Not My Job: We Ask &#039Madoff&#039 Star Richard Dreyfuss About Fonzie Schemes

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Actor Richard Dreyfuss poses for a portrait on Dec. 12, 2015, in Dubai.

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Pictures for DIFF

In 1975 Richard Dreyfuss starred in what was then the highest-grossing movie of all time: JAWS. Now, he stars as the title character in the ABC miniseries Madoff — and, unlike in JAWS — this time he’s in the part of the shark.

Since Dreyfuss will be portraying Bernie Madoff, who ran a $ 65 billion Ponzi scheme, we’ll quiz him on Fonzie’s schemes — 3 questions about the life and occasions of Arthur Fonzarelli as portrayed by Henry Winkler on Pleased Days.

Transcript

MIKE PESCA, HOST:

And now the game exactly where we ask achieved people to accomplish one particular far more factor. It is known as Not My Job. Richard Dreyfuss got renowned from “The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz” and “American Graffiti.” He starred Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” and what was then the highest-grossing film of all-time, “Jaws.” He won an Oscar nothing at all for “The Goodbye Girl.” And now he stars as the title character in “Madoff,” exactly where, unlike “Jaws,” this time he plays the shark. Richard Dreyfuss, hello and welcome to WAIT WAIT… Don’t Inform ME.

RICHARD DREYFUSS: Thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

PESCA: So…

(APPLAUSE)

PESCA: …I study – I read in an old interview that you once said that acting in “Jaws” and “Close Encounters” – that acting in these films, your job was to make factors that weren’t there appear believable. So that is sort of good preparation for playing Bernie Madoff, appropriate?

DREYFUSS: Yeah, I never thought of it that way. Yeah, in “Jaws” and in “Close Encounters,” Steven Spielberg when stated to me, could I ask you a query? And I said certain. He stated, you keep in mind when we had been performing “Jaws” and I was telling you to say factors like oh, look at that, appear at that and there was practically nothing there? And I said yeah. He said, did you ever really feel stupid?

(LAUGHTER)

DREYFUSS: And I mentioned Steven, you are an authority figure. Do not do this to me.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: So I watched – I watched “Mr. Holland’s Opus” with my children a couple weeks ago. Now, I have to inform you, my dad’s a teacher, my mom’s a teacher, my sister’s a teacher , my brother-in-law is a teacher. Do other non-teachers often cry at “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” or is it just my loved ones?

DREYFUSS: (Laughter) Well, actually, I – not only do I cry, there were a thousand extras in that film. And we were – we all have been so taken by this plot and by this guy that we would shoot let’s say the scene exactly where I do – I am singing to my son. And I’d appear out at the audience and there would be someone who would say, do it once more.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: That is stunning. Now I want to ask you about “Close Encounters.” Did that adjust your relationship to mashed potatoes?

(LAUGHTER)

DREYFUSS: As somebody who’s on a perpetual diet program, I have no relationship.

PESCA: So in playing Bernie Madoff, how does it perform as an actor? Do you try to determine with him? So even if you have come to believe and study the case that maybe he’s as significantly of a symptom as he is just a bad apple, is there a way to convey that via your performance, or do you let everything else convey that point?

DREYFUSS: No, that’s not what my job is. In this film, my job was to play that poor apple. At the starting just before I had completed any analysis, I was thinking nicely, I will probably, you know, find good attributes in him. But no, I never ever did.

(LAUGHTER)

PETER GROSZ: Wow.

PESCA: But I consider when actors can go wrong in playing the con artist, they emphasize the con. But you are emphasizing the artistry. You have to show how good he was at conning folks, not by twirling the mustache but by turning on the charm.

DREYFUSS: That is specifically the appropriate phrase. What I had to do was to be as friendly and gentle and loving as any uncle Bernie could be simply because no a single else would be capable to take people’s funds from them. They are not going to give it to the mustache twirler.

PESCA: Right.

DREYFUSS: And that is also how I played Dick Cheney.

PESCA: Yeah.

DREYFUSS: (Laughter).

GROSZ: Yeah.

PESCA: I was thinking about that.

DREYFUSS: That was a lie. That was a lie.

PESCA: But you also had been…

GROSZ: That was excellent although, I mean, there had been a lot of very good performances in that film.

PESCA: That was the film “W.”

GROSZ: Yeah, the movie – film “W,” but you were virtually as scary as I perceived the actual Dick Cheney to be watching that film. I thought it was wonderful.

PESCA: With much less nuclear weapons though is the point…

GROSZ: Yes, specifically.

PESCA: …Yeah.

DREYFUSS: I’ve played each Republican villain. I played Hague (ph), I’ve played Cheney. I’ve played them all. I don’t forget getting cast in the old days. Steven cast me simply because I had the potential to appear at something which did not exist however. And I constantly told him that the name of the book I would in no way create is “Have They Figured Out But What I’m Looking Up In Awe At?

(LAUGHTER)

DREYFUSS: So now I play villains. And 1 day, I’ll – I do not know, play rope-jumpers.

PESCA: There’s yet another main category of part that you play as I was going over your career. You play – you are the guy who’s ballast (ph), who’s probity, who’s order. And then you come into make contact with with disorder, appropriate – “Down And Out In Beverly Hills” with Nick Nolte or “What About Bob?” with Bill Murray. And I was wondering if there’s something about you that you tap into it ’cause you seem like a cut up, but are you a far more significant guy than we know?

