Not My Job: Actor Owen Wilson Plays A Game Called 'Wilson, Meet Will's Son'
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now the game where we invite on people we're really fond of and make them doubt that. It's called Not My Job. A lot of people decide to write screenplays with their college roommate, but most people are not college roommates with Wes Anderson. Owen Wilson co-wrote the movie "Bottle Rocket," which starred him and his brother Luke, and went on to become a star, making movies with Wes Anderson, like "The Royal Tenenbaums" and other movies like "Wedding Crashers," "Night At The Museum" and now "Bliss." Owen Wilson, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
OWEN WILSON: Thank you. Nice to be here.
SAGAL: It's a - it's an absolute joy to talk to you. You've been - let's see. "Bottle Rocket" was 1996. You've been making movies for about 25 years now.
SAGAL: When people, like, see you - and I'm sure you're used to people's faces lighting up like, oh, my God, I know who that is - and they come up to you, what do you expect them to ask you about? Have you, like, learned, like, oh, yeah, this guy's going to be a "Wedding Crashers" fan? This guy's going to be - I don't know - "Royal Tenenbaums" fan. Do you have any idea?
WILSON: Sometimes, you can kind of - I sort of feel like I can, you know, sense if someone's coming up maybe what - if they're going to be sort of like a, you know, maybe a fan of "Armageddon" or "Anaconda," "Bottle Rocket." Yeah, I remember Ben Stiller saying that he sometimes would know even before the person got to him that the person was going to say, all my friends tell me I look like you.
WILSON: And it was never necessarily someone that you would, you know, think...
FAITH SALIE: Oh, no.
PETER GROSZ: You would be happy to be in their company?
WILSON: I definitely have had that a little bit.
SAGAL: I don't know - I guess I do know why this is, but seeing you just makes me happy.
SAGAL: You have that effect, yeah 'cause I love your movies, like all sane people. And you generally play very charming, lovely people that's great to be around. So I'm sort of having that reaction to you right now.
WILSON: Oh, good. I appreciate that.
SAGAL: Is that what - I was wondering kind of about that. Is that what people expect from you if they meet you, that you'll sort of be goofy and affable and charming in the way you are mostly in the movies?
WILSON: Well, I don't know if I - you know, if that - the scouting reports I'd love to lead off, you know, hopefully pleasant and - yeah. Luke, my brother, I feel like is a little bit - sometimes, we would call him - we'd be out. And we nicknamed him Border Patrol 'cause he seemed to be a little bit more wary of people kind of coming up and...
SAGAL: Is there a kind of role that you'd like to play that you don't get offered because of people - what people think of you or how people sort of picture you?
WILSON: I'm working on this Marvel thing with Tom Hiddleston. And he quoted something the other day. And I was saying, oh, is that Shakespeare? He said, yes, it's from "Hamlet." I said, have you played Hamlet? And he had with Kenneth Branagh (unintelligible). And, you know, what an incredible, rewarding experience that was for him. And then, you know, because he's such a polite guy, after sort of that, there's a little bit of a pause. And then he said - have you ever played Hamlet? And I thought that was such a nice thing that someone would, you know, believe. I meet a lot of people that, God, love to see him playing Hamlet. That's what we really are missing.
SALIE: I would love to see you play Hamlet.
SAGAL: I would pay money. I would...
SALIE: I would love to see Owen Wilson do Shakespeare.
WILSON: Well, maybe it's kind of the feedback I need, yeah.
LACI MOSLEY: (Laughter).
SALIE: I think everyone listening to NPR wants to hear Owen Wilson do Shakespeare.
SAGAL: I think so. I found out something this week that I did not know, which is that you're not in - what was Wes Anderson's next movie? - "Rushmore." But you co-wrote it with him. And I was very impressed 'cause that is perhaps one of my favorite movies ever.
WILSON: Thank you.
SAGAL: There are so many movies, plays, books about oddballs in high school and the struggles they have fitting in. "Rushmore" is the greatest of that genre. They should have stopped making them after "Rushmore." But it makes me wonder - was that you or was it - Wes is, like, the strange guy who never quite fit in because of his interests?
WILSON: Probably a little bit of a combination, you know? I didn't end up at military school in New Mexico my junior year because I was just an outstanding (unintelligible).
WILSON: And I did sometimes have a tendency to believe that I was going to do much better on the tests than I would end up doing. So I was very confident sometimes going into a test, and the results were not matched by that.
SAGAL: Yeah. So you - I mean, I get the sense that you're somewhat competitive. Is this true?
WILSON: Almost feel like you're, like, setting me up because I literally just got done playing tennis doubles and...
SAGAL: Oh, wow.
WILSON: ...Really competitive and really intense. Like, and I don't know from, like, growing up in sort of a "Lord Of The Flies"-type situation with, you know, the (unintelligible) three boys. I really get into competition. So it's really fun, yeah. You guys ever heard of pickleball?
SAGAL: Pickleball is like...
SAGAL: It's played on, like, a miniature tennis court of some kind.
WILSON: Yeah. And I am sort of, you know, maybe turned off by the name a little bit and then kind of resented it, even though everyone was saying it's so much fun and then started playing just a couple of weeks ago. And I felt the first time I walked on the floor, there isn't a steep learning curve. Like, I was already, like, a pretty strong player.
