Right-click here to download the MP3
Have you ever kept seeing an actor pop up in all your favorite films and television shows? Well, that guy is probably Greg Grunberg. I’ve been a fan of Greg before I knew who Greg was. Greg Grunberg has been in some of the BIGGEST films and shows of all time. Here a list of just a few:
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B0126M38LW” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Heros[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B00005JNOG” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Lost[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B002NS2HBM” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Alias[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B003QQJGRI” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Mission Impossible III[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B0025CQ262″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Austin Powers: Goldmember[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B004EPYZQ2″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Super 8[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B01LT80TN4″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Star Trek[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B01IS31U6S” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Star Trek Beyond[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B019G7X7QG” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Star Wars: The Force Awakens[/easyazon_link]
Yup! Greg Grunberg has been around. He’s the definition of a working actor. It’s worth a listen just to hear his stories from Comic-Con and the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Greg Grunberg also hosts a show with Kevin Smith called Geeking Out! Here’s some more on that.
Actor Greg Grunberg talks with Kevin Smith about working with J.J. Abrams and those notoriously tight ‘Star Trek’ uniforms. Grunberg also gives details about his new late-night AMC talk show “Geeking Out,” which he hosts with pal Smith.
Greg also has an amazing friendship with writer/director JJ Abrams and we go into how that relationship came to be.
In this episode, Greg talks filmmaking shop, tells us stories from the set and comic cons and inspires us to never give up and keep on hustlin’. Enjoy my geek out with Greg Grunberg.
Alex Ferrari 2:31
Today's guest is Greg Grunberg. Now, if you've ever seen an actor who keeps popping up in all your favorite TV shows and movies, it's probably Greg because I mean, I've been a fan of Greg's for a long, long long time and before I even knew who Greg was I was a fan of Greg I always loved the characters as he played and he keeps popping up and all these these shows and movies that I've loved over the years shows like you know, little shows like alias, last Felicity heroes. In a super fun movie, a big ass spider produced by friend of the show Shaq head, and he's also done a few little movies Mission Impossible three, Star Trek the new Star Trek all three of them. Lady killers with the Coen Brothers, JJ Abrams, super eight and also that other little movie I forgot he was in Star Wars Force Awakens. So if you guys know I am a huge Star Wars fan and I was so excited just to geek out with him about what it was like to be on that set alone is worth listening to this podcast if you're a Star Wars fan, but Greg is also a director, a producer, a writer. He does a lot of charity work. And you know, he's he's one of those guys I wanted to get on the show because he is so down to earth, and so open with his knowledge and information and experience he wanted to share with the tribe. I was just so excited to have him on the show man so prepared to geek out just a little bit and enjoy my conversation with Greg Grunberg. I would love to welcome to the show. Greg Grunberg. Man, thank you so much for taking the time and talking to the to the tribe, man, I appreciate it.
Greg Grunberg 4:16
Oh, are you kidding me? Come on. We're all in this together. Let's, let's talk about it.
Alex Ferrari 4:20
Absolutely. Listen, man. I've been a fan of yours since the 90s. I have to say I you know, my first my first introduction to you was Felicity. Oh, yeah. It was it was it was a fun time in the 90s
Greg Grunberg 4:34
Yeah, that was my first you know, real break into having a steady gig, you know, something that I knew, okay, I was I'm working next week. And then the week after that we got you know, it's it's a tough thing and you look at it and go, it's exciting to do a film. It's exciting to do an independent film or this and that. But when you get the opportunity to actually be doing something that you love on a weekly basis and know that there's work next week. It's just tough in our business. Yeah, that was my first my first one and it was all thanks to my buddy JJ Abrams, you know that JJ and Matt had sold that show because if you're JJ Abrams what other what other type of a show are you going to do about except about a girl who's going off to college? I mean it was just like what you know they are they're brilliant storytellers and they start with character first and when you look at that series and you can watch it now I think on Netflix and it's awesome yeah it just holds up I mean it's so beautifully done and well written and I mean when I was very proud of those years and and the relationships I
Alex Ferrari 5:37
went there when I was watching that I was like, I want to go to college I want to do I want to I went to college I went to film school it's a completely different environment, but like I want to like I want to go to like dorms I'd never did dorms I had no idea what that was like but just that whole experience and it was just it was such a you know, we're we're dating ourselves but still it was a fun
Greg Grunberg 5:56
but that's what I mean by you know, it really holds up I still have people come up to me today and they say oh, you know it's like watching Felicity I want to see reruns or when I watched it back in the day it was like watching my daughter go to college or you know I was going to college and it was so because it was very real you know, it didn't lean on all the you know, the trappings or the you know, the the trite store stories that you would see that are fine but it was all about the characters and their relationships and that stuff is evergreen.
Alex Ferrari 6:23
No absolutely and not only Felicity but then you kept popping up on every like one of my favorite TV show growing
Greg Grunberg 6:31
lucky I mean Felicity from right from Felicity we're shooting the last season of Felicity I just finished the hollow man which is a movie that I did with Paul Verhoeven and bacon Yeah. And then they were JJ was doing alias and he said look this the last year Felicity but the first year of alias I want you to do both, which is literally next to impossible as an actor because once you're on one network, they won't let you cross over onto you know another unless they own it or whatever where they get permission and JJ just went to bat and said look, I really want him on this and he's not the you know, the number one on the call sheet so let's make that happen. And sure enough, I was playing you know, Shawn Blumberg and Eric Weiss at the same time
Alex Ferrari 7:12
know how what like seriously like well, first of all, you are the definition of a working actor. So you're very blessed because I mean, I see you all the time. And I see you working all the time. And like I told my wife I was gonna have you on the show. She's like, I love him. He's everywhere. In a good way. He's like everywhere I see him all the time.
Greg Grunberg 7:31
Yeah, I've been really really fortunate number one and you know that I'm working with people that want to work with me again and again I mean, as an actor that's what you're you know, I'm also a filmmaker I'm also a Writer Producer, but but as as an actor you're just you're what you're at the whim of people wanting to work with you and I'm one of those guys I think that I'm versatile enough that I can play the cop I can play the best friend I can play the you know, the the sleazy attorney, I can play the bumbling boyfriend I can play you know, or husband or father. So I love doing all that stuff. And I don't say no, I mean I really,
Alex Ferrari 8:05
Greg Grunberg 8:11
There's some skeletons in my closet. Trust me, you look at my IMDb and you're like, Why? I don't even want to name them.
Alex Ferrari 8:17
I don't I will not bring them up in this episode.
Greg Grunberg 8:20
For the majority of you know, I've been really lucky. I've been you know, alias Felicity alias. And heroes especially those I mean who gets to do over 100 episodes of each show it's just crazy.
