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Yahoo Entertainment caught up with the actor at his seventh annual bowling benefit for SAY: the Stuttering Association for the Young on Monday, and he took a break from hanging out with the kids and fundraising to indulge our ’90s nostalgia. The star of the summer blockbuster Ant-Man and the Wasp said his first thought when he heard Paramount Studios is working on the remake was: “very exciting.” “It’s nice to be part of something that still holds a place of importance for many people. It’s cool to be involved with something like that,” he says.
Although the remake of the cult fave film is just in its beginning phase — with Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver producing and Glow writer Marquita Robinson writing the script — in fact, the Clueless Broadway musical is much closer to reality. It begins its limited engagement on Nov. 20. Will he be seeing it? “I would like to — sure. Yeah,” he says, adding, “My daughter is a big Dove Cameron fan,” referring to the Disney Channel star who plays the lead, Cher Horowitz (portrayed in the film by Alicia Silverstone).
Speaking of his kids, the dad of two was “paparazzied” on Halloween while trick-or-treating with his son. The fact that he was dressed as “Weird Al” Yankovic didn’t go unnoticed by the internet — or the singer himself.
“I got an email from Weird Al,” Rudd says. “It’s the weirdest thing — I guess there are paparazzi out taking pictures. I had no idea. [The costume] was a little bit thrown together, but I was honored to dress as Weird Al. I’m a big Weird Al fan.”
When we point out the extensive online debate by Yankovic fans (the accordion was too small, the “glasses and ‘stachelet'” were wrong), he says, laughing. “This is how thrown together it was. I had to get an accordion, but there was only a small one, a toy accordion. I also mixed a couple of different-era Als. The hair was from one era, but the glasses from an earlier Dr. Demento era. So I feel it was a bit of a hybrid, which was cheating.”
As for the new Halloween film, the actor, who appeared in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers the same year Clueless came out, hasn’t seen it yet. “I want to see it” though, he adds. And for the record, he doesn’t feel bad that the film he was in (aka Halloween 6) was written out of continuity in the new one (films in the franchise between the 1978 original and the 2018 flick are ignored). “I don’t think anyone’s too upset about that,” he quips.
Rudd has been working on the new show Living With Yourself for Netflix, and he thanked the company for shutting down production on Monday night so he could attend his annual charity event, which included celebrity guests like Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann. The fundraiser means a lot to the star because it raises money for Camp SAY, the organization’s summer camp that empowers kids who stutter, many of whom have been bullied and ridiculed for their affliction. He’s been working with the charity for more than a decade.
Rudd said that while appearing on Broadway’s Three Days of Rain with Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper in 2006, “I was playing somebody who stuttered and it was something that I never really paid much attention to. Like most people, I knew it was an affliction, but I didn’t know that much about it.” While doing research, he met founder Taro Alexander, who has stuttered since he was 5, “and in meeting him, I got to meet some of the kids. … I was so moved by their stories, their struggles, their courage” that he stayed involved.
“Being an actor, you are kind of putting yourself in the thoughts and shoes of many types of people,” Rudd says. “When I was playing somebody who suffered from this affliction, I started thinking about it in a much different way and could really empathize with people who suffer from it — in particular kids. It’s hard enough being a kid, it’s way harder being a kid who has a stutter who gets teased in school or doesn’t want to answer a question because who knows if he or she would be able to get the sentence out. My heart would break for these kids.”
Through SAY and Camp SAY, Rudd has “gotten to know some of these kids and to see them blossom over the course of several years,” he says. “I see their confidence grow, I see how courageous they are, and I see how important SAY has been in their lives. Lives are changed because of Taro — many lives. Not just the lives of the kids — the entire families. [A parent is] only as happy as your saddest child, so to have a kid that’s experiencing that kind of pain [is heartbreaking]. Every year, tonight, I will talk to many parents and several of them will cry because of just how important this organization is in their lives. But it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t get a lot of press because [stuttering] is not life-threatening.”
Rudd will soon be helping to tell the story of SAY on a larger platform. He’s executive producing a documentary called My Beautiful Stutter, about five kids, ages 9 to 18, who enter the arts-based program “after a lifetime of bullying and stigmatization” and transform within its support circle, coming to the realization that is at the heart of SAY and that it is OK to stutter.
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