Charlie Matthau began his career in 1973, appearing alongside his father Walter Matthau in such films as Charley Varrick, The Bad News Bears, and House Calls. Charlie made his directorial debut in the film Doin Time on Planet Earth. He also directed The Grass Harp, Her Minor Thing, Baby-O, and most recently Freaky Deaky, as well as several network movies of the week. A man of multiple talents, over the course his career he has worked as an actor, director, producer, and writer. He currently runs The Matthau Company ( http://matthau.com/ ).
What were you like as a child? Did you always have a love for things…creative?
I always loved storytelling.
What was it like growing up Matthau so to speak?
I was very lucky because I had very loving parents. they were a little older when they had me, and thus more mature.
What was your father like as an individual?
The best dad you can imagine. My best friend. We did everything together!
What was the best advice he ever gave you? What would you say is the most important thing you learned from him?
So many things! probably not to take yourself that seriously.
Did you enjoy being a child actor? What was it like to work with your father at that time?
I never really liked acting. I’m too shy. My father made it fun though. he always said “acting is about listening.”
What made you decide to try your hand at directing?
My father made a film in the early 70’s with a director named Don Seigal. He was a lovely man and liked kids. I followed him around all summer and wanted to be just like him. Then I started playing around with a super 8 movie camera.
As someone who has worked as an actor, producer, director, and writer is there one you prefer over the others?
Directing, then writing, then producing.
How do you think the industry has changed most since you became part of it?
The studios make less films and the marketing budgets have soured so that less interesting films are being made. In the 1970’s films were more director driven. Now they are 200 million dollar comic books with merchandizing and sequels, and geared towards 13 year olds. I like those films also, but there used to be more variety.
Do you have any interesting stories over the course of your career that you’d not mind sharing with our readers?
I’ve a lot but I’d need a topic.
Are there any little know facts about yourself that the world might be surprised to learn?
I was a duck in a past life.
Are you still on the board of sponsors for the Action on Smoking and Health? Why do you think it is so important to sponsor such causes?
Because smoking kills one in three smokers. We need a national tobacco tax with the money going to cancer research.
What projects are you currently working on?
The Sugar Shack, which is a very silly but fun comedy that is basically “anchorman” set in a male strip club. Also an amazing, original, charming coming of age story called Huge which is Little Miss Sunshine meets My Girl. It’s based on a book by James Feurst. We also have several tv series that we are developing including Mexican High based on the book by Lisa Monroy.
How do you hope to be remembered when your time comes?
By being remembered.
Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
It has been an honor being interviewed by you and I also appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read it.