Michael Douglas: ‘Catherine and I are working things out’
LOS ANGELES—“Hopefully, Catherine and I are working things out,” said Michael Douglas in a recent interview, confirming reports that he and Catherine Zeta-Jones have reconciled. “I miss my kids, so I am going to hang out close by.”
“I am looking forward to taking trips with my kids next year,” the actor added in our chat at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. Michael has two kids with Catherine—Dylan, 13, and Carys, 10. “My son is very interested in the Roman Empire and desperate to go to Rome and Israel.”
On whether he thinks more often about his own mortality since his cancer diagnosis in 2010, Michael answered, “Having had stage 4 cancer and going through a period of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, I never thought about it a lot, because I said, let me see first after I do all this. Then, they will test me, and the test says we still have a problem. Then, I will start putting it (his life) in order and think what’s going to happen.”
The actor, who stars with Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline in the comedy, “Last Vegas,” said he plunged into more work instead of cutting back. “When you hide behind your work—I did four pictures this year—I am sure a lot of it has to do with just hiding from that.”
With a smile, he quipped, “I just had my 69th birthday—70 is around the corner. Everyone says, 70 is the new 60. 50 is the new 40. My father’s going to be 100. 100 is the new 90.”
Michael shared that he tried preparing his kids about the media frenzy over his health condition, and the status of his marriage with Catherine. “The other day, I said, ‘You guys might be seeing some magazines and newspapers and read some things about your mom and me. You have to know that these things are not always true.’ My 13-year-old looked at me and said, ‘Huh, you mean like, when I read that you were going to die in three weeks?’ ‘Yeah, like that.’
While he is silver-haired now, Michael looked good. “I have to start with my genes,” he explained. “Kirk is 96. He’s all there. It might be a little hard for him to walk. It’s difficult to understand him after his second vodka. But, his humor is there, and he always rises to the occasion.”
In “Last Vegas,” which was directed by Jon Turteltaub, Michael and his three costars play friends who’ve known each other since childhood and reunite in the famous Nevada city. He said that he considers himself “a really good friend.” “I could only mirror my friends, who are people I have known, either in college, which I graduated from in 1968, or people like Danny DeVito—we were roommates together in New York in 1968—and Jack Nicholson, whom I have known since ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ so I have old friends. The nice thing about old friends is that they know you before your successes. So, you are not worried and cautious.”
“But, lately, I have been fortunate to have made a couple of new friends,” he said. “The magic of a movie like ‘Last Vegas’ is that none of us had ever worked together before. The greatest treat was that, by the end of the first week of shooting this movie, we all realized that we liked each other—there was no competition! We are older and past that point.
“One of the tougher scenes I’ve had to do,” Michael joked about a bikini judging contest scene, in which the host suddenly dropped his pants in front of Robert De Niro, whom he calls “Bobby.” “I was sitting next to Bobby,” he recounted. “This guy jumped up and put his Speedos on Bobby’s face. I thought, ‘This guy is brave!’ Bobby didn’t pull a gun out. The director surprised Bobby with that one, and he had a great reaction from Bobby. We had fun!”
We asked for his best memories of Las Vegas. “Frank Sinatra was a good friend of my father,” he began. “I remember having dinner and meeting Sinatra’s new wife, Mia Farrow, who was one or two years older than I was. Talk about age differences. At the time, I was thinking, ‘How do I address her? Do we talk about college?”
“Dean Martin was also my father’s very close friend,” he added. I just remember how comfortable they felt here. Those guys were road rats—they were most comfortable performing. But, when they weren’t touring, being here (in Las Vegas) gave them an environment that kept them at ease.”
If a fountain of youth did exist, would he drink from it? “With the things that I know now, which I wish I knew a long time ago, I am all for it,’ Michael replied. “I feel fortunate. I tell my children that they’re going to live to be 110, for sure. It’s a question of what are you going to do with all those years. It’s a big problem, because we are going to be a living a lot longer!”
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