SAGAL: You're already elite level. That's a nice feeling, I have to admit.
WILSON: I (unintelligible) didn't feel that.
SALIE: What happens when you lose? How do you feel - how do you react when you lose?
WILSON: I'm not a sore loser. I'm not a sore loser. Like, I'm not one of those people that's - there are people that are so competitive, they, like, can't compete because they can't take losing. And I'm the type that - I would rather play somebody who's a little bit better than me and lose because if I do win eventually or, you know, every once in a while, it's so exciting. So I'm not a bad - although, I mean, even as I'm saying it, I guess I have thrown a tennis racket.
SAGAL: Sure. It would make...
GROSZ: And that was during a Scrabble loss.
SAGAL: (Laughter) Just grab the tennis racket from the wall.
MOSLEY: Wait, Owen. Do you play with those guys that you were just playing with often? Do you guys have a rivalry?
WILSON: Yeah, we do play quite a bit. And the teams sort of switch. For a while, it was me and this guy Frank (ph) who actually - when he hit a good track, he was playing against me today. And he hit like a winner. And then he yelled out, that's how you pepper a steak.
GROSZ: That's a competitive person.
WILSON: I heard it and immediately was like, OK, this is going to come back in this match. And it definitely did. I ended up saying it four times to him.
SAGAL: So when you hit a winner, you're like, no, that's how you pepper a steak?
SAGAL: Or is it more like, now I'm putting on some herb butter, like up the steak?
GROSZ: Sides. Big onion rings.
SAGAL: Well, Owen Wilson, it is really fun to talk to you. But we have, in fact, invited you here to play a game that this time we're calling...
BILL KURTIS: Wilson, Meet Will's Son.
SAGAL: And by that, Owen, we mean Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith. So Jaden, if people are not familiar, is also an actor, as well as a fashion icon and musician. He's a personality. He's an influencer. Answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly about Jaden Smith - you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they may choose for their voicemail. Bill, who is Owen Wilson playing for?
KURTIS: Lisa Robinson of Woodstock, Ga.
SAGAL: First question. Now, Jaden is known as a fashion icon. For example, which of these did he wear to the wedding of Kim Kardashian to Kanye West - A, a cloth diaper with an oversized diamond pin; B, a white Batman suit, complete with mask; or C, his very own custom-made Vera Wang wedding gown?
WILSON: Next question.
WILSON: Hold on. Hold on. I remember now my SAT class could not take yes. They said it was better just to say next question. OK. I'm going to say C.
SAGAL: You're going to say that Jaden Smith commissioned his own wedding gown from Vera Wang and wore it to Kim Kardashian's wedding.
WILSON: Well, no, no, no. I'm not - now, when you put it like that, that's so...
GROSZ: (Laughter). It sounds ludicrous.
WILSON: I'm going to say A.
SAGAL: You're going to settle for A, the cloth diaper. No, it was the Batman suit. Here he is. You can find him - white Batman suit, complete with the armor and the abs.
WILSON: Aw, geez.
SAGAL: All right. You still have two more chances. Not a problem here. Jaden is also known for his provocative and sometimes philosophical Twitter feed. Which of these is a real Twitter thought from Jaden? A, how do we know that our eyes aren't closed all the time, and the inside of our eyelids just look like the world? B, if a cupcake falls from a tree, how far away will it be from down #Jupiter? C, if we're descended from monkeys, how come we don't see them when we look up #Hashtag?
WILSON: Could it be B?
SAGAL: Yes, Owen. It could be B.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Congratulations. That's what it is. We have no idea what he means.
GROSZ: That is bizarre.
SAGAL: It's very strange. But you can get more of these - well, as a matter of fact, we have one more...
GROSZ: Well, he just gained a Twitter follower. I want to hear more things like that.
GROSZ: That sounds very interesting.
SAGAL: So if you get this right, you win. Even though he's an international superstar, Jaden is sometimes himself starstruck. Which of these was a real tweet he once sent about an interaction with a celebrity - A, Doris Day is my musical inspiration, and I know one day she'll call me back; B, I ran into Emo Philips at the mall and touched his hair, and it felt like happiness; or C, I saw Owen Wilson one time from a distance, and we just stared at each other. Then his car drove off.
WILSON: I'm going to have to go with C.
SAGAL: And you'd be right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: That's what he tweeted.
WILSON: There we go. That's unbelievable.
SAGAL: And it was in April 2015. Do you remember locking eyes...
MOSLEY: Locking eyes?
SAGAL: ...With Jaden Smith somewhere before you drove off?
WILSON: Is that who that was?
SAGAL: Bill, how did Owen Wilson do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Two out of three. That's how you pepper a steak, Owen Wilson.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)
SAGAL: Owen Wilson's new movie "Bliss" is available now on Amazon Prime. It is a head trip and well-worth your time. Watch it. Owen Wilson, thank you so much for joining us.
WILSON: Thank you, guys.
KURTIS: Thanks, Owen.
SAGAL: Take care, Owen. Thank you so much for your time. Bye-bye.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PARENTS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND")
WILL SMITH: (Rapping) You know, parents are the same no matter time nor place. They don't understand that us kids are going to make some mistakes.
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