Michael Douglas knew time was running out if he was ever going to star in a movie with his dad — so when he did it, he made it an all-out family affair.
Douglas, 58, who just became a father for a third time, united three generations in It Runs In The Family, opening today.
The most obvious missing member of his clan is his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, who gave birth last weekend to a daughter. Carys Zeta Douglas joins brother Dylan Michael, 2 ½, and Cameron, 24, from Douglas' first marriage.
Now that he's got two little ones to raise, Douglas reflects on his own father — 86-year-old Kirk Douglas.
"I've been able to achieve a fair degree of success in my own right and have a pretty good relationship and understanding with my father," says Douglas, boasting that his real family has nothing in common with the dysfunctional one they portray in their movie.
"In the movie, Alex Gromberg [his character] plays a son who really has never achieved the kind of success … His father's always critical of him and has never given him a pat on the back, where as I can't say that about dad; he's really supportive to me in all my endeavors."
A Douglas Family Production
It Runs in the Family is definitely a family affair. Kirk and Michael are joined by Cameron, Michael's son, and Diana Douglas, Michael's mother and Kirk's ex-wife.
Famous for his chiseled features and roles in films like Spartacus, the elder Douglas has made few on-screen appearances since 1996, when he suffered a stroke that plunged him in deep depression.
But father and son clearly enjoyed working together. Out promoting the film, they took on reporters as a would-be comedy team, teasing each other mercilessly, yet playfully.
Asked if he liked to work with his dad again, Michael said, "He's a pain in the ass and I know his line; he will say he is difficult."
Kirk's reply: "Burt Lancaster once introduced me by saying, 'Kirk Douglas is the first to admit he is difficult to work with, and I will be the second.' "
Other than an uncredited appearance in the 1966 war flick Cast a Giant Shadow, Michael has never appeared in film with his dad, and he wanted to make that happen, especially after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
"I was here in New York when that disaster happened and like a lot of people around the world, I just had a desire to get kind of closer to my family," he said.
Reporting for Diaper Duty
Right now, Michael Douglas is focused on his duties as dad. While much has been made of the fact that he is 25 years older than his wife, Douglas feels he's at the perfect place to appreciate being a husband and father.
"A lot of times, when you have kids early in your life, you're trying to establish your own career, your own ambitions … and that takes up a lot of time," he said.
"But at this point in your life, you know, you feel like you've accomplished what you want, so really your ambitions are to be as good a father and a husband as you can, and your career comes in kind of third."
Zeta-Jones just took home an Oscar for her work in Chicago, and now the couple is ready for a domestic break.
"I'm a super diaper changer," boasted Douglas. "I must say it's one aspect I feel pretty secure about. I've been there for the birth of all my kids and don't have any problem changing diapers."