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Jeff Daniels
A Conversation with Jeff Daniels
(Elliot Garfield)


Q: Did you have any hesitations with starring in this remake?
A: This was not a no-brainer for me. They had done it before very successfully with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. The challenge was there to see if I could pull this off. Add to it the fact that Dreyfuss won an Academy award for his performance. You worry about the comparison. I had met Patricia Heaton a couple of times and like her a lot. Richard Benjamin is a really good director, and I had never done a Neil Simon play. In that sense it was a no-brainer.

Q: Were you surprised at how few differences there are between the original script and the contemporary version?
A: I think it's good that he didn't do a complete overhaul. You'd lose the people that loved the movie so much. It's an updated version.

Q: Do you believe that, for a comedy to work, elements of drama must be present?
A: There are so many jokes on each page of the script. You can't forget why the characters use this humorous language to convey what they mean. In essence, the drama -- the reality -- is underneath it all. They just happen to be fun, witty people that have a different way of expressing themselves. Neil Simon has written great stuff for actors during his career. This script is loaded with it.

Q: How would you describe the film?
A: It's a romantic comedy about a former dancer with a daughter who unfortunately falls in love with an egotistical actor. One day, he is gone. One night, another actor from Chicago comes knocking on her door. He thinks he's subletting the extra room. They don't get along at all. It becomes a story between these two people who are both looking for love. It's also a love letter to the theater and the people who do off-Broadway because they feel passionate about it.

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