Larry David must be the most unlikely and unwilling celebrity ever. Here is the man who co-created and executive produced Seinfeld for many years, yet watching the DVD box set extras the other day, I learned that David really didn’t want to do it, hated writing it, and moaned when NBC asked for more episodes.
Then came his masterpiece Curb Your Enthusiasm, which takes the scripted sitcom idea and adds ad-libbing to a tightly structured and very funny central storyline. Yet I expect David really wasn’t happy making the show, and turned into his angry alter ego at every possible turn.
Now, Larry David is in a Woody Allen movie, which is an honor for any actor. Yet, according to Digital Spy, David recently told Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show that, yes you guessed it, he really didn’t want to be in Whatever Works, tried to quit at one point, and even wished Allen ill to halt production.
“I didn’t want to do [the movie]. I talked to [Allen] on the phone, I said, ‘You’re making a big mistake, a terrible mistake, I’m gonna ruin your movie’. He said, ‘No, I think you will do well in it’, and I said, ‘Okay’.”
“So I did it, and I got to the set on the first day of shooting, and all of my fears were realized… I was gassy, I was so nervous, my stomach was gurgling… After the first take he came up to me and said, ‘That was horrible’.”
“So the first day was terrible and I wanted to quit, I was trying to scheme my way out of this thing, hoping maybe he’ll get hit by a bus or something. I was really hoping to get fired.”
But Allen persevered with the miserable David, never firing him, and never getting run over by a bus, no matter how much David willed it to happen. Now we just need to see whether David really was as bad as he thought he was or whether Allen has managed to get a quality performance out of him.