Alex Ferrari 8:32
It's It's insane. It really really is insane. And before we before we continue I wanted to give a shout out to shake head bernsen who connected us he was a former guest a friend of the show. And of course he worked with you on big spider which is obviously Oscar bait obviously yeah
Greg Grunberg 8:49
But but you know just like and she kids the same way I don't let people go like they become part of my you know, the business world and part of my you know, friend circle and, and we worked on big spider together, which was an incredible experience the everybody at epic. They're just great, Patrick, and you know, and she can't. She can't though is such a hustler. Like we talked about in the best sort of way. He's got great taste. He is just really good at putting projects together. He and Patrick would really have a good business acumen. And then also you know, there's a good balance between finding stuff that the audience will like, but also stuff that you're not pandering and doing something that has already been seen. They really kind of look out for cool stuff. But we did big spider together. I had such a great experience with Mike Mendez. And especially Lombardo. By art. I mean, that guy is a brilliant, brilliant actor. I brought him in. I got to be a producer on that movie. And then they came to me and said, Hey, I'm doing this kid's movie Tiger's tail. Will you be a part of that? I'm like, yeah, so I did that. Which was great. Because then kids, you know, I love doing that kind of stuff. Yeah. And then we did tails on Halloween, which is, you know, that was a sort of a kind of a, an homage to I played the same sort of character that I did. Claire Kramer I got to do that together and now Claire and I have this documentary we're working on so it's I don't let people go once you see that is she can't is one of those that I will that I'm happy she can't and Patrick both I'm happy to have in my life and also love it when when i when i look it down on my cell phone and it says she can't where it says Patrick I'm like yes please you know because it'll be something real
Alex Ferrari 10:22
You know and the funny thing is that it's so true like when you find people you really want to work with in this business you hold on tight yeah because it's they're rare they're rare to find good people you know that you really enjoy working with and actually get things done is another big plus so those guys
Greg Grunberg 10:37
Definitely that's also a mutual sort of situation like I call them with ideas and they take it seriously you know it's not just Hey, we're calling you because we want you to be in this we want to use your name to promote a film or whatever I mean they really are creative guys you know and they and you know also when you go through like frustrating moments creatively because that's the creative process is tough, man. Yes it is. You're not always gonna see eye to eye you're never gonna see eye to eye on everything. And to be able to come out the other side of these these little petty things or big creative things and be friends and want to work together again. That's what it's all about. And you know, a good creative process has those ups and downs a can't. If it doesn't, then it's gonna be mediocre and milk toast and read on the fence and it's it's never something that's going to mean something big as spider was that I mean, it was at the beginning they were like, okay, it's called mega spider. And, and Mike Mendez was like, No, let's do something different. Whatever, met with me, I said, I don't want to take this seriously. Everybody knows what mega spider is going to be. It's gonna be about a giant spider is gonna be a sci fi movie like shark, NATO or whatever it's gonna be, you know, I want it to be more. And actually, I didn't even hurt a shark man. That was they were making that at the same time we made ours. But it was like let's do something and then we improv the whole thing I brought in Lombardo bolyard who's one of the best actors I've ever worked with is so versatile that he plays Jose in the movie if you haven't seen the movie, you must see this movie because it's an example of you know, at the end of the movie you go was there a spider in that movie? Like it's you know, it's just it Mike Mendez did such a brilliant job writing directing, I mean, you know, producing directing and and it was such a collaborative process between choquette and Patrick and Mike and especially Lombardo and I you know, we really had a great time and Claire Kramer was great. Anyway,
Alex Ferrari 12:32
I could go on and on and on. But But did you guys do a lot of improv in that movie?
Greg Grunberg 12:36
Oh my god, like every scene
Alex Ferrari 12:38
Really? You just hit me so it's kind of like a big like structured Mark duplass movie but with a big spider.
Greg Grunberg 12:44
Yeah, actually that's exactly what it was and the writer was great too. I mean, you know it was laid out you have to hit certain beats for story Yeah, but how are we going to get from here to here and Bardot and I while we were setting up and we had no time we had no we didn't have the luxury of six takes right it was so we really we in essence borrowed I spent a lot of time together and then when Claire Claire we did our scenes together too but we rehearsed right before and we're like now what about this What about this What about this and Mike and she Kat and Patrick they were happy with it like yeah, that's that sounds great. And not not everything worked but most of it worked and it was just a really great experience.
Alex Ferrari 13:19
Oh my god that's what yeah, that's that's how I just did my first feature too, but without a big spider in it. But I'm, I'm so surprised to hear that a movie like big spider was a lot of improv, which is awesome. It's a really a thing.
Greg Grunberg 13:31
And, you know, Bardot and I Lambretta we are now I have a shorthand together. In a movie, I wrote a movie co wrote and starred in and produced a movie called group sex. Which is all about it's a sex a Holic recovery comedy.
Alex Ferrari 13:47
Fantastic You had me You had me a sex recovery.
Greg Grunberg 13:50
You have kids don't ask them to Google group sex.
Alex Ferrari 13:55
Exactly. Group sex film no not even that. You still get
Greg Grunberg 14:00
That group sex Tom Arnold's and Henry Winkler me Josh cook. Odette newsmen are dead Annabel. I mean there's some great people and it really funny. Really, really funny. Um Larry trilling directed at Lawrence showing who is so brilliant he ran parenthood and Goliath and now he's doing it's just a brilliant filmmaker and he's a good friend of mine. We co wrote this together he directed I produced didn't start it and it just was such a great experience and that's again you have to be malleable you have to be you know able to and Lombardo by art is in that movie and he steals every scene he's in and as an actor you know without an ego which is I mean I have just enough of an ego to keep you going as an actor but I want to be in a scene with somebody that I am entertained with that blows me away you know, and that's what he does for me. So every opportunity I get I want to be on screen acting with Bartow.
Alex Ferrari 14:55
Now what made you want to become an actor
Greg Grunberg 14:57
Oh, You know, just throughout my life, I mean, you know, growing up as a kid, I was in theater and I always did the plays and I loved being creative. I love getting response out of people. I just loved it. And I never did it at the at the expense of other people. I never did any. I hate bully humor, I hate you know, where you're making fun of somebody just because of something they can't help. But at the same time, you know, I don't mind self deprecating humor, I don't mind being that guy that people are laughing at or reacting to, and, and I realized, wow, I can really I'm good at this I, I have an ear for what I'm doing. Which, which, what I mean by that is a lot of actors. And I have this young, very young, they just don't hear themselves speaking. Like, it's not natural. It doesn't flow it I don't you don't buy it, you know, like, do you even hear yourself? Like that's not the way normal people talk? that people don't finish sentences, people just because a sentence is finished on a script doesn't mean you have to. You don't mean the way I'm talking right now I'm finding words and make it your own that right? And if a director tells you they you shouldn't make it your own, walk away, I mean, my God, what the hell are we if we're not humanizing the words and taking it to the next level, that's what an actor's job is. And if you do it to a point where it just disrupts the original vision, and of course, but if not, you know, you got to hear yourself and I, I think I had that at a young agent and elementary school and junior high and then growing up with people like Matt Reeves and JJ Abrams. And, you know, there's a buddy of mine, Jason Brooks. He's just amazing. And these guys, I just started acting over the years, started doing commercials started starting on things. And then and then my friends were in positions where they can hire me in bigger ways. And I was ready at that time. I mean, I, you know, it's the struggle is sometimes really, really good. It's sort of your education. Oh, yeah. The hustle. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I tell people acting wise and filmmaking was to, especially today you know, you have a you have a cell phone, make a film to shut up and make a film. Don't tell me you can't make it Don't tell me this guy said no, I pitched him and he could, if you want to be a filmmaker, you want to tell a story. And get out your phone and tell a story. And you know, there's nothing just do it. And by the way, don't tell somebody you're going to do it. Don't tell somebody what it is. Do it because the same like if I said to you, I have a really great idea for script. Your response to me which is what JJ has always done for me, is write it because if I tell you if I go I'd ask here's what I'm thinking about this this this and then you go that's amazing. That's incredible. I love it. Oh my gosh. Okay, now I've gotten the reaction that I would have gotten that would have carried me through the entire arduous long lonely process of running a script and I would have been it that energy the need for that reaction that the needing some sort of praise or or somebody saying that sucks or whatever. I that would have carried me enough to write this thing now I've gotten that reaction I don't have to do it and that's what I think is what hurts a lot of filmmakers
Alex Ferrari 18:16
That's actually that's a great that's Yeah, you're right because if a lot of times as writers and as creators if you if you give an idea and they go That's great. You should do something I'm like yeah, is great. Yeah. But then you don't want to write it takes you longer to write
Greg Grunberg 18:30
Yeah, and you already got the reaction that you're hoping to get at the end. Right? You know, it's tough like I have this graphic novel called dream jumper which is I'm really proud of them. Scholastic put it out I partnered with an amazing illustrator and storyteller Lucas turn bloom. We are booked to is coming out in September it's called dream jumper my son had a dream he woke up had a nightmare. He was like 13 I said Ben what what what happened? What is it tell me and he goes it was like I was a superhero. I go Okay cool. What what? He says it wasn't even my dream. I was like a superhero. able to jump in and out of my friend's dreams and save them from their worst nightmares. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 19:09
That's genius. Isn't that
Greg Grunberg 19:13
Yeah, I'm like you're not going to bed stay up we're gonna pay for college.
