Luke Wilson: Cool and Luke
He wasn't the comic relief in Armageddon (that was his brother Owen). He didn't cowrite Rushmore (brother Owen, again). He is Drew Barrymore's ex-boyfriend and he is Martin Lawrence's costar in this summer's Blue Streak.
First off, let's get our movie Wilsons straight. Luke, the subject here, was last seen as Olivia Williams's boyfriend in Rushmore. Before that, he starred with his then-girlfriend Drew Barrymore in Home Fries. And before that he fell hard for a hotel maid in Bottle Rocket, which also starred his older brother Owen Wilson, who wasn't in Rushmore, but who cowrote it with director Wes Anderson, who also helmed Bottle Rocket. Got that straight? OK, there's another Wilson--let's hope these guys make a Beach Boys biopic-- Andrew, a documentary film producer who played a small role in Bottle Rocket. Now back to Luke, whose winning offbeat charm and off-handed sex appeal have landed him in a wildly divergent six-pack of new films, foremost among them being this summer's Blue Streak, an action-comedy in which he stars with Martin Lawrence.
DENNIS HENSLEY: Before we get to Blue Streak, I want to talk to you about dogs, since you have a movie awaiting release called Dog Park, which is about twentysomethings who all have dogs. Do you own a dog in real life?
LUKE WILSON: I have a chocolate Lab, Ted, who is nine. Ted is the son of my first dog, Blue, who I got when I was in sixth grade, so I've had the same bloodline for 16 years.
Q: Are you going to breed Ted to keep it going?
A: I'd love to but the doctors said because of his hips, he can't get up... to get it up. It's frustrating because his dad was one of the great lovers of all time. He was like Anthony Quinn. I mean, I once saw these little brown-and-white dogs a couple of miles from my house. I said to the owner, "These are incredible dogs. Where'd you get them?" She was like [angrily], "We got them from you!"
Q: In Blue Streak you play a rookie cop to Martin Lawrence's imposter detective. What's Martin like?
A: I'm not just towing the company line, he really is a good guy. I've heard the stories like everybody else, but he's a hard worker, as cool as Clint Eastwood and as funny as Richard Pryor or Robin Williams.
Q Since this movie's called Blue Streak, I have to know if you've ever gone streaking.
A: Yeah. When I was a kid in Dallas, we had this game where we'd stand around in a circle...
Q: I know that game.
A: [Laughs] Wait, this isn't like some crazy sex game. You'd kick a soccer ball to one guy and he'd have to kick it to another guy and it can only bounce once, and the loser had to streak down the street to this telephone pole. It was kind of liberating. You thought, "Why was I so scared to do this? It's nothing I do every day with clothes on."
Q: Bottle Rocket started out as a short directed by your friend Wes Anderson. How long have you known each other?
A: About 10 years. The first thing we did with Wes was on Super 8. He gave me some clothes to wear, we went downtown and he filmed Owen and me throwing rocks, no sound, no plot. I thought it was kind of strange, but I didn't have a prior engagement that day.
Q: Were you nervous about working with James Caan in Bottle Rocket? He seems a bit like a loose cannon.
A: I've never been so excited. When we shot the short, if we made a mistake Wes would have us keep going. On Bottle Rocket, James Caan hated when I did that. One time when I missed a line, he said "Cut," but I kept going on. He was like, "What's with this kid? You can throw a plate of shit in his face and he would still keep talking!"
Q: What was it like meeting James L. Brooks, who was instrumental in getting Bottle Rocket turned into a feature?
A: Nerve-racking. He came to Dallas and we had a reading that was a nightmare. A lot of times at a reading you do the dialogue and leave out the description like "interior, car, day." Well, Wes didn't do that and it lasted four hours and it ended with Jim Brooks watching a basketball game out of the corner of his eye while we're all reading. But he eventually brought Owen and Wes out to Los Angeles and I tagged along. I look back on that as the good old days, staying at all these weird hotels.
Q: What do you miss most about Texas?
A: I like the flatness of the land and the big skies. And, it's a cliche, but the people are nice.
Q: You were in the movie within the movie in Scream 2 opposite Tori Spelling. What was that like?
A: It was one day. Wes Craven's direction to me was, "This guy is like Johnny Cool." I was like, "Perfect. That's the kind of direction I like."
Q: What's the most bullshit thing a Hollywood type has ever said to you?
A: I had a guy tell me he thought I was the cornerstone of Young Hollywood.
Q: That is bad. Speaking of Young Hollywood, are you still friendly with Drew Barrymore, even though you're not dating anymore?
A: Yeah, we're getting along. I really do like her. It's like when you look at an old picture from the 1800s, you see people with these great faces and you think, "Man, I never see faces like that anymore." She, to me, has one of those faces that are timeless.
Q: What did you learn from her?
A: I learned to not get uptight about things. She's been up and down a few times. She works hard and does stuff she likes and works with good people who have her best interests at heart. I also learned a lot watching how gracefully she deals with stardom. She doesn't shine people on. She really works at it and puts herself out there. I would find it exhausting. Not that I have that problem, but I like to fly under the radar.
Q: If you could switch places with her for a day, what would you want to experience?
A: I'd like to see the bright side like she does. She really has a bright and sunny kind of personality.
Q: So how's your love life post-Drew?
A: I'm not seeing anybody.
Q: Well, that's just great, Luke, because this is Movielines Love Issue.
A: If I'm in it, they need to call it the Looking for Love Issue.
Q: Do more women hit on you now that you're in movies?
A: I really can't tell any difference. I've only had these little movies, so things haven't changed.
Q: You share a house in L.A. with Owen and Wes. Surely you guys throw big parties with lots of starlets running around.
A: Never had one party. I'm the only guy that ever has a beer in that house. We did just put a Ping-Pong table in the living room and now we play for cash.
Q: I assume you guys all have separate phone lines.
A: Nope, just one. I've taken some interesting messages.
Q: What do you and Owen fight about?
A: Owen doesn't own any shorts--regular shorts, not boxer shorts. He just borrows mine. I'm always like, "Man, why don't you buy some fucking shorts?"
Q: OK, trivia question: what's the coolest thing you ever got for free?
A: Love. It's free, right? And it ties into the issue.
Dennis Hensley interviewed Sherilyn Fenn for the June 99 issue of Movieline.