This past week Street Film sat down with David Schwimmer at Philadelphia's Sofitel to discuss his college days, life after Friends and his role in the recently released Duane Hopwood. Schwimmer plays the title character in this comedy-drama, an alcoholic father whose life is unraveling before his eyes.
How are you going about choosing roles in terms of differentiating yourself from the Ross character?
I don't consciously look for roles that will differentiate me from Ross as much as I look at roles that will challenge me as an actor, and those are more likely roles that are different from that character. After playing a character for 10 years, at least for me, I want to try new stuff, you know?
What made you choose this role [in Duane Hopwood]?
The script. I know it sounds obvious but it's really true. I don't really operate out of any kind of strategy, like a business plan or what's good for my career, I operate really out of what I respond to personally at that time in my life, or what I'm going through. When I read the script that Matt [Mulhern] wrote I was deeply moved by it. I just put it down thinking "I have to play this guy." Sometimes you put a script down and say, "I have to play this guy," but you don't get to. You know, it goes to Tom Cruise, or whoever. Rarely, or occasionally, you get a script where you say that, or you feel that way, and it happens, and this was one of those times.
Do you have a personal preference in terms of where you see yourself going in the future; would it be going back to acting on TV or moving towards theater more or film?
I don't see acting on TV again in my near future. I really like the freedom of being able to say, go to London and do a play for four months, or go do an independent movie in London for this month. When you're on a series you have at least a six-year commitment to that show, and it's kind of restricting.
If we had asked you [when you were in college at Northwestern], "Where do you think you'll be in 10 years?" what do you think you would have said?
Look, in college I was extremely ambitious. I was extremely na‹¨«ve, and in a good way. I believed I was going to change the world. I really did. And I believed I was going to do it through my theater company and through acting and directing. I thought I was going to be famous. I thought I was, and it was just a matter of time. I just thought of pure possibility and potential. You know, Steppenwolf is the major, big theater company in Chicago, and I thought they were nothing. I thought our company was gonna kick their ass. I was wrong. We have a very successful company in Chicago, but Steppenwolf is Steppenwolf, it's an institution. And it turns out they were very helpful to us, kind of like an older brother, helping our little company along. But as you grow older you realize that that kind of ambition and that kind of blind drive really paid off. And we couldn't have made it as a theater company in Chicago, where it's so competitive, without that kind of drive.
You directed on Joey. What was that like, working with Matt LeBlanc again?
It was a blast. That's why I did it, to work with him. It's also because I missed the crew. I do. It's the same crew as Friends, and I love those men and women. It's like coming home.
Is there a possible Friends reunion -- a new show or on Joey?
[Shakes his head vigorously and laughs.]
But you guys are really friends, right?
Yes, that is true. No reunions though, not likely, not at all, it's never been discussed.
But I heard that Lisa Kudrow might go on Joey.
Oh, really? At one point, I heard we all are, so ...