Michael Douglas & Alan Arkin Tease 'Kominsky Method' Season 2... And Each Other
Alan Arkin is having trouble hearing. But before you make any assumptions about the 85-year-old's auditory senses, we can confirm it's just a bad phone connection.
A few weeks before The Kominsky Method's return, Arkin and costar Michael Douglas, 75, both called TV Guide Magazine: Arkin rang us up from Nova Scotia, where he has a home, while Douglas, on his cellphone outside somewhere in New York, sounded like he was underwater. "I can [barely] hear him. But that's OK. I know what he's going to say," Arkin quips.
The Oscar winners were both eager to discuss Season 2 of creator Chuck Lorre's Emmy-nominated comedy about dedicated acting teacher Sandy Kominsky (Douglas) and his best friend of four decades, grumpy agent and widower Norman Newlander (Arkin).
As the characters continue to navigate their golden years in youth-obsessed Los Angeles, the actors are joined by new guest stars Jane Seymour (Madelyn, an old flame of Norman's), Paul Reiser (Martin, the older lover of Sandy's daughter) and frequent Douglas costar Kathleen Turner (Ruth, one of Sandy's ex-wives). The two men crack us up — and take cracks at each other.
Your show has struck a chord with critics and viewers alike. Why do you think it's so popular?
Michael Douglas: There's not a lot of comedies about getting older and not a lot of comedies as well-written as this. The idea of finding humor in getting older got me to sign up. You usually hear a lot of kvetching and complaining.
Season 2 deals with aging issues including death, memory loss — how do you make that humorous?
Alan Arkin: My sense of it is as I get older, more and more of the things we talk about on the show become funny. Surviving something makes it funny. If you die, it's not so funny. [Both laugh]
Douglas: I'm surprised at how many young people enjoy the show.
What do younger fans tell you?
Douglas: They enjoy the humor and feel comfortable with the characters. They feel like they know them — they've all got older family members.
How much are you like Sandy and Norman?
Douglas: Sandy is impulsive, and I have the ability to get through something by acting on emotion. I would have loved to teach acting; that's one of my strengths. And most of my friends I've known for 40 years — that's something Sandy and I share.
Arkin: I don't think I'm a lot like Norman. I might have been when I was younger. [Laughs] My wife is healthy. I don't think I'm particularly negative.
You do seem to share the same dry humor.
Arkin: I guess I do. My favorite aspect of Norman is that he can be slyly, wickedly funny.
You both have intimate scenes: Michael, with Nancy Travis, who plays on-and-off girlfriend Lisa, and Alan, with Jane. How is filming those bedroom moments now versus earlier in your careers?
Douglas: The big difference now is if you do a bedroom scene, it's not to be sexy. It's to be funny. No [viewer] is getting turned on at the end of the scene!
Arkin: My favorite little joke about that, which I feel embodies a lot of what goes on in the show: "Hey, come upstairs and make love to me." And the answer: "One or the other." [Laughs]
Michael and Alan, you have extraordinary chemistry onscreen. When did you two first meet?
Arkin: We had lunch a couple weeks before we started.
Douglas: I was a little nervous. Alan was wearing socks with sandals, so I didn't know what to expect.
Arkin: It's a lie! I only do that on formal occasions.
Did you click immediately?
Douglas: Lunch was just OK. But from the first moment we worked together, I was like, "Wow! This is going to be great." People can't believe we didn't know each other before.
Arkin: I've always admired Michael, but I didn't particularly picture us working together. I got an enormous kick seeing him in his costume as Kominsky, though, and I thought the persona he was jumping into was going to be very endearing and different from anything I'd seen him do. And it kept escalating from there. Working with him has been a sheer delight.
Douglas: Right back at you. I'm a little jealous of Alan, I admit. His delivery is just too good sometimes.
Arkin: [Laughs] I'm giving Michael lessons. Every day we have a seminar.
Douglas: [Sarcastically] Right.
Arkin: He needs my help. Very badly. [Laughs]
The Kominsky Method, Season 2 Premiere, Friday, October 25, Netflix