Alex Ferrari 19:18
Right and like I'm like saying why isn't this $100 million movie like what's my god
Greg Grunberg 19:22
So so cut to a year and a half later the book is in every school Oh. Paramount option that they're they're making a movie out of it. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, and book two's coming out in September but my point of bringing it up not just for you know, to promote it and tell people to buy dream jumper now. Yeah. Also is that Lucas I met Lucas at Comic Con. He's an award winning Illustrator. And he's sitting there and he signing and I go up to him, I go, Hey, man, you know, he had done some stuff with my charity before and I and I said hello to him. And I said, Hey, what do you think of this idea, and he had the same reaction you just did. Oh my god. That's genius. And he said, we're gonna write this whole thing. So over the course of a year, he illustrated the entire thing that's 230 pages of long, 48 pages of like, you know, four pictures per page, he did all this work. And then we went out and looked for a publisher. That's, like what you just said, it's kind of the way you should do it. You know, it's like, if you're gonna do it, I mean, it's hard. It's all on spec. Yep. We did it, and it and it paid off.
Alex Ferrari 20:29
And I always I always feel that even when you do stuff on spec, per se, it never it's never fruitless. Generally speaking, it's either either you're gonna get you know, if you if you go out and make a feature film, even if it stinks, you've made a feature film, you're ahead of the game. And you can show people like, Hey, I produce something, and blah, blah, blah, and you and God knows what connections you can make, or what kind of relationships you can build off of that. It's, it's, that's something I've learned in my, my term in, in this and this little game that we call the feed industry,
Greg Grunberg 20:58
You know, it's interesting, it's like you go into a pitch meeting, right? Or you're trying to sell a film, or you're trying to get financing financing is the number one thing of course, you try and get financing for a vision that you have, and you want to make make something well, the pert, the person that you're talking to, whether it's a producer, a network person, a studio person, whatever, a financier, they want to know that someone has taken a chance on you previous no one wants to be the first
Alex Ferrari 21:19
Nobody wants to be the first of the party.
Greg Grunberg 21:21
Right! So why don't you take a chance on yourself? Why don't you be the first one? Like, if you take your cell phone out, and you use to shoot something, shoot something else, shoot something else, shoot something up, and then use iMovie? Cut it together, put music to it. You know, you don't even have to there's no color timing. There's no sweetening of the sound. There's nothing. You're just doing what you can do with the technology in your freakin hand. Yes, yes. I'm telling you, suddenly, somebody is going to be like, oh, Alex made a film. He's already made a film. So I'm not the first person. Now. You're the one the green light. Yeah. Why are you not taking a chance like having skin in the game I, I had an app years ago that I created. And it was it was interesting. As I going into getting financing people were like, well, if you have money in it, because if you're not putting money in, if you don't believe in your own product, enough to put your own money up, I'm not gonna put money up, right? Make sense? It's the same thing and creatively it's the same thing. If you're taking a chance on yourself, then you're not then then that's, I mean, it's weird to say, Hey, I was the first person who gave myself a break to do
Alex Ferrari 22:24
But you have to perceive but that it's in that and that's another bigger concept is perception. Perception is very big in this town. It's extremely big in this town. Whether it's the truth or not. The perception is is something different. And I get hired as a supermodel to I look like a supermodel. No, but the perception is exactly exactly ripped. And it's called CGI.
Greg Grunberg 22:54
Alex Ferrari 22:56
Exactly. Now you talk you talk you talk a little bit about JJ man and you guys grew up together.
Greg Grunberg 23:02
Yeah, we met when we were four or five
Alex Ferrari 23:05
Jesus. Literally you literally grew up together.
Greg Grunberg 23:08
Yeah, he's my oldest friend. He's my closest friend I'd say friend He's a brother he's we're like brothers and you can't you know really people say oh look at he's a filmmaker he wants to hire me like you know what all that stuff is icing on the cake. I know that sounds crazy because no but it's true yeah but he's so successful and yes a guy like that to be working with over and over again is such a blessing but forgetting all of it I he's gotten me through and I've gotten him through you know, stuff that friends get each other through and he's been there for me through all the great stuff my closest close I love him so much and I'm lucky to have him in my life.
Alex Ferrari 23:49
Yeah, and the thing a lot of people from the outside always look into like oh my god, you have your best friends with JJ Abrams and like but at the end of the day for you your perspective is not JJ Abrams. He's like he's my bud He's my dude I've like grown up with him I've seen stuff that I can never say because we grew up together since we were four I mean that's what yeah, exactly but you're that's your body yes
Greg Grunberg 24:12
Yes I mean it and you know it shows that the paths cross on set when you know we're Shooting Star Wars and Star Wars you know, both of us are like what are we doing
Alex Ferrari 24:22
We're gonna get we're gonna get into Star Wars
Greg Grunberg 24:25
Crazy like first of all alias Mission Impossible Felicity like all this crazy amazing, insane it's insane and there's nothing better than being and working. I mean, I use the term I'm using you can't see but my hands I'm doing the quotes because it's not work when I'm working with JJ right right. It's not work anyway, but anyway, um, and I do a take and then he walks up to me whispers in my ear. He's like, Oh yeah, that was the worst thing in the world of Cisco again. We just have a blast together and I you know, again, it just so lucky to be working piece. Period let alone on projects like that and then you put on top of it all the most important thing is that I'm with my best friend forget about
Alex Ferrari 25:07
Yeah, I mean like life doesn't get better as far as a professional relationship is because right now it really does it now with all that you've had a lot of success in your career but I'm sure there's must have been a point or two in your career that things were a little bit rougher and have you ever thought of walking away from the business or when they just got too tough? Or are those tough parts how did you overcome them?
Greg Grunberg 25:28
Yeah, you know it is really really tough and I've it mainly at the beginning of my career I've been very very I'm knocking you hear me knocking Well, I've been very very lucky and and and I hope that I'm, you know, I do a good job, I must be doing something right. But at the same time, yeah, you're always looking for your next job. You know, there's a term there's a I forgot who quoted this, but it's like you want an actor to complain? Give them a job. That's just so true. And the same as with the director or producer, whatever. And so the toughest parts, I think, were really early in my career because I didn't want my life. I don't want my career to dictate my life. So I met the most incredible woman in the entire world. My wife, Elizabeth, and, you know, you go Okay, well, my career is not where it is. I mean, I had no job no car, no money, no credit cards, no, nothing, no hope. For I mean, no, not hope. But, um, no prospects in the future. You know, I'm not going to tell my landlord he had a good audition today.
Alex Ferrari 26:28
And she said, and she said, Oh, this is a I'm gonna hook on to this guy.
Greg Grunberg 26:32
Yeah. I mean, we have a piece of we have a piece of art. Exactly. I was like, What would you think? And that's where you know, she loved you. You know, it's, we have this piece of art that I made in our house. It's from a quote from Willy Wonka is my favorite movie. And the quote is, hold on tight. I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen there in the elevator. And he tells he tells Charlie to push that button. Up until now I've pushed every button except for that one, Charlie, and then he pushes it and he goes, Oh, hold on tight. I'm not exactly sure what's going on. And that's exactly what happened at the beginning of our relationship is I said, I have no idea how this is going to. But it's it we love each other and we're gonna make it work. And so at the beginning of my career was going to commercial auditions and hoping that the commercial runs and hoping that you get residuals. And meantime, I'm I had a frozen yogurt business, I was a telemarketer. I was a waiter, I was a busboy, I, I did everything I could possibly do. And I am I'm a hustler. I'm never gonna let my family down and, and so the stakes just become higher and higher. As you go throughout life, and you want more, you know, you just want to be able to do fun things, all of that comes with risks and responsibilities. And I, you know, I'm balancing between, I know some actors that like they'll they'll make some money on something and then that's it. That's it, like they hunker down and they go that I, I'm a bit of a risk taker and I you know, I'm frugal, and I save what I can, but I've got three beautiful boys and charity is extremely important to me with you know, with my oldest son has epilepsy. And so we do everything for the epilepsy community. And so I've got a lot of my time is devoted to the, you know, the Epilepsy Foundation of America and my foundation talk about Oregon. So it's like, you got to balance everything I've got some people say, how do you do it all? It's like, well, I just, I enjoy every moment, man. I'm having a great time.
