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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Long lost friend



This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.

David Schwimmer returns to the limelight with his directorial debut, a romantic comedy about ... a fat guy?

Keeping a fairly low profile since the finale of Friends three years ago, David Schwimmer returned to his theater roots and went behind the camera for his latest screen effort, the comedy Run, Fatboy, Run being released this month. Schwimmer, who directed ten episodes of Friends and two of its short-lived spinoff, Joey, spent much of 2007 in London lensing Fatboy, about a man (Simon Pegg) who enters a marathon to prove himself to the woman (Thandie Newton) he hopes to win back.

"I've always wanted to direct a feature film, but I had to wait until the show was over," says Schwimmer. "This was the funniest thing I've read," he says of the March 28 release, which gave him the chance to re-team with his Band of Brothers co-star Pegg, (who wrote the script with Michael Ian Black) and Hank Azaria, with whom he made the 2001 Warsaw Ghetto telemovie Uprising.

"Acting and directing are both rewarding, but in very different ways," Schwimmer comments. "Directing is like having a relationship with someone -- you have to really give it a year and then see what happens."

The 41-year-old Queens, New York-born, Los Angeles-raised hyphenate, a product of the drama departments at Beverly Hills High School and Northwestern University and Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre, which he co-founded, starred on the London Stage in Some Girls in 2005. "There's nothing like a play. As an actor you have the most control over what the audience is seeing," he notes.

Schwimmer hasn't given up on movie acting, however. Next fall, he'll star opposite Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon and Noah Wyle in the drama Nothing But the Truth, about a female reporter facing jail for refusing to reveal a source, and he'll reprise his role as Melman the zebra in Madagascar: The Crate Escape. As a director, he's on tap to helm the buddy comedy Persuaders, which may star Hugh Grant and George Clooney.

Never married, Schwimmer says he has "just put work first," though he has been linked in the past to a number of Hollywood beauties, including Israeli actress Mili Avital. While his parents "would be thrilled" if he married a Jew, and he concedes, "it makes things a lot easier, sharing a cultural and religious background," it's not a prerequisite for him. "I was raised completely without prejudice or bias in terms of meeting people of other races or cultures or religions," he says. "I am pretty open."


--Text by Gerri Miller / Photo by Jonathan Hayward/AP

This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.
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