Matthew Broderick

An Interview With The Star, And Sarah Jessica Parker

Matthew Broderick has put together a career almost any other actor would die for. He started working straight out of high school 22 years ago, and has never stopped.

He is a shy and unassuming actor who has already starred in more than 30 films and won two Tony awards, and he's married to "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker. They have a son, now 19 months old.

As good as everything has been, it's about to get even better. This summer, he's co-starring in three major movie releases, starting next month with "The Stepford Wives," which also stars Nicole Kidman. CBS News Correspondent Charlie Rose reports.
No matter what he does, Matthew Broderick will always be a household name. But for many, he'll always be known as Ferris Bueller, a cocky high school senior who turned skipping school into an art form.

He was just 24 when the movie came out in 1986. Now he's 42, and he's just finished a record-breaking run on Broadway, starring with Nathan Lane in "The Producers."

"He's as good as anyone working today," says Lane. "I think he's vastly underrated as an actor. He can do everything."

Not surprisingly, Broderick's wife and biggest fan, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, agrees.

"You can't tell me any other man who works in the movies opposite Julianne Moore or Nicole Kidman in a romantic lead. Or even in a character lead, who can then sing and dance on Broadway. And sing and dance really well," says Parker.

"There was a time when you worked in the theater and you worked in film and you were many things. And I can't name anyone else who does what Matthew Broderick does."

About their marriage, Parker says, "I know this sounds hokey. But there isn't one day that goes by that he doesn't make me laugh, really, really hard. There isn't one day."

Broderick and Parker were more comfortable being interviewed separately. And there's one other thing we learned about him: Broderick's life revolves around ping-pong.

"When he's working on stage, he can go during the day. When he's not working, he's bereft," says Parker. "Very competitive. He wants to win in ping-pong."

The couple first met in 1992, and for Parker, it was love at first sight. They lived together for five years before they got married. "It does work. Somehow it works," says Broderick of their marriage.

Parker says she does everything for Broderick, including shopping, packing and getting groceries. "He's taken care of. That's who Matthew is. People take care of him. It's practically involuntary," says Parker.

In 2002, they had a son, James Wilkie, and both say they'd like to have more children.

What would Parker change about Broderick? "He walks too slowly. I walk really quickly," says Parker. "He never hails the cab. Never. I've been doing it forever, so I guess he just thinks, 'Well, she does it so well.'"
Broderick was born in 1962 into a theater family. His mother, Patricia, was an artist and playwright. His father, James, was a veteran actor, perhaps best known for his role as the father on the '70s TV drama, "Family."

"I was around it. I liked the atmosphere," says Broderick.

Encouraged by his father, Broderick made his acting debut in high school, although not exactly in a lead role. He played the wall in "Midsummer's Night Dream," which he says made him start thinking about acting.

"I really did sort of feel more comfortable than I would have thought," says Broderick. "I was incredibly nervous. Then, after a minute or two, I thought a little light went off in my head, that I was nervous, but that I was functioning. I can actually do this. It felt good. There was something good about it."

Broderick, a real-life Ferris Bueller in high school, decided to skip college and focus on acting instead. "Which was a good thing, because it was looking grim," says Broderick. "By the end of high school, I was having meetings where they like, this is a list of schools you should consider. And I was like, well, I haven't heard of any of these schools. What do they teach there? Sewing. Knitting. License plates. Yeah, I was having a hard time in school."

At 18, Broderick landed a lead role in an off-Broadway play, "Torch Song Trilogy," written by Harvey Fierstein. But the play and Broderick's career were failing, until The New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow gave the show a rave review.

"Before I knew it, I was like this guy in a hot play. And suddenly all these doors opened. And it's only because Mel Gussow happened to come by right before it closed and happened to like it," says Broderick. "It's just amazing. All these things have to line up that are out of your control."

Broderick went straight to Broadway, winning his first Tony award in 1983 for "Brighton Beach Memoirs." He was just 21. His first movie, "War Games," came out that same year. He played a computer hacker who almost starts a nuclear war. It was the biggest moneymaking movie in the summer of 1983.
But while his career was progressing, at home, his father was dying of cancer.

"I had one of those years. I left 'Torch Song' and flew on my birthday to L.A. to do 'War Games' next, and start 'Brighton Beach.' It was all in L.A.," recalls Broderick. "I flew back on my birthday back to New York to open in 'Brighton Beach.' And between those birthdays, and all those jobs that happened, my father died. So it was a year I still cannot process."

In 1986, Broderick got the role that would define his professional life: Ferris Bueller.

"I go to baseball games, that's when I'm most tortured," says Broderick. "This is a joke, I hear maybe 20 times at a baseball game. Which is, 'Is this your day off? You having a day off?' And I say, 'That's good.. I never thought of that.'"

Barely a year after the release of "Ferris Bueller," Broderick hit a personal low in life. While driving in Ireland with his then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey, his car struck another car.

"It was on a road with no stop signs. I might have been on the wrong side of the wrong, being an American. We had a head-on collision," says Broderick, who suffered a broken leg. A mother and daughter in the other car were both killed. "I live with it all the time. I feel absolutely horrible for what happened and for what happened to that family. It kills me to think about it. But I can't undo it."

Following the accident and his recovery, Broderick starred in "The Freshman" with one of his heroes, Marlon Brando.

But like any actor, Broderick also had his share of low points – notably the 1998 big-budget flop, "Godzilla." "I think it's the lizard did not give a good performance. People didn't believe him. You felt like he was manipulating you. I don't know what happened," says Broderick.

And whose fault is it if a movie doesn't come out right? "It's somebody other than me, that's all. The scripts, the other actors. A host of reasons," says Broderick, in jest. "But not me. I could be miscast which, again, is not my fault."
In 2001, Broderick rebounded and returned to Broadway, starring in "The Producers" as a young accountant who dreams of making it big.

With Nathan Lane, the musical won a record 12 Tony awards. Next year, Broderick and Lane will begin work on the movie.

"When I told him I was going to do this interview, he got a frown on his face and told me, 'Don't tell them how I really am,'" says Lane. "I said, 'What should I say? That you're nice?' He said, 'That's right, think Tom Hanks.'"

"He loves the notion that people think of him as the kindly husband of Sarah Jessica Parker," adds Lane. "You know, he's just kind and nice and quiet. But he's not that way at all. He's evil incarnate. He is Ferris Bueller."

This summer, Broderick will be co-starring in three films, including "The Stepford Wives," with Nicole Kidman.

"He's never had a year coming up like he's about to have in terms of the variety of work, the quality of work, and the kind of people he's worked with and for," says Parker. "Despite everyone's intentions, he grew up. He grew up beautifully. I'm very proud of the man Ferris Bueller became. Very proud."

  • Rebecca Leung

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