Alex Ferrari 28:23
The funny two things. My mother actually works for the Epilepsy Foundation in South Florida. Wow. Yeah. So she's, she's worked with him for three, four or five years, six years, something like that. So I know I've heard a lot about epilepsy and all that stuff from my mom, and what she goes through and it's an it's a challenge, just having that foundation work because there's a lot a lot of donations and things like that. Yeah, and also
Greg Grunberg 28:47
Yeah, and also stigma there's a huge stigma attached epilepsy and that's if people go to talk about it.org you'll see I've got every celebrity on there. I'm going to Orlando tomorrow to speak in front of the sunovion is this amazing pharmaceutical company they they are sponsoring the telethon. I do a telephone every year and this year is the second second annual and so the second time but we did last year we raised over a quarter million dollars that's awesome. Eight hours straight and you'll see like your favorite musicians and and actors and magicians everything you can imagine plus great you know doctors talking about what's new in the pipeline and everything so epilepsy is very misunderstood it needs there's this huge stigma attached to it that unfortunately we need to forget about and find a cure and and let people know that they're not alone and that's that's what my my messages I'm doing. If I could plug for a second I'm doing this amazing auction and I have these guitars that Gibson guitars. Gibson gave me these guitars I had the most incredible people fingerpaint hand pain and sign and the money is gonna go to epilepsy. It's awesome. From like Lisa Kudrow to Maroon five to Courtney Love and Francis Cobain Brian Johnson from AC DC This is Howard Stern amazing guitars if anybody's interested it's you go to proxy bid PR o XIB id proxy bid.com slash Hollywood auction well we'll
Alex Ferrari 30:20
Put all that in the show notes to you definitely give me all the links to all that stuff we'll put it all in the show notes to make sure everybody could go there and also the second thing is my wife was very similar to your wife I was broke very little prospects living living in South Florida which is not the mecca of the film industry by any stretch of the imagination exactly and and and I said and I said, Well what like what made you think this was a good investment? She's like, I don't know I guess you know, I just I'm like cuz you're playing the really long game. Because if I mean this is a really long game you're playing and she's like, I know it'll pay off. I have I have faith it'll pay off eventually.
Greg Grunberg 30:58
That is so funny. I know. You know what they are they take the biggest gamble and by the way, vice versa. I mean, like, yeah, you know, it's not just I'm hitching a ride to this person I hitched a ride to my wife Amen. I got lucky and thankfully You know, we've got three beautiful boys and you know obviously with dream jumper I'm taking advantage of my boys creativity and that's why it's so and it's
Alex Ferrari 31:21
It's amazing what a good woman can do. Yep, to to schmucks like us. So another big show that you worked on man that I was just I literally just, I think, less than a year ago, my wife and I actually watched the whole thing again, was alias. Oh yeah, I mean, that was kind of like a revolutionary show at the time.
Greg Grunberg 31:44
Yeah, I mean, I've been a part of these shows I've been very fortunate especially in the genre You know, I'm going around doing all these Comic Cons and alias is one that really did touch a nerve and at that time, again, JJ Abrams, you know and he just really it was something really forward thinking it was and Jennifer Garner I mean match Hill it in. But Victor Garber and Michael are tan and Carl Lumley and Ron Rifkin and all these guys I mean, it was I was it was such a great experience I just come off of working on on Felicity with some amazing people Scott speedman Scott oh yes no good friends of mine especially Foley and Robert Patrick Benedict is on supernatural and and Keri Russell and Amanda foreman and all these great people and then I go in and now I'm working with the old guard people that not not Jen and Michael but these other seasoned actors who really appreciate the opportunity for good material to have a steady gig and I learned a lot from each one of them not that I needed to be humbled or anyone needed to straighten me out at all but you pick up things from other people filmmakers can olan ran that show I mean he was amazing but it was like I just realized it's it's all from the top down man you work with great people and great product comes from it and I mean JJ sets a tone that is just second to none that show was feature quality every single
Alex Ferrari 33:11
One it was it was it was that's basically what got a mission impossible if I'm not mistaken right? Yes, yes. Yeah. Tom Cruise Tom Cruise like sat down and watched like the first two seasons like okay, this guy can do it.
Greg Grunberg 33:21
That's exactly right. You know, he and he went to the bat you went to bat to break in as a feature filmmaker on that level. Do the next mission impossible. You need a guy like Tom Cruise to step up and say no, no, he can do it. He's doing this on a weekly basis with a budget that is 1/100 of whatever but we're about to give them you know, so right trust him. And sure enough, that's what that's what you know, they did and I had a little role and mission impossible button. Tom Cruise, by the way, just so I can say please chip row now is so much fun to work with. He is such a great guy. And I again, I know him, you know, but he treats everybody with such respect and such love and he's just so good man. That's another guy that I would love to work with. any opportunity I get I'll do craft service on a movie that he does. Great. So great.
Alex Ferrari 34:09
I mean, I've heard that I've heard that from a lot of a lot of pros in the in the business too because they just did he say he's remember when you were when you're Tom Cruise. I mean you've worked at the highest level since basically when you were in your 20s Yeah, at the highest highest level with the best directors in the business and you could just I mean, how can you not be amazing at a certain point like there's also ego yeah and he stuff
Greg Grunberg 34:35
Like he's the biggest star in the world outside of you know some of these other guys. But but you kind of go Wait a minute, he's got to have an attitude like he
Alex Ferrari 34:45
Can't grow No, of course of course. Yeah. And he, he is he's
Greg Grunberg 34:49
Just that guy's so. So so great. Tom Hanks. Same thing you know, and I've been so fortunate to work with some of the most amazing people you work with do work with Tom Hanks on Lady Killer. Right yeah lady kills I didn't get to work with him on camera together but he was at the table read at the premiere and everything and I worked with you know JK Simmons and some incredible people the Coen Brothers
Alex Ferrari 35:12
Which was my next question How is it being on a Coen Brothers set
Greg Grunberg 35:16
It's it's so much fun it's so much fun you have two directors which is a little can be a scene and other experiences confusing and I direct commercials and and TV stuff with my business partner Brad Savage. You know there are times when I'm like alright Brad, why don't you take this because you don't want to give to people giving notes to an actor is really tough it's rough Yeah, yeah, so like get your notes together real quick and then have you know send one of you out to talk to the actors and I mean they do it so seamlessly there's so great they so trust the actors they'll give you a note and then you interpret that note and make it your own and you just you know give them give them what they want but they don't give you they don't say say it like this I mean obviously that's a directing one on one but there's so good man Ah, that was a dream
Alex Ferrari 36:08
It must have been a dream to where I mean you have worked with the hell of a I mean your your resume is pretty insane
Greg Grunberg 36:15
Right Albert Brooks I did the Muse I mean I have
Alex Ferrari 36:17
Title I love I love the Muse I love that movie. I
Greg Grunberg 36:21
Played I played the hotel security guard one yes. To the hallway, Sharon Stone and Albert Brooks and I'm in that what am I doing there? I had a blast and Albert Brooks again one day on that movie he learned so much from an idol of mine I love that guy.
