Kristen Wiig and Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Ben Stiller will return to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for a three-day survey of his work as a filmmaker. Ben Stiller Directs, taking place December 6 – 8, will spotlight Stiller's work behind the camera. His latest film, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, had its World Premiere as the Centerpiece screening of the recent 51st New York Film Festival and will screen again in the five-film series next month.
Stiller will take part in the survey, participating in a Q&A following the Walter Mitty screening and introducing fashionista farce (and cult favorite) Zoolander (2001). The series also includes the Generation X-centered Reality Bites (1994), dark cult comedy The Cable Guy (1996), and Tropic Thunder (2008).
“It goes without saying that Ben Stiller is one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, as well as a fearless performer with a gift for turning anxiety into comedy and back again,” said Dennis Lim, Film Society's Director of Cinematheque Programming. “But what doesn’t get said often enough—and what we wanted to acknowledge with this retrospective—is that he has also long been an inventive, risk-taking filmmaker.”
Ben Stiller’s acting credits include There's Something About Mary, Meet the Parents, The Royal Tenenbaums, Flirting with Disaster, Night at the Museum, Greenberg, and Noah Baumbach's While We're Young, which he is currently filming opposite Naomi Watts. He also co-created, with Judd Apatow, the Emmy Award-winning series The Ben Stiller Show. Following his first visit to Haiti with Save the Children in 2009, Stiller has been committed to raising money for schools in the country through his StillerStrong campaign, and more recently with The Stiller Foundation. In 2010, Stiller was recognized by Time Magazine for his philanthropic work as one of the TIME 100.
Ben Stiller's Zoolander. Image courtesy of the Kobal Collection.
Tickets are now on sale. For The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, tickets are $20 for General Public and $15 for Film Society Members. For the other films screening in Ben Stiller Directs, tickets are just $10 for General Public and $7 for Students, Seniors (62+) and Film Society Members.
Films, Descriptions and Schedule:
The Cable Guy
Ben Stiller, 35mm, USA, 1996; 96m
Stiller showed his flair for dark material with this wily, disturbing psychodrama about the sinister relationship between a creepy cable installer (Jim Carrey at his greatest) and an unsuspecting customer (Matthew Broderick, in a terrific straight-man performance). Writing in 2011 in The New York Times, Dave Kehr called this “a seminal film…for the striking new tone it helped to establish.”
Sunday, December 8, 9:15pm
Ben Stiller, 35mm, USA, 1994; 99m
Winona Ryder leads a cast of Generation X-ers in Stiller’s era-defining debut, a tender romantic comedy and a self-aware portrait of youthful aimlessness in the pop-culture-saturated 1990s. Co-starring Stiller, Ethan Hawke, Steve Zahn, and Janeane Garofalo.
Friday, December 6, 9:45pm
Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke in Ben Stiller's Reality Bites
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Ben Stiller, USA, 2013; 125m
Walter Mitty (Stiller) is a dutiful son, a loyal friend, and a man who takes pride in his work as the photo editor of Life Magazine. He is also a compulsive fantasist who gets lost in heroic scenarios in which he saves the life of the co-worker he adores (Kristen Wiig) but who he can barely manage to speak to in reality. When the publication is bought out and a team of corporate hacks elects to go all digital, a legendary photographer (Sean Penn) entrusts Walter with the negative of an image he considers to be perfect for the final cover… that he loses. Walter embarks on a worldwide search for the photographer, which becomes a journey of self-discovery and a recovery of his buried dreams. From James Thurber’s extremely short 1939 story, Stiller has created a quintessential tale about the irresistible allure of fantasizing.
Saturday, Dec 7, 6:30pm
*Director Ben Stiller in attendance.
Ben Stiller, USA, 2008; 107m
In Stiller’s merciless, high-concept spoof of Hollywood narcissism, self-centered movie stars find themselves in the midst of actual armed conflict while shooting a big-budget Vietnam War epic. The all-star supporting cast includes a scene-stealing Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise, unrecognizable as a vulgar studio boss.
Sunday, December 8, 1:00pm
Ben Stiller, USA, 2001; 89m
In this delirious fashionista farce—reportedly a favorite of Terrence Malick’s—Stiller plays the male model Derek Zoolander, world-renowned for his inventory of facial expressions (not least the career-making Blue Steel). Co-starring Owen Wilson as rival model Hansel and Will Ferrell as the evil designer Mugatu, Zoolander effortlessly bridges the gap between the ridiculous and the sublime.
Saturday, December 7, 9:30pm
*Director Ben Stiller in attendance.