Billy Crystal channels real-life role in "Parental Guidance"

Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:03am EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After a decade away from the big screen, funnyman Billy Crystal has mined his real-life experiences as a grandfather and is back in the holiday season movie "Parental Guidance."

The film, which opened in U.S. theaters on Christmas, stars Crystal as a recently fired baseball announcer, who agrees to watch his three grandchildren with his wife (Bette Midler), while his daughter and her husband go on a business trip.

Crystal, 64, sat down with Reuters to talk about the film, being a grandparent and why he won't host the Oscars ceremony anymore.

Q: You have not been on the big screen in a starring role since 2002's "Analyze That." Did you miss making movies?

A: "I spent over four years doing my one-man Broadway show, '700 Sundays' and didn't care about doing movies. I just so love being in front of live audiences. The play is more satisfying than anything. I'm not interrupted by planes flying overhead, waiting for them to light and all those gruesome slow things on a movie. But really, the last five years were spent getting this movie made."

Q: How did "Parental Guidance" become your return to film?

A: "When I wrote the first story for this movie, my wife Janice and I babysat for our daughter Jenny while she went away with her husband. We had six days with their girls, all alone. It was an eye-opener. When you're not used to that energy, it's tough. On the 7th day I rested and came in to the office and said, 'Here's the idea for the movie.'"

Q: What was eye-opening about those six days?   Continued...

Actor Billy Crystal speaks to the media backstage during the "12-12-12" benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy at Madison Square Garden in New York, December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri