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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick
Aired November 5, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: There's something about Ben Stiller. He's box office gold.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Do you know which one's the biggest grossing?
BEN STILLER, ACTOR/COMEDIAN/PRODUCER: The biggest? Probably -- one of the "Night at the Museum" maybe?
MORGAN: "Meet the Fockers."
STILLER: Really? Wow.
MORGAN: $218 million.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: He was born into comedic royalty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You grew up in a showbiz family. Advantage or disadvantage?
STILLER: I think there's an advantage because you know what you're going into. But there's also -- but then you have to make your own way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is one comedian who has a serious side, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What's going on with your country?
STILLER: I feel like we've inherited a bad situation over the last eight years and Obama is in a very tough position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now he plays a modern day Robin Hood, a story that seems more Madoff than made up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STILLER: Let's storm the castle together.
MICHAEL PENA, ACTOR: Like when they went after Frankenstein.
STILLER: No. It's a different kind of storming. It's somewhere where the peasants take everything back from, like, the feudal lords.
MATTHEW BRODERICK, ACTOR: I'm in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, co-star Matthew Broderick, and two of the most powerful men in Hollywood.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Ben Stiller's one of Hollywood's most familiar faces, and one of its biggest moneymakers. On the screen, he's absolutely hilarious. But is he hilarious off the screen?
Well, no pressure, Ben.
STILLER: All right.
MORGAN: Off you go, Ben. Be funny.
STILLER: Thank you.
MORGAN: You hate doing these things, don't you?
STILLER: Whoo! No, I don't hate -- I -- it's -- they're fine. They're fine. I like you. I don't --
MORGAN: How do you know? We don't even know each other.
STILLER: I like the idea of you. I like how -- what I see of you on television.
MORGAN: What is the idea of me?
STILLER: I mean, it's not really you. Who are you really?
MORGAN: Well, what do you think I am?
STILLER: Piers, when did it begin, the need to delve deep into people's souls?
MORGAN: I like doing that.
STILLER: You do?
MORGAN: And, actually, you like doing it. This is why I'm interested in talking to you, because I have a theory that everyone who's funny has a massive ego borne from chronic insecurity. Here's what you said, "I think most actors have incredibly big egos, but they're also incredibly insecure. It's a bad combination. I include myself in this group. Whatever psychological reasons, we want and need approval from everyone in the universe, although we think we're totally unworthy of it. We need to validate ourselves through our work."
MORGAN: I think this is absolutely my thesis on comedians.
STILLER: I was drunk when I said that.
No, I mean, I think there's a certain amount of that that's true. You know, I mean, everybody's different. I think everybody has different motivations for doing what they do and why they do it, and I think it's -- and sometimes it's a combination of different things. I don't think you even know inside all of it necessarily.
MORGAN: Do you like the pressure of having to be funny?
STILLER: No, not at all.
MORGAN: And when you walk down the street -- I can't even imagine what it's like --
STILLER: I don't consider myself that funny. You know, you made a joke in the beginning, but I'm not really -- like I don't consider myself a funny guy in regular situations.
MORGAN: I'm told you're like one of the hardest working guys when it comes to comedy, that you take the craft of comedy very seriously.
STILLER: Well, I do -- I mean, I enjoy what I do. And I think I like that process. And it -- and I take it as seriously as it should be taken, I guess, depending on the situation. I mean, sometimes you don't want to think about something too much.
You know, we're doing a movie right now that some of the scenes don't want to be analyzed too much. So I try to just go in, be in the moment -- you know, see -- reacting to what you should be reacting to in the situation, but not get too deep.
And then other things you have to -- you have to get more into it.
MORGAN: Do you know which of your 30 movies has grossed the most?
STILLER: Not "Envy," I know that. I can tell the ones that have grossed under --
MORGAN: Tell me -- tell me the ones it's least likely to be. What are your three worst movies?
STILLER: Oh, gosh, there's more than three.
MORGAN: What's been the biggest turkey of your life? STILLER: Oh, in terms of money, I'd probably like -- you like that movie. "Envy" didn't do business.
STILLER: A movie called "Duplex." "Duplex" didn't do a lot of business, with Drew Barrymore. Yes, there are many, you know?
MORGAN: Do you know which one's the biggest grossing?
STILLER: The biggest? Probably one of the -- "The Night at the Museum," maybe?
MORGAN: "Meet the Fockers."
STILLER: Oh, really? Wow.
MORGAN: $280 million. That's a clip and see why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE FOCKERS")
ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: What did you do, Focker?
STILLER: Nothing. I think he pooped.
DE NIRO: That's not a sign for poop. That's the sign for milk.
STILLER: What's the sign for sour milk?
DE NIRO: That's because it's from Debbie's left breast, Greg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I was going to say, I mean, there you are. That's your biggest box office moment, and you're basically gobbling milk with Robert De Niro.
STILLER: Right. What does that tell you about our culture?
MORGAN: It tells you about anything.
STILLER: What does that tell you? I don't know. I mean, it's a -- you know, I love the -- those movies. I've had a great experience doing all those movies, because I got to work with De Niro, and that was always a dream for me. But the first one, for me, is my favorite of those.
MORGAN: What was it like working with De Niro?
