemma, finding yourself out of work? Every time they say: ‘That’s a wrap’ on whatever project, you’re out of work – but nothing with the finality of what Artie is facing. At that age, it’s likely he won’t get another chance. As an actor, you get to a certain age and the way the movie business is, they think only kids go to see movies. But then with the success of adult-themed movies, like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, you wonder why they don’t make more of them.

You have a great rapport with Bette Midler. How was working with her? It took so long for us to work together but it was well worth the wait. We’ve known each other for thirtysomething years and when the time came to make the movie I looked at [director] Andy Fickman and we both went: ‘What about Bette? She seems perfect.’ And we fell into a rapport. It felt very natural. We were like a pair of old shoes.

You also get to sing together… That happened by accident. We were in an old train station in Atlanta, Georgia. There were all these tiles and it had a great echo. It was cold and we were entertaining the little ones, who were getting a little bored, so we started singing old rock’n’roll songs. And I said to her: ‘Why don’t we sing in the movie?’

Are you on Facebook or Twitter? I tweet a little bit but I’m not on Facebook. I have friends like Steve Martin and Albert Brooks who are great tweeters but it’s too much pressure for me. Tweets have to be funny when you’re in the public eye as a funny person.

Parental Guidance is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.

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