This movie is about joy in your craft. How have you maintained it in acting?
“Yeah, well, different things come to mind when you say that. My mom would often say, ‘Remember, don’t take it too seriously.’ I say, ‘Oh yeah, thanks.’ My wife, whenever I’d go off to work and I’d be kind of anxious, she’ll say, ‘Remember, have fun.’ ‘Oh, I forgot, thanks for the reminder.’ Because sometimes we do forget. We take it all too seriously and there’s a lot of joy to be had wherever you are. Tap in and kind of get out of your way and there it is.”
So you could relate to that part of your character?
“Sure, yeah, part of this story is very good I think.”
Did you have a similar relationship with your brother Beau?
“Me being Cody, Beau being Big Z? Not really, no. Beau was eight years older than I am and my dad was working a lot in those days so it was kind of like a surrogate father. He taught me all the sports. He was always small for his age, I was always big for my age. But he was an excellent athlete and he was scouted by the Dodgers. He played on the UCLA basketball team with Walt Hazzard and Wooden and all that. Since I was bigger for my age, he would teach me all the sports stuff and kind of vicariously have me go out and [represent him] or whatever.
I enjoyed it for a while. It was fun to be close with him, but I didn’t get into the competitive side of it. He has a wonderful way - my father had this, too - of getting great joy out of competition. Maybe it’s just that I’m so competitive that I don’t like to even get in there. I don’t like to lose. Maybe that’s it, I don't know. But Beau and my dad would love to compete at like tennis and all that stuff.”
Do your kids have any interest in acting?
“You know, I don't know. Unlike my father, I didn’t make it as available to them as he did with us. And I’m kind of, not that my dad was a stage parent or anything but he just enjoyed it so much and he wanted to turn his kids on to it. And he was right.
I’ve enjoyed it myself and have had a wonderful life because of it. But I went through a period where it was awkward for me. Whenever you’re the child of a famous person, you get judged in odd ways because of that. Then I remember when I first started my acting, I thought, ‘Oh, I just got this job because of who my father is,’ a lot of nepotism stuff. I’m a product of nepotism, I’ve got to say. I don't think I would have gotten into it if my father wasn’t so enthusiastic. Anyway, I chose to not do that with my kids and I’m kind of regretting that a little bit now because now they’re in their 20s and they’re at that crossroads where they’re starting to ask themselves, ‘Well, what am I going to do?’ And I’d say, ‘Do you ever think about acting? You’ve got it in your blood. You’ve got three generations of it and I’ll help you work on the stuff.’ They say, ‘Eh, I don't think so.’ So I don't know. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of them kind of stumble into it someway.”