BY Jeremy Kinser
March 07 2011 10:30 AM ET
You worked with Meryl Streep on the romantic comedy It’s Complicated. I don’t remember a dance sequence in that film.
A lot of people don’t realize that even if a movie has someone doing a waltz in the background, it requires a choreographer. There was a scene where Meryl and Steve Martin got high at a party and began dancing intimately and romantically. Alec Baldwin sees them and there’s a shift in their relationship. The intimacy of the dancing was a plot point.
How was your experience with Meryl?
Meryl was amazing. Amazing! She had all these questions like, “What music would my character be inspired to get up and dance to?” She was interested in the reality of it all. Being on the set watching these amazing people working is something few people get to see.
Some of the Broadway shows you’ve worked on, such as Cry-Baby and Urban Cowboy, have been high profile and arrived with a lot of fan fare but weren’t big hits.
It’s a difficult thing to put on a show. Everyone goes into a job and wants it to be a really beautiful thing and be something that they’re proud of making.
Do you know when you’re working on certain shows that they may be great from an artistic or technical perspective but that audiences might not respond?
You have to make a lot of difficult choices on a daily basis and once you make those choices you have to stand behind them and believe in them. Sometimes you’re on the right track and sometimes you find later that it was possibly the wrong track. Time is so of the essence that you have to make choices and just go forward. Sometimes you can change it all. I’ve seen first previews that were disasters and get turned around.
For me, the most exciting credit on your resume is Minnelli on Minnelli. Give up your favorite Liza story.
[Laughs] It was 1999 going into 2000. I spent New Year’s Eve at her apartment on the upper east side so I called it the Minnellium. [Laughs] Having fried chicken at Liza Minnelli’s house was the best way to go into the new millennium.