Rosie O'Donnell Interview for the release of "KAZAAM" 1996
Rosie:Our next guest, my favorite half of Starsky and Hutch, talented director with a new movie Kazaam,take a look.(clip from Kazaam shown) Please welcome a guy who got Shaquille O'Neal to wear pointy shoes..Paul Glaser, How ya doin Paul?
PAUL: Well, I don't know, this is pretty exciting.
Rosie:Is it fun? Can you hardly believe it?
PAUL: I can't believe it, I fell asleep at 4:30 this morning, and the film's opening today, and I went my gosh this thing is, you know, it came about so fast.
Rosie:Yeah, you know I haven't seen it yet, but I'm going to take my nieces this weekend, but my make-up artist saw it, took her son, she said it was the greatest.
PAUL: It's magical you know, the way the whole film came about was magical, it's about magic, Shaq was wonderful in it, a big surprise.
Rosie: Yeah, we had him here on the show.
Rosie: How did you come up with the genie? I mean I wouldn't have thought Barbara Eden..Shaquille O'Neal.
PAUL: Actually that's what I thought.(laughs)
Rosie: Yeah, that's were you went.
PAUL: No, what happened is a friend called and asked if I knew of any good roles for him for last summer, film roles, and I said no, gotta play a genie and I hung up the phone.
Rosie: So this came out of nowhere?
PAUL: Came out of my mouth.
PAUL: And I went wow, and I sat down and I wrote this idea out, and it just took off, it had legs of it's own, it just ran, and it happened so fast, we had a screenplay in six and a half weeks.
PAUL: I had a green light, which means you can now go to film, the studio will give you the money, you hope, in ten and a half weeks.
Rosie: Right, exactly.
PAUL: And we had Shaq backed up against basketball camp, we had to get him out and we did it, and it all just all came together.
Rosie: Was he nice? Was he a nice guy?
PAUL: He's great, he's wonderful with kids, the camera loves him, he plays so many levels in this piece, there's so many surprises in this piece, and he was everything, he was our genie. I had a favorite expression with my crew, I said look guys we're in the hands of a genie, and we are the genie, and Shaq finished his work about four fifth's of the way into the schedule and we threw a going away party for him, and we were all sad to see him go.
Rosie: Yeah, did you notice how big his shoes were?
PAUL: He gives, you know most people give photographs, Shaq gives shoes, he gave me his shoe one day and the shoe sits in my office, and size 22, it's that big.
Rosie: Old Mother Hubbard lives in there.
PAUL: That's right, and her dog!
Rosie: They're huge, but did you always want to direct? when you were on Starsky and Hutch, did you have aspirations to be a director?
PAUL: I think I did.
Rosie: Did ya, we have a Starsky and Hutch picture of you.(holds up picture)
PAUL: Oh, look at that.
Rosie: David Soul, you, Huggy Bear, remember Huggy Bear?
PAUL: I remember him well.
Rosie: I loved that show, used to watch it all the time.
PAUL: Yeah, thank you.
Rosie: But you always wanted to direct back then?
PAUL: Yeah, I think so, you know I directed about 5 episodes of Starsky and Hutch and that's were I got my feet wet, but I think part of me will always be an actor. But it was a part of me that was intrigued by directing, and directing film and directing TV, and always tell people what to do, have other people tell you what to do, learn to let go of it, gee I want it this way, no i'm getting it that way.
Rosie:Very time consuming to direct, it took a year out of your life pretty much.
PAUL: Yeah, well most projects take a year once you start going.
PAUL: (pointing to her desk) What's this collection over here?
Rosie: I got toys, you know Paul I got toys, I got the Hunchback.
Rosie:From Burger King.
PAUL: Yeah, cool.
Rosie: I got Elmo, look Elmo, and whenever a joke bombs on the show, you know what I do? I scream Elmo! Elmo! oh boy our director right now is having a aneurysm.
Rosie:Is it not loaded up?
PAUL: Oh you have ah.
Rosie:Oh we have a Elmo clip that would have been really great, oh now it's cued? oh great, It's live TV Paul.
(video clip of Elmo)
Rosie:See, ya know, it would have been good if it came on time. So you started to film this movie, the idea came about right after your wife Elizabeth passed away.
PAUL: About 2 months after.
Rosie:Do you feel that it was helpful in having to deal with all that grief?
PAUL: Well I think that, you know this is my first time out when I'm not a director for hire. This is my fifth film, but this is my first film were basically I became a filmmaker, I had an idea on my own, produced it, directed it and I think it is every directors dream to be able to get to that place. And I think a lot of it has to do with a culmination of a journey that I went on, and was on with my daughter and my wife, and I think the film is so much about finding your heart, finding the real magic in your heart, and that was something that I learned and continue to learn in my journey with my family.
Rosie:Yeah, it's a wonderful book that your wife wrote, "In The Absence Of Angels."
PAUL: Isn't that nice? Extraordinary.
Rosie: A tribute to your daughter Ariel, it's so touching and beautiful I highly recommend it to everybody.
PAUL: Well, thank you.
Rosie:She was such a hero and did so much, founding the Pediatric Aids Foundation.
Rosie:You have taken over the helm of that now.
PAUL: Yeah, were pressing on, it's become a really important time, you know Pediatric Aids and Aids in general is a issue that is no longer on the front page, it is when you have a convention like in Canada, which they just had recently and they announced a certain breakthrough, but the thing that is so very important for all of us to understand is that it has not gone away, and number two it offers us such an incredible opportunity to be able to research and learn from a virus that we have not been able to find enough answers about, it will give us more information to deal with other things down the pike.
Rosie: Right, right.
PAUL: And that's so very very important, that's why we should join this battle and continue to recommit ourselves, we have to continue to get out there and make a difference and not only for that but for our children and our children's children and that's the only reason were here.
Rosie: Right, exactly, I had the privilege of meeting your wife Elizabeth and a wonderful person, and I just think it's great of you to do what you're doing. And this movie opens today.
PAUL: It opens today.
Rosie: I wish you much success with it.
PAUL: Thank you, thank you.
Rosie:You do your next one, you come back again.
PAUL: Thank you, it's been a pleasure being here.
Rosie:Do you want a Koosh Ball before you leave?
PAUL: I love it, what do I do with this?
Rosie: I'll show you, you launch it, it's a very tricky thing, we had some people on, they were clueless, here ya go look.
PAUL: Oh cool.
Rosie:Can you follow that? push that down, look see this has to touch your wrist.
PAUL: Oh, it has to touch your wrist.
Rosie:Now up with the Koosh, look at me, up with the Koosh.
Rosie:Now, one, two, three.. launch!
Paul: I think I always wanted to direct. My father was an architect, you know, and I always used to be fond of saying if my father hadn't been an architect I would have been one. (smiles) I was always intrigued by storytelling, by photography, by motion, by moving a camera. I was always intrigued by teaching. And so directing to me became an actual extension of things. I think acting is something I did as a sojourn into directing. When celebrity hit me I all of a sudden realized that celebrity wasn't the thing I wanted. What I wanted was to complete myself as an artist. And while I'll always be an actor, you don't - what is it? 'you can never take the actor out of the person'? or whatever, directing is something I really enjoy. It really fulfills me. I find it to be tremendously challenging.
I think I probably would have liked to have been recognized for the actor I was trying to be. I didn't realize at the time that the actor I was trying to be was bringing a certain amount of technique and know-how and understanding to a persona that had been evolving in my performing for a while and manifested itself in Starsky.
Transcribed by Pam
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