By Ashley Lee
Zach Galifianakis isn’t one to put on a face for a press appearance.
"It’s confusing to me — all of this is confusing to me. They oversell it like we’re curing cancer, you know what I mean?" he told The Hollywood Reporter at the New York Film Festival’s closing-night premiere on Saturday, held at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. “I just think it can be gross sometimes, the way Hollywood congratulates itself all the time.”
"I agree with what this movie says. I read it, and I’m like, ‘Boy, he’s taking swipes at everybody, but he’s right.’ So the truth trumps everything else," he said of the Alejandro G. Inarritu dramedy. "It’s gotten a little out of hand — there’s no culture in it. If people were writing about poets, mathematicians and all that, that would just move us forward quicker."
Birdman, with the subtitle Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, follows Michael Keaton as Riggan Thompson, a has-been blockbuster superhero who is about to unveil a Broadway play in which he wrote, directed and stars, with hopes that the risk will bring him renewed acclaim and respectability. The film includes interpersonal debates about Riggan’s real motivations for taking on a “passion project,” establishing a social media presence and interacting with the press.
Galifianakis also clarified that his comments earlier in the day were “just to get a dialogue started” after a reporter asked a confusing question to the cast about where the line is drawn between celebrity and actor.
"Being a celebrity is shit — it’s dumb, and I’m not interested in it," he said at that press screening, noting that the film’s cast generally feels the same way. "I like to be an actor, and that’s it. The blurred lines are, I think, manmade. I think celebrity is a manmade thing; it’s not innate in us. We have people telling us, ‘We should pay attention to these people,’ for all the wrong reasons, their personal lives and whatnot. I’d rather just do my work and go home and watch Lifetime."
At the press screening, Keaton also echoed the sentiment. “Anyone can be a celebrity now; this is not a big deal anymore.” And Edward Norton added this regarding YouTube: “The dog running into the wall is a bigger celebrity than any of us!”
Birdman opens in New York and Los Angeles on Oct. 17.
Watch a Birdman trailer:
Photo credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File