DREYFUSS: I am humanity’s face, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: That is a quite bold statement, sir.

SHELBY FERO: I say that each and every time I stroll into a space.

DREYFUSS: And I want you to know, it was halfway out of my mouth and I believed you are creating a error, Richard.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: So Richard, I study this article from 1978 that stated that then – back then you never had gotten your Oscar engraved. And I wanted the update, have you considering that had it engraved?

DREYFUSS: Yes.

PESCA: OK, excellent.

FERO: They do not engrave it for you?

DREYFUSS: No, they do. What you are supposed to do is to give it back prior to you leave that evening.

FERO: Oh, right.

DREYFUSS: And I took it, and I ran into this limo. And I went to this plane to fly to New York, exactly where I was appearing in “Julius Caesar.” And I just clutched it till I got to the rehearsal area of the theater. And then I place it down in front of my space. And each actor did the identical point. They came in and mentioned where is it, exactly where is it? Let me – and then I said now listen, when I make my entrance tonight, there is going to be applause. So just hold it.

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: (Laughter) Just won an Oscar.

DREYFUSS: Guess what occurred? Practically nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

DREYFUSS: There was no applause. Each actor made it his organization to stroll by me in the course of the show and say so, they have been going to give you applause.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: All appropriate, Richard Dreyfuss, we have asked you here to far better play a game that we are calling…

BILL KURTIS: Sit On It.

PESCA: So as we mentioned, in the ABC miniseries “Madoff,” you play the titular financier who was actually running a $ 65 billion Ponzi scheme. So with that in mind, we’re going to ask you 3 concerns not about Ponzi schemes but about Fonzie schemes, the life and times of Arthur Fonzarelli, as portrayed by Henry Winkler from “Pleased Days.” If you answer two of these queries properly, you will win our prize – Carl Kasell’s voice on the voicemail of 1 of our listeners. Bill, who is Richard Dreyfuss playing for?

KURTIS: Gary Bentley of Temple, Texas.

PESCA: All right…

DREYFUSS: I’m so sorry, Gary.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: All proper, Richard Dreyfuss, here is your initial query. I know that you are heavily involved in civics through the Dreyfuss Foundation. But presidential politics was one of Fonzie’s passions as well. In an episode of “Satisfied Days,” which political action did Fonzie really take? A, he endorsed Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1956 presidential campaign, saying I like Ike, my bike likes Ike, B, he decried Sen. Joe McCarthy’s tactics by telling a young Republican who supported tail-gunner Joe that he was a nerd of the highest order or C, he supported the Little Rock Nine by saying in 1 episode that Arkansas Gov. Orvaul Faubus was uncool to preserve those little ones out of school.

DREYFUSS: I’d say A.

PESCA: You are right.

GROSZ: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

PESCA: He did indeed endorse Dwight D. Eisenhower.

(APPLAUSE)

PESCA: Richie endorsed Adlai Stevenson, and we know how that went. All appropriate, right here is your next question. “The Fonz And The Content Days Gang” was, of course, an animated Tv series that lasted three seasons. Fonzie, Ralph Malph and a dog named Mr. Cool employed a time machine to intervene in historical events. I never have to inform you this. You are a student of the theater.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: OK, so which isn’t an actual plot to an actual episode of “The Fonz And The Happy Days Gang?” A, they went to ancient Iraq where they assisted King Nebuchadnezzar in safeguarding his famous Hanging Gardens from an evil prince, B, they went to England in 1066, exactly where attempted to distract William of Normandy with Chuck Berry music for the duration of the Battle of Hastings or C, they visited a Peruvian jungle in 1532, exactly where Fonzie and the gang befriended kind Incas in order to save them from Francisco Pizarro.

DREYFUSS: You’ve got to be kidding me.

PESCA: Yeah, I know.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: Two of these had been green-lit. Which wasn’t?

DREYFUSS: The last one.

PESCA: No, I am sorry, it was William of Normandy. But you’ve got one particular more likelihood. Get this proper to win. Here’s your final question. Fonzie is honored throughout our culture, as in which of these actual examples? A, is it accurate that a researcher dubbed an anonymous patient who would only put on blue jeans, a white T-shirt and a black leather jacket, the patient was dubbed Fonzie in the healthcare literature, B, neurologists appear for a symptom referred to as the Fonzarelli Sign, in which individuals give a permanent thumbs up or C, a British air-conditioner firm has 3 settings – hot, medium and Fonzie because Fonzie’s cool.

(LAUGHTER)

DREYFUSS: There was a Fonzie neurology issue.

PESCA: Yes, the – in neurology…

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

PESCA: …There is a symptom known as the Fonzarelli Sign.

(APPLAUSE)

PESCA: Bill, how did Richard Dreyfuss do on our quiz?

KURTIS: You won.

DREYFUSS: Gary, I hope you happen to be satisfied.

(LAUGHTER)

PESCA: Gary, Richard Dreyfuss did it for you. And Richard Dreyfuss is starring in the new ABC show “Madoff.” Richard Dreyfuss, thanks so a lot for getting on WAIT WAIT… Don’t Tell ME.

DREYFUSS: Thank you extremely much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “Content DAYS”)

PRATT AND MCCLAIN: (Singing) These days are ours, share them with me. Oh, content days. These days are ours…

PESCA: In just a minute, when Chinese meals is as well excellent, it is our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on-air. We’ll be back in a minute with far more of WAIT WAIT… Do not Inform ME from NPR.

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