Alex Ferrari 36:40
I mean I'm one of my favorites of his is defending your life.
Greg Grunberg 36:43
If any of your life is absolute How about real life? Yeah, which
Alex Ferrari 36:48
One's real life is no Oh,
Greg Grunberg 36:49
Hello. I love turning you on to
Alex Ferrari 36:53
Real life all I'm writing it down as we speak. Yes.
Greg Grunberg 36:55
Real Life Charles groden stars in that it is
Alex Ferrari 37:00
Oh no, wait a minute. Is that the is the hola Is it the real Is that the one? Charles Grodin stars and who else is in that?
Greg Grunberg 37:07
It was it's one of our books first movie? Oh,
Alex Ferrari 37:09
It's first okay. It's okay.
Greg Grunberg 37:11
It's incredible. It's It's where it's like the basically it's the birth of reality TV. He plays a documentary filmmaker who goes to Arizona and he's going to he's going to watch and film these fan this family with these helmet cameras. It's unbelievably hilarious.
Alex Ferrari 37:27
Oh my God. That sounds I mean, I'm a huge I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of Albert Brooks.
Greg Grunberg 37:32
Oh, you'll love the genius he is this is one of his best defending your life is maybe a perfect film. And I
Alex Ferrari 37:39
I love defending you live. And if you guys if guys listening, if you haven't seen defending your life, it's with Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks and they it's about what happens when you die and you have to kind of defend your life in court to either move on to heaven or get set back down and relive another life.
Greg Grunberg 37:56
Torn oh so brilliant. The movie is so good. It's so good. It's so good. Like, even like I'm not gonna spoil it. But he in this sort of purgatory kind of not predictable in this waystation place. You know where you don't know if you're gonna go forward or not. That like everything is the best it can be and you can He's like, oh my god. It's best. Like every bite is better than than excellent.
Alex Ferrari 38:27
Everything's like a wherever whatever restaurant you go into. It's just everything tastes he's like How's the taste? He's like it's the best you've ever had like really like every so everything tastes so good. Oh my god is Can I can I can I take any take like 10 pies. Back to this room in this room.
Greg Grunberg 38:43
But the other the other thing about that movie is I watch that movie and then I'm not kind of angry. I'm so jealous. After the end. I'm like, he's so brilliant. I mean, they do think they remember the past lives.
Alex Ferrari 38:56
You read my mind I was gonna bring that up. That is so brilliant.
Greg Grunberg 38:59
So brilliant. You go into a little like peeping tom show kind of booth and you watch like watching a movie you're watching scenes from past lives. You're watching yourself and as a like remember he was like eating
Alex Ferrari 39:12
But he was eating he was an eating savage in in Africa somewhere back that day and Oh yeah. Well, well Meryl Streep's like you know Lancelot. Yeah, exactly. And she kills me she kills it and anything she she could read a telephone book and she's amazing.
Greg Grunberg 39:28
But she was also so just pure and beautiful. No one. Sweet and it's so good. It's such
Alex Ferrari 39:37
A good mix of guys. defending your life. It's streaming somewhere. It's so far homework.
Greg Grunberg 39:43
They got spider. Yes. Life real life. Lady killers. Group sex. Yes, in real life. And then the little movie called Star Wars, whatever. But
Alex Ferrari 39:53
We're gonna get to that in a second. Don't worry, because I'm, I'll tell you all about my star wars in a minute, but we'll get to that in a second trust. I kind of hold the audience off a little bit. Yeah, cuz I'm sure they're excited to hear about it. But I want to talk. So I have a couple other more, more like Oprah style questions for you. Okay. So as an actor, do you prefer television or feature films?
Greg Grunberg 40:16
That's a great question. So, you know, as an actor, I love the ability to kind of not correct but to adjust where my characters go where my characters, you know, like on, you know, Matt partment I mean, there were things in heroes that I was able to do knowing Okay, well, next episode, I can make him or I can plant this seed here with my eyes. And the way I say something and knowing that the story is going to arc this way, or that way, I've got 22 episodes this season, and hopefully, you know, years and years to go, as in features, you're making a choice that's going to live forever. And, you know, so there's a finite amount of time and takes and you better nail it, and you better really have, like, this is who I am at the same time, you don't want to be one note. So and also, as we as you know, we shoot out of order. So you really have to have in your head, what is going on in this script and features. And it's a little bit more of a difficult process. The other thing is, it's also really tedious on a big movie, you shoot a one and a half to two pages a day. And there's a lot of pages to a script, especially with special effects and action and stuff. And so when you know when you're off TV, you don't have that luxury. So you're at six, eight pages a day, you're moving, you're cooking, but you also know okay, you know, I didn't really get the point across here that I love my family as much as I want to. And well and it's tough. It's a tough question because look on alias. There's 10 characters to service. I'm only going to get I'm 1/10 of that show. So you again, it goes back to the feature thing you better make an impression in those three, four or five minutes that they're going to give you per episode. So I try and steal every moment that I'm given. I really do I mean I try and make the most of everything. I'm like, I feel like I make taffy you know, they give me a little bit, stretch it. And then in the editing room, they're like oh my god, get to it Grunberg.
Alex Ferrari 42:14
Now what do you look for when you're working with a director as an actor?
Greg Grunberg 42:19
As an actor, I want the director to hear me as much as he wants or she wants me to hear her. That's really really important. So you know, I want someone like Larry trilling who's brilliant at this JJ is brilliant at this Matt is great at this Dylan an actor find their moment you know and you can do it in blocking rehearsal. You know and I'm talking about preparing actors don't come to the set not prepared and then start crying about you know are complaining about the dialogue or whatever you have plenty of time to do that before do your homework and then call the director on the phone I want to be a director who by the way is also open to hearing my interpretation and doesn't just have a singular vision just the way I see it. This is the way it's got to be done and that's it. No like, I really want a director who is is open to the collaborative thing and no, this is who you who you hired, man let's have fun together you know 99.9% of the time I'm going to give you what's on the page I mean, that's that's my job. But at the same time, I want to be able to bring some surprises to it. And don't over talk like if you come up to me he's like minutia but if if you give me a note I want to be able to go Alex I got it got it and walk away. Let me show you. If I say got it and you go, you know because I don't want to think anything and I'm like okay, okay, cool. And then you go, you know, because this character was like, oh my god shut. Let me do my job because by the way, I have dialogue in my head, I want it now I'm thinking and I'm Turpin interpreting, hey, maybe I can hit this harder, I can make this more you know, and also give me a reading like I'm one of those actors. I'm like, you know, tell me don't not you know, don't dictate how I should do it. But we don't have time for egos. We don't have time to mess around. If you have a good idea come up and go. You know, when you're thinking go up on this, get a little emotional here and then maybe, you know, let's cut to the chase. And let's go right away. Don't take too much time between takes. I also love You know, when when I hear a director go Okay, still rolling back to the top. Let's keep going. Like because when you cut the DP, you know, bless him, he's like, Oh, you could have been better and let me adjust this light. And
Alex Ferrari 44:27
I actually, by the way, great impression of a dp. Thank you. They all speak they all speak with Eastern German accents. Yeah.
Greg Grunberg 44:37
Whether they are or not.
Alex Ferrari 44:41
They're all called veal most, right? They
Greg Grunberg 44:43
embody they're like the Nazi that he's on set. I have a bad time idea. 20 minutes,
Alex Ferrari 44:50
Which is really which is an hour. Yes. Yes. And then you're sitting there going son of a bitch.
Greg Grunberg 44:56
And then you've forgotten what note you were told. And you know, it's it's balance, you know it but it is again it comes with experience goes back to your initial question of like, you know, how did you know and how do you get better and it's just with experience it's experience if you're starting out you're a filmmaker right now, shoot the shitty version of what you want to do on your cell phone now, shoot it again, shoot again shoot something else shoot something out, shoot some mice son is Taekwondo, black belt, he's wants to get into Stein coordinating and everything. And he's just shooting a ton of really bad fight scenes with his with his karate buddies. Because then you're ready when a director goes, have a bar fight, I need help with a lecture. I've already shot three bad versions of it now give you the good version, you know.
