Posted April 18, 2012 by Chris Suffield in Features
 
 

Actor Danny DeVito


Universal Pictures and the creators of Despicable Me bring Dr Seuss’ The Lorax to the big screen this month.

Universal
Pictures and the creators of Despicable Me bring Dr Seuss’ The Lorax to the big
screen this month.
Featuring the voices of Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and starring Danny DeVito as the Lorax, the movie has already been a
huge hit in the US and opens in UK cinemas July 27th. At London’s MCM Expo last month, FilmJuice got the chance to meet the man
himself and ask a few questions about his prolific and varied career.

DeVitro’s got his big break back in 1975 when he was
cast in the role of Martini in Milos
Forman’s
adaptation of One Flew Over
The Cuckoo’s Nest
– a role he had played in an off-Broadway production some
years earlier.

Finding fame on the hit TV series Taxi (1978-83), he went on to build an
acclaimed career as an actor and filmmaker. The early ‘90s saw him co-found Jersey Films with his wife Rhea Perlman, producing the likes of Get Shorty, Pulp Fiction, Gattaca, Out of Sight and Garden State to name but a few.

In 1999 he produced and featured in Man On The Moon. This was a personal
project for him, as it told the story of his friend and Taxi co-star Andy Kaufman. It also reunited
DeVito with director Milos Forman for the first time in over 25 years.

In person DeVito is relaxed and at ease – handling a
table full of journalists is clearly second nature to the seasoned actor. What
is surprising, though, is just how much energy he has as he talks about his
West End debut in The Sunshine Boys,
his forthcoming apocalyptic thriller St
Sebastian
, and his voicing duties on Dr Seuss’ The Lorax.

“Well the thing about Dr Suess from my perspective
is; I have a family of 3 kids and you start the kids out reading, the main
thing about parenting is dedication, being there as much as you can.
Everybody’s got to work, we’ve all got to go on jobs, and do this and that, to
make ends meet. But the idea is, if you can put in that time with the kids,
especially when you come home from work, when they are little, all the way to
bath and then to bed, you start them out with picture books, beautiful
stories.”

There’s a strong environmental message in The Lorax –
one that DeVito is very passionate about:

“I am totally, totally behind the message of the
movie, in terms of sustainability, and what we have to do eventually, but
pretty soon to kind of clean up the mess that we are making, all over the
world.”

He may have been absent from the big screen for a
while, but he’ll be returning for an 8th season of hit sitcom It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. He
plays Frank Reynolds – a somewhat unstable but lovable character – and DeVito
is clearly relishing his return to the small screen.

As a director, his work is firmly on the dark side of
comedy. Throw Mamma From The Train, War Of The Roses (Main Picture) and the hugely
underrated Death To Smoochy are all
perfect examples of how to do a black comedy. His directorial achievements
don’t end there, however. His take on Roald
Dahl’s
Matilda is still
considered one of the best adaptations of the legendary author’s work. It’s a
project DeVito is still incredibly proud of:

“First of all, the movie is like amazingly popular.
Everybody watched the movie. It’s one of those movies that’s the classic story
of how you fight to get the movie made, which I did. Now that movie is
evergreen. They call that an evergreen movie, where whoever watches it passes
it on to their children.”

After a few years out of the director’s chair, he has
recently finished filming St Sebastian
an apocalyptic thriller starring William
Fichtner, Lance Reddick
and Constance
Zimmer
. Whilst details about the movie are under wraps, DeVito did have
this to say about the forthcoming movie:

“These two guys, one’s a drug dealer who is shot in
the stomach, one’s a cop who shot him. They’re in this hospital, the nurse is
taking care of them, there are no doctors, and everybody’s split because the
city is under siege. She’s taking care of a couple of patients, who are just
hanging on there by the thread. They don’t really know why they are there.
During the movie they are given clues, and finally they find out. Which you
will have to go see the movie to find out. “

From light hearted comedies like Twins and Junior, to
serious roles in Hoffa, Batman Returns, L.A Confidential, to family favourites, Romancing The Stone and Matilda,
there’s no denying how many great movies DeVito has been a part of. And, yes he did confirm the recent
rumours of a sequel to Twins:

“Yeah, that’s happening. I’ll tell you the way it’s
going to go. We talked about it, and once you do that, once you have the dinner
about it, you’re done for. You know what I mean. I went with Arnold first and
we had our meeting. There were a couple of agents there, which is always a
terrible thing, and the studio, which is really crazy, because once the studio
wants it, they’ll string up your first born to get it. And we like
Universal. Universal are the people who are doing The Lorax, and these people
have been so good to us, good to me anyway, so I am really looking forward to
it. And then we tried to figure out what it would be, and somebody had an idea
that maybe we should do triplets, and who better to play a part than Eddie
Murphy as our brother.”

DeVito
is in London until the end of July in a revival of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine
Boys. The Lorax is out in cinemas on July 27th.


Chris Suffield