That Thing You Do Interview

1996


 You know, I'm going to have to tell you up front: I've had it with you. Two Oscars, everyone likes you, a great wife, and now directing your own film that you also wrote [THAT THING YOU DO]. Enough is enough, already.
Patrick, stop now. My megalomania is already so close to the surface that - hearing this - it may just slip right out. Stop ... or DON'T stop. I'm not sure which. Because I enjoy hearing it.

I'll stop -- for now. Share with me something, will you? We were at the world premiere last night [at the Toronto Film Festival]. You had your cast there, your wife, you stood up and talked with the audience. This was your baby, about to be shown to the public in a very big way. Can you share your feelings?
You know, I'm just waiting for the moment when I throw up in the back seat of the limo on my way to a premiere. But that's what's nice about directing a film and having it done: There's nothing more I can do about it. It's done. That's it. All I can do is let it go and hope that people are kind to it.

And people clearly WANTED to like it last night.
They DID want to like it [laughs]. It's true. They WANTED to like it. I could feel that.

But, as you know, once it's up there and running, THAT doesn't make a bit of a difference.
Not a BIT. And I'm sitting there thinking, "Oh, the sound mix isn't right." "Ah, that line would have gotten a bigger reaction if I had just punched up that other thing there." "Oh, damn, they can't even hear the music in the balcony." Nothing feels like it's working.

And I imagine you're also feeling for your cast?
Very much. I'm rooting for each of them to be a hit. We got to know each other so well on the set. It was a good set -- no tantrums, no scenes, just a lot of people doing what they love to do. So, I wanted them to feel that their work was as appreciated as it ought to be.

Well, OK, since you've opened up so much, I have to admit -- I'm not really upset with you. We still love you.
Thank heavens, Patrick [laughs]. You had me reeling there for a few minutes. OK... I'm better now. What a relief! 

By Patrick Stoner