STILLER: At first, it was pretty intimidating because I'm such a fan of his, and his movies from my generation growing up are so iconic. And so -- and that actually was good for the -- I think for the relationship in the movie, when we started shooting.
And then, over the years, because it's been about 10 or 11 years since we started doing those movies, we got to know each other a little. Now I just like him as a person. He's a really sweet guy.
MORGAN: He has this completely deadpan interview technique.
MORGAN: Impenetrable. You cannot get near him. I mean, I want to interview him to see if I can finally crack the ice man.
MORGAN: But he hates all that stuff.
STILLER: I think he's just a very shy, private person. And when you get to know him, and he opens up, he's a really warm guy. I love him. I love him.
MORGAN: You grew up in a show business family.
MORGAN: Advantage or disadvantage?
STILLER: Well, it depends what you're talking about. I mean, it's -- I think it's an advantage if you go into show business because you have a sense of what you're going into and you know the world and you're around it. So, in that way, it's an advantage.
MORGAN: Well, and -- I mean --
STILLER: But then there's also -- then you have to kind of make your own way and, you know?
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, at first, what I meant was I can see how having parents who are in the business can be helpful, advice and everything else. But it also means there's no escape. I mean, you were almost groomed for this world.
STILLER: Yes. I mean, you know, as a kid, you grow up -- the world you grow up in is the world you grow up in. So you don't know anything else. And my sister and I really enjoyed that.
I mean, it was -- because it was fun. We got to stay up late and go -- my parents played night clubs and they went out to California and they did TV shows and it was just -- it was fun. We liked that more than going to school.
MORGAN: They've been married 57 years.
MORGAN: It's pretty amazing.
MORGAN: How do you think they've pulled that off, especially in entertainment? I mean, it's almost unprecedented.
STILLER: They -- I think they truly -- I think they just truly love each other. I think that's the key there. And they -- I don't know. They're like a -- they're like one organism now. They just -- the way they work together, comedically, they're just -- they play off each other.
It's been -- they have so much experience together. And they -- I think they also -- they always wanted to make it work. They always have put each other -- have -- they made each other a priority, which, I think, is something you have to do.
MORGAN: What values did they instill in you, do you think?
STILLER: My dad's a pretty hardworking guy. I think -- so I think work ethic-wise, I got that from him. And they're very good people, my parents.
They -- I -- people come up to me every day and tell me about a "thank you" note that they sent for something that, you know, that someone did for them or they -- you know, my dad goes and visits friends when they're sick in the hospital. I mean, it's amazing. I think he's sort of -- he's like a --
MORGAN: Are you like that? Do you have that --
STILLER: My dad is -- no, my dad is like a comedic Mother Teresa. He is -- and he's -- and it's actually a great example, you know, as a son, to try to live up to.
MORGAN: You've been married 11 years.
MORGAN: You don't let your children watch your movies. Is that true?
STILLER: No, that's not true. No, that's not true.
MORGAN: Are there some you don't let them watch?
STILLER: Well, they -- I have -- personally, they're not that interested in watching my -- I'm not going to try to get them to watch, you know, something about marriage and like that, because they're 9 and 6. So --
MORGAN: Could be a bit disturbing.
STILLER: But they -- you know, they watch the "Night at the Museum" movies. And, you know, the kids' movies like "Madagascar."
MORGAN: Are they showing signs of comedic genius? STILLER: They are -- they're very theatrical children. Yes.
MORGAN: Do you like being a father?
STILLER: I love being a father, yes. Oh, my God, yes. That's -- I think it's like -- I mean, for me, it's the best thing.
It's challenging, and, you know, as any father will tell you.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, in terms of your filming schedule, how do you juggle that with being a dad?
STILLER: You have to figure out how you're going to do it so that you make sure that you have the family time. Like right now, I'm working on a film out of town.
So I'll come back as much as I can on the weekends. And then the time off is really important. So we always take -- in the summer we take as much time off as possible as a family and go off together.
MORGAN: What do you think the business you're in?
STILLER: Show business?
MORGAN: Yes, what do you really think of it?
STILLER: I think it's -- I think it's a tough business. I think it's wonderful to be able to do what you love doing. I think the business around it is very tough and sometimes can be distracting from the actual joy that you get from doing the creative work.
MORGAN: But you're kind of live the dream in many ways. Is the dream what you hoped it would be?
STILLER: The dream's hollow and empty, yes.
MORGAN: Is it?
STILLER: Hollow and empty and cold.
MORGAN: My dreams are normally hollow and empty.
STILLER: Are they?
MORGAN: They can be.
STILLER: I want to know what you dream.
STILLER: Who you dream of talking to besides --
MORGAN: Honestly? Present company exempted?
MORGAN: I dream of having engaging guests.
STILLER: Yes, yes. I'm sorry.
MORGAN: So it can be surprising.
STILLER: Whoo! That's the second time I've done that, so it's not really surprising.
Yes, no, I mean, no, it's -- I think life is what you make it and you're never going to find happiness in outside, you know, people who are going to -- you're looking for that validation from somewhere outside yourself, you're never going to be happy.
MORGAN: All funny people --
STILLER: That Hollywood thing, I think, is sort of like a bottomless pit if you really go for that.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, all comedians I meet seem to wrestle with demons. But you don't have many demons.
