Photograph by Suzanne Hanover/Ssamuel Goldwyn Films
Got a minute? Veteran actor Steve Zahn sounds off about living in the moment, his new movie Management (in theaters May 15), and groping Jennifer Aniston's butt.
Q: Your character in Management, Mike, falls in love with Sue (Jennifer Aniston), a guest at his family's motel. Early on, she lets him touch her butt. How'd that go down when you were filming? __
A:__ The butt-touching scene is supposed to be the most awkward scene in the world. It's fucking bizarre. In any other movie, they would go on a date, it would be funny, and the montage would begin. But this turns into two 11-year-olds in the basement playing doctor. It's odd and yet at the same time very sexy. It had to be perfect—not just with what Jennifer and I were doing but with the camera. We did a lot of takes. I'm embarrassed by the outtakes.
Q: Did she use a butt double?
A: No, that would have been ridiculous. Because then I would have used a stunt hand.
Q: Mike tries to woo Sue by serenading her with Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love." Was this kind of stuff part of your courting repertoire?
A: I pursued my wife (actress Robyn Peterman) so much it was embarrassing. We were doing a musical, Bye Bye Birdie, and I remember planning my routes—crossing backstage just because she was crossing backstage. Ridiculous shit, but that paid off, man.
Q: You're known for playing funny, quirky characters. What's it like to be a leading man?
A: It's the same kind of character, but busier. It wasn't like I was replacing some hunk. If I'm the romantic lead, you know it's going to be different from what you're used to. Even years ago, in New York when I was reading scripts, I always responded to the other parts. I was like, "I like this guy. I like the buddy."
Q: You have five movies scheduled for release in 2009. Has that been overwhelming?
A: Honestly, a lot of those movies were shot a while ago, like The Great Buck Howard, Sunshine Cleaning, and this one. It's always interesting when people say, "Man, are you busy." A week earlier, I'm selling the car because we need money, asking, "Are there any bad movies out there I could do?"
Q: What's next for you?
A: I have to take a pee, man—I don't think too far ahead. *Ryan Wenzel
The film's trailer