I recently got the opportunity to talk to Bob Stephenson about his role in ‘Larry Crowne’. Here, Bob talks about what it was like working with Tom Hanks and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Bob. Thanks for taking time out to talk to me. ‘Larry Crowne’ is currently in UK cinemas right now. What is the general plotline of the film?
Before we start – I think it’s important to note that I am a huge Aston Villa fan and when I found out that Tom was a fan of the Claret and Blue I nearly wet myself. That said, ‘Larry Crowne’ is about a man in his fifties who loses his job and is forced back into college in order to land another job. Once in college he meets Julia Roberts and hilarity ensues.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play one of the lame management team of the giant warehouse store that fires Larry.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Hanks at a party and we talked for quite sometime and months later he offered me this part and of course I jumped right in.
How would you say this film is different from other comedies released this year?
It’s a bit of a throwback. Sort of a modern day, old fashioned, romantic comedy. Does that make any sense at all?
The film stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Sarah Mahoney – what was it working with the cast and crew on-set?
Just terrific. I know everyone says that about a film they’ve worked on but with Tom directing – it really was great. He’s very easy-going and a great leader and people just want to be there and do a good job.
The film revolves around Tom Hanks’ character going back to college – if you could go back to college again, what subject would you like to learn?
I love architecture and for some strange reason I am fascinated with Religious Studies. I am not at all religious but I like learning about different belief systems.
Let’s talk a bit about you Bob – what made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I started in the film business, having never went to film school. My first job was as a Production Assistant on music videos in the early 90’s. You name the band and I worked on the video – getting food for the Chili Peppers, or scotch for The Travelling Wilburys, or painting backdrops for Van Halen…we would work 24 to 28 hour days. Brutal. But back then I LOVED it. I loved that we were all a team making something together. I didn’t know for sure that I wanted to act. I just knew that I wanted to be in this business for the rest of my life. I really enjoy it.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Don’t. Just kidding. I would say – just try real hard. Don’t take anything for granted and above all – be humble.
You’ve had roles in a number of great films, such as ‘Se7en’, ‘Fight Club’, ‘Con-Air’, ‘The Game’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels’ – who has been your favourite actor to work alongside so far and who has offered the greatest bit of advice?
If I list a favorite actor it will get me in trouble with the others. I will say Tom Hanks, Jennifer Aniston, John Cleese and Will Ferrell…all great! The best advice came from David Fincher. He said – “Stop doing stuff and just say the lines.”
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
That they are about to close the 405 freeway here in Los Angeles for a weekend! Crazy traffic is about to hit and they are calling it “Carmageddon.” Also, that Casey Anthony killed her kid and got off.
What does a Bob Stephenson day usually consist of?
Wake up, make two cups of hot green tea, watch the local news then Sky Sports to get all the English football news. Check my Twitter (my address is @bobstephenson for those who wish to follow). Eat some toast with peanut butter, shower and then out the door to auditions. Right now we are building a house so pretty much that’s taking the most out of my day – making house decisions.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
It’s a good year. Lots of film, which I like. I would love to jump on a TV show. There are so many good shows coming out and I love to work – my wife says I’m a bear when I’m not working. It’s true. Except I don’t think I smell as bad. No, I take that back. I smell pretty bad.
Thanks for the interview Bob!