Patton Oswalt ('Big Fan')
Paul Aufiero (Oswalt), a 35-year-old parking-garage attendant from working-class Staten Island, is the self described "world's biggest New York Giants fan."
One night Paul and his best friend, Sal (Kevin Corrigan), spot star Giants linebacker Quantrell Bishop at a gas station in Staten Island. They impulsively follow his SUV into Manhattan to a strip club, where they finally muster up the courage to talk to their hero.
What starts out as a dream come true turns into a nightmare as a misunderstanding ignites a violent confrontation, and Paul is sent down a path that will test his devotion to the extreme.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Patton once again, this time about 'Big Fan' - and my first question was that as his new film was one very serious drama piece, and not what was expected when his face and name were plastered across the advertising for it, did he think his comedic fans were going to get this whole other side of him? [Patton] "We'll see. I'm naively hoping that, were you a fan of a one facet of a person, you'd be intrigued to see others. Wait -- how did The Razor's Edge with Bill Murray do?!"
I know that Robert Siegel came to you and only you with this script, but did he explain why you were his only go-to actor for the role of 'Paul Aufiero'? "Uh, I'm not sure that's true. I think it had been bounced around for a few years. It came down to me and CCH Pounder, and she decided to sign on to play The Flash, so I lucked out."
And as the original script you read was entitled, 'Paul Aufiero' at what point did it change - and did you have a hand in it, perhaps? "I'm not exactly sure when that happened. Sometime during filming, I'm sure. I think I was probably busy getting tea or something."
Growing up, did you yourself ever call in to these kind of sports radio shows to voice an opinion? "No, but I'd listen to a guy in Washington, D.C. named Ken Beatrice. Well, my dad would, and I'd watch my dad listening to it, because Ken (and his callers) would always crack him up."
Did you ever wear your favorite teams sports jersey and if so, whose name was on the back? "Man, I never followed sports. I wore a Belinda Carlisle scrunchie all through high school, though."
I have to say that Serafina Fiore's boobs were a recurring and very pleasant fixture of the movie! Those must have been fun days on set!! "They're filled with unfinished chapters from The Masters of Atlantis, which is one of my favorite books, so there was always good reading material available."
The strip club beat down was unexpected, to say the least - but just when your character was given the chance to change his life forever re: the law suit, he sinks deeper within himself, into his own world instead. To play this character, so cloistered within his own shell, did it leave you drained at end of each days filming? "Well, the cast and other crew members were always so nice and fun to be around that, at the end of the day, I'd always be in a good mood. Some specific scenes would leave me drained -- some of the on-the-phone scenes, for sure..."
What was up with that Coke and tons of sugar drink that you poured yourself at the diner?! Is that a true favorite mix of yours in real life? "Good Lord, no. Robert suggested that -- either from his own life, or something he saw and which subsequently burned itself, forever, in his memory. Yikes!"
Whose house were all the you and your mother scenes filmed in, as it looked real and very much lived in? "Oh yeah, those were the real deal. In fact, Paul's room was the room of a 50 year-old single man who still lived at home with his parents. Those sheets...those sheets..."
In one of the closing scenes, you are face-painted in the Eagles colors at the bar - but between the shiny colors, the sweat, the angered, pained look, and your maniacal laugh, man, you came across like a distant cousin of the clown from 'It' for a moment there! Did wearing that face-paint allow you to become someone else, a true version of what that character must actually have been feeling at that time, perhaps? "Huh, I never thought of that. Maybe that's why The Insane Clown Posse are so weirdly good at math when they're in full make-up."
Lastly, with regard 'Big Fan,' is that really a bunny that runs across the front of the screen at the very onset of the film in the underground packing lot?! "It's a rat!"
Your role in the seriously under-rated 'Dollhouse' as Joel Mynor was brilliant - so subtle, so calmly played - was that a fun afternoon spent on set with those guys? "Just getting to meet Joss was amazing. Oh, and making out with Eliza."
Being that this is the 10th Anniversary of the creation of 'Spongebob Squarepants,' and knowing you appeared as Jim The Fry Cook for an episode back in '07, what was it about that show that enabled them to get your vocal talents on board? "Their willingness to pay me. Also, I love the show..."
I know you have a new book with Simon & Schuster coming out soon - can you tell us more about it and what we are to expect from it? As, you once said that you had a romance novel inside you, but paid three sailors to beat it out of you with steel pipes! So, I'm assuming that it isn't anything romantic?! "It's a stealth autobiography, with plenty of lies to make it interesting."
Your soon-to-be-released new DVD, 'My Weakness Is Strong' (08/25) includes a one hour stand-up special and some short films. Please elaborate more on the latter "Oh, I want to keep those secret. They'll slowly drift out onto the internet. But I want people to discover 'em themselves."
Finally, we're hearing fantastic things about newcomer Adam Goldstein and his movie called, 'The Snake,' and knowing you have an inside track to him, was wondering what your own thoughts are on where this man is headed? "Hopefully, to more and more film work. He's one of the best comedic actors I've seen in a long time, and the fact he's such a sharp writer and director? Sheesh. I'm helping him and his partner, Eric Kutner, out for purely selfish reasons. I'm a film buff, and I want more good movies to be made, so that's why I'm helping 'em."
Take care, be well, our best to Michelle, Alice and (of course) Grumpus, and we wish you all the best for the future, my friend "Thank you, Russell."
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Back To Archives