Hollywood legend Jerry Lewis explores the dignity of aging, the value of family, and the power of marriage in his new movie Max Rose. The octogenarian star exclusively shares a day on the set of the upcoming film with ET, and also gives our young interviewer Tatiana Toomer a hard time – just for the fun of it.
Asked to explain his character in the film, he replies, "You want to hear about that? Buy at ticket." Tatiana then tries another approach and asks him to describe the scene they're shooting that day. He jokes, "Today is the day I operate on my own appendix."
The man with a self-proclaimed reputation "that says I'm not easy" was, however, quick to praise his Max Rose director Daniel Noah along with the hard-working crew. He was also happy to talk about his upcoming birthday.
"Eight-seven, baby! I'm going to have a bottle of Dom Perignon and I'm going to pour champagne for my daughter and my wife and me and my puppies," says Jerry about his upcoming March celebration. "Like New Year's, every year we go to bed about 20 minutes to 10. We look at one another and say, 'Well, after 35 years I'm still crazy nuts over you.' And we give one another a kiss and we go to bed."
Max Rose follows the story of an 82-year old jazz pianist and recent widower who revisits key moments in his life when a discovery, made days before his wife's death, causes him to believe his marriage was a lie. Claire Bloom, Kevin Pollak, Kerry Bishé, Mort Sahl, Lee Weaver, Rance Howard, Fred Willard and Dean Stockwell also star.
"It's got action, animation, truth, sensitivity, honesty, a wonderful cast of wonderful actors and a crew that's the best you ever saw in your life," says Jerry. "They are so nice and so good that I work my heart out so that I don't come up empty, because they deserve more."
Prompted to reflect on his legacy, Jerry quipped, "My legacy? I don't believe in legacies. I believe that if you want to say something good about me, do it while I can I can hear it."
He then added, "I don't like to have to go back and remember what's gone. I'd rather go forward anticipating what's coming, and I know that this film, if I know anything about the work, we're going to shake up some people, because it has an emotional nub to it."