Director Rob Reiner Plays Not My Job

Jun 22, 2012
Originally published on June 23, 2012 12:08 pm

Rob Reiner is an accomplished writer, director and actor. He's directed more than 20 movies, including some undeniable classics: A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride and of course, the movie that many will quote until they're old and gray, This Is Spinal Tap.

Reiner has said Stand by Me is his proudest accomplishment. To celebrate that film, we're going to ask him three questions about people he definitely doesn't want to stand by.

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Now the part of our show where we invite on impressive people and ask them to pretend to be impressed with us. Rob Reiner is an accomplished writer, a director and an actor. He's directed over 20 movies including some undeniable classics: "A Few Good Men," "When Harry Met Sally," "The Princess Bride" and of course, the movie that my friends and I will quote until we're old and gray, "This is Spinal Tap."

Rob Reiner, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!


ROB REINER: Thank you. Thank you very much.

GROSZ: It's very, very good to have you.

REINER: It's great to be here.

GROSZ: You have had, as I said, this incredible career in movies. You're directed so many, so many classics and you're known so well for all of these things. Have you finally shaken the name "Meathead?"

REINER: Clearly, I haven't.

GROSZ: You have not.


REINER: Clearly I haven't because you just called me that.

GROSZ: Yeah, exactly.

REINER: It's part of my over as they say.

GROSZ: Yes, and obviously something to be proud of, "All in the Family" was a terrific show.

REINER: I am. I'm very, very proud of it.

GROSZ: Are there people, though, I mean I guess of a certain generation there are people that you're indelibly locked in their mind as this character, right?

REINER: Yeah, absolutely, and thanks to Nick at Night and TV Land, the legacy continues.

GROSZ: Right. Who's the youngest person you've ever had address you as "Meathead?" Can you think of that?

REINER: I had a fetus one time say...


REINER: It was kind of garbled, though. You couldn't quite make it out. I knew that's what they were saying.


GROSZ: You know, so many of your movies specifically have very quotable lines. From "I'll have what she's having," or, you know, "turn it up to 11," or, you know, how many times do you ask a waiter for something and he turns to you and he says "as you wish?"


GROSZ: I mean there's so many lines from your movies that are quotable. Do you go for that? Do you grab the script and scream at the writer?

REINER: No, no, you know, you just make a movie and you put these things in. And you never know what's going to - you know, "I'll have what she's having" was a line that Billy Crystal came up with in that scene. We didn't - my mother, you know, is the one who delivered that line.

GROSZ: Yes. Maybe people didn't know that Rob's mother...

PAULA POUNDSTONE: No, I didn't realize that.

REINER: And I loved the fact that she is now immortalized along with, you know, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

GROSZ: Yeah.


REINER: You know, "I could have been a contender." Marlon Brando, Clark Gable and Estelle Reiner, they're all...

GROSZ: Yeah, exactly.


REINER: Part of the firmament.


GROSZ: Exactly. She's kind of this one-hit wonder.


POUNDSTONE: Well, she wanted to be in "A Few Good Men" didn't she?

REINER: Yes. I told her that, you know, I told her she - you're not right for the part. She said "you can't handle the truth."


REINER: She tried to do it. She kept saying it. I said, no, Mom, I don't think it's going to work.

GROSZ: Did you think early on, because you started, you were a writer for "The Smothers Brothers Show."


POUNDSTONE: Oh, I didn't know that.

GROSZ: And, obviously, you know, with your dad being Carl Reiner, for those who don't know, was that...

REINER: My dad's Carl Reiner?

GROSZ: Oh gosh.


REINER: Oh my god, I didn't know.

GROSZ: Cat out of bag.

LUKE BURBANK: Someone owes a lot of child support.


BURBANK: You're just finding that out now.

GROSZ: Exactly. I mean, you know, you kind of went into the family business, as it were.


GROSZ: Did you think I want to be a comedy guy, or were you just thinking oh, I want to get into entertainment, it looks like fun? How did you approach it?

REINER: Well, first of all, you know, I want to thank my dad for not being a proctologist.


