April 22, 2014

Richard Dreyfuss reveals why he made ‘Piranha 3-D:’ “to get money”

On Tuesday, Richard Dreyfuss spoke with reporters about his new film The Lightkeepers, a modest comedy about two men who hole up in a lighthouse to escape the world only to be confronted by their past. In addition to talking about that film, Dreyfuss briefly discussed his participation in the thriller Red and Piranha 3-D, where he reprises one of the roles that made him famous, Jaws’ enthusiastic ichthyologist Matt Hooper. The actor, who at 62 no longer has time for varnished truth, offered the following unusually candid details about his involvement in the pair of upcoming projects.

Hollywood News: You indicated you like a comfortable set. What was it like to work with Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman on Red, where they seem like old hands who could hyptothetically make the experience very relaxed?

Richard Dreyfuss: It was great. It was a very rare experience for me to work with people who had such high reputations altogether. In that way, it was great. But, I was only on the film for about four days.

Hollywood News: What is your role in the film?

Dreyfuss: The political cabinet member villain. Apparently, that’s what I do, nowadays.

Hollywood News: Why did you take a role in Piranha 3-D? Was that a tribute to Jaws?

Dreyfuss: I had said no because I didn’t want to make fun of my own career. I was on the phone with Bob Weinstein and he said, “We can give you a lot more money,” and I told him what I was involved in. I was describing to him this [idea of] bringing civics back, so that people understood their own civic authority. Because if we’re bound only by ideas and don’t teach them, we’re not bound. And, he interrupted and said, “If it hadn’t already been written, I would have said, ‘You had me at civics.’” He wrote a check that was this big to the Initiative, and I said, “Okay, I’ll do the film.” And their names are going to be on the bottom of the website, permanently.

Hollywood News: Who do you play in the film?

Dreyfuss: I play Matt Hooper. I play the older Matt Hooper, who escaped being eaten by the shark and is now eaten by a bunch of piranha fish.

Hollywood News: Was it an opportunity for you to bring some gravitas to something that might otherwise be superficial fun?

Dreyfuss: No, it was an opportunity to get money into the Initiative.

The Lightkeepers opens in limited release on May 7. For more information about Dreyfuss’s civics project, check out TheDreyfussInitiative.org.

“PIRANHA 3D” TRAILER

About Todd Gilchrist

Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based film critic and entertainment journalist. Over the past decade he worked at a variety of online and print publications, including the Miami New Times, Filmstew.com, SCI FI Wire, and IGN.com, where he wrote reviews, conducted interviews with actors and filmmakers, and edited Movies, DVD and Music content. He currently works for Cinematical.com among other outlets, and has been a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association since 2005.

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