I've studied your life fairly carefully, and it doesn't -- there's not much dark -- there's no darkness.
STILLER: No. I'm boring -- I'm a boring, demonless person.
No, I have -- hey, we all have demons. It's just, you know, I think at the end of the day, it's -- you know, it's what you -- what you do with your life, right? Where you -- how you take what you have, and then you're in the moment.
And all you have is the moment. So, a lot of times, in show business, I think you can get wrapped up and think, oh, if I -- if that happened or if this happened or this movie did well or that, or I got that opportunity. And, ultimately, you're just in the moment always. So I think --
MORGAN: There's no evidence of alcoholism, major drug abuse?
STILLER: It's well hidden.
MORGAN: Womanizing. I mean, you don't do anything.
STILLER: All under the radar.
MORGAN: You're just a nice funny guy.
STILLER: Yes, nice, funny -- sorry.
MORGAN: Is there anything you want to get off your chest? Anything you want to confess? Anything to chip away at that halo?
STILLER: Brian Grazer and I are having an affair.
MORGAN: Great, because he's coming on in a moment.
STILLER: Yes. I know. And his hair --
MORGAN: Is it going well?
STILLER: I'm in love with his hair. I rub my cheek against his hair every morning.
STILLER: No, things are going good.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break, come back and talk about this new movie of yours, which is going to be a hit, I think.
STILLER: OK. Good.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TOWER HEIST")
STILLER: Come on. Let's storm the castle together.
PENA: Oh, like when they went after Frankenstein.
STILLER: No. It's a different kind of storming. It's a storming where the peasants take everything back, you know, from like the feudal lords and --
BRODERICK: I'm in. I'm in.
PENA: I'm in.
CASEY AFFLECK, ACTOR: Well, now we're undefeatable, aren't we?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Ben Stiller's latest movie, "Tower Heist," what were you laughing there?
STILLER: I was laughing -- you always show the person watching themselves.
MORGAN: Yes, we're hoping you're going to be absolutely hilarious, you know, rather than just like --
MORGAN: -- blockbuster movie, though you've made so many of them.
STILLER: Well, yes, but not really.
MORGAN: You excited about this one, "Tower Heist"? STILLER: I'm really excited because it's actually a -- it's a genre movie that I've never been in, a heist movie. So that was one of the reasons I wanted to do it.
MORGAN: Let me say, it's a great caper, but it's also fantastically well-timed.
MORGAN: If you could have imagined this movie coming out with "Occupy Wall Street" kicking off all over the country, it couldn't be better time. We're going to find out now if this is a popular movement or not by your ratings.
STILLER: I guess so. All right. If you want to -- you know, if you want to do it that way. I mean, I feel like the movie is reflective of the situation we're in economically. And when we started working on the movie, it was like that.
I didn't even think we were -- would still be in this situation when we were making the film. And when the movie came out, we were -- I didn't know.
MORGAN: Because the plot is basically nice guys get dummied by capitalist fat cat, greedy get (ph).
MORGAN: And then seek horrific revenge.
STILLER: Which is sort of a timeless concept.
STILLER: Yes. And it does happen to be indicative of where we're at now. And also just a good heist movie. It's just like a fun sort of New York reality-based heist comedy.
MORGAN: When you see the guys down at Wall Street protesting, does it resonate with you? Because you've been pretty political over the years.
STILLER: Yes, I mean, that -- the particular thing that's going on there now, I think, I'm -- we have a lot of people trying to figure out exactly what it is, what the focus of it is, but it's definitely an expression of frustration that's going on that's, I think, very valid in the country right now.
MORGAN: What's going on with your country?
STILLER: Oh, wow.
MORGAN: There's a starting point for you.
STILLER: I think -- I think we're in a tough place, and I think we're -- I mean it's a very complicated situation and I, as an actor and, you know, just someone who's not an expert, don't pretend to know any answers.
But I feel like, you know, we've inherited a bad situation over the last eight years, and Obama's in a very tough position. And I think, you know, it's -- in ways, it's been frustrating to see that we haven't gotten further than, I think we would have hoped, in the last few years.
MORGAN: He disappointed you, Obama?
STILLER: I -- I'm a -- I'm disappointed that we haven't seen more bold decisions from him and a willingness, I think, to maybe stick to more of what he had, in his campaign, had said in terms of what he was willing to do.
STILLER: But I -- but I, you know, being president is something I would never in a million years want.
MORGAN: You wanted to be a comedic actor. I mean, you've done a great job at it. He wanted to be a politician. No one's holding a gun to his head.
STILLER: He also wanted to be a comedic actor.
STILLER: Yes. No, I mean -- but, sure, but you know, who would have known that he was going to inherit the situation that he inherited. So --
MORGAN: He's a very smart guy. He had so much goodwill. And he's just been, I think, slightly reluctant to beat his chest and do what he probably really wants to do. But I'm like, come on, you're the president. You can do what you like.
STILLER: But it seems like the, you know, the reality of the deal- making that goes in Washington to actually get things done is so complicated that it's hard to know what the actual reality of it is.
MORGAN: What do think of the Republican field? Are you finding them good -- of comedic value?
STILLER: Yes. I mean, I find it sort of, you know?
MORGAN: Are you wary of discussing this?
