Michael Douglas in CBS Films's 'Last Vegas'.
It's safe to say that Michael Douglas was raised to be bigtime. Either that or he's lucky he lived to see 20!
Such is life when you're the son of Kirk Douglas, movie star extraordinaire, and a close, personal friend of Rat Packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. In that case, you end up rolling with legendary partiers at the ripe old age of 14.
"I was about, I’d say, 14. The proper age to be in a nightclub," Michael Douglas told us over the phone recently when we spoke to him and director Jon Turteltaub about "Last Vegas," their star-studded geriatric bachelor-party comedy, which opens today.
We took the opportunity to ask Douglas about his history with the sinful town that the film is named after: Las Vegas.
"Yeah, I've got a good 50 years of coming here. I'd come out from high school or college and visit my dad, who was dear friends with Sinatra, Dean Martin, and all of them," said Douglas. "My father and them all used to be living in Palm Springs, so they were all neighbors and good friends. And Greg Peck too. "
Not a bad crew, right? Wait, it gets better.
"I remember my stepmother having a birthday here at Caesars. They brought out this enormous cake and Kirk surprised her – he was inside the cake! He had flown over from shooting a movie in Germany and flown over to surprise her."
We're sorry, did you say your father, the three-time Oscar nominee, popped out of a birthday cake to surprise your stepmother, producer Anne Buydens?
"Popping out of a cake, yeah. Not a stripper, Kirk."
Now that sounds like quite the birthday cake, and quite the party, especially for a teenager.
Fortunately, 14-year-old Michael made his way out of the nightclub and into the movies. You can hear much more about "Last Vegas" in the fascinating interview below.
Anne Buydens, Kirk Douglas & his four sons (L to R): Joel, Peter, Eric & Michael. Circa 1965. Photo by Getty.
So, tell me, gentlemen, in the bachelor-party capital of the world, what’s it like after you shoot for the day? What happens when you wrap?
Michael Douglas: A colonic. Massage.
Jon Turteltaub: Hookers, nonstop hookers. No, you know what you do? You’re exhausted, so the best thing about Vegas is 24-hour room service and you can have something to eat. I actually would sit down with my assistant director and the script supervisor, play cards for about a half-an-hour and then go to bed.
MD: You're not exactly getting treated that badly in Las Vegas. It’s unbelievable service. You go back to your room right from location. Or the pool. It’s not a bad place to shoot a film.
It could be worse.
JT: No, it’s a perfect place, because we’re sort of a 24-hour business, and so is Las Vegas.
Yeah, what about filming on top of the Stratosphere – was that part of the fun?
JT: The Stratosphere was brutal. First of all, you’re not even in the space needle, you’re on top of the space needle. Do you know how long the extension cords must have been for our lights? It was really difficult, and then you have to ask two Oscar winners to risk their lives by going on a roller coaster ride that sticks out a thousand feet over the ground. That wasn’t good.
MD: I remember Mary [Steenburgen], it was a very breezy day up there, and Mary asked the operator, “Isn't there a certain wind speed where you don't let this thing operate?” The guy says, “Oh yeah, there is, anything over 40 miles an hour.” She went, “Well, what’s the wind speed now?” “Oh, 32.” She said, “Well, isn’t that getting close?” “No, no, you’ll be fine.”
JT: And then I shouted, “Action!”
So how many times did you have to go on the actual roller coaster itself?
MD: Too many, too many. It was more than one and less than 10.
JT: You stop counting after you throw up.
You didn’t throw up, did you?
JT: No, no, nobody threw up. It’s scary and it’s one of those moments where, as the director, you know that you’re asking your actors to do something completely crazy. You’re supposed to pretend to be scared. That’s what acting is. You’re not supposed to actually have to contend with this nuttiness. But they did a great job.
Here's how dumb it all is: There's 40-mile-an-hour winds, they’re worried about dying, and I'm worried about Mary’s hair.
MD: Jon was great. He had a long explanation about – Mary was worried about her hair – so he had a long explanation about how you can digitize the hair in the proper place.
You didn’t have to worry about Michael's hair though – it’s perfect.
MD: It doesn't move.
Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro & Kevin Kline in CBS Films's 'Last Vegas'.
I was reading the Entertainment Weekly story about the film, and they asked everybody if they had been to a bachelor party before, and Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman, and Robert De Niro all answered, but Mr. Douglas, you didn’t answer. So, have you been to a bachelor party before?
MD: No, I haven’t. I really haven’t, I must say. I was trying to rack my brain, but no, the closest thing I came to was a lot of those college parties where you got the local stripper to come in.
JT: They were referred to as stag parties back in the day, as you recall. I’ll tell you something, if I were getting married, and I was going to Vegas, I wouldn’t invite any big famous celebrity to go with me, because they’re going to get all the girls.
So did you have a stag party back in the day, for yourself?
MD: No. No.
JT: Nobody threw you a bachelor party, ever? That’s crazy.
MD: I've only been married twice.
JT: Well, that’s two times.
MD: First of all, the whole idea of being wasted the day of your wedding, hungover – it's the most unappealing idea in the world.
JT: Keep in mind, these guys, their lives are pretty good without the bachelor party. When you’re a big famous actor, you don’t have to have a bachelor party to have that good of a time.
Oh yeah, it’s just a constant thing?
JT: It’s permanent.
MD: Are you married?
MD: How was your bachelor party?
It was disappointing, kind of. I wanted my wife to be there. I never know how much fun I can have unless she’s around.
MD: Oh, that's sweet.
JT: Aw, that’s very sweet, actually.
MD: Does she like to watch?
I don’t think so. I may have to ask, though!
Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas & director Jon Turteltaub. Photo …
No, seriously, I think bachelor-parties have gotten a little weird.
JT: I never really understood a bachelor party. The whole idea of getting married is you’re done with the bachelor-party part of your life, and what ends up happening is all your friends end up having a good time, but you don’t.
MD: Because you’ve got to behave.
JT: I think every man should get a bachelor party on their 23rd birthday, go do whatever they want, have fun, and then be done with it.
It’s like a second bar mitzvah, really.
JT: That's a good way of looking at it, but with better gifts.
So you've never worked with all of these amazing actors before. Tell me about the first day – did everyone live up to expectations?
JT: The first day was really a read-through of the script, here at the hotel. It was extremely exciting to have everybody there, and to know it was finally real. I didn’t know whether to direct the read-through or just get autographs that day.
MD: I knew everybody. It’s not like they were strangers. I mean, Morgan and I, we’re golfers and we've done some charity work together. Bobby and I have been bouncing in and out of saying hi, but not much more than that, for 25, 30 years. Kevin and I met once or twice. And you’ve certainly seen their work.
But you underestimate yourself. You just think, “Wow! I can't believe that. Here I am in the same league with these guys, who are all just such great actors."
Follow me on Twitter (@AdPoc)
- Arts & Entertainment
- Michael Douglas
- Kirk Douglas
- bachelor party