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A Mother And Son Reunion

It's been family time for Michael Douglas.

On Sunday, his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones brought their second child into the world, a bouncing baby girl named Carys Zeta Douglas.

On Friday, a movie he made with his father, mother and son opens in theaters nationwide. And on Wednesday, he and his mom, Diana Douglas Darrid, visited The Early Show to talk about that new film, appropriately titled "It Runs in the Family."

The movie about family realtionships features three generations of the Douglas family, Michael Douglas, his father Kirk Douglas and his son Cameron Douglas. To even out the Douglas testosterone, Michael suggested his mother, Diana, play his fictional mom in the movie.

"You know, the director has the final say on casting, even when a family is involved," says Michael Douglas. "And after Fred [Schepisi], our very talented director, had accepted three generations, with Cameron playing, then there was the part of Kirk's wife, and I said, '"Well, Fred, you gotta meet my mother, Diana."

The role wasn't just handed to Diana on a silver platter; she had to audition three times. Diana felt she didn't have a shot of winning the role.

"And then Michael called me about two weeks later and he said, 'Well, mom the casting people just loved you.' And I said, 'They did? My gosh, crazy. But, fine, am I in?' And he said, 'No, no, no.'"

Diana had to get the approval of the director and then the final check-off from the movie studios, Buena Vista and MGM. She eventually did.

It has been a little more than 50 years since Michael's parents divorced, but Diana says she has remained good friends with Kirk Douglas. Diana says she used the good part of the relationship and familiarity as friends throughout the years to help her convey her half of a couple who have been married for 50 years.

"We're both professionals. And it was useful," says Diana Douglas Darrid. "Particularly, the scene where we were dancing together. I think there were all sorts of things that we could call on. Actors are always looking for intense memories to call on."

Michael Douglas says seeing his parents work together was a great opportunity to reminisce. And using real heirlooms and photos as props for the movie added to the remembrance of family history.

"I got to ask a lot of questions," explains Douglas. "Cameron, as a grandson, could be there and really get a sense of folklore. You know, somehow we lose that ability of sort of handing down stories from one generation to another. … Children almost crave it. They want to know the legends. They want to know the stories."

For Diana, it was fascinating to see her son work.

"I've never seen Michael as a producer before. I've never seen him in action before," says Diana. "And I must say, I was very impressed. I was intrigued that he was on top of everything."

Michael Douglas did win an Oscar for producing "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in 1975, but Diana says she never actually saw her son in action.

"He was conscious of the lights, the camera, the costumes, the props, everything, and checking on everything meticulously, and then jumping right back into character again as soon as his scene began," she recalls. "And I must say, I found that very impressive."

Diana Douglas Darrid is not only an actress, but she an author. She has written a memoir of her life.

"This happened in 1994, you'll remember the big earthquake happened and my house was badly damaged. So Michael asked me to move in with him," says Diana. "And we spent a lot of time talking, reminiscing, laughing. And he said, 'You've got to write this for Cameron.'"

So, Diana wrote her memoir for two years. She described her memories of being the daughter of the Attorney General of Bermuda, and later moving to New York in the late '30s to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She divided her time between New York and California to pursue her career in acting.

But before she could finish her book, Diana was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I decided to revise the book so it wasn't just a sweet grandmotherly book, but it was painfully honest at times," says Diana. "And then when I finished it, somebody wanted to publish it,"

She says she was afraid to let the world know some secrets of the family, such as having an affair with Errol Flynn.

"I read that and said, 'Mom, Errol Flynn?'" laughs Michael.

After she was encouraged by her two sons to publish her memoir, with all the embarrassing details, "In the Wings: A Memoir" made it to nationwide bookstores.

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