Kurt Russell started his career in the early 1960s, was signed by Walt Disney to a 10-year contract and became the Mouse House’s biggest human star, but he’s only now getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He’s cool with it. “It gives you a better sense of appreciation,” says the man who will play Star-Lord’s father in “The Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2,” set for release May 6. “The timing wasn’t right before, we were going somewhere, or doing something.”
Russell and his longtime partner, Goldie Hawn, will receive star honors in a double ceremony on May 4.
While double ceremonies are unusual, they are not unheard of, says a Walk of Fame spokeswoman.
Richard and Lauren Shuler Donner, Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams (“Laverne & Shirley”), married actors William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman, and Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein (“Kinky Boots”) all received double ceremonies while Bruce Dern, Laura Dern and Diane Ladd (mother of Laura and ex-wife of Bruce) were honored in a triple ceremony.
Hawn is also thrilled that they will have a joint ceremony with side-by-side stars, and that her film, “Snatched,” opens May 10 via Fox, a week after Disney releases “Guardians.” Netflix does the honors for “Shimmer Lake,” with their son, Wyatt, in June.
“People say, ‘Gee, don’t you have one already?’” says Hawn, who may not have a Walk of Fame star but does have an Academy Award for supporting actress in “Cactus Flower.” “We never did.”
“It’s in connection with a movie, a promotion,” he points out. “I thought it would be fun together.”
In the past, the release dates of their movies didn’t sync up.
“This is a really fun movie,” Hawn says about “mom-com” “Snatched,” in which she plays Amy Schumer’s mom. In the film, after Schumer’s character is dumped, she persuades her mom to go on a trip.
Hawn reports that Schumer joined she and daughter, Kate Hudson, on a Hawaiian vacation, where they had good time together.
|“I enjoy all aspects of filmmaking. I enjoy acting, making something tangible and at the end of the day you go home.”|
The Hawn and Schumer chemistry was on display at CinemaCon in March, where the funny ladies introduced a clip of “Snatched” and charmed the audience. Later on, Schumer presented Hawn with the confab’s Cinema Icon Award.
As for “Guardians,” Russell says “making it was a lot of fun,” but declines to say much about the film.
“I would be speaking out of turn. Marvel likes to keep these things shrouded.” He hadn’t seen the completed movie yet either.
Director James Gunn “created the material and knows how to make it fun. The actors are terrific at what they do.”
Portraying Ego the Living Planet — the father Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) never knew — offered Russell a lot to play with.
“Obviously it’s a strong point because of their relationship. We have that in our society a lot. Children never know their parent.”
For his part, Pratt, who admits he’s a huge fan of “Overboard,” says: “If you’d told me I would grow up and Kurt Russell would play my dad, I wouldn’t have believed it. He’s unbelievable.”
Gunn says he’s a huge fan of Russell’s. “I loved Snake Plisskin [Russell’s character in “Escape From New York”] when I was a kid. I love ‘The Thing,” the director says.
He was not looking for a role for Russell in his film, but rather “I thought I’m going to create Chris Pratt’s dad, who has the charm and charisma of Chris Pratt.”
Russell is already onscreen in blockbuster franchise “Fate of the Furious,” which he calls a “great popcorn movie.”
“It really delivers, again you find things within the characters to create a scenario. That franchise, in particular, has a great family story,” he says.
Audiences obviously agree as the box office for the eighth film in the franchise hit $967.5 million as of April 27.
Quentin Tarantino, who directed Kurt Russell in “The Hateful Eight” and “Death Proof,” will speak at the star ceremony, which thrills the actor.
“Tarantino is one of the great directors of all time. To work with him and the cast … he’s a terrific writer and spectacular filmmaker. He’s a ball to work with, great person to be around, to talk with, to hang out with, to drink with.”
Tarantino turned him onto TCM where Russell has caught up with many classics. Russell says that through these classics, he understands where Tarantino got his film knowledge and has the “ability to use that in his own films. Just in the category of connecting the targets. It has this sense of history.”
|“Making people laugh, elevating people’s spirits, that is wonderful and if I can do that again and again it would be a gift.”|
Many of his films have also been tagged for remakes, the most recent being “Overboard,” in which he co-starred with Hawn.
“Over the last seven [to] eight years, I’ve heard of many possibilities of [remakes],” he says. “None have been made so far. Nothing is sacred. My hope is they do it well with a fresh look.”
In the “Overboard” remake, the roles played by Hawn and Russell are going to be reversed. “I think it’s a very ambitious undertaking,” Hawn says. “They are shifting things around, it may be good.”
Of course the filmmakers will have to deal with the fact that so many people will have seen the original. “I’m flattered so many films I’ve made are being considered for a remake.”
Robert Rodriguez is planning to remake his cult hit “Escape to New York” while Dwayne Johnson has been cast in “Big Trouble in Little China.”
Russell, who’s never felt the urge to direct, nevertheless enjoys the collaborative aspect of filmmaking while acknowledging that “it’s the director’s movie.”
“I enjoy all aspects of filmmaking. I enjoy acting, making something tangible and at the end of the day you go home and enjoy your life.”
Hawn, too, prefers acting although she has played the role of a producer and also written a script.
“I produced for so long, producing is hard,” she says. “For every five [films] you’re lucky if one succeeds. It’s a task, exciting if you find a project you believe is quite a big deal. I might exec-produce, but never produce again — incredibly time-consuming. Walking backwards is not my favorite thing to do.”
She continues: “Making people laugh, elevating people’s spirits that is wonderful and if I can do that again and again, it would be a gift.”
As to whether they will be together in another movie, both shrug but agree they would like it if the right film came along.
“Of course,” Hawn says. “Wouldn’t it be fun? Wouldn’t it be great? But it has to be the right project. Not just about making a movie with Kurt or [her children] Kate or Wyatt, or Oliver.”
Sometimes she says, “Sitting together with a glass of wine we’ve talked about wouldn’t it be fun to put on a show in the garage and invite the neighbors.”
With three children, two of whom are actors — Kate Hudson and Wyatt Russell — and a third, Oliver, whom she calls her “spiritual actor,” Hawn says, “Did I encourage them? No, it’s like working in a coal mine. They saw what we did.”
Wyatt was briefly a pro hockey player and still plays while Oliver is a therapist. The couple also makes their home away from Hollywood, for the most part living on a 72-acre ranch in Aspen, Colo.
With a career spanning decades, Russell has worked with many great franchises, directors and cult films.
While so many child actors have gotten into trouble as they grow into their teens, Russell never had that problem. He reflects that it could be a result of his upbringing and the people he worked with in the industry.
“I didn’t do anything different, child actors behave a certain way. I was very fortunate, I worked with Walt Disney. My mom and dad laid things out in a way that was different.”
His interest in acting has held. “I never lost interest in films, there were times when I had less interest and sometimes more. It goes by in a flash. I think it’s a special exciting world.”
Elizabeth Wagmeister and Jenelle Riley contributed to this report.