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Matthew Broderick on ‘Bee Movie,’ ‘Sex and the City,’ and Playing Ping-Pong With Kenneth Lonergan

Photo: WireImage

In this week's issue of New York, Jada Yuan talks with Bee Movie's Matthew Broderick. In case that Q&A only whets your appetite, we’ve got more, including further discussion of Bee Movie, no spoilers at all about Sex and the City, and — perhaps most exciting — a conversation about Broderick's upcoming stage collaboration with Kenneth Lonergan, The Starry Messenger.

What ideas didn’t make it into the movie?
We had a musical number at one point, but that got cut out. I think just because the story didn’t want to stop for that. It wasn’t that it was bad. And it’s still after the credits. You can hear a little singing. That was fun.

Did you ever think about doing an actual B-movie, really low-tech, with you and Jerry just running around in giant bee costumes?
I didn’t think of that. But that would take away the pleasure of doing an animated movie, which is that you don’t have to put on anything. You can do it in your pajamas.

Were you surprised with how you looked in bee form?
I have very nice glasses in the movie. I think I’m more smiley than I thought. I thought I read it more grumpy, but when I saw it, I was so smiley. But I like the way I look. I actually thought the whole movie looked very cool. The hive world is very interesting. And Central Park has never looked better.

The park has never seen so many flowers.
I know. They’d be killed. Boy, will tourists be surprised.

How has jumping back into the Sex and the City fray affected your household?
Well, I haven’t been there the last two weeks. It’s fine. It’s just that she’s very busy, so she’s out a lot, which is challenging with our son. I don’t know how, but she’s managing.

Does she often come home in strange outfits?
No. That’s funny. You’re not the first person to ask me that. By any means. No. She actually changes at work.

Does she tell you the plots?
You know, I know things. I don’t know if there’s a vow of secrecy, but I’m certainly not going to tell you anything.

How will you cope with the Hollywood strike?
Well, I’m meant to do a play in February, The Starry Messenger with Kenny Lonergan, at the Manhattan Theater Club, so I don’t think the strike will affect me. Although I think there’s a stagehand strike looming, too. But if I get hit from both sides, I guess I’ll have to stop. Which is fine with me. I wouldn’t mind a little break.

You and Kenneth have been friends your entire lives, right?
Since we were 15. We went to high school together. And we did lots of plays in high school. And I’ve done little parts in two of his movies — Margaret and You Can Count on Me — and now this.

Is it weird working with your best friend?
Well, I’ve never worked with him directing a play. But it’s not weird. I always try to work with him. I love him. And he’s an absolutely wonderful writer. When he’s writing or working with me, he very often does readings at his house because he likes to hear things, so I’ve done that just endlessly for him. It’s always fun to do.

Are you hammering out the script together?
He’ll control the script very much. But I’m sure he’ll ask me things and we’ll be collaborative. We always are. He’ll know when he starts hearing it out loud, what to cut. But it’s a wonderful play. It doesn’t feel like it needs a lot of work or anything.

What will you do after the show, eight times a week?
We used to play pinball, a lot of pinball. It’ll be great. But he’s the director, so he’s not going to have to show up eight nights a week like me. But I’m sure he’ll show up a lot. You know, we’ll go out afterward and eat and drink like we always do and that should be a lot of fun.

Do you still play games?
In the summer we play Ping-Pong sometimes. We don’t seem to play games too much anymore. We swim. He loves the ocean.

Who wins at Ping-Pong?
We’re very even. We’re the same height. We’re both half-Irish, half-Jewish. We’re almost even.

And that affects your Ping-Pong-playing abilities?
It seems to.
—Jada Yuan

Busy Bee: Matthew Broderick [NYM]