After 20 years for “Here Today,” Billy Crystal returned to the director’s chair, in which he also played the well-known comedy writer who unpredictably made friends with a street jazz singer.
Tiffany Haddish portrays performer Emma who, although she doesn’t know who he is, wins a lunch with veteran writer Charlie Burnz. Despite initial setbacks, a friendship is emerging, and Burnz will soon play an important part in dealing with the onset of dementia.
Crystal and Haddish talked in a joint interview with Reuters about the comedy drama, released in the United States on Friday.
Below are length and clarity edited excerpts.
Q: You just said that you chose projects that make you feel stuff; what did you feel with this script?
Haddish: Haddish: “Billy first told me and I was like, ‘I’m in, it’s you, you don’t have to sell me this.’ And then I read it, and because my grandmother’s now going through it, I was all the way.”
Q: How did you find the safe way to make a dementia movie funny?
Crystal: Crystal: “After dealing with a relative who has been affected with the same type of beginning as Charlie has in a film, I just wanted to be respectful and respectful of those who come into contact with him. It’s a delicate line and I think it was the journey to find humour and make it both amusing and emotional.”
Q: How was it after 20 years to direct again?
Crystal: Crystal: “You come to the set as a director, every question everybody has to answer. So I was super prepared for anything and enjoyed the opportunity to tell a storey.”
Q: The ex-boyfriend of Emma meets Charlie after a performance in one scene. Did Billy permit you to improvise a lot?
Haddish: Haddish: “It was so exciting and enjoyable to be outside in Meatpacking District (in New York City) and sing in front of a bunch of people and not like goofy or stupid and I don’t want to tell you that I was excited.
And like ‘oh, don’t mess up it, but just have fun with it when you’re messing up anyway.’ And Billy let me loose and it was so big.”
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