Alex Ferrari 45:43
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So let me ask you a question. Because I'm sure you've you've met a couple of stunt guys in your day. So is it I want the audience to understand this about some people. First of all, they're all a little tweaked in the best way possible. Yes, they all are. I've never met a stunt person who's not and they're all in a great way but they're all a little tweak. And anytime I've ever asked them to do something I'll go Hey, you see that? You see that building over there? Okay, I want you to jump off maybe the 10th floor like can I jump off the top? I want to jump off the top Can I jump off the top? Can I jump off the top please? Right is am I am I am I wrong? Every single one I've never I've never heard never heard of that guy. Go. That's a little high for me. Can we?
Greg Grunberg 46:31
Oh no. I mean that's so true. It's like, but that's what drives them. They want to make my stunt guys they want to make me look Mark Riccardi wants me to look as good as I can possibly look. I mean, that's what his job is to. So someone goes to how did you do that? You know, Tom Williams You know, I've got these two stunt guys. And it's like, it depends on my weight and what I what I have to do so I'm driving a car doing this, I'll call this guy or that guy. And these guys are also stunt coordinators. And they're filmmakers in their own right and the biggest and best one that I've ever worked as a Simon re Simon and his brother Philip. They they did best of the best years ago. Oh, Pastor bass, Eric Roberts. Yeah. Eric Robert. So Simon starred in that movie with Philip and I just did. It's a karate movie kids karate movie on but it's these guys are pros. Simon was Jackie Chan stunt double on a bunch of things and and I brought him in on group sex. I brought him in a bunch of things. They're just perfect. They're the best and you know, but you're exactly right. Like, by the way, so Heroes Reborn I'll give you a stunt story. Um, I love driving. I'm a car guy. I'm a driving nut. And so I've got this Crown Vic and I'm driving and they go Okay, and I've got a I've got an actress in the car with me and, and they're like, Alright, so the cameras down low and we're about a quarter mile away and we want to see you approaching but then when you go by camera, we really want to get a sense of the of the speed. So I do it and I'm going like 70 miles now they close the street off the police. About half a mile to three quarters of a mile. Sure. You know it all. And they go just hit it. You know, and you don't have to go that fast. You know, because the the depth perception it'll show I do it and they go again. It's not that fast. Let's do it again. I do it again. Now I'm going 85 Yeah, it's not that I'm like, Alright guys, this is it. And you're gonna love it. And I turned to her and I go Hold on tight. And it's like, so stunt guys aren't crazy. Like 125 miles an hour.
Alex Ferrari 48:35
Jesus Christ. Yeah, that's, I mean, seriously, dude, that's a bit it's a bit much.
Greg Grunberg 48:40
Past camera. It was just like, and they just love they're like, yeah, of course it is. Yeah. Should I been doing that? No,
Alex Ferrari 48:49
Absolutely. There's also they could have just under cranked a bit. Just saying at 85. You could have shot at 20 frames you would have been. I'm just saying, Just say it. Now and so you've told us a lot of amazing stories about all the positive times you've had on set. Can you tell us one horrendous story without naming names?
Greg Grunberg 49:18
A horrendous story. Yeah, without naming names. Or movie done away. I was on the set of alias. Yeah. And I love that. some reason the actor on the other side and I'm not going to say you know who it was Faye Dunaway was she just decided that she was going to make faces at me while I was doing my side. Why? I don't know. I do not know and she we got her side because she's a good actress right away and then you turn the camera around and there On Me and or my side, whatever and off camera there I am looking at her and nothing funny about the scene. And she's making faces she's making like these really weird elastic faces with her mat. And I'm like, What a bitch, man.
Alex Ferrari 50:14
You told her please stop doing this.
Greg Grunberg 50:16
Of course, I told the director, the director went over and told her and said, What are you doing? Stop? What are you doing? It doesn't make sense. And it's, Oh, she
Alex Ferrari 50:23
And she kept doing it. Yep. sanella. Yeah,
Greg Grunberg 50:27
I mean, and very, you know, very famous. I don't again, I don't want to say her name fate on the way but very famous actress who I respect in a huge way. Like, I know this must be some did
Alex Ferrari 50:37
Did you do? Did you do some work to her? Did you do something to her on the set that day?
Greg Grunberg 50:43
Oh, no, she didn't. She didn't just do it to me. She did to other actors, too.
Alex Ferrari 50:46
Oh, she's just being a bitch. Gotcha. Yep. Got it. Wow. It's, that's that's pretty, pretty remarkable.
Greg Grunberg 50:53
Yeah, I mean, it makes for a great story. It does. And I am not one to sling mud. I don't want to talk out of school. And I would never tell you who it actually was they done away. But you know, I just want to make sure that I'm clear about
Alex Ferrari 51:06
Of course, of course, because you wouldn't want to hurt your reputation in the business. I understand. No,
Greg Grunberg 51:10
No, I mean, every one of that, you know, actor movies I want to be in in the future. Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 51:17
So you did this little independent film called Star Wars. Yeah. With a with an A, just an old school buddy of yours, JJ. Just, you know, just got together, got a couple friends together and decided to go make a movie.
Greg Grunberg 51:31
You know, getting the band.
Alex Ferrari 51:33
Let's go put on a show.
Greg Grunberg 51:36
That happened in the same way that last happening. I was the pilot. And last and JJ is doing these huge things. And of course, I my first call. The first thing I say on the phone is Oh my god, dude, congratulations. This is gonna be huge. You're going to make this incredible, because he does with everything he does. And then the second thing I say, and he knows it's coming is what am I playing? What am I doing? Right? planted? I planted that in his head and he's he goes off. He's writing and planted in his head again. He's like, I know, I'm thinking I'm thinking I'm thinking and you know, it's hard. It's so much on his plate. And I mean,
Alex Ferrari 52:06
Yeah, he's trying to, like find a spot for you in Star Wars.
Greg Grunberg 52:09
Yeah, I mean, that's the last thing, right? Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 52:13
But yeah, but but the friendship is over. But the friendship is over if I don't get it.
Greg Grunberg 52:19
Exactly. No, but it's the idea of look, and I say this on everyone, because he just keeps doing bigger and bigger stuff. I'm like, you know what, this one I really mean, like this one we have to do together. And he called me and go, Hey, I'm doing something I really want you to be in it. I want to hang out. We're gonna be a painting. Pinewood Studios together. Oh, Shooting Star Wars. And I, if if it was LA, I'd be right there next to him. Without any job on the movie. I don't care. I want to be with my buddy. Sure. But this is Star Wars. Anyway. He says, I think I found something for you. It could be really cool. And I fly to London, not knowing what I'm going to do. And I get there. And I walk they were having Chinese. It was like, you know, before they started shooting, and the whole cast and was sitting in this restaurant, and I walked in, and I forgot who said it, but somebody yelled out, hey, there's snap wax late. Oh, Larry Kasdan sat back said I'm like, Oh, my god, there's Larry.
Alex Ferrari 53:13
I was gonna ask you like, what's it like if I get Larry Katz that, you know, carry a God rest her soul and, and Harrison and Kathy Kennedy it Kathy Kennedy.
Greg Grunberg 53:24
She's one of the if not the best producer, ever, right? You know, and you're like, I'm so lucky to even be here.
Alex Ferrari 53:32
Eating Chinese eating Chinese. Yeah, but there's no
Greg Grunberg 53:35
Caches there. I didn't know who most these people were. I mean, I you know, I just didn't and
Alex Ferrari 53:40
You mean the young cast and the new guys coming up? You mean?