STILLER: I am wary, yes, because I, again --
MORGAN: You see every potential headline looming high in your --
STILLER: Yes, sure.
MORGAN: -- in your Google hit list?
STILLER: I don't -- I don't see myself as a political commentator or a comedian in any way, though I do enjoy Bill Maher's show. I like the discourse that he has on his show.
MORGAN: Well, they are quite funny, some of these Republicans, don't they?
STILLER: Yes. I find them funny. I -- you know, I mean, Rick Perry just, to me, is kind of ridiculous.
MORGAN: Yes, but when you watch him as a serious presidential candidate, what do you think?
STILLER: I think that I can't imagine him being president.
MORGAN: But he could be.
STILLER: I don't think so.
MORGAN: -- your fellow countrymen?
STILLER: I mean, I think -- I would think that Mitt Romney would have more of a chance at this point.
MORGAN: What about Herman Cain, the pizza guy?
STILLER: I saw him on the "Meet the Press," and I was not impressed. I was not impressed.
STILLER: Because he wouldn't answer questions when they started asking about foreign policy, he would just say, "I'm going to talk to my advisors. I'm going to ask -- when I get in that position, I'm going to talk to the people who know," which didn't instill me with the confidence that he had a point of view.
MORGAN: You have raised a lot of money for Haiti and put your money where your mouth -- you've been down there.
Tell me about Haiti now. I mean, why does it still motivate you?
STILLER: I just -- I went down there for the first time before the earthquake, and it was in such a bad situation that I wanted to try to do something to help there.
And then the earthquake happened, and it just, you know, it just -- what they've had to deal with is just -- you know, it's unfair that the natural disasters, the economic situation, the whole history of the country. So, when you see people like Sean and people like Paul Farmer, Partners In Health, what -- the work they're doing, I wanted to try to support that. So that's when we had this auction to raise money.
MORGAN: What do you feel about people who criticize celebrities for helping the stuff like that, the criticism being you're just doing it to promote yourself?
STILLER: Well, I think everybody's entitled to their opinion. But you know, if you're not going to use the access to have to people for something you believe in, if you want to say something, I think you should be allowed to say it, you know?
And I think, you know, something like Haiti, where it's a place that they have this horrible earthquake happen, six weeks later, the attention of the world moves on. And if you have a chance to be able to talk on a show like this and remind people what's going on down there, that there's 600,000 people still living in tents and, you know, 20 months, 21 months later --
MORGAN: In desperate conditions, I mean --
MORGAN: -- the thing about Haiti is that -- my only beef with some celebrities is they lasso themselves to these causes for a week. They get a cheap headline, and then they move on, and actually know, in this situation remains desperate.
STILLER: Yes. That's why, to me, someone like Sean is so amazing, because he literally was living down there for the better part of a year, and, you know, putting -- walking the walk and doing the work and -- but I do think it's, you know, if you're not an expert, you're just an actor, that you can say, hey, remember Haiti on a television show, and it helps. It helps in some ways.
MORGAN: Well, you just said it. It helps.
STILLER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Let's have a break and bring out one of your co-stars from this "Heist" caper, Matthew Broderick.
STILLER: All right.
MATTHEW BRODERICK, ACTOR: Hello.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF")
BRODERICK: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
I do have a test today that wasn't (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It's on European socialism. I mean, really what the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being social. So who gives a crap if they're socialist? They can be fascist anarchists. Still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRODERICK: I didn't know what I was saying, by the way.
MORGAN: Matthew Broderick and his breakout hit, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" -- 25 years ago you made that movie.
BRODERICK: I know.
MORGAN: And every interview you've done ever since you made that movie you've had to talk about "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
MORGAN: You must be sick of it, aren't you?
BRODERICK: Not at all.
MORGAN: Are you being honest?
BRODERICK: Sometimes I'm sick of it. But I'm used to it. It's like an old sweater. I --
MORGAN: Have you grown -- have you grown to be affectionate towards it --
BRODERICK: I have great affection --
MORGAN: -- with the passage of time?
BRODERICK: Wait a minute. I'm affectionate toward the movie or the passage of time in general?
MORGAN: Both. You could be affectionate to both.
MORGAN: But I meant the passage of time of the movie.
BRODERICK: Oh, I see.
STILLER: What do you think of Rick Perry?
MORGAN: We're coming to that. Don't worry.
BRODERICK: I'm not going to get off --
BRODERICK: I mean, "Ferris Bueller" -- I'm amazed that it's lasted as long as it has, and I'm, you know, I'm used that people still care about it and I'm thrilled that they do.
MORGAN: It's an absolute classic.
STILLER: What do you think of Herman Cain?
STILLER: How's Obama doing?
MORGAN: What do you think of Herman Cain?
BRODERICK: Everything he said, I -- you know --
MORGAN: This is CNN. This is not some fluffy extra interview.
BRODERICK: What Ben said I agree with -- I agree with --
BRODERICK: I just don't want to alienate any fans. If I have any fans left, I don't want to alienate them, and I don't care, you know, I don't want to alienate them.
MORGAN: How many Republican fans do you have, do you think?
BRODERICK: I don't know, 11?
MORGAN: What's he -- what's he like --
STILLER: I've got 11, too.
MORGAN: I want to dig a bit deeper into Mr. Stiller here. I mean, he professes to be this kind of angelic character.
