At first, I would get mail saying, ‘Oh, you must be a Christian because the movie so beautifully expresses Christian belief’. Then, rabbis started calling from all over, saying they were preaching the film as their next sermon. And the Buddhists! Well, I knew they loved it because my mother-in-law has lived in a Buddhist meditation center for 30 years and my wife lived there for five years.
My attitude is generally like Bill’s old attitude — there’s no point unless it has some interesting quality or something to say about the subject. Personally, I don’t rule it out. I’m skeptical, but maybe it’ll work.
I’m at my best when I’m working with really talented people, and I’m there to gently suggest or guide or inspire or contribute whatever I can to their effort. It’s not like I’m gonna tell Robert De Niro how to act – but I could provide him with useful anecdotal material from my own life or other people I’ve known, or actual psychological information, or insights into his character. The technique’s up to him. But, there are ways to gently urge an actor to pick up the pace or slow it down or focus more, to go bigger or smaller. Some actors are very open right at the beginning – they say, “You only need four words with me: “Bigger, smaller, faster, slower”.
Well, for me, it’s the relationship between comedy and life – that’s the edge I live on, and maybe it’s my protection against looking at the tragedy of it all. It’s seeing life in balance. Comedy and tragedy co-exist. You can’t have one without the other. I’m of the school that anything can be funny, if seen from a comedic point of view.
It’s hard for winners to do comedy. Comedy is inherently subversive. We represent the underdog as comedy usually speaks for the lower classes. We attack the winners.
Chicago still remains a Mecca of the Midwest – people from both coasts are kind of amazed how good life is in Chicago, and what a good culture we’ve got. You can have a pretty wonderful artistic life and never leave Chicago.
A great loss for the world of comedy, and for the City in particular. A funny actor who was a better director, and an even better writer. The world is a little less funny without Harold Ramis.