Ben Stiller interview
Ben Stiller plays White Goodman, the power-mulleted, Fu Manchu'ed owner of a palatial fitness palace in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
LF: You look so buffed in Dodgeball audiences will think either he's worked out or they can do amazing things with CGI?
BEN STILLER: It's the latter. It's wearing those spandex unitards they are unforgiving. Yeah, I had to work out. But he (White Goodman) is such a ridiculous character. The guy is so silly that I don't think it would have mattered if he had a pot belly. He is just so obsessed with himself and has issues with his body and weight; he obviously has a history of weight problems and is obsessed with food. But yeah I had to get into shape.
LF: What did you do?
BEN STILLER: Well, I played a lot of dodgeball with children - that keeps you in shape. I just did whatever you had to do to get in shape and fit into the singlet.
LF: Were you concerned that audiences might not get dodgeball as a game?
BEN STILLER: I thought that people might not get it because it's an American thing. But the movie is a story about underdogs. The idea is that it's about a silly sport, and hopefully the idea of the characters translates and therefore everyone can relate to the experience they are going through. But I never know if anything is going to translate anywhere. When you make a movie you hope it is going to be funny. It's hard to think about how it is going to go over anywhere else.
LF: What about White Goodman's moustache?
BEN STILLER: We thought at one point that White should get really mad at the end and rips off his moustache.
LF: Were you aware of the similarities between White Goodman and Derek Zoolander?
BEN STILLER: I never really saw the correlation between the two guys until somebody pointed it out. But I guess they are both very narcissistic. Derek though is much more innocent and good-hearted. He really does love himself but I think White hates himself.
LF: In Dodgeball the characters learn life lessons, what about you?
BEN STILLER: We did the movie because we liked the script and thought it could be fun. We were there because we wanted to be there. We did a read-through before we started the movie that was so much fun; it became the motivation to go ahead with the movie. We went off on a gut feeling that this would be a fun experience. For me the biggest life lesson was how following that feeling resulted in a really great experience for everybody.
LF: Did a competitive nature evolve during filming?
BEN STILLER: It became like an ego thing to not miss because there were a lot of extras standing there watching.
LF: Is it true you accidentally hit Christine Taylor during filming?
BEN STILLER: I accidentally nailed Christine in the face during a dodgeball training exercise.
LF: Are you a sports natural?
BEN STILLER: No. I never played any sports in school. I knew I was not good at dodgeball from the beginning.
LF: How was it working with Vince Vaughn?
BEN STILLER: I have wanted to work with him for years, since Swingers, and we have known each other since then. But nothing came together until this year. For me in Starsky and Hutch Vince's character sort of grounds the movie, the same way he grounds Dodgeball. On the Anchorman thing, I never even knew that Vince was in that movie. Then I found out that everyone in the world was in Anchorman.
LF: If you could hurl a ball at a public figure who would you choose?
BEN STILLER: I think most politicians could take a dodgeball in the face; they're politicians and they deserve it.