They became friends during a 1987 Public Theater production of A Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dream and went on to commiserate over bad movie roles and cheer each otherâ€™s side careersâ€”for Stevens, producing documentaries like 2009â€™s Oscar-winning The Cove; for Leguizamo, chameleonic one-man shows about his New York upbringing (Freak, Sexaholix â€¦ A Love Story, et al.). Now Stevens is directing Ghetto Klown, Leguizamoâ€™s darkest show yet.
John toured with a lot of this material before you got involved, Fisher. What did you change?
F.S.: There was an element of venting and rage, particularly about acting in movies, and weâ€™ve pushed through that. But weâ€™ve kept the rage when we need it.
J.L.: As opposed to being incredibly angry all over the place.
You kept an account of Steven Seagal threatening you, a shouting match with Patrick Swayze in drag, smoking pot with Kurt Russell.
J.L. Well, I probably wonâ€™t be in a movie I was supposed to do with Kurt.
Thereâ€™s a bit about your father threatening to sue you over Freak. Are your parents still upset about being publicly mocked?
J.L.: Theyâ€™re still not cool with it. My father would never come see this. Itold my mom, â€œLook, you come out better than you ever have.â€ She said, â€œWhy you do this?â€ Iâ€™m like, â€œI got to.â€
F.S.: He just added a line [calling her a] â€œdisco puta.â€ Amazing stuff!
Fisher, you played an Indian scientist in Short Circuitâ€”though youâ€™re Jewishâ€”and John, in the show, you go into the Latin gangsters youâ€™ve played. But in a way your lack of success in movies is a blessingâ€”youâ€™ve both found better careers.
J.L.:Wow, that was a backhanded complimentâ€”without a compliment! Iâ€™ve done those crazy movies, got paid crazy moneyâ€”completely empty and hollow. Thatâ€™s when I went to write Freak.
F.S.: Yeah, I was on a TV series making insane money [Early Edition], and I quit. I was fortunate to get out. But to do work like Ghetto Klown, maybe we have to do a shitty movie.
J.L.: Avatar 3, playing the third schmuck with the lance.
You were on the road for more than a year developing this show, and you often roomed together. What have you learned about each other?
F.S.: Heâ€™s obsessive with everythingâ€”the caffeine count gets monitored, the calorie count, turning the Internet off before bed so thereâ€™s no rays.
J.L.: EMFs, I donâ€™t like EMFs going through my body.
You could wear a little foil hat to bed.
J.L.: No, thatâ€™s like a lightning rod. Are you trying to kill me? Thing is, I canâ€™t do anything in moderation, so I have to totally block myself out.
You guys see the same therapist and voice coach. What else do you share? Johnâ€™s wife?
J.L.: Shut the fuck up! I donâ€™t play that shit, Iâ€™m a Latin man.
F.S.: No, I value my life.