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Paul Reiser Explores Fatherhood

1 Mar, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

For Paul Reiser, The Thing About My Folks not only represents a personal story, it's the culmination of a 20-year writing project and a dream acting partnership with Peter Falk.

The poignant and funny story of family dynamics tagged to a fateful father-son fishing trip streeted last week from New Line Home Entertainment.

“I had the idea for 20 years,” Reiser said. “And every couple of years, I would start to write it, then put it away.”

The father from the movie is based in part on Reiser's dad, who passed away, and partially on Falk, whom Reiser grew up watching on TV.

“He was the only actor, the only guy I ever really loved,” Reiser said.

The actor starred in and wrote the film, but never thought of directing it himself.

“I think writing it was the catharsis, and everything after that was truly icing on the cake,” he said. “And frankly, I wanted someone else's input, I wanted someone else to take the reins, which freed me to go and play with Peter.”

Reiser turned the film into a family affair, enlisting his three sisters for bit parts.

“They got their SAG cards because of me,” he joked.

The major plot elements are fictitious, but little things, like some conversations between the father and son characters, are straight out of Reiser's experiences with his dad.

He was fairly sure the film would appeal to men his age who had similar experiences with their father-son relationships. But what surprised him, watching audience reactions at film festivals, was how much The Thing About My Folks seems to affect everyone who sees it.

“The one thing we heard at the end of screenings is, ‘I've got to go hug my kids and call my parents,’ he said.

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