You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stiller’s workhorse ways praised

Britannia Awards 2011

Ben Stiller’s work ethic is contagious.

Stiller, whom BAFTA/LA is honoring with the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy, has the uncanny ability to take on multiple things at once and do them all well.

“He runs extremely hot when he’s working, and you definitely have to run as hot as he does,” says Justin Theroux, who wrote “Tropic Thunder” with Stiller. “There’s definitely no being lazy. He’ll call at 12:30 at night, saying we need to (fix something) by tomorrow. But it’s always for the betterment of the overall thing.”

This year saw not only the release of his big acting project “Tower Heist,” but also “30 Minutes Or Less” and “The Big Year,” both produced by Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld’s company Red Hour. And there’s plenty more where that came from: five upcoming films including “Zoolander 2” (penned with Theroux) and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a Red Hour film that Stiller will direct and star in.

Stiller also kept it in the family, producing a Web series for Funny or Die featuring his parents (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) discussing topics du jour.

“I’ve worked with a lot of gifted, hard-working people,” says Cornfield, “and he’s at the top of my list.”

When they met 12 years ago, their relationship was built on mutual comedic taste and a promise of frankness. “Even if we agreed on something, we each knew we could be wrong about it,” Cornfield says.

Theroux contends there is little ego in Stiller’s work.

“A lot of times, if you write for someone who’s also the star, they just want to increase the size of their part, but he’s really magnanimous in the way he writes,” Theroux says.

Stiller will regularly cut things, even for himself, if they don’t service the film. “He’s good at keeping things as lean as they can possibly be,” Theroux adds.

That’s a hell of a task given the sheer volume of projects Stiller touches, all in various stages of development. Plus he wears multiple hats: In some cases he’s writing, directing and producing; others he’s simply acting, as in the upcoming Noah Baumbach pic “While We’re Young.”

Luckily, he might run hot, but it’s a precision heat.

“He’s got an astounding ability to focus on something; when giving something total attention, he gets a tremendous amount of stuff done,” Cornfeld says.

And the more Red Hour grows, the more defined its Hollywood niche.

“Our films have emotional honesty, no matter how eccentric the manifestation of those emotions,” Cornfeld says. “Like, Derek Zoolander is a narcissistic idiot, but the emotions he’s going through are real. We try to hold on to that.”

Britannia Awards 2011
Bard barbs inspire teens
Honorees
David Yates | Helena Bonham Carter | Warren Beatty | Ben Stiller | John Lasseter

More Film

  • Ava DuVernay Central Park Five

    African American Film Critics Assn. Proclaims 2017 'Year of the Woman'

    Ben Stiller’s work ethic is contagious. Stiller, whom BAFTA/LA is honoring with the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy, has the uncanny ability to take on multiple things at once and do them all well. “He runs extremely hot when he’s working, and you definitely have to run as hot as he does,” says […]

  • ‘Working Above The Line’ panel, The

    Academy's Third Annual Careers in Film Summit Inspires Young Creatives

    Ben Stiller’s work ethic is contagious. Stiller, whom BAFTA/LA is honoring with the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy, has the uncanny ability to take on multiple things at once and do them all well. “He runs extremely hot when he’s working, and you definitely have to run as hot as he does,” says […]

  • Selma Blair

    Selma Blair's Production Company to Adapt Novel 'The Lost' Into Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ben Stiller’s work ethic is contagious. Stiller, whom BAFTA/LA is honoring with the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy, has the uncanny ability to take on multiple things at once and do them all well. “He runs extremely hot when he’s working, and you definitely have to run as hot as he does,” says […]

  • Ted Sarandos

    Netflix Plans to Release 80 Original Films in 2018

    Ben Stiller’s work ethic is contagious. Stiller, whom BAFTA/LA is honoring with the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy, has the uncanny ability to take on multiple things at once and do them all well. “He runs extremely hot when he’s working, and you definitely have to run as hot as he does,” says […]

  • Busan: Helmer Farooki Sets December Shoot

    Busan: Helmer Farooki Sets December Shoot for 'Saturday Afternoon'

    Ben Stiller’s work ethic is contagious. Stiller, whom BAFTA/LA is honoring with the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy, has the uncanny ability to take on multiple things at once and do them all well. “He runs extremely hot when he’s working, and you definitely have to run as hot as he does,” says […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content