A Word With: Danny DeVito on the Joys of Getting Down and Dirty

What do you love about Frank?

I don’t know what it is about Frank. He’s got the Midas touch, but he misses living in squalor. The one line that got me hooked to do the show was that I had a scene with Charlie Day, and I say I’ve done everything in the world, I’ve made so much money illegally and legally, and “Let me come and live with you, man. I miss living in this Bohemian style.” Maybe in Frank’s eyes it was Bohemian. To other people it might be just way, way, way low-rent. Frank was a hippie in the early ’60s. He shared beds and futons or whatever the hell they had in crash pads. That might be the most romantic time of his life. And now it’s just you sleep in a saggy bed with Charlie, you play “Night Crawlers.” I don’t know how you beat that.

You’re a proud New Jersey native who’s been pushing to pass a tax incentive for movie productions in the state.

I think it’s really great for the economy, it’s good for people, it’s good for jobs, it’s good for education, it’s good for everything. And I think Gov. [Philip D.] Murphy is behind it. It will bring film production all up and down New Jersey, and there’s so many diverse, wonderful places to shoot. You have the beach, you have the woods, you have the Pine Barrens, you have the cities, you have everything that you would need. It seems like a no brainer to encourage an industry and young people into creating art.

Nov. 17, your birthday, has been proclaimed Danny DeVito Day in New Jersey.

The Jersey Shore has always been my anchor, my home. I love it so much. I can’t tell you the gift it was being born in Jersey. I was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame [in 2010] and that was huge. I’m sorry my parents aren’t around to see that. Then this great honor down in Asbury, the governor giving me that, that’s really special for me.

How would you like us to celebrate your big day?

Oh God, what makes you feel really, really good? I want you to do whatever makes you feel really good. That would make me happy. Just think of Danny a little bit while you’re doing it.

Are you coming home for the occasion?

You know actors. You invite them to dinner. They come late. Who knows if they’re going to show up? Don’t get the hopes and dreams up in the actor department. You know how many actors it takes to screw in a light bulb, right?

No.

One. He holds onto the light bulb and the world revolves around him.

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