DoubleAgent was recently lucky enough to snag an interview with the amazingly talented Harold Ramis. It was easy to see how the actor/writer/director gained his fame. In addition to his talent, he is also a super nice guy. After a few anecdotes about some of the antics on the set of The Ice Harvest, which we swore we wouldn't divulge, he let me in on some interesting facts about the movie, as well as a few tidbits on himself.
DA: Why do you think people should see this movie?
HR: It is just great writing and great performances. The movie is lurid, tawdry, violent, and not for the faint of heart. It's a movie about a guy living on the edge who spends most of his life on a bar stool in a strip club. He's dragged into a bit of larceny, things get bloody, but it's still funny. We knew it wasn't for everyone when we made it. Fans of the Cohen brothers will like this movie.
DA: What was it like working with John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton?
HR: Billy Bob is a bit of a joker. They had a very funny relationship on their movie Pushing Tin. They traded a lot of practical jokes. But they didn't do anything quite as elaborate on this set.
DA: What attracted you to the script?
HR: The quality of the writing. Robert Benton and Richard Russo did it based on a novel by Scott Phillips. I had just read Russo's fiction, and thought he was a wonderful novelist. His characters are really strong and he seems to understand life in small American cities. He seems to really capture something about life in middle America, the dark side of it.
DA: You've written, directed, and/or starred in movies. What role so you like best?
HR: I really like directing movies. I usually write in service for my acting, or have written on movies I'm going to direct. My best work is when I know I'm going to play it myself or be there on the set. Writing is fun, but I like the control of being a director. It's not just telling people what to do, but being able to shape the material. When directing, you really get to use all you know.
DA: Who do you think has influenced you in your career?
HR: There are a lot of people I've looked up to. Woody Allen has always been a wonderful director and filmmaker. For the most part, he's had a big influence on me. I also grew up on the Marx Brothers.
DA: What is your next project?
HR: I'm working on a project for Owen Wilson. The script is for Columbia Pictures. We just finished the first draft. The studio will have it soon and we'll see what they think.
DA: Who would you like to work with on a future project?
HR: There are so many good people out there and I've been lucky enough to work with a lot of them. I don't set my sights on anyone in particular, just anyone who fits the part. I've had the amazing luck of working with Peter O'Toole, for instance. Working with DeNiro was an amazing thing to me. I've wanted to work with Jack Black and Will Ferrell. I love the whole generation of comedy stars. I still want to work with Tom Hanks...
If you haven't already seen the film, or if you have seen it and would love to see it again, the DVD will be hitting the shelves on February 28. Look for it.
DA Interview With Harold Ramis
February 27, 2006