Role Recall: Kevin Pollak on His Mom Hitting on Jack Nicholson, Goofing Off on 'Usual Suspects,' and More

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment

We’ve all been embarrassed by our parents. It’s as certain as death and taxes. But for Kevin Pollak, it happens in front of very famous people. There was the time he brought his father on the set of Willow (1988), and dad told the film’s iconic producer, George Lucas, “I loved E.T.” Or there was the time his mother visited the production of A Few Good Men (1992), where she promptly began hitting on Jack Nicholson, as Nicholson later informed Pollak.

These are only a couple of the colorful yarns Pollak told us in our new episode of Role Recall, which follows the 59-year-old San Francisco comedian and Master of Impressions from his humble beginnings in the sound booth of Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) to his most acclaimed role, as Todd Hockney in the twisty crime classic The Usual Suspects (1995).

Pollak has since found comfort in the director’s chair, making the stand-up documentary Misery Loves Comedy (2015) and now the reality-based laugher The Late Bloomer (2016), about a sex therapist (Johnny Simmons) who goes through puberty at 27.

You can watch the full Role Recall above, but here are some highlights:

Willow (1988)
Pollak and Rick Overton filmed all of their scenes as the miniature, wise-cracking Brownies in front of a massive blue screen after initial production on the Ron Howard-helmed epic had wrapped. Howard, Pollak said, was detailed and demanding in his direction. And then one day the producer, George Lucas (who also wrote the story and self-financed the film), subbed in as director. “So after being yelled at for weeks by Ron Howard,” Pollak remembered. “George Lucas came in and his direction was, ‘OK.’ ‘Action.’ ‘Cut.‘”

Related: Director’s Reel: Ron Howard Talks ‘Splash,’ ‘Willow,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ and More

A Few Good Men (1992)
“I kept waiting every day, not kidding, for someone to tap me on the shoulder on say, ‘We’ve made a horrible error. We meant Kevin Spacey. We meant Kevin Kline. Kevin Costner. Any Kevin but you,'” Pollak said about his entry into “the major leagues” in this acclaimed military thriller directed by Rob Reiner, written by Aaron Sorkin, and co-starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, and Kiefer Sutherland. And that was before his mom hit on Jack.

Related: Role Recall: Kiefer Sutherland Talks ‘Stand By Me,’ ‘Lost Boys,’ and ‘A Few Good Men’

The Usual Suspects (1995)
They were supposed to all be very “stoic and unimpressed,” but Pollak says he, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, and Kevin Spacey could not get through a single take of the film’s famous lineup scene without breaking into laughter. They ruined an entire day of filming, infuriating director Bryan Singer. “And this is the genius of Bryan Singer,” Pollak explained. “He went to editing and he found by showing five guys screwing up and making each other laugh, it’s the same ‘We’re not intimidated’ message to the police. But in a much more colorful, nonsensical way.”

The Late Bloomer is now in theaters and on demand. Watch Pollak talk about directing his first feature: