Ben Stiller: Casting Barbra

While preparing to shoot Meet the Fockers, director Jay Roach suggested that Ben Stiller call Barbra Streisand and try to persuade her to assume the role of Mrs. Focker in the goofy comedy. "But you've got to call her right now," he said, "because if she says no we've got cast the part."

Stiller nervously got on the phone. "She's like, 'Hey, hi,'" he recalled. "I'm like, 'Hi.' She said, 'Where are you calling from?' And I don't know where this came from but I said, 'London.'... I was in the Valley but I thought it would sound like I was a jet-setter or make me sound more impressive or something. And she's like, 'Oh, London, wow. What are you doing there?' I tried to think of something British so I said, 'I'm being measured for a wax figure at Madame Tusseaud's.' Then she goes, 'Oh, well how's Renaldo?' -- the master waxman, Renaldo. I'm like, 'He's not doing me. Chuck is doing me...' Then she's like, 'Where are you staying?' I'm like, 'The Ritz!' -- that sounds British...

"Then we started talking about the part... And then she gets beeped and she goes, 'Oh, I'm sorry, that's my husband. Can I call you right back? I'll call you at the Ritz.' So I panicked and I blew up and I said, 'You know what, Barbra? I don't have time to talk to you all day about whether you want to do this! Now either you're in or you're out! Get back to me!' And I hung up."

The result? "It worked. And now I think if you ever want someone to do something, just blow up -- and tell them you're in a foreign country!"

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