The one where Kevin Pollak answered a question of mine on Reddit

Kevin Pollakalways interests me. Usually, it’s been his side-characters that popped up in cinema that piqued my interest, and he’s been in a hell of a lot of roles not just in movies but television series’ too.

The first time I remember crossing him on-screen was as Rool in Ron Howard’s Willow in the late 1980s.  Pollak’s stand-up comedy has always been ever so worthwhile, to say the least. And the flavor he uses when it comes to Star Trek impersonations is hilarious.

(My favorite part is when he turns Scotty into Dudley Moore/Arthur Bach, It’s not a party down here, Captain!)

A couple of years ago, I caught the stand-up showing the above Trek piece is part of on HBO…and then coincidentally crossed Kevin doing an Ask Me Anything interview session on Reddit. 

It’s a challenge to get your words answered by major people during an AMA because… well, they’re popular and there can be a ton of stuff laid out for them to respond to. Add to it that the community itself may react to anything you’ve asked the person doing the AMA and … well, that might result in a needless response from the said interviewee. I’ve been lucky before to have a big-name person give a response, very lucky.

In my attempt at a question I sang praises toward Pollak as well as laid out a question aimed at his straight-character, Lt. Sam Weinberg from the 1992 film A Few Good Men, which featured a smashing ensemble cast with Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Jack Nicholson, and Kiefer Sutherland among others in the Rob Reiner helmed classic.

Kevin, you’re awesome. Just wanted to be clear on that.

You’ve been in a bunch of stuff I’ve loved, and of course your Bill Shatner impression is impeccable. My question is for your famed serious role in “A Few Good Men”

Is Reiner as great with his (actors) as others have put it? Were there any scenes (where) he got on your case for how you delivered your line (how it’s supposed to be said)? And are there any funny anecdotes from that shoot that stand out in memory?

Thanks!

Director Rob Reiner does indeed have a great reputation with his actors (and his politics). He wants everyone to be happy in his quest for simple perfection in cinema and life. And he’s accomplished, that’s for sure too. He’s earned movie fans admiration for his films such as This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, WhenHarry Met Sally, Misery, The American President, and so many others of quality and distinction.

Igo t Kevin to actually reply about things with Reiner and a specific anecdote during his “role of a lifetime” as Lt. Weinberg in A Few Good Men. Pollak may have already spoken in interviews before about this moment, I’m not aware of it. Also seeing he had other questions to answer and a much different project to focus on, he didn’t go deep deep deep about his relationship with the cast and Rob Reiner, but he generally lays out a moment of acting challenge and director aid:

First of all, thank you.

Second of all, are you someone who’s known for their taste…?

Rob Reiner gave me the role of a lifetime. All the giant movie stars on that set treated me like an equal from second one, which they didn’t have to (or they needn’t have).

And in the one scene where my character yells at DemiMoore’s character, for offending the two kids who “picked on a weaker kid,” I found it nearly impossible to yell at her sincerely, with genuine anger, because Demi – the person – offset had been so historically sweet and nurturing to me (and to everyone else) and I wasn’t trained enough as an actor to remove that from my thoughts. So Rob had to – after 7 or 8 takes – take me for a little walk, and it’s the first and only time that’s ever happened, where a director walked me off-set and said “What’s the problem buddy?”

I explained my difficulty. And he said “Yeah, okay. Butt he character you’re playing REALLY can’t stand her.”

And I said “Oh. Right.”

And we went back in and did it in one take.

I didn’t have luck finding a clip to post here of the scene in question. It features Tom Cruise’s Daniel Kaffee, of course Moore’s JoAnn Galloway and Pollak’s Weinberg; that much I know from memory of the scene.

At any rate, the AMA session has a lot more questions and answers by Pollak. Clicky-clicky and go check it out. Have a laugh. Get informed.

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