BRODERICK: Yes. None of that is true.
MORGAN: Well, I heard on the set, he can be difficult.
MORGAN: Is this true?
STILLER: Now it comes out.
BRODERICK: No, it's not true.
MORGAN: Perfections? Also a polite way of putting it.
BRODERICK: Well, perfectionist is not bad. It's, you know, he's extremely hardworking. He's also right here. And --
MORGAN: Very fine line between perfectionist and --
BRODERICK: Ben also directed me. So, I have two perspectives on Ben. He directed "The Cable Guy," which I was in. And he was never difficult. He is a perfectionist, very hardworking.
MORGAN: Any tantrums?
MORGAN: We were talking about the business of show business earlier. What do you think of it? You've had a long time to assess it.
BRODERICK: Yes. Well, it's -- you know, it's always been a mix of commerce and art. And they -- those two things battle each other. When it goes -- when both things come together, it's wonderful. I love a big commercial great movie.
MORGAN: But you get more pleasure personally from one of your big Broadway hits, because you have that instant sort of visceral reaction from an audience that you just can never get with a movie or a TV show.
BRODERICK: It's very different, yes. There's nothing, you know, it's incredibly thrilling to have the audience right there, and to do the whole part all the way through. You really feel an ownership to it, which is great.
It's -- and the adrenalin -- Ben does that, too. But then, again, I -- when I -- after I've done that for a while, I love the intimacy of a movie, where I'm not worrying so much about an audience that's right there and I get to just be a little -- little quieter and more close up in a way.
MORGAN: Like him, you've had a very successful happy marriage.
MORGAN: This is unusual. I mean, most people that I interview have to get down and dirty into the seven marriage hell or some stage.
BRODERICK: Oh, yes.
MORGAN: How have you avoided the cliche Hollywood trap of endless divorces?
BRODERICK: Endless divorces. I -- well, I just adore my wife, that helps, and I don't know how we do it. How do -- does one do it?
BEN STILLER, ACTOR: We both sort of come from similar backgrounds as both our parents were...
MORGAN: That's true.
STILLER: ...actors and so we, just, you know... BRODERICK: Our -- both of our fathers were in Taking of The Pelham 123.
STILLER: Yes, so.
BRODERICK: How about that?
STILLER: Yes, and we -- we both grew up around it in New York and Matthew was successful earlier than I was. I used to, like, go on auditions for, like, be -- you know, to play the understudy in the role that he had left two years earlier.
MORGAN: No, I've heard a great thing about you. You reminded me. You've had some terrible auditions.
MORGAN: My Cousin Vinny. I didn't know you had such a bad one for that.
STILLER: Yes, like they were good the first two callbacks and the last one I tanked it.
MORGAN: What happened?
STILLER: I just froze up.
MORGAN: Tell the truth, you -- you were auditioning for My Cousin Vinny. What happened with that?
STILLER: Joe Pesci, he just -- he just freaked me out or something. I don't know. No, I mean -- I -- I would audition -- I auditioned for years before I really got any roles and that was probably because I didn't deserve them. I wasn't -- I wasn't that good. And then I started to get a little bit more comfortable.
MORGAN: Is it -- is it as terrifying as (inaudible).
STILLER: But, Matthew, right off the bat was just natural and brilliant.
BRODERICK: I got very lucky.
MORGAN: Are you good at auditions?
STILLER: He was just good. No...
STILLER: ...but he was good, he was, like, I remember, seriously, like, we all watched because we're, you know, the same age. I watched him do his thing and everybody was like, this guy is great, I wish I was him, he's so natural and funny and -- and then he did all these amazing roles. But, so, there was -- you know, there was envy but it was -- it was envy also it was appreciation because he was so good.
MORGAN: You saw this guy fluffing all these auditions and you were beating him at roles...
STILLER: He wasn't even aware of me.
MORGAN: ...but, did you ever imagine in your wildest nightmares that he'd turn into this ...
BRODERICK: I know, megastar?
MORGAN: ...monstrous box office megastar?
BRODERICK: It's like a nightmare.
MORGAN: But, it hasn't changed him for the worse in any way? No chink in the armor that we could dwell on?
BRODERICK: Not that I have found.
STILLER: He keeps on trying to get that -- that chisel. Piers Morgan chiseling to the soul.
MORGAN: He might well be as nice as you say. He might be. I can't rule out the possibility.
STILLER: I'm OK, because...
MORGAN: Well, I think it's time to bring out people that may be more candid with me about ...
STILLER: OK. Good, bring them out.
MORGAN: ...your temper tantrums. Because these are the producer and director of Tower Heist and I reckon they're going to have a few stories to tell.
EDDIE MURPHY, ACTOR: I was on a job a few days ago where my homie got shot in the face.
BRODERICK: He's kidding, right?
STILLER: You get shot in the head it's over.
MURPHY: You get shot in your head it's over. If you get shot in your face the bullet will go in your cheek and then come out the other side. Then what you going to do?
BRODERICK: Die. I'm going to die. I saw a television show once about a guy who got shot in the head with a nail gun. He couldn't even remember how to chew any more. He had to put everything in a blender.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's Tower Heist, Ben and Matthew's new film. We're joined now by the producer, Brian Grazer, director Brett Ratner. Gentlemen, welcome.
