Interview: Actor Jeremy Piven gives us THE GOODS
A few weeks ago, I partook in a conference call with Jeremy Piven for his upcoming film, THE GOODS. I’d never done a conference call before - it’s a bit strange and awkward being on the phone with over 10 people. Once The Piv (what I call him) got on the phone, the questions came pouring out and he gave us the goods.
I was lucky enough to get one in before the call ended. Below is the interview with some of (what I thought were) the best questions ask. Enjoy!
Girl - I was curious, you said you didn’t want to be known as a one-trick pony. And I was wondering whether or not you had anything in the hopper that was a more dramatic piece?
Jeremy Piven - Oh, absolutely. I mean look, I was lucky enough to also be in SMOKIN' ACES, which was just a - the guy was an incredibly tragic character. And that was very, very dramatic. But there’s another script I’m looking at right now where I would you know - I can’t talk too much of it, but it’s kind of the antithesis of anything that I’ve played. So I kind of welcome all of that stuff. And I really think this Don Ready character gets - he has an arc in this movie that is nowhere near Ari Gold. Ari Gold would never do and walk through the life changes that Don Ready goes through. At the same time, Don Ready is a hard-selling, hard living character for sure. I mean we open on him having breakfast in a strip club. So.
Girl - I wanted to ask you how has the Piven Theater in Evanston, like, played a role in starting your career?
Piven - Well, if it wasn’t for the Piven Theater, I would definitely have a hairnet on and I’d be selling curly fries somewhere in Schaumberg. Not even Evanston. So, you know my mother and my father, you know, were the ones that nurtured my talent from the time I was eight years old. I got up on stage with them there at Evanston at the Piven Theater. And we’ve been all doing our thing ever since. So it completely shaped my artistic life. And going to Northwestern games and seeing them break the streak for the most losses of any football team and carrying the goal posts you know all around Evanston. I played for the Evanston Wild Kits. I went to (Evanston) High School. And I will say for the record we were 9 and 2 my senior year and we made it to the semifinals and state. And we were - we lost in the last 11 seconds. A guy named (Rob Hotland) kicked a field goal and beat us. And I’ve had a chip on my shoulder ever since and that’s why I’m so unbelievably driven.
ME! - You’re known for your - like, your deadpan delivery. How much was your speeches in this film improvised, if they were?
Piven - The writing was so incredible. Adam McKay is responsible for TALLADEGA and STEP BROTHERS and ANCHORMAN, and he’s just such a comedic force and I was lucky enough to say these amazingly funny speeches. And so we would kind of go off book and mix it up, but most of it was scripted.
Girl - This might be a little stretch, too. The movie is of course a comedy, but to what extent would you say that it’s a social commentary? And does America need people more like Don Ready to revive the economy?
Piven - Excellent question. I think that it is kind of a sign of the times, a renegade group of slashers, you know, car salesmen that slash prices, and help move cars off the lot. Something that’s kind of needed in this economy, indeed, and that’s kind of where our story begins. And we do you know need characters like Don Ready out there, but also he’s a guy who starts off as someone who has been on the road his entire life and has been - hasn’t even thought about settling down and is finally getting to the point where he realizes he needs to evolve in some way. And you’ve got a character like that and the madness swirls around him and you don’t let the comedy down for a second. But it also gets to be a comment on guys who would be perceived as a pig. You know, a guy who’s a dog, running around with different women. And you realize is, you know, he’s got to stop being a road dog.
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