REINER: Because that's a family business I don't want to go in.

GROSZ: Yeah.

REINER: No, it was just, you know I mean it was around me, and, you know, I looked up to my dad and I wanted to do what he did.

I mean, he tells a story about when I was, like, 8-years-old, I came up to him and I told him I wanted to change my name. And he was, oh my god, this poor kid, you know, the legacy and having to live up to the name. And he says what do you want to change your name to? I said Carl.


REINER: So I really wanted to be like him ever since I was a little kid.

POUNDSTONE: You know what, I want to change my name to Carl Reiner.

REINER: All right.

POUNDSTONE: Oh my god, he's so great.

BRIAN BABYLON: You'd get some pretty good service.

BURBANK: You're going to get a really different crowd at your shows at the Mohegan Sun.


GROSZ: Now, you have directed two movies, right, based on Stephen King novels, "Misery" and "Stand by Me."

REINER: Right.

GROSZ: And your production company is called Castle Rock Entertainment and Castle Rock is the fictional town where King sets many of his novels.

REINER: Right, and "Stand by Me" is up there, yeah.

GROSZ: Yeah, now would you describe yourself as a fan or a crazy stalker?

REINER: Somewhere in between actually.

GROSZ: Yeah.

REINER: I mean, you know, I actually love Stephen King's writing. I mean, we, actually, at Castle Rock, we've made seven movies out of Stephen King books. We also did "Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile" and "Dolores Claiborne" and a number of them.


GROSZ: Yeah.

REINER: Most of the movies we've done, though, are ones - we've done a couple that have supernatural elements to it, but most of them are character based.

GROSZ: Yeah.

REINER: He does those every once in a while. He's a brilliant writer. If you strip away the horror, you know, aspects and the supernatural aspects of it, he's really a brilliant writer. The characters are really well drawn. His dialogue is great. So, yeah, I'm a big fan of his.

BURBANK: Could you get him on the phone because he sounds fascinating?


REINER: You want him to play this game? The first time I ever met Stephen King, he came up to me and we went to shake hands and he had like this fake rubber rat that he kind of, you know, shook at me. You know, and I said, no, this is a cliché, this can't be. Stephen King is trying to scare me with a fake rat? It was just really weird.

BABYLON: Hey Rob, can you answer a question for me real quick?


BABYLON: In the movie "Misery" and she finds this guy in the snowdrift, right?


BABYLON: Now, was this just her lucky day? I always wondered that. Like she finds this guy in a snowdrift and takes him home and then, you know, she's a super fan. Was she stalking him...

BURBANK: Super fan is being pretty generous.

REINER: Well, you know, that's a very good question because it wasn't her lucky day. The fact is in our mind and the back story is she was such a big fan, she knew that he would write at this Silver Creek Lodge all the time and she moved into that area because she would always kind of stalk him and look at him.

So I think she was always trying to, you know, tracking him and trying to, you know, meet him. She was like this crazy stalker fan.

BABYLON: That's been bothering me for years, man. All right, thanks.


REINER: I'm glad I cleared that up for you.

BABYLON: Thank you, Rob.

GROSZ: That has been cleared up. OK, well let's move on. Rob Reiner, we have asked you here to play a game that we are calling?

CARL KASELL: Don't stand by me. Stand somewhere else.


GROSZ: Now we've heard that you feel like "Stand by Me" is one of your proudest accomplishments. And to celebrate...

REINER: It is. It is, absolutely.

GROSZ: Yes, it's a great move. And to celebrate it, we're going to ask you three questions about people you definitely do not want to stand by.


GROSZ: If you get two out of the three of them correctly, you're going to win our prize for one of our listeners. That is Carl's voice on their voicemail. Carl, who is Rob Reiner playing for?

KASELL: Rob is playing for Jeff Barney from Zushi, Japan



REINER: Wait a minute, from Sushi, Japan?

BURBANK: Is that a sister city with Burrito, Mexico?


GROSZ: It's already tomorrow in Japan, so Jeff knows whether or not he's won or not.


GROSZ: Are you ready to go, Rob?

REINER: Yes, I'm ready.

GROSZ: Terrific.

REINER: I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

GROSZ: Here's your first question. One person you don't want to stand next to is Hitler. There are lots of reasons, but specifically we're looking for one. Why? Is it A: According to newly released records, he had terrible, terrible gas?

REINER: Right.

GROSZ: B: His dander gave people Nazi cooties?



GROSZ: Or C: He was a very big tickler?


REINER: You know, I'm going to say that Hitler was a farter.

GROSZ: Yeah, OK.


REINER: I'm going to just go with A, big old...


REINER: Hitler.


GROSZ: Well, fortunately for us and that hilarious noise, that's correct.


REINER: It is.

GROSZ: Yeah.


BABYLON: That's old news. It's old news.

GROSZ: Not to us.

REINER: Did Sushi man win a prize?

GROSZ: Not yet, not yet. We're getting there. We're getting there.

POUNDSTONE: You're putting the cart before the horse there a little bit.

GROSZ: Exactly.

REINER: All right.

GROSZ: We have some more questions about Franco's halitosis.


GROSZ: OK, so if you get one of the next two, we will win the prize for the man from Zushi.


GROSZ: OK, here's your next question. You would not want to stand next to Gary Busey, of course, because he's crazy.


GROSZ: He once showed up to shoot a scene on a movie set made to look like heaven, and what happened?

Was it A: he refused to wear pants, saying, "to me, Heaven means one thing: no pants." Was it B: he refused to shoot, saying "I've been to heaven, and it doesn't look like this? The sofa's all wrong." Or was it C: He mistakenly thought he was actually was in heaven, and said "hey, it turns out you can kill a bunch of guys and still get in here!"


REINER: Oh god. I'm going to go with B.

GROSZ: B: he refused to shoot, saying he's been to heaven and it doesn't...

REINER: It doesn't look like this.

GROSZ: That is correct.

REINER: It is?

GROSZ: Yeah.



REINER: Oh my god.

GROSZ: All right, here is your last question, Rob.

REINER: But I already won, didn't I?


REINER: You said it. You said you have to win two out of three.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, but...

GROSZ: I'll tell you...

REINER: OK, all right, go ahead.

GROSZ: Let me tell you something also...

REINER: Number three.

GROSZ: Here's another piece of inspiration. Your father, Carl Reiner was on this show before and he got two.

REINER: He got two. OK.

GROSZ: Yeah.

REINER: It's a chance to beat dad.

GROSZ: It's time to best the old man.


REINER: It's time to change your name to Carl, I guess, and best your old man.


GROSZ: All right, here's the last question. You definitely don't want to stand next to Gwyneth Paltrow either. She'd be constantly giving you advice. As in her recommendation for what you should get the man in your life.

Is it A: a $3,500 rug with a silhouette of his face on it. So he can walk on his own face. B: a $3,500 donation in his name to a charity that has people cut their hair and give it to celebrities? Or C: a $3,500 all expense paid weekend with Gary Busey?


REINER: I'm going to go with B.

GROSZ: You're going to go with B.

REINER: The charitable donation.

GROSZ: OK, well you are equal to your father, Carl, because that is not the right answer.

REINER: Not the answer.

GROSZ: I'm sorry. It is the face rug.

REINER: The face rug.

GROSZ: The face rug. Somewhere, Chris Martin is weeping into a rug of his own face.

REINER: Oh my god.


GROSZ: I know.

REINER: Gwyneth Paltrow, what a...



REINER: Can you say that on NPR?

GROSZ: Well, the most important part is Carl let's check the score. How did Rob Reiner do?

KASELL: So Rob had two correct answers, and that's enough to win for Jeff Barney.

GROSZ: That's right, you did it.



GROSZ: Good job.


GROSZ: Rob Reiner's new movie is "The Magic of Belle Isle," and it comes out on July 6th. Rob Reiner, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you.

REINER: Thank you so much for having me.

GROSZ: Thank you so much. Bye-bye.


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