Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 23rd 2016 Contents B6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 23, 2016
In late July 2014, Danny DeVito started trending
on social media after a few people snapped shots
of him walking around Manhattan with a dachshund
wearing a yellow polka dot dress. The dachshund
was in the dress, not DeVito, but it was still quite
He later explained to Jimmy Fallon that it was in
fact for a movie, indie auteur Todd Solondz s Wiener-
Dog, which hits theatrs in limited release Friday. Let s
just say that the joy of that image takes on a vastly
different tone in the actual film, where DeVito plays
a sad sack screenwriting professor whose life is a
series of escalating disappointments. It s one of the
vignettes in the film, which chronicle the pup s time
with different owners (the others are Julie Delpy and
Tracy Letts, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Burstyn).
DeVito, 71, is seated in his trailer on the Fox Studios
lot where he s filming season 12 of the FXX comedy
It s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He s had the trailer
for 20-some years---it s his second and it s a reminder
of the stark contrast between a well-oiled sitcom
and an indie.
"It was a no budget film. It wasn t even a low
budget film. There was no money. I m used to...I
mean, look at where I am," he says gesturing to the
lived-in trailer that s easily as big as an apartment.
"This is where I go between takes. I have a bathroom.
I have a bedroom...On Wiener-Dog, we peed in bode-
He loves the film, Solondz and the experience,
even if his canine companion proved to be a little
trying at times. Their first scene together was supposed
to be a simple shot taken from two angles of DeVito
picking out the yellow dress at a store and showing
it to the dog.
"The dog did not stop moving. Never ever looked
at the costume. Never looked at me. Looked at the
trainer, went over here, went over there. I think I
showed the costume to the dog 40 times. We finally
got it, but the dog was, you know," DeVito said laugh-
ing. "I ve worked with dogs and cats! In The War
of the Roses, we had a dog chasing a cat. A lot of
the times it works out. This dog? This dog was tough.
After about a half hour I said to Todd, note to self,
first find dog that listens to you, then write the
And then there s his character, whose name even
sounds like a downer---Dave Schmerz. His students
don t respect him. His agent won t return his calls.
And his life is just one painfully banal blow after
another. It s an unexpected dramatic turn that will
punch you in the gut, and from an actor that we
thought we all knew pretty well by this point. DeVito s
a little more hopeful than Dave.
"I always thought of the guy who won the Oscar
for The King s Speech when I was looking at Dave,"
DeVito said of David Seidler, who was in his 70s
when he won his first. "You can t give up!"
He s also not giving up on Bernie Sanders, who
he ll stick with until the convention, or the country
for that matter. Gripping his well-worn "Democracy
Now!" baseball cap, he talks passionately about the
power of the people to change things.
"I marched in the street not to go to Vietnam.
Ultimately they didn t take me. But the only way
you can stop things is people. People have to get
together," he said.
DeVito is still as curious and engaged as ever, drop-
ping theories and facts from books like Jared Dia-
mond s Gun, Germs, and Steel, Yuval Noah Harari s
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and a recent
Fresh Air episode about gerrymandering.
He s got other projects brewing too, like The Come-
dian, a Taylor Hackford comedy with Robert De Niro,
Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone and Edie Falco, that s
in post-production, and the long gestating Triplets,
Danny DeVito on staying
hopeful, not slowing down
which would be a sequel to Twins. The
one he s most excited about, however, is
Asbury, which would take him back to his
hometown in New Jersey and into the
director s chair again.
"It s basically the story about getting
out. It s timeless," he said. "I m not sure
exactly when I m going to shoot it, but I
want it to be right before I start."
It s Always Sunny...shoots for a swift 12
weeks and then DeVito is free to travel,
maybe look for another play to do and fig-
ure out what s next. The show has already
been renewed for two more seasons, too.
"I m not going to stop until I have to,"
he said. "There s only one deadline." (AP)
At 71, Danny DeVito says he has no intention
of slowing down and is working vigorously on
a number of projects.
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