Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, and Andrew Dice Clay in 'Blue Jasmine' (Photo: Sony Pictures Classics)
By Andrew Dice Clay
I get a call from my manager, Bruce Rubenstein, and he said, "Woody Allen wants to meet with you." I thought it was a joke!
Woody was casting for the part of Augie, a blue collar guy who wins the lottery and loses it all when he invests the cash with his shyster brother-in-law. Once I realized it wasn’t a joke then I was like, okay, Woody Allen: Let's go see what’s up over there.
So, the day of the audition came and my wife Valerie and I pulled up to an apartment building on Park Avenue in Manhattan. We went right up. The guy didn’t make me wait. I was blown away because he was just standing there in a cool hangout room with his producer and casting person. So I said, "The first thing I want you to know is the Diceman is not in the room. I’m just here as myself I want you to know that."
And then Allen said, "Well, we're doing a little movie. Do you mind reading a few pages?" Would I mind? So, I went into the next room with the casting lady and read through it just one time and I said "I got it. I see what it is."
I come back into the first room and Woody stands within six inches of me, right up close. I’m facing the casting lady and we do the scene together. After, I say, “If you want me to change it up a little…" And he says "Well, you have the essence. It was perfect."
So I was, "Okay, I’ll be seeing you on the set. Hah-hah!" And then a couple of days later I was at my home in Vegas and I saw the text from Bruce, my manager: "You got it."
[Related:Summer Movies with Oscar Potential]
Listen: It was an emotional moment. I lost my parents in the past five years. My father was always in the business with me. It was pretty emotional to get into a movie directed by one of the great filmmakers of all time — for a serious role, a straight man. Even to this day it's still a little overwhelming to me.
Honestly I was never a Woody Allen freak. I always had my favorite movies: I loved "Broadway Danny Rose." He's so wacky in that, so nervous, he just played it to the hilt — and "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Bananas" and "Small Time Crooks." I also love "Annie Hall," but I was really young when that one came out.
Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay in 'Blue Jasmine' (Photo: Sony Pictures Classics)
When I'm on stage as a comic I'll say I'm the greatest in the world, but I haven't done a movie in over 12 years. I hope I did the kind of job Woody wanted from me. I was prepared as far as the lines go, as far as acting I believe I read the lines and did them the way they were meant to be said.
I'm not a guy that went to acting school. I used a comedy stage to learn how to act. Years ago, when I did "Crime Story" for Michael Mann, one of the writer/producers said to me, "I gotta tell you, when I watch you do a scene everything you do looks wrong. And when we go into the editing room, it looks perfect. Can you explain that to me?"
I can't, but that's the kind of actor I am. Years ago, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, these were guys that had their own method. That's what I try to do. I never go by the book. To play Augie, I was doing something I've never done on film, stripping down to a regular guy and playing that kind of role.
Woody gave me the best compliment. We were on the set and he was talking to a writer's son, and he says, "Andrew Clay is somebody you want to know because he is the greatest natural actor I've ever worked with," I had to say "Please don't say it again," because once I take off my leather jacket, I'm very modest. You'd never know it seeing me on the comedy stage.
Today, Leonard Maltin sent me a tweet saying how great I was in the film. I never was at that place in the business where I thought I'm above it all. With this whole resurgence I'm very humbled. I'm excited about it but, honestly, if I didn't have to go to the premiere this week, I wouldn't watch "Blue Jasmine" for two years. I'd rather hear people talk about it than see it.
"Blue Jasmine" opens in limited release on Friday.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Woody Allen