RATNER: Well, thank you. Thanks for having us.
BRIAN GRAZER, PRODUCER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Let's -- let's not beat about the bush, just, I need some stuff on Ben Stiller.
GRAZER: You mean bad -- bad things about Ben?
MORGAN: Anything you've heard. It doesn't have to be true. (inaudible) unsubstantiated rumor from (inaudible). Is he -- is he as squeaky clean as he's trying to make out.
GRAZER: As far as I'm concerned he is. He's a big movie star so what am I going to say? Whatever it is -- is -- whatever is good I'm going to say.
MORGAN: Brian, what I love about you is that you can crush Mr. Stiller with pure box office statistics because your global gross is over $13 billion from all your movies compared to his relatively paltry $5 billion.
GRAZER: That's a lot.
GRAZER: I'm -- I'm much older.
MORGAN: Is there anybody, do you think, in Hollywood left who's got a better record than that?
GRAZER: I'm sure there is.
BRETT RATNER, DIRECTOR: A little guy, Steven Spielberg.
GRAZER: Yes, exactly.
MORGAN: Would he beat that?
GRAZER: Yes. Yes, he would.
GRAZER: For sure.
MORGAN: Tell me about Tower Heist. Great fun. I -- I watched it last night. I really enjoyed it. It's funny, it's smart, I mean, I love the fact that it's so timely. You know, with all that's going on. We were talking earlier about Occupy Wall Street. I mean, I thought you got lucky because, clearly, this financial thing was bubbling under when you started this thing.
BRODERICK: (inaudible) Occupy Wall Street, actually.
MORGAN: Well, yes, in sense of a -- a plotline it's perfect.
STILLER: Wouldn't it be horrible if Comcast was behind Occupy Wall Street? Just a publicity stunt.
GRAZER: They're in the 1 percent.
MORGAN: Well, Brian, tell me about what's going on down there from your point of view. I mean, you're an American, you've been around the block a few times. You've seen a few ups and downs in financial but nothing quite like this.
GRAZER: Well, no, not -- not anything like this other than what three years ago we had but, basically, I think people are just mad at -- they're mad, they're mad as hell.
MORGAN: Can you understand it?
GRAZER: Not entirely, because they're not -- they don't have a specific message that they're saying. I wish that -- I wish there were.
MORGAN: But I -- I think it's kind of -- it's just sort of an outpouring of general dissatisfaction.
GRAZER: Well, I think what's happened is we bailed the banks out, then we gave -- we gave them -- we personally went after the rich, then we bailed them out and now they're ahead again, and I think ...
MORGAN: And giving themselves whacking big bonuses.
GRAZER: Right, and -- and the working class is upset about it. They're, you know, the working class is the majority of the country so they're upset and it -- the thematics of that intersect with the thematic of our movie, oddly enough.
MORGAN: Who did you base the bad guy on? Do you have a -- did you have a character in mind?
GRAZER: Well, Madoff, we did. But, there's so many people that are like that ...
GRAZER: ...there's -- there's accountants, there's lawyers, there's business managers. You know, any time anyone makes a dollar they have to give it to someone or they give it directly to a bank. When they give it to someone it gets lost in the malaise of language but they don't understand. So, as a consequence, you can be a victim of someone, you know, trying to...
MORGAN: If I'm a banker -- if I'm a banker watching this, I'm like hang on you Hollywood...
GRAZER: How dare we say...
MORGAN: ...you Hollywood big shots, your industry is just as grasping and greedy and cynical and ruthless as we've been. Would you accept that?
GRAZER: We -- we're on the artist side so we -- (inaudible) table.
MORGAN: Is Hollywood as ruthless as people say it is?
GRAZER: It's hard to understand how it works. And, ruthless, I mean, I think that all business microcosms have similarities, so, yes.
STILLER: I think it's all based on the economics of it, you know. It's a very cold, hard business in terms of how the economics work.
MORGAN: Yes, but you have to deliver, and these days, you know, with money being tight for everyone, you know, someone like Ben that can guarantee box office is incredibly popular for now, but the pressure to keep delivering is there, isn't it? Is that pressure?
GRAZER: For Ben? But he's been -- well, he's been doing it -- he's been doing it for years and he's (inaudible).
UNKNOWN: You better keep at it Ben.
MORGAN: Yes, don't you trip up or we'll be straight on you.
STILLER: I'm going to become Herman Cain's political advisor.
MORGAN: How -- how -- how important -- let me ask you Brett, how important is someone like Ben to a movie now?
RATNER: Put it this way, we developed the movie -- Brian and I developed the movie for several years. It was actually Eddie Murphy's idea and there was a few parts to fill and I said to Brian, how do we get this movie made? And he says to me, "Go get the biggest comedy star in the world." And I said, "Who's that?" And he said, "Ben Stiller." So.
MORGAN: The frat master (inaudible).
STILLER: You said I was right for the part. You said you wanted me as an actor. Nobody else could play this part.
MORGAN: You are crushing a creative dream here. This guy thought he got it because he's a brilliant actor.
RATNER: It was part -- it was partly that.
MORGAN: You were the only way they could get it made.
STILLER: No, that's not true.
MORGAN: You were a commercial tool, nothing more.
