Saturday, October 24, 2009
The van came to pick me up first, & I didn’t really even know that I was sharing the ride. The driver stopped in front of the hotel & in slipped a matinee idol handsome man, who turned to me, smiled, extended his hand, & said- “hello my name is Kevin Kline”. I retorted- “No kidding”. What is it like when you meet someone that you truly idolize? I had loved, loved, loved Kevin Kline since 1977 when I saw him in the Hal Prince Musical- On The 20th Century with John Cullum, Madeline Kahn, & Imogene Coca. He had just won an Oscar for A Fish Called Wanda & had just had a baby with wife Phoebe Cates. I congratulated him on both. Kevin asked me about the theatre scene in Seattle & kept insisiting that we had worked together before- “Shakespeare In The Park in 1978?”. “No, Kevin... I think I would have remembered that”. I kept up my part of the conversation, & while letting him know that I admired his work, I kept a nonchalant, but engaged demeanor. But, my brain was racing a million miles an hour with- “Oh my God, oh my God, It's Kevin Kline. I am sitting right next to him. He has freckles. He has freckles on his arms. His arms are hairy. I think I love him. Kevin Kline! He is talking to me! He thinks he knows me. Can I sneak a peek at his crotch? Will he notice? No, don’t do it! Oh…you did it, you looked at his basket! I’d like to give him an Oscar, right now.” I finally let him have it & gushed about how much I loved his work & how much it meant for me to work with him & he said- "I've never felt completely satisfied with what I've done. I tend to see things too critically. I'm trying to get over that. I've got the Jewish guilt & the Irish shame & it's a hell of a job distinguishing which is which."
He was fun to work with. The director- Lawrence Kasdan, didn’t know we had traveled to the set together, & introduced us- "Kevin, this is Stephen & he can show you how to be funny, he is one funny guy”. I beamed, but tried to act like it was no big deal “ …Oh my God, I am doing lines with Kevin Kline. He is like the best American Actor, he is our Olivier & I am acting with him!!! I think he likes me. He keeps smiling at me. I think I love him!” Kevin was almost "Robin Williams" manic on the set, joking, playing the piano & singing. Tracey Ullman, who I worship, was shy & stayed in character, even when the cameras were not rolling, but as soon as the director said- “cut”, Kevin was back to his antics. At the end of the day, he touched my shoulder, looked me right in the eye, & said- “That was fun, we need to do do it again sometime”. I smiled back & deadpanned (he thought my deadpan was funny during the shoot)- “Yes indeed, Mr Kline, lets do it again, real soon.”, but my brain was going- “oh my God, oh my God, it's Kevin Kline! & he is looking at me… It’s Kevin Kline! & he his handsome! & he is talking to me!”.
Did I mention that I really love Kevin Kline? My favorite film roles: The Pirates of Penzance, Sophie's Choice, The Big Chill, Silverado, A Fish Called Wanda, Soapdish, Grand Canyon, The Ice Storm, A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Prairie Home Companion, & As You LIke It... & In & Out is not a very good movie, but I loved watching him in the film: