"Hey man, I've gotten in plenty of fights because of my fuckin' last name," Scott Caan barks over the phone. "But I'm a lot less hostile about it now." Or so he'd like you to believe.
In a recent interview with young Scott, we went out of our way to save the James Caan questions until the end of our conversation‚Äîyou know, to give Scott an opportunity to talk about his new projects. Yet as you'll soon notice, Scott practically develops an aneurysm at the slightest mention of his old man. Apparently Scott doesn't realize that when you have virtually no body of respectable work to show for yourself, and the only thing you've really got going for you is that your father is James Caan, you're going to be asked about your lineage once in a while‚Äîget used to it, sonny jim.
Scott, how's it going?
Good for you.
OK‚ well, what have you been up to?
I've been going nuts 'cause I'm supposed to go to Cancun tomorrow for publicity for an MTV thing, and, um, I just realized about an hour ago that my passport expired. So now I have to figure out what to do.
Bummer, but that's what personal assistants are for. What are they going to have you doing down there? Judging bikini contests?
Something lame, I'm sure‚ I don't know. I'd rather not even go, but whatever.
I'm just not into it.
Hmm. Interesting. Is it part of your latest movie's PR junket?
Yeah, I guess.
How did the movie turn out?
Um, it's good. I just saw it. I think it's really good, you know?
Let's see, it's a movie about wrestling co-starring David Arquette‚ why'd you take it?
It just seemed like a good script when I read it, I guess. I also did a movie called Varsity Blues with the director [Brian Robbins].
How was it working with stars like Jon Voight and James Van Der Beek on the set of Varsity Blues?
Ah, it's mellow, you know. It was a demanding shoot‚ non-stop work. [It should also be known that Scott Caan and roommate James Van Der Beek were fined and nearly thrown in the slammer for destroying the rented apartment that they shared during one allegedly inebriated evening after a long day on the set of Varsity Blues.]
Since you've appeared in a film with the Midnight Cowboy, are you getting tons of scripts sent your way? Do you even have to audition for parts now?
Well, pretty much whoever you are, you still have to read for at least the producers 'cause it's their money that's on the line. But the whole process is political. It's weird, 'cause people in the business can know you're talented, but everyone wants their say. Especially because right now everyone's making movies because they're scared because no one can understand why these movies with nobodies are making millions.
For example: American Pie comes out, nobody [famous is] in it, and now the studios are relying on all these nobodies to open their other movies to big numbers and these kids are getting paid millions, and I feel bad for a lot of them 'cause a lot of last year's teen movies were flukes. Those kids are never gonna live up to that success‚ they don't have the experience and frankly, they're not all that great. Their next movies are gonna suck, and then they're gonna be screwed because no one's gonna wanna hire 'em again.
And you're not worried about falling into that trap?
Naw, I've been around the business long enough, you know?
How can other actors that may not have your experience avoid the trap?
Just take good solid scripts‚Äîdon't take the shitty roles just because you wanna work.
Did you think Ready to Rumble was a solid script?
I trust Brian [Robbins, director]. I know he can make just about any decent script good.
What makes a good movie?
A good movie is made with a strong core of a director and an actor and a producer‚Äîthat's how I think anyway, and everybody does their thing to make it good. If you can get a powerful director who won't let the script become dogshit and at the end of the day, he can say: "That actor is shit‚ fire him," that's great. And if you have a great director, there will be no shitty actors, there will be no shitty photography, there should be no shitty anything. If all of those elements are working the way they're supposed to, you're gonna get a fuckin' great movie.
What about an incredibly great director with an incredibly "shitty" script? It's happened plenty of times, and I have a laundry list I can...
[Interupts] OK, I guess sometimes a great director can get stuck with a shitty script, but a great director would never say, "Hey, let me direct this shitty script."
Speaking of scripts, you sold one you just wrote, right?
Did the fact that your dad is James Caan help you sell your first effort?
You know, I‚ look, I've heard this all day long and I've heard the question asked every possible way, but my father‚ he raised me right, you know what I mean? And all I can give him credit for is my personal self. I like to think that I'm a good guy and that I turned out all right, but as far as the business, tying him to me is crap and it's bullshit because if I meet my favorite football player's son, he can very well be a shitty football player, and I can really go, "You know what, he's a really great guy, but he's a shitty football player."
And he could very well be a good football player and a shitty guy or he could be a shitty football player and a shitty guy, but you know what? I'm gonna judge him for him and who he is and when I walk into a room with a producer and a director or whatever and they wanna hire me for a movie, nobody's gonna go, "He's a shitty football player, but let's have him start at quarterback just because he's James Caan's son." And I strongly believe that because when I go to meet people, hopefully they think I'm intelligent and they think that I know what I want and that I know what I'm doing. And If somebody was going to hire me because of who my dad is, then I'd tell them to fuck themselves.
[I'm clearly confused by the football analogy] OK, well, have you ever told anyone to "go fuck themselves?"
Yeah, absolutely. Some people think I'm a great guy and some people think I'm a piece of shit, and sometimes I tell those people that think I'm shit because of my name to go fuck off. If I meet a hooker, I'm gonna think she's probably not a very healthy human being and not a nice person, but if she ends up being nice, I'm gonna say, "Hey, she's cool."
I don't get it. Do you have a lot of interaction with hookers?
Naw, not lately.
OK, Scott, I'm going to let you go look for your passport now. I hope things get better for you in Cancun.
Right, thanks. [CLICK]