Greg Grunberg 53:43
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so I was like, Hey, guys, Hey, how's it doing? And he says that name and I'm like, that sounds kind of cool. I don't know what that is. But that sounds cool. And then over the course of dinner, you know, they're like, yeah, you're an X wing fighter and I like
Alex Ferrari 53:57
A fighter it's basically it's basically a childhood dream basically at that point.
Greg Grunberg 54:04
Yeah, I mean, what do you do as a kid when you're thinking when you're playing Star Wars with your buddy JJ you know you and you know i 14 What are we doing? We're in his room pretending we were x wing fighters or Sure. We it's just one of those things that that's the role you want. Now Stormtrooper Of course, would have been unbelievably cool to be even an extra anywhere something but to actually do they get to do that. Unbelievable, just ridiculous.
Alex Ferrari 54:34
It's so what's like the, like, what's the coolest story you have from the set like walking on the set and just like, what's
Greg Grunberg 54:43
Cool this I just told us at Salt Lake City Comic Con. Which by the way, I'm going to be in Dubai at the middle east filming Comic Con and then going to indiepop at Indianapolis. I'm really excited about you. I've got this new show with Kevin Smith called geeking out so like Now going around all these conventions and stuff which I never did before and I'm just absolutely loving it. I love geeking out with it with the people at the shows and
Alex Ferrari 55:09
I was I was gonna ask you about Comic Con next but so tell us tell us your story. tell your story.
Greg Grunberg 55:14
Yes We'll start with I just just told us on my panel and it was just walking onto the set of the Millennium Falcon was a religious experience for me. You know, I've been to Israel I had more I was more emotional walking onto a fake Millennium Falcon then then you know well then then the Wailing Wall in Israel It was so amazing and then to be in the Rebel base with these guys and you know, everything was secretive. You know, don't take any pictures. You can't say anything. You can't you know, obviously don't take anything. And you have to be cloaked in a big black cloak. And you know, because there were drones and there's perazzi and all of it all of it all of it. It just when I walked on that set, and I was like, I am standing in a place that is you know, again, solid.
Alex Ferrari 56:07
It's hologram. Yeah, even though it wasn't the actual Millennium Falcon from the 70s it's still hallowed ground.
Greg Grunberg 56:13
Yeah. And it's a replica and it's you know, it's they they remade it and they remade it perfectly and, and then, you know, getting up to stories up and being locked into my x wing. And it's, it's basically like riding a bull, I'm on a jib. I mean, I'm on a gimbal. And they, there's a guy by bullet with a, with a joystick, and he's going up and down and all over, and I've got to say, my life, it's just the whole experience was incredible. But walking on the set for the first time, and walking around, and, you know, sneaking photos with my cell phone that it wasn't supposed to be in my hand, you know, those moments, I'll never forget that. And but but mainly, it was, you know, looking at my best friend and the two of us with our mouths drain are more gone. What are we doing here?
Alex Ferrari 57:02
Well, I mean, in all honesty, though, I mean, the and a lot of people, you know, talk about whether they liked it, or didn't like it, and all that kind of stuff, but I loved it. I thought it was I thought it was a great way and I think he was able to do something that was honestly, almost impossible, is to live up to the real Star Wars trilogy, not the prequels, but the real Star Wars trilogy. And, and bring it up to a new generation, the immense amount of pressure basically is launching an entire new era in Star Wars for 20 odd years coming. They already have them laid out 15 years ahead. So the pressure on him I mean, did he ever talk to me he have to believe he must have had some stress.
Greg Grunberg 57:51
And but again, guys like that, guys like spillover guys like JJ guys, you know, they just don't know. They just don't show it. I mean, I, I talk about this all the time, how it's just like he's so prepared. And it starts from the top down. The best directors I've worked with. And JJ is absolutely at the very top in my mind is number one, the people I've worked with there, he's so prepared, and he's so relaxed, that it's almost like like, you know, there were nights when, like, we would rather we spend every moment together, right? So we go to dinner, and we'd be walking around London and, and I'm like, dude, you 7am tomorrow morning, you're shooting at a pretty amazing scene in Star Wars. Shouldn't you be at home, looking at storyboards and do their thing? And he's like, Yeah, no, I got it. I got it. I mean, I'm good. Okay. Yeah. And he was good. It wasn't like he was winging it. He does his homework. He's so prepared, and so brilliant. And so it seems effortless, but it's not, you know, that's that's the thing. And God, you know, I have to say, like, I direct, I direct commercials, and I direct a bunch of, you know, things. And my favorite thing is working with actors and stuff. But there is really a gift, then you can I'm sure attest to this, between making something that could work on on television or a computer and now on a cell phone, and making something that can that is absolutely only suited for a big screen with a big experience. Having all of the elements I mean, JJ is so adept at every single one of the arts that goes into making a film, he knows about what he knows about music, he knows but I mean, to the point where he's good at all that stuff and that that we saw, I saw when I was a kid, and he's just like, it was just super creative. John fabro. Same way, Spielberg the same way these guys are. Theirs they know about every aspect of filmmaking. And I think that's what makes a great director. And then I think what I think JJ did great with Star Trek and Star Wars is he leaned on the characters, you know, it was all this mystery about like, all their shows. The Millennium bug dude, we saw that in the 70s that's the same ship the exterior shot there was like sneaky sneaky shots of this man. I'm like, What is everybody getting so excited? Yeah, that's a new version they just remade that thing. But but the characters and he's so good at keeping secrets and, and yes, satisfying us in such a great way with the relationships and staying true to what made this the most success I mean George Lucas is maybe the most brilliant guy we've ever had in entertainment I mean that it's a family
Alex Ferrari 1:00:36
Film you know it's it's it's it is
Greg Grunberg 1:00:39
It you know and those are themes that resonate with with I think all audiences
Alex Ferrari 1:00:44
Yeah he that George is definitely tapped into something without without question and you were saying that JJ likes to you know, he likes to learn or knows a lot about every aspect of the business. I have a funny Star Wars Force awakens story my buddy was a VFX artist at ad actually a Bad Robot. And he and JJ was walking the halls and he saw him working on a shot a very hard shot and JJ just came in and sat down and talk to him for like three hours watched him and ask them 1000 questions about what he was doing because he just wanted to know and he's like yeah, I'm learning nuke you know for everybody out there who doesn't know what nuke is is like the industry standard like visual effects comping program and is it yeah I'm learning nuke on the side like you don't learn nuke on the side but
Greg Grunberg 1:01:31
Believe me I know what you're talking about because my son works at Bad Robot Jake Jake works about a robot and I'm like and that had came up I don't know anything about nuke and suddenly Jake was like, I got to get this program nuke I gotta learn it and sure enough there's Jake at home working on it whatever. But JJ is the same way. He's just that guy and and he's but He's talented enough to do it. You know, they say, you know, like, I play the drums in my band. Right? I have a band for charity. Play the drums. I act i write I but I'm not a master of any of those things. I'm trying to get better and better and better and acting like you know, I know. My limits. JJ is one of those guys that taps into all that stuff. And he masters all of it. He's just that talented. I he would absolutely be hurt me say that. Roll his eyes and go, come on, shut up. guy doesn't want to hear that. But that's really and he's not alone. I mean, all of the guys like that. Matt Reeves. Oh my god is Matt Jones. He's so brilliant. These guys are those. That's how that's what they do. James gray. Oh my god, Larry. You know, Fong who's incredible dp. These guys and they're amazing. Brian Burke is such an incredible producer. Like he produced Star Wars and all these movies with JJ and Brian and I produced Matt Reeves student film at USC when he was you know his master thesis film. But Brian is such a brilliant filmmaker. He's more like a Joel Silver type guy who's so incredible at putting the pieces together. He's so acces smarter than Joel I think he's Joe's amazing. I worked with Joel Silver for years. Brian though is like Joel they're so smart. They know about film history. They know about all this stuff. And you know, they're just, they're they're brilliant.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
Now you said you like going around to Comic Cons and um, basically you you've had your free ticket to Comic Con now. It's for a while for you because you're on one certain if you're on one show, if you're a big character on one show, you can make a career of just running around doing autograph signings at Comic Cons but you you have a few just a few on your resume. Just a couple that because I was when I think I don't know where I saw you I think the reason I wanted to reach out to you is I saw on shake heads Facebook, he's like hey hanging out with the big ass spider crew. I'm like oh he knows Greg I love to talk to Greg and and there was like I think there was an ad somewhere for you being at a comic con and had you from Star Wars you on Star Trek you on heroes like pictures of you I'm like son this guy. You're good you're good. If everything else falls away you could do come across exactly comfortably. Oh, it's
Greg Grunberg 1:04:21
It look I have a thanks to JJ I have this headshot that people love and we always sell out of it when I'm at a comic con and it's and it's a picture of me in Star Wars and it's and I'm looking straight ahead at this screen and on the screen is me in you know as as commander Finnegan from Star Trek looking back at snap wexley See, these two characters look at each other and in the middle it says you have to track before you war.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:47
Ah done. That's basically just as basically geek orgasm right there. That's basically crazy.
