It’s been awhile, but serious fare is nothing new to Ben Stiller. Best known for his roles in the popular “Meet the Parents” and “Night at the Museum” franchises, Stiller went through a phase about a decade ago where he dabbled in more dramatic films. Some, as you’d expect, were more successful than others.
He drew acclaim for his role as a heroin addicted comedy writer in “Permanent Midnight” even if the film didn’t. Stiller also teamed up with longtime comedy collaborator Owen Wilson in Wes Anderson’s ensemble “The Royal Tenenbaums,” but its his role in Neil LaBute’s “Your Friends & Neighbors” which is arguably his most successful non-comedic role to date. Now, Stiller is jumping back into the fray as the title character in Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg.”
Set in contemporary Los Angeles, Stiller plays Greenberg (hence the title), a 40-year-old man in a major mid-life crisis who is watching his brother’s house while he and his family are on vacation. Through the course of the film, Greenberg tries to reunite with a former flame (Jennifer Jason Leigh), dabbles in some promiscuous sex with his brother’s assistant (a star on the rise Greta Gerwig) and comes to grips with career mistakes he made years ago that put his best friend (Rhys Ifans) on a whole new career path.
HitFix’s Katie Hasty spoke to Stiller earlier this month about his radical departure playing such an unsympathetic character in Baumbach’s latest and also gave a quick reaction to the announcement about “Zoolander 2” going into development. You can find both interviews embedded on this page below.
“Greenberg” opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.