Canyon News: Meet Hollywood Legend, Charlie Matthau, Exclusive


by Tommy Garrett

Handsome and talented director, writer and producer Charlie Matthau has never traded on his famous last name to make it in the tough world of entertainment. I recently had the opportunity to travel from Hollywood to Iowa for the Independent Film Festival, and Matthau enthralled audiences with his amazing stories of making films, acting in some, producing and growing up the son of the legendary actor Walter Matthau.

Charlie’s style of films stands out in this business because he is a maverick who believes films should have genuine meaning, humanity, heart and yet be humorous as well. I caught up with the talented man for an exclusive interview.

Q-Charlie, you grew up in the business. Was that a plus or a minus for you to strike out and become an actor, director and producer?

A-“I was very blessed to have loving parents who not only encouraged me, but allowed me to observe and participate in the business from a young age. In addition to the formal training I had at USC film school, I was lucky enough to watch many different directors work with my father and that was quite educational. I have wanted to direct since I got my first Super 8 movie camera because I love storytelling. I’ve done a little work as an actor when requested by friends, but it is not something I seek out, as I think whatever talent I have lies behind the camera.”

Q-Which part of the business do you prefer?

A-“Directing. My favorite part of the directing process is the editing, because it suits my personality. I like fixing my mistakes and trying out different ideas without the pressure of 80 crew members staring at you and knowing that every minute is expensive. I also love working with actors, especially when they’re not there! My least favorite part is the money raising and all of the business stuff, which goes over my head and is kind of a bore.”

Q-“Baby O” was a huge hit at the Iowa Film Festival. Your next directorial project is “Freaky Deaky.” Tell us about that.

A-“I have wanted to bring ‘Freaky Deaky’ to the screen for many years. Elmore Leonard is my favorite living author and ‘Freaky Deaky’ is his best book. It is not only my favorite Elmore book, but it is Elmore’s also. I thought I would never have the opportunity to tell the story because in 1994, right after ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘Freaky Deaky’ was optioned by the great Quentin Tarantino. Fortunately, he went on to make another of Elmore’s books (‘Rum Punch’) into a film and ‘Freaky Deaky’ became available. I am honored and humbled to be working with such great material and hope to make something akin to ‘Get Shorty’ meets ‘Pineapple Express’.”

Q-You and I both guest star in “Queen of the Lot.” What do you think of the film?

A-“‘Queen of the Lot’ represents another triumph for one of our most talented and underrated directors, Henry Jaglom. I greatly admire the way Henry is able to coalesce his life and imagination into moving and insightful films that are truly timeless.”

Q-Your father is the legendary Walter Matthau. Did he ever give you advice on the business?

A-“My father gave me two pieces of advice, and I was too dumb to listen to either one of them. One was to attend medical school. The other was to start a newsstand and marry a very husky woman who could carry me home in cold weather after a tough night of work.”

Q-Tell us about your production company!

A-“Matthau Media is currently beginning pre-production on ‘Freaky Deaky,’ completing post-production on the musical ‘Baby-O’ and we are developing some great projects–some of which are taken from best-selling and cutting-edge novels. After making a film of Truman Capote’s ‘The Grass Harp’, turning books into films is something I have a knack for.”

Charlie Matthau is a man to keep your eye on in Hollywood. He’s becoming one of the most successful and sought-after movie makers in the business.