“ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA” DIRECTOR BEN STILLER TELLS “CBS SUNDAY MORNING” HUMOR MAY TAKE A BACKSEAT IN HIS CAREER FOR A WHILE
Ben Stiller has made a career out of starring in and directing blockbuster comedies. Now, however, he’s focusing on more serious work, he says, in an interview with Tony Dokoupil for CBS SUNDAY MORNING to be broadcast Sunday, Nov. 11 (9:00 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Stiller tells Dokoupil that his latest project, ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA, a seven-part drama for SHOWTIME, a division of CBS, about a daring prison break, changed his outlook. The series, based on a real-life prison break in upstate New York in 2015, is the first piece that Stiller has directed without acting in it as well.
“I had the best time working on this. Yeah, it really – it was a personal revelation, directing and not acting,” Stiller tells Dokoupil.
Stiller says he’s directed himself over the years and he’s always wanted to find something where he could just be the director. ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA stars Benicio del Toro as a swaggering career criminal named Richard Matt and Paul Dano as a young grifter named David Sweat doing a life sentence for murder. Together they plot a way out. The key to their escape is a prison employee named Joyce Mitchell, played by Patricia Arquette, who helps to smuggle power tools into the prison.
About only directing and not acting this time, Stiller says it “confirmed my suspicions that I would enjoy it a lot more.”
For Stiller, it’s a switch from his normal fare, which includes the hit franchises “Zoolander,” “Night at the Museum,” “Madagascar” and “Meet the Parents.”
Stiller talks with Dokoupil about the production of ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA, set to launch Sunday, Nov. 18 at 10:00 PM on SHOWTIME, as well as his career and his childhood. He also says comedy is likely to take a backseat for now. While he’d be open to comedic projects in the future, he says he’s drawn to projects he connects with on an “internal level,” not just things that make him laugh.
“I’m not really that interested in doing that kind of stuff now,” Stiller tells Dokoupil. “That’s just where I’m at in life.”
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.