Big Fat Liar isn’t exactly the type of film your fans are used to seeing you in. What exactly drew you to doing a family movie? ^ Yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily have the greatest interest in doing kids movies but this one actually seemed like a little bit more than that. The part was very funny and it’s fun to play a guy like that.
Did you audition for the role or did Universal come to you about the part? ^ They came to me. The guy who directed it, Shawn, is a friend of mine from a long time ago, so I think he thought of me for the part. I don’t know why though.
The plot of Big Fat Liar focuses on a Hollywood producer stealing a 14-year-old’s school paper and turning it into a summer blockbuster. As someone who has been in the business as long as you have, how far-fetched is this premise? Could it, or has it, ever really happened? ^ Gee let me see, I wonder if that ever happens? (Laughs) Yeah, it happens all the time, they just aren’t 13-years-old or 14-years-old, they are 20 and somebody steals their idea. I think it happens all the time, to a greater or lesser degree. Definitely.
Your character, Marty Wolf, supports almost every stereotype around about the “evil” Hollywood producer. Was his mannerisms something you thought of yourself, or did you have someone in mind when creating the character? ^ He’s definitely a guy who is on the edge (Laughs) There are a couple guys, living, that there were similarities to. It’s a general representation of these guys. There were a couple of guys though, even in the way I looked, that I had in mind.
Did you work with those people before? ^ Oh yeah. It was someone I worked with in the past.
Having known people like Marty Wolf firsthand, do you hate them as much as the characters in Big Fat Liar hate Marty? Or can you understand where they were coming from working in the business yourself? ^ I don’t despise them, not at all. They gave me a job so I can’t despise them. None of those guys are as bad as this guy in the movie is, though. He’s an exaggeration. I’ve never actually been treated badly by any of those guys. I have only seen them treat other people badly.
Now, as rude and arrogant as your character is, there are a few scenes in the film where audiences will feel some sympathy towards Marty. Was that intentional on your part to show Wolf in more humane situations and make him seem a bit more realistic? ^ Yeah, I think I wanted a little sense of the guy being desperate and sad and pathetic. That’s why he’s making a chicken movie– he’s on the skids, he’s not what he used to be. So hopefully there’s a little but of that, but not too much of it. I guess just for my own amusement I wanted to put a little something like that in. I wasn’t told to.
Do you tend to make up impromptu situations like that while you are on set, or do you generally plan them out beforehand? ^ I make it up when I am on the set.
Had you known prior to being cast in Big Fat Liar who Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes were? Are you fans of their TV shows? ^ I knew who Frankie was and I had seen the show a couple of times. I didn’t know who Amanda was. Apparently among her demographic she’s enormous, but I had never heard of her. But I thought she was great– they both were.
Did you find it more challenging working with them since they were kids? You always hear that kids and animals are the two worst things to work with in a movie. ^ The thing that I found interesting about them, cause I had never worked with kids before, is how normal they are. It’s such a cliché, a stereotype, that kid actors are harder to work with.
What was it like to work with Lee Majors? ^ He was awesome I thought. He was really cool. It felt really weird and strange yelling at him. He’s really nice so he didn’t have a problem with it, but it just felt weird. It was like yelling at my Dad or something on camera– it was really strange.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of “BIG FAT LIAR” PAUL GIAMATTI>>>