You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ShoWest honors Jay Roach

Helmer named Comedy Director of the Decade

It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping popcorn, so I really started my career in exhibition, which makes this award especially meaningful.” Two years later, “totally inspired” by his exhib experience, Roach radically revised his career goals and applied to USC Film School instead of law school.

The change of plan may have been law’s loss, but it turned out to be a huge gain for future millions of fans of such Roach comedies as the “Austin Powers” and “Meet the Parents” franchises.

“I wish I had a secret recipe for success,” says the director, “then I’d feel a lot more confident. But I’m always as terrified as I was the first time, doing ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.’ I just try to help create the best characters and comedic predicaments – but ultimately it’s all about casting in comedy. You have to find the funniest people who’ll also improvise and take situations beyond what’s on the page.”

Roach, who cites Monty Python and Woody Allen as his two biggest influences, has been well-served by his stars.

“Mike Myers is one of the greatest character creators and improvisers of all time, and to be able to work with his electric comedic brain was the luckiest thing to ever happen to me,” he notes. “And then to get De Niro, with all that dark baggage from his Scorsese films which made him twice as scary – that was another great comedy gift.”

Next up? “Dinner for Schmucks,” starring Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, out in July.

More Film

  • Melissa McCarthy The Kitchen

    Melissa McCarthy Snorts Ecstasy With Sex Crazed Puppets in 'Happytime Murders'

    It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping […]

  • It movie review

    'It: Chapter 2' Director Andy Muschietti Says 'Bring Your Adult Diapers'

    It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping […]

  • Deadpool 2 Ocean's 8

    Poll: Which Summer Tentpole Are You Most Excited to See?

    It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping […]

  • Matthew Rhys, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis,

    Can 'Mowgli' Sell MovieGoers on a Darker 'Jungle Book'?

    It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping […]

  • Fantastic Beasts

    Eddie Redmayne Faces the Dark Arts in 'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Footage

    It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping […]

  • 'WarGames' Composer Arthur B. Rubinstein Dead

    'WarGames' Composer Arthur B. Rubinstein Dies at 80

    It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping […]

  • A Star Is Born Lady Gaga

    'A Star Is Born' CinemaCon Trailer Shows Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper Singing Live

    It sounds like a comedic twist from one of his films, but Jay Roach swears it’s true. “While I was studying law at Stanford University, I got a job running a Sunday night movie series for a solid year,” recalls the Albuquerque native. “I learned all about exhibition, down to running the A/C and popping […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content