Billy Crudup’s Early Acting Career Included a One-Man Play and Full Nudity

Billy Crudup’s Early Acting Career Included a One-Man Play and Full Nudity


-Welcome to the show.
-Thanks, man.
I’m happy to be here.
-This must be happy as well.
You have two films
coming out in two weeks.
That’s very exciting.
-So happy about that.
There’s not many weeks that I
have two films coming out.
-Back-to-back.
-Mostly never.
[ Laughter ]
-Are there any similarities
to the role?
Were there things
that drew you to each?
-So, the first one is
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette.”
That’s directed by
Richard Linklater
and stars Cate Blanchett, as you
saw, and Kristen Wiig, as well.
And that’s based on a novel.
The second one is called
“After the Wedding.”
Directed by a good friend of
mine, Bart Freundlich,
and starring Julianne Moore
and Michelle Williams.
And they both involve —
“After the Wedding” is a drama.
It’s a real tearjerker.
It’s based on a Danish film.
And they go deep with
the emotions there.
And “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”
is more of a romantic comedy.
So, very different, tonally.
So you guys can take your pick.
-Yeah.
[ Laughter ]
-Whatever you need over the next
week or so, I got you covered.
-Or like, “After the Wedding”
first
and then cleanse the old palate
with “Bernadette.”
-That’s a great idea.
[ Laughter ]
-Why not? Don’t let them
just pick one here, Billy.
I think you can get
both out of them.
-Let Seth curate your weekend.
[ Laughter ]
But they both involve, like,
parenting and children.
And there’s always a moment for
a child when they realize that
their parent isn’t
just their parent,
that they’re actually a person
as well, too.
So I think both of these,
that’s a general theme.
And it occurred to me as well
that there was a moment
that I remember my father.
He was — It’s hard to describe
my father.
He was a very colorful guy.
-We’ve got a picture of you.
That’s you, right?
-That’s me, yep.
I was very serious.
That’s my dad there
in the Ray-Bans.
That’s Coach Hannah right there.
That’s sixth-grade soccer
in Dallas, Texas.
I’m sure you guys remember.
We won the championship
that year.
[ Laughter ]
-Yeah.
I think most people do.
-That was the Green Giants.
Thank you.
[ Laughter ]
But I remember
one Saturday morning
we were going to a soccer game.
My dad said, “Disky, we’ve got
to leave a little bit early.”
He called me Disky.
“Disco” was my nickname
because I liked to dance.
-Okay.
-Clearly this was the ’70s.
1979. It had shortened to Disky.
“Disky, we got to leave
a little bit early.
Got a pit stop we’re gonna
make on the way.”
So, we’re both dressed
in those outfits.
And we were in Dallas.
We go to the little beltway
and find an off-ramp there.
He says, “So, we’ve got
a couple of cases
of Alaskan king crab legs
that we’re gonna offload.”
And I was like,
“Huh. How’d that happen?”
And he’s like,
“They fell off a truck
and we’re gonna
find a home for them.”
[ Laughter ]
He pulls — He says,
“You wait in Old Green.”
That’s what he called
his Cadillac — Old Green.
“You wait in Old Green.”
Puts in an 8-Track of Lou Rawls.
So you know —
“You’ll never find” comes on.
And then he goes to the back,
pops open the trunk,
and he’s got two cases of
stone crabs and a sign.
And the first car to pull up
is a state trooper.
[ Laughter ]
At which point he says,
“Disky, we’re gonna be
leaving in a second.
Let me talk to
this fine officer.”
And he comes back a little bit
gruff shortly there afterwards
having unloaded the two cases
apparently for no money at all.
[ Laughter ]
But we got out of there,
got to soccer practice,
and I learned that my dad
wasn’t just a soccer coach.
-Yeah.
[ Laughter ]
He was also an under the table
Alaskan king crab salesman.
-Sure. He was a seafood dealer.
-He was a seafood dealer.
-And I had no idea.
-You’ve also done
a ton of stuff on stage.
-I have.
-You did a show where you
basically —
a one-man show where you played
multiple characters.
-It was a solo performance.
That’s correct, Seth.
-Different accents as well?
-I did do
some different accents.
I’m not sure
where they all came from.
But with a solo performance —
It was written by David Cale
and directed by Leigh Silverman.
We did it downtown at
the Minetta Lane Theatre,
but it originated at
the Vineyard Theatre,
which was also the first place
that I ever did a play
in New York City,
where I appeared completely nude
for $212 a week.
-Wow.
[ Women cheering ]
Wow.
You were giving it away cheap.
[ Cheers and applause ]
-And acting seemed like such
a great profession until, like,
two weeks in and I realized
what I was doing.
-Yeah.
[ Laughter ]
-Awfully cold theater.
[ Laughter ]
In any case,
the solo performance
was about a guy who lives in
Midwestern United States
and adopts a British accent
because it feels more close
to home for him.
And he gets alienated by
his dad.
He sort of leads
a life of solitude
until his parents die
and he can move to New York
and become the person
that he wants to be and live
with this British accent.
In any case, I start the —
it’s an hour and 20 minutes
where it’s just me and a glass
of water and a chair.
So it’s already terrifying
for me.
-Right.
-I’m not saying that, like,
that’s a good thing.
It was scary for me
to be out there.
And so you’re never
entirely sure
how the audience
is gonna respond.
But people loved the play.
So, by the end of the run,
I had an expectation
they would like it,
and clearly there was some dude
who was dragged there
by his wife.
And as soon as
I said my first line —
I could see them
in the second row.
I said I could always do
an immaculate English accent.
And he just looks up at me
and goes, “Oh, [bleep] this.”
[ Laughter ]
And I’m like, “I can see you,
and I’m an adult man.
What the [bleep] are you doing?”
In any case, I had to deliver
the monologue anyway
for the next hour
and 15 minutes.
And then at the end,
because I’m competitive,
as you can tell from that photo,
and I couldn’t get
this guy off my mind.
I pointed to him
at the curtain call
and sarcastically said,
“Thank you very much.”
At which point, he looked up
at me like,
“Oh, my God, I can’t believe
this guy can see me.”
[ Laughter ]
So, fair warning.
If you come to the theater,
we can see you.
And we know what you’re doing.
[ Laughter ]
-A very helpful
public-service announcement.
Thank you so much
for being here.
Billy Crudup, everybody.

28 thoughts on “Billy Crudup’s Early Acting Career Included a One-Man Play and Full Nudity”

  1. I really, really hope he reprises Dr. Manhattan in the Watchmen series. Wouldn’t be the same with a different actor. Plus, it’d be great to have a legitimate tie-in to the movie. Great actor.

  2. Billy Crudup seems like a nice guy, NOT according to Wikipedia:
    From 1996 to November 2003, Crudup dated actress Mary-Louise Parker. Parker was seven months pregnant with their son, William Atticus Parker, when Crudup left her for actress Claire Danes, then 24 years old. The two broke up after dating for four years.

  3. (In my best Superbad voice) “Remember when He cheated on and left his pregnant wife for Clare Danes…!? People don’t forget!”

  4. Whenever I see Billy crudup I think of ashitaka from Princess Mononoke which is one of the most amazing movies ever so I'm all like YEAHHH but then I think of the fact that he left his pregnant wife for Claire Danes and I'm all like Booooo.

  5. I keep arguing with my father in law about this guy. He's convinced he's "The kid from that alien potato man movie" (Henry Thomas), and he refuses to even look at a google search page to see them side by side. H just storms away shouting "Potato kid! That's potato kid!"

  6. Jesus’ son was a fabulous (dark) movie from the 90s and was how I was first introduced to this guy. Wonderful actor.

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