BRODERICK: The truth is it's -- it's not a cheap movie. You know, we wanted to be -- but Ben and I were on the same page as far as the type of movie we wanted to make and I thought that he was the perfect guy for the part.
MORGAN: And, if -- if everything doesn't work it presumably all becomes his fault.
GRAZER: Well, no, it becomes Ben and Eddie and, of course, Matthew.
RATNER: It's Broderick's fault.
MORGAN: Let's have a break and come back and talk all things Eddie Murphy. What he's like to work with, what the hell is he going to do at the Oscars. I can't wait for this.
BRODERICK: A hamburger is $24. We can't afford to eat here anyway.
MURPHY: Hey, we can order whatever we like because lunch is on me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was a teaser made of the new film Tower Heist starring, amongst the gathering here, Eddie Murphy. What a great vehicle for him. It reminded me of Beverly Hills Cop, that kind of persona back. Talk me through Eddie. I mean, he had the idea for the movie to start with.
GRAZER: Yes, Eddie pitched Brian and I the idea and I've been wanting to work with him since I was a kid, I've been such a big fan, and Brian had done maybe five -- five or six movies with him?
RATNER: Yes, a total of six movies.
GRAZER: Six movies with him and -- and we just thought this was the perfect opportunity to work with him and, I mean, Rush Hour, the movie I directed previously, which was a huge hit, wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for Eddie Murphy. I mean, Eddie Murphy kind of paved the way ...
MORGAN: And you're doing the Oscars.
RATNER: I'm producing the Oscars.
MORGAN: And Eddie is hosting the Oscars. RATNER: Yes.
MORGAN: A recipe for comedic carnage if ever I've seen one.
RATNER: Well, you know, Brian's a good -- good friend and I said, Brian, you know, if you were producing the Oscars, what would you do? And Brian said, well, think about in the past, the best host, the three best hosts that have ever existed have been Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and Billy Crystal. So, basically, he was saying to me go get a comedian.
MORGAN: Yes, I totally agree.
RATNER: And I -- and I happened to be looking at Eddie Murphy every day, working.
MORGAN: Was Ben not available?
RATNER: Ben wasn't -- no, this was after we wrapped the movie. Ben's busy filming multiple movies.
STILLER: Yes, and also, Eddie is -- I mean, he is a brilliant stand- up comedian who hasn't done stand-up for, what, 20 something years.
MORGAN: I mean, this could be one of the great comebacks of all times.
UNKNOWN: We think it will be.
MORGAN: I mean, I saw the interview with did with (inaudible), you're very funny, saying that it's going to be the worst Oscars (inaudible), you know. I mean, (inaudible), you know, I'm going to urinate over everyone (inaudible).
MORGAN: Ricky Gervais on (inaudible), brilliant. What was he like to work with, Matthew?
BRODERICK: He was, you know, he's kind of -- since I started is right about the time when he started so I've grown up on him. And he's just the greatest and meeting him was -- I felt like I had met him and then I was like, no, I've just seen a lot of movies with him in it, you know.
MORGAN: One of the greatest comedic actors I've ever seen.
BRODERICK: Absolutely. MORGAN: For that -- that energy he has. I mean, Ben, from a -- from a ...
STILLER: He has incredible energy and intensity when you're -- when you're across from him.
MORGAN: Yes. Did you -- did even someone like you feel intimidated?
MORGAN: Working with someone like Eddie?
STILLER: ...yes, because Eddie has been -- he's iconic for -- for, you know, the last 25 years. So -- and I had never really met him. I met him a couple of times, so, to be working with somebody who, you know, their body of work is that great and it sort of precedes them, you want to try to be on your best game when you come in. And, you don't know what's going to happen and then he's -- and then he goes and when he goes it's like you're watching an Eddie Murphy Live. Because you're getting Eddie Murphy Raw just like two feet away from you.
MORGAN: Well, that is intimidating.
STILLER: And I have to say, but it's also thrilling. It's also great.
BRODERICK: Ben -- Ben is probably one of the few actors in the world that can stand toe-to-toe with Eddie. I mean, he stood toe-to-toe with him.
STILLER: Well, but you -- when Eddie does his thing it's -- it's -- you just want to be there -- and what I like about him is that he's in the scene, it's about the scene for him but I've never worked with anybody like that who has that much focus and -- and what you said, energy coming out of him and you're just like, wow, this is, like, it's just coming down the barrel.
MORGAN: Brian, you're -- you're doing a movie with Clint Eastwood.
GRAZER: I am.
MORGAN: A J. Edgar Hoover movie. Tell me about that briefly.
GRAZER: Well, I was just -- you know, I'm fascinated with J. Edgar Hoover. He was the -- really the founder of the FBI, started in 1935 and went and he had something on six different presidents that kept him in office for almost 50 years. So, and he's -- ultimately.
STILLER: Sorry. (inaudible)
MORGAN: OK, we're doing these plugs for Tower Heist and I'm getting heisted myself.
STILLER: No offense, I want to see that movie.
GRAZER: J. Edgar will be coming out a week after Tower Heist, so a week after Tower Heist.
MORGAN: (inaudible) Eastwood.
GRAZER: No, directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Leo DiCaprio.
MORGAN: It's going to be (inaudible).
MORGAN: No. It's not supposed to be funny.
GRAZER: He's certainly not funny in the role.
MORGAN: He's supposed to be mean, moody, and magnificent. We've already established that you get the check book out and you...
STILLER: Is there cross-dressing? That's what everyone wants to know. Do we get Leo...
GRAZER: (inaudible) one another.
STILLER: ...in a dress? Do we get Leo in a dress?
MORGAN: Who is the greatest actor you've ever seen? I'll ask them in a moment.
GRAZER: Other than the two of these guys?
MORGAN: No, but, (inaudible) when I get people from the acting world together I'm always fascinated with who -- who is the actor's actor? If you could cast one leading man in the last movie you ever make, who would it be?
GRAZER: Oh my God. I can't do it.
RATNER: Ron Howard.
GRAZER: Yes, Ron.
MORGAN: Can you do it? Can you name someone?
RATNER: I can name some dead ones. John Cazale who was Fredo in The Godfather. He's one of my favorite actors. Sterling Hayden is one of my favorite actors ever. Living, you know, I -- I love the movies of the 70s so I'd love to work with Pacino, with Dustin Hoffman, with De Niro. Ben's worked with De Niro.
MORGAN: Who would you say?
STILLER: I am a big Daniel Day-Lewis fan.
STILLER: And also -- and also Sean Penn.
GRAZER: Yes. I've worked with some great actors. I haven't worked with Sean. I've worked -- I've worked with some great actors. Worked with Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks.
MORGAN: But he said Phillip Seymour Hoffman to me. Sean Penn. He said -- he said he's the best he's ever seen, which I thought was ...
UNKNOWN: He's amazing. Phillip is amazing.
MORGAN: ...and it was surprising but, I (inaudible).
STILLER: And he can do comedy too, (inaudible) not but he's a very funny guy.
BRODERICK: I'd work with Marlon Brando.
MORGAN: You have worked with Marlon Brando.
RATNER: Oh my God, that's right.
GRAZER: Great movie.
MORGAN: Tell me about that.
BRODERICK: He's a good actor, I think. Yes. Yes. That was wonderful and he's probably -- I -- I might pick him.
MORGAN: This was in The Freshman, right?
BRODERICK: This was in The Freshman. Yes.
MORGAN: And you got in a stage of his career when he was getting fed lines through his ear, right?
BRODERICK: Well, you seem to be getting fed lines.
MORGAN: That's why I admire the work.
BRODERICK: I'm always being ...
MORGAN: To do it effortlessly with nobody even realizing it.
BRODERICK: He -- he did get -- he did have that but he was also extremely present, a little bit like what -- what you described from Eddie. The energy that came out of that man was -- was amazing. MORGAN: I thought you said about it, the reason he had the earpiece was it just --it made him more spontaneous in a funny way. He didn't like having to think about lines.
MORGAN: If someone gave him a line he could be more spontaneous than if he was rehearsing in his head.
BRODERICK: He said, "I'm trying to discover a way to take away the moment of my mind."
MORGAN: That is brilliant.
BRODERICK: But, his brain, he didn't want any of his brain think -- trying to remember something.
STILLER: He wanted to take away the moment of his mind?
BRODERICK: I may not have it correct exactly what he said...
GRAZER: He probably said that.
BRODERICK: ...it's the kind of thing he might say.
GRAZER: Let me swallow the bug.
BRODERICK: Then he -- then he, yes, he caught a bug with his chopsticks and ...
MORGAN: So he was the best you've seen you think?
BRODERICK: ...yes, well, you know, and Ben and Eddie and there are a lot of great ones. You know, it also, I think it's about the role meeting the actor. There are a lot of wonderful actors and they have to -- it all has to meet.
MORGAN: You've got to give me a name because you've -- you've worked with all of them.
RATNER: I liked working with Denzel Washington.
GRAZER: I thought he was great. I did Inside Man and American Gangster with him. I have worked with De Niro. So, I've worked with some really really good actors. I'd like to work with Sean Penn. I haven't worked with Sean Penn. I'm friend -- friend -- friendly with him.
MORGAN: Well, (inaudible) I'm going to be working with Denzel Washington. GRAZER: Are you?
MORGAN: In a movie. This is my first movie role. I'm playing myself in this very studio.
GRAZER: The Robert Zemeckis movie?
GRAZER: Is it?
MORGAN: So, apparently, it's going to be really good.
GRAZER: It's going to be great.
MORGAN: So, I've got the call up, I'm signed up, and I'm going to be a movie star. So.
MORGAN: I won't be seeing any of you again. It's been great. (inaudible). I think he's fantastic, Denzel Washington.
GRAZER: Yes, so do I. Extremely.
MORGAN: But, Tower Heist is fantastic. I think it's going to be a big hit. I think it's going to be a great comeback for Eddie Murphy and you guys, I think you've -- you've -- it's a great (inaudible) film and it's hard, isn't it?
UNKNOWN: Yes it is.
MORGAN: I bet you've been wanting to do one like that for a long time.
UNKNOWN: It's a lot of fun.
UNKNOWN: Thank you very much. I'm glad you liked it.
MORGAN: (inaudible) and the halo remains.
MORGAN: I threw my best shots and it didn't work. Tower Heist coming out at a movie theater, it's going to be very soon. Thank you gentleman.