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GarryMarshall, director of RUNAWAYBRIDE

There aren't a lot of directors that are interesting in and of themselves, but Garry Marshall isn't one of them. Responsible for The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy on teevee, regardless of what you may personally think, there are enough laughs there to keep Nick At Night stuffed until the year 3000. For over a decade, Marshall has been helming the director's chair and, in The Runaway Bride, reunites his Pretty Woman co-stars Julia Roberts and Richard Gere with perennial co-star and fellow StarTalk interviewee, Hector Elizondo.

CrankyCritic: Was there a conscious effort made to not duplicate Pretty Woman?
Garry Marshall: I didn't want too much. I thought it was too much "winking". So we took most of it out. There was only one Pretty Woman reference, the negotiation scene (where Julia

negotiates a price for cooperating with journalist Gere's story) that was similar to the bathtub scene in Pretty Woman. Everything else kind of fell in. There's a scene in the bridal shop that people say is like Pretty Woman.

CrankyCritic: So, When Richard and Julia brought this script to you, what was the first thing that went through your mind?
Garry Marshall: I thought "Ah! I know this script. I read it years ago, I don't think this is what I want to do. Och, it's gonna be in the winter in Maryland I'll freeze to death. The leaves will fall off the trees! I wanted to take a vacation!" They said "Get off the phone! Where's your wife?" And they talked to my wife, Barbara. She said "It'll be fine. You'll be warm. You'll take a vacation later!"

CrankyCritic: Was it easier working with them this time?
Garry Marshall: Richard was very open this time to comedy. He was a little closed last time. Julia has a relationship now, so we're happy about that. Before they didn't have relationships. They were dating. It's always a little nerve wracking when you're working with big stars who are dating!
CrankyCritic: As in?
Garry Marshall: I'm very honest with them. I make fun of them constantly, which nobody else does because they're so big! I'd say "Richard say that line again, I didn't get it." He'd say "We'll do it back at the studio when the picture's over." I said "No, I know you. I'll be walking in India with a tape recorder looking in caves for you!" Julia, the same thing. [When we were making the picture] there came a list of the Top 25 actresses in the world, and on the list was Julia and Joan Cusack, so I had two. Mostly I said "Top twenty-fivers! If we do it like this you could be twenty-eighth and ninth in a second, so let's try it different!" That's how I work with them, because I know them.
CrankyCritic: They're much bigger stars now than ten years ago
Garry Marshall: They are both very busy now. They used to have not much to do. She had a dog, he had a guitar. That was it! Now they've got entourages, people all over the world interviewing them. They've got to promote other films. We had to shoot one scene again - where she's in the bridal shop and comes out in a bridal gown. It was one of those scenes that I must get right. Julia was doing a big promo for Stepmom and they fixed her hair different and she didn't look so perfect. So I reshot the entire scene again. It's lovely now. It's one of my favorite scenes.
CrankyCritic: And you get the trademark smile
Garry Marshall: I make jokes. I say "The smile is too big here. They're gonna want to put advertising on your teeth. This is not good for you! Nike will be on your tooth!"
CrankyCritic: But it's the smile that sells!
Garry Marshall: I know that. She knows it! But you can't smile every scene, 'cuz you know it's a cynical world! It's hard to be cynical when she delivers the goods.

CrankyCritic: You've got thousands of TV shows under your belt and eleven movies; which is the more high pressure situation: television because you have to get it out quickly or movies because you've got all that money riding on your shoulders?

Garry Marshall: I would say it's harder for movies. With the big money riding on a movie, at least I know I made it on the budget they wanted within the realm they wanted. If it comes out good, it comes out good. In TV you do the episode and if it doesn't work out you get another time at bat. We did a show called "Arnold's Wedding" on Happy Days. I thought it was one of my worst shows in eleven years. Nothing worked. It went on and it was Number One in the ratings. It made me crazy! But then we did another one that was good. Movies you make one a year and you go to bat and once it's out it (could be) dead in three days. They know if it's a hit that first weekend. The stress is much harder in the movies than tv. One of the better pictures I've made is called Frankie and Johnny. It opened when Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill were fighting and everyone stayed home to watch it. Nobody went to the movies. So it's a roll of the dice. If you're rolling the dice, do the best you can. Have fun. Get a photo for the scrapbook.

CrankyCritic: Do you see a common theme among the movies that you do?
Garry Marshall: Do you?
CrankyCritic: I see a lot of them based on blue collar workers finding happiness where they are. Or maybe getting that little Cinderella thing.
Garry Marshall: Well, I like fairy tales. I felt The Runaway Bride is more like a Sleeping Beauty. Both [characters] are basically dead inside and not really being true to themselves. I like to see them change.

CrankyCritic: Television work is not about change. It's about situation.
Garry Marshall: I always have leaned towards what's not there. I think if you're trying to make a place for yourself you gotta see what they're not doing. In television, they weren't doing nostalgia, so I did some nostalgia stuff. In movies, they don't do many women's things, so I started doing a lot of women's orientated things 'cuz everything else was blowing things up! I don't like blowing things up. If you make a mistake in a comedy you can laugh. If you make a mistake in an action picture you could kill somebody.

CrankyCritic: And God Forbid you should blow up your sister!
Garry Marshall: People make fun of my nepotism but I'm very comfortable with my family members around because it makes me calmer. You can pick on them a little. My daughter Kathleen was the other bridesmaid in Runaway Bride, so you've got Julia Roberts, Joan Cusack two of the top 25 actresses in the world and you've got my daughter doing the plot!. Somebody has to do the plot! Another actress may say "I don't want to say that!" My daughter goes "What do you want me to say, dad?"

CrankyCritic: Everything you do seems to have a family aura about it.
Garry Marshall: Well, I like the family thing. Al Pacino once said "Gary. We have temperament!" I said "Yes, I've heard! With me it's very clear. You're an actor and big actors are even more difficult. With me you can have all the temperament you want. If you want to throw a fit, throw a fit. I don't care. Do whatever. But there are certain times during the shoot when you must be an adult. Certain days and I'll tell you when. The rest? Be a baby, I don't care. But be an adult when I tell you."

CrankyCritic: In the film Nothing In Common would you describe the experience of working with Jackie Gleason?
Garry Marshall: I'll tell you why I liked his work. Both my sisters danced with June Taylor, at one time, so I'd see the show. One time he did this skit where he was talking to a baby in a bassinet. He took the script and threw it in the bassinet and he "talked" to it. When he went "kitchy kitchy koo" he'd turn the page of the script! It was beautiful the people were laughing til they cried and the man had no idea what he was saying! Years later, he was sick and I wanted to work with him and Nothing in Common had some substance underneath it so we went to Florida and tried to explain all the reasons he should work with us. And the producer Ray Stark - who's like a hundred years old - came in and said "Jackie. If you don't do this film; you're sick and you die, the last film will be Smokey and the Bandit Part 2" and Jackie grabbed a pen and signed the contract. He was sick on the picture and we took care of him. He was so smart. And a very talented man.

Sorry folks, this is a movie site. If I ever expand to cover TV, we'll get Garry back to do a retrospective.

Hector Elizondo StarTalk    Cranky's Review of The Runaway Bride    The Runaway Bride Website Home

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