Greg Grunberg 1:04:55
And I am one of those guys. I mean, I you know, it's People say oh, you know, Simon Pegg and you and Simon I'm like, yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, Simon's had bigger roles in both those movies. That guy's one of my favorite actors. It's awesome. I love him as he's a writer and everything. But he even said to me, he's like, no, I gotta say, my you got you. I'm in. I'm in. prosthetics. I got
Alex Ferrari 1:05:22
Greg Grunberg 1:05:23
And I'm like, Oh, dude, I'm one of the only deep Roy to I saw him on the carpet. And I was like, dude, we're in. He's like, yeah, I'm all covered up. You're you're you.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:34
You got you got a little bit more street cred on Star Wars, because you actually showed your face.
Greg Grunberg 1:05:38
That's right. And I have more dialogue than Mark Hamill. I'm just saying,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:41
I'm just throwing it out there. I'm just throwing it out. Yeah, I just I just worked on a project with Mark. He was on the show I'm doing with Hulu. And I didn't get to work with him. But I've heard like the directors were telling me that he's just amazing. He's amazing to be to be on set and stuff. He's Yeah, what are we?
Greg Grunberg 1:06:00
How are we on time? Because I my, we're recording voiceover for the documentary that I'm that I'm about to tell you about. Yeah. So
Alex Ferrari 1:06:08
Tell me Yeah. Tell me about your documentary. And then I just have three questions. I ask everybody and then I'll let you go, sir.
Greg Grunberg 1:06:14
Okay, awesome documentary. I'm really excited about Claire Kramer, and Bianca and the amazing, amazing people. Claire came to me and said, there's this guy. His name is Andre. He is amazing. He had a major, major terrible accident in his life. He lost his legs. He was in Prague fell in front of the it fell down into the subway on the tracks and almost died. And they had to remove his legs. And since then, he has done nothing but cycle with his hands. He does the you know, to get It's incredible. And there's a race across America, that it's for 12 days, and bicyclists try to do it in 12 days, that means you're riding for 14 hours sleeping for an hour and a half, getting back on the bike for 14 hours. And you do that for 12 days.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:05
How do you do that? How is that physically possible?
Greg Grunberg 1:07:07
I know. I tried doing it without legs. Oh, Jesus. So that's what Andre is doing. He didn't qualify three years in a row and he qualified this year. And his sister Bianca came to me with Claire Kramer and said, will you and Brad savage your producing partner? Will you produce this movie? Let's documentary Let's follow his journey. Let's get some winnebagos Let's follow him across the country as he's doing this as he's racing across America. So in June we're doing it and we're a Kickstarter campaign starts soon. I urge people follow this support this the trailer will be out soon it's gonna be on theaters, our Kickstarter trailers gonna be out many, many theaters thanks to screen vision, as well as on Kickstarter. But it's called joy rider. And if you go to follow us, go to joy rider Doc JOYR id ERD oc.com. You are Follow us on Twitter at joy Roger doc. It is it's really going to be something this guy is an extraordinary guy. And he's a testament to not letting anything stop you. And it's I think we can all really kind of learn from it and get inspired by it. And he's also a character. He's just he's just terrific.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:22
To make sure and make sure you send me all those links. I'll put them in the show notes as well. And then the last two questions I always ask all of my, my guests, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Greg Grunberg 1:08:37
Focus, and the fact that you can't do everything that you get presented an opportunity to do? Tell me back? Yeah, because it's really interesting. And you I'm sure you know, this too, and it doesn't matter what level of success you get to. I've had an opportunity to Thanksgiving take brought to me all the time and where I come up with ideas for things. And, and it's taken my best friend JJ to show me you know, just keep it focused, keep it focused, make sure that it's entertainment driven, or it's charity driven. And as long as there's some form of entertainment, and that's what I'm doing now. But I get opportunities for businesses. I mean, I'm, I'm an entrepreneurial guy, I love technology. I love business. I had an app. I mean, my app was a mobile coupon app, what the hell am I doing?
Alex Ferrari 1:09:24
What are you doing doing? Doing that
Greg Grunberg 1:09:26
That's so out of my brand. Use all these terms, whatever you want, but focus if that means you have to let somebody else make $10 million on fine. You don't have to be a part of everything. Find passion in what you do, and focus on what you're good at, and you'll be more successful and you'll enjoy your life. More if you focus
Alex Ferrari 1:09:45
And three of your favorite films of all time.
Greg Grunberg 1:09:49
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Willy Wonka chocolate factory and rocky
Alex Ferrari 1:09:56
Ah such a great movie. It's just such a great movie.
Greg Grunberg 1:09:59
People are expecting I'm sure Star Wars these are you know for me to and by the way that might change if you ask me again right now I might include the first Star Wars but it's like I I mean look movies I can't can't stop watching if the untouchables is on I have to watch the whole
Alex Ferrari 1:10:15
Sure of course and it's one of those movies
Greg Grunberg 1:10:19
Yeah defending your life again Again these are movies that I mean you started this it's just it's insane I'm so I love movies so much and or big ass spider they guys
Alex Ferrari 1:10:30
Obviously obviously obvious obviously big spider and your new show with Kevin Smith kicked out When is that going to be in? Where's it gonna be?
Greg Grunberg 1:10:38
So geeking out. We did nine episodes 10 episodes on AMC and we're working on second season right now I don't know if it's gonna live on AMC or somewhere else but we're very excited about doing a second season and it's such a joy being able to hang with Kevin Smith I mean I love that guy so much and it's almost like we feel like we've been friends forever he's just a an absolute love. He's like, brilliant and geeky and hilarious and everything you expect that he's also just a good human being I love them.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:08
Awesome Greg, thank you so much for taking the time man. I really appreciate it had a ball.
Greg Grunberg 1:11:13
Me too. Thank you so much. And thank you to everybody who's listening and Thanks for supporting everything I've done hopefully I'll see it the cons.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:20
I told you man Greg is awesome. I had such a great time talking to Greg and geeking out with him and and if you guys ever get to go to a comic con and he's there you guys got to go meet a man he's awesome. So I will put all the links we talked about in the show notes at indie film, hustle, calm Ford slash 149. And don't forget to check out all of indie film hustles, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram feeds, because they're going to be some awesome images from the set of the shoot that I'm doing this week. So definitely check it out. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
Greg Grunberg – Twitter
Documentary: JOYRIDER JoyRiderDoc.com
It will be on Kickstarter very soon. Follow @JoyRiderDoc – Twitter
- Geeking Out
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B00FQPLZ08″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Big Ass Spider[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B001R1B6YA” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Defending Your Life[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B000055Z4H” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Real Life[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”0545826047″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Dream Jumper Graphic Novel[/easyazon_link]
- Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
- Audible – Get a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
- Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)