Tribute’s Bonnie Laufer talks to Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas about starring in their new comedy, The In-Laws. Bonnie Laufer

B.L. So what took so darn long to get you two together in a film?
A.B I’ve got a terrible agent. (turns to Michael) What’s your excuse?
M.D. (laughing) I don’t now, I wasn’t the first person they thought about for a buddy picture…
A.B. Oh come on, I wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow that’s why!
M.D. That’s true and I didn’t try to kill your dog or you or your sister.
A.B. Michael came to the conclusion that he should work with men too.
M.D. That’s true, you reach a certain age and it’s the only way to go.

B.L. Well, you are both very funny in this movie and Michael, especially for you, this is very different. We have never seen you do such broad comedy before. Was that the major appeal?
M.D. The tremendous appeal was just to see how silly and how goofy you really could go and get away with it. So Albert supported me tremendously in terms of my insecurities and being able to pull it of and we had a great time. I’ve got to take one second and say how much we enjoy Toronto.

B.L. We loved having you.
M.D. We had a great time filming up there everybody was so gracious.
A.B. Yes, it was really great.
M.D. It helped set the tone because Canadians have a great sense of humor, they really do. I was thinking about the crew. People have been asking, “How do you do comedy when there are no laughs coming?” The best way that I could always tell was..
A.B. The camera would shake! They had to use the steadycam just to let the laughs out.

B.L. So how did he do in the comedy department?
A.B. He was great!! The hard part for me was keeping a straight face.
M.D. Albert is such a great comedian. Comedy is his forté and for me it’s just an opportunity to learn a bunch of stuff. The beauty of comedy is it’s all about relaxation and this was a very relaxed set. I learned how to relax from Albert who makes his comedy look effortless. He’s got it down to a science and it was fascinating watching him. He truly is a master, I felt privileged to work with him.

B.L. Albert, how hard is it for you to play the straight guy?
A.B. You know, I can play the straight guy or the funny guy. In this movie it’s interesting because I was sort of two different people with Michael and actor David Suchet. I was like the straight man to him and the comedy guy to Michael. I enjoyed it. I remember after the first two days of filming when David Suchet came, Michael said to me one night at dinner, “It’s nice to have a pinch hitter come in, isn’t it?” And it is, so I like the straight man.

B.L. Did they pay you a lot more for wearing that thong?
A.B. No, I didn’t get any stunt pay for that.

B.L. Michael, were you jealous that you didn’t get to wear one in this movie?
M.D. No, I didn’t miss that one. My butt has been around enough on the screen — it was nice to be able to pass this one up for a little while.

B.L. Do you guys have any great in-law advice for people? How do you handle an in-law?
M.D Go see the movie.
A.B. You shouldn’t really be handling an in-law; you should handle the actual wife or husband and not actually touch the in-laws.
M.D. Yup, they should stay out of it. They should stay out of the picture …
A.B. You know one thing could lead to another and then you have that Arkansas problem.

B.L. Now what I found very interesting in this movie is that the dads are very involved in their kids’ wedding. I don’t remember my dad really caring that much about details when I got married.
A.B. Really? My wife’s father was very involved.
M.D. Oh, yeah. A lot of families take a very serious, devout interest in it.
A.B. They are paying for it. To some people that is involvement.

B.L. But Albert, your character was really involved.
A.B. This guy was more involved with the caterer and everything like that but that’s just part of the character. I don’t think in general the fathers get that involved but some might.

B.L. How are the two of you going to handle it when your kids have to walk down that aisle?
A.B. Most likely one of us will be dead and the other one won’t even know he’s there.
M.D. We’ll just be so senile …
A.B. Like Reagan’s marriage.
M.D. Right. (laughs)

B.L. As you mentioned earlier you loved shooting in Toronto. What did you like to on your down time?
M.D. We all had our favorite restaurants that we went to over and over again. You’ve got those great walking areas all the way through town that we enjoyed a lot. We were down at the Yacht club shooting at a beautiful time of year at the lake. I’m a golf fanatic and there are some beautiful golf courses in Ontario and there are gracious crews. All in all we had a lovely time. We have some dear friends up there…
A.B. And I found it to be a perfect city where I could sleep the whole afternoon.
M.D. But you found a place to live. During the first month it was hard to get him settled down. He had a couple of false starts on rentals.
A.B. A man lied to me from Los Angeles and I rented a house with no air conditioning.
M.D. We were there on that historic 106th day in Toronto and he rented this house that didn’t have air conditioning.
A.B. I knew I couldn’t spend the whole summer like that, but it all worked out in the end. We had a fabulous time!