May the Schwartz Be With You

On Living With Clooney, Tiny Foxes and Turkish Baths

UD - Jason Schwartzman Some guys get to live with George Clooney and Bill Murray while filming a movie. Those are the kind of guys we want to talk to. So on the weekend when his new Wes Anderson-directed stop-motion animation film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, hits theaters, we sat down with the consistently funny Jason Schwartzman to hear some stories about Clooney, filming a TV show in Brooklyn and being the eighth funniest kid in school.

UD: You play an animated fox. Discuss.
Jason Schwartzman: It's pretty cool. Because of this movie I am now the son of George Clooney and Meryl Streep.

UD: What did you think of your fox?
JS: Well, he's really much littler than the others. When I saw him standing next to George Clooney's fox and Meryl Streep's fox, I realized just how little he really was. You think he's cute?

UD: Totally… How does it feel being in New York?
JS: I haven't been here in a while. What do you guys recommend? How's Blue Hill?

UD: Amazing. Good enough for the president. Where did you hang out when you were here?
JS: Well, I was living with Jonathan Ames while I was here and he took me around to his favorites: the Russian place in Brighton Beach, the Turkish baths in the East Village, the Bowery Poetry Club…it was all pretty amazing.

UD: Do you like it here?
JS: One thing that's great about New York is that you can go to so many cities in two or three hours. Philadelphia, Boston, Vermont, Connecticut…but in LA, you can travel for two or three hours and not be in a different state… I guess you could be if you were doing something illegal…

UD: New York or LA?
JS: If they were similar then you could do a "versus," but I think they are just too different. That's like saying Mets vs. Jets. It's two different sports.

UD: Where did you live when you were filming Bored to Death in Brooklyn?
JS: I was in Dumbo. I loved it. And that view. Of the bridge. It's like a joke. You're like, "What is this? A joke?" That view is such a symbol of New York.

UD: Speaking of great living situations, we hear you Clooney and Bill Murray bunked together during the filming of Mr. Fox. Can you tell us what went down?
JS: I didn't bunk with them, but we were all living together in one house; it was pretty wild.

UD: Hmmm. Okay, if you won't tell us, will you at least tell us your deep, dark secrets?
JS: My deep, dark secrets—that's for a different movie.

UD: Okay, so in the movie you play a mischievous 12-year-old. Did you dig deep back to your own childhood for inspiration?
JS: Well, I was never bad. I just generally always had really bad luck. Like if six of us were sneaking out of a bunk to visit the girls in seventh grade on our school field trip…the flashlight would hit me in the face, and all the other kids would somehow scurry away and I would get caught.

UD: That's funny. At what point in your life did you realize you were funny?
JS: Well, I was never the funniest kind at my school. I was more like the fifth funniest or the eighth funniest. There was this one kid who was like the real deal. We would be sitting having lunch together and he would be killing people with jokes and then I would be like, "Yeah, like that." One out of 10 of my jokes would land.

UD: Your mom recently said she wants to make a documentary about your whole showbiz family. That would be astounding.
JS: Wow.

UD: Did you know this?
JS: Uh-uh. No, never heard of it. But I've got some good footage. I have to call her.

Elsewhere on the Daddy

More Leisure in New York