What to Watch

What to Watch with Alan Arkin of The Kominsky Method

Little Miss Sunshine's grumpy Grandpa Hoover discusses his role in Chuck Lorre's newest Netflix series and reveals a few details about the upcoming live-action Dumbo.

by | November 15, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by Netflix)

We were curious what keeps veteran actor Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, Glengarry Glen Ross) entertained and discovered that his TV consumption is very, very specific.

After voicing author J.D. Salinger in animated Netflix comedy BoJack Horseman, the Academy Award–winner returns to streaming on Friday with The Kominsky Method, latest show for the service from The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre. Arkin plays Norman, a man who loses his wife and is forced to lean on his best friend, acting teacher Sandy Kominsky (fellow Oscar-winner Michael Douglas), to process his grief.

The duo are an odd couple who disagree on everything from funeral arrangements to casket shopping, along with the proper way to handle Norman’s daughter Phoebe (Lisa Edelstein), who shows up out of the blue.

The former St. Elsewhere and Chicago Hope star seemed to have no no qualms admitting to Rotten Tomatoes that he watches one series only — and that he keeps it in the family. Below, Arkin confesses his TV habits and shares some intel on his next project, Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo.


(Photo by Netflix)
Well, there’s about 40 assumptions right there. We don’t watch television in the daytime ever. At night, we check and see what’s on Netflix.


(Photo by Epix)

The only series we watch consistently is Get Shorty, which is, I’m afraid, not on Netflix. [Editor’s note: The series airs on Epix, but Netflix has streaming rights to the series.] My son [Adam Arkin] produces and directs it, and we like the show a lot. So that’s the only one we feel any allegiance to. When I say Netflix, I mean we get screeners from them, and we watch films on Netflix.


No, no, we don’t record anything.


(Photo by Epix)

Get Shorty.

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: Is there any sort of acting method you follow yourself?

Alan Arkin: It diverged into several things. I started very classical method training and then it got coupled with a lot of training in improvisation, so it’s something in between method and improv.

RT: Does Kominsky remind you of any teachers you had?

Arkin: The show doesn’t specifically, but I had two great, great acting teachers who I revered. I learned an enormous amount in different directions from both of them. The first guy, who had himself studied with Stanislavski, was named Benjamin Zemach. I studied with him out here in Los Angeles. The second guy was my professor at Bennington. His name was Larry Arrick.

(Photo by Netflix)

RT: Had you and Michael encountered each other through business circles over the years?

Arkin: No, we had never met until about a month before we signed on for the show. I felt if you’re going to be working with somebody for five years it’d be a good idea to sit next to them for half an hour and find out if you happen to like each other, so we had a lunch and it was fine and I signed on. It feels enormously comfortable, flexible, and playful.

RT: Was the chemistry immediate from that lunch?

Arkin: Yeah, it seemed to be. A little bit tentative for an hour or two, and then slowly loosened up, and it continued to loosen up as the series went on. I feel incredibly trusted by him, and I trust him tremendously.

Alan Arkin of THE KOMINSKY METHOD (Mike Yarish/Netflix)

RT: Did you and Michael ever discuss his remake of The In-Laws?

Arkin: [Laughs] We have mercifully kept off that subject.

RT: Well, I’m glad that question made you laugh. Your character has an emotional breakdown at the dry cleaners in episode three. Was it difficult to perform? How did you get there?

Arkin: Oh my God, it was a nightmare, that day. I knew what was coming, and I just had to rev myself and use every ounce of acting training I had to get myself into that place. That and also the speech I gave at the funeral was similar — wrenchingly painful days on what is supposed to be a comedic show. I’m not criticizing it. It goes in a lot of directions, which is one of my favorite things about it. I just hope it doesn’t go in those specific directions very often.

RT: In Dumbo you’re playing a brand new character. Tell us about J. Griffin Remington.

Arkin: I’m trying to buy the circus. I’m a magnate. I’m interested in this new act and kind of a plutocrat, trying to run everything.

RT: Were you able to see any of the Dumbo footage?

Arkin: Not a frame. Not a frame, not a photograph.

RT: Was that a new experience with visual effects?

Arkin: Looking at things that aren’t there? Yeah, pretty much. I haven’t done a lot in the way of fantasy, but … It was just looking at an elephant that wasn’t there rather than a person or a car going by.

The Kominsky Method premieres Friday, November 16 on Netflix.

Tag Cloud

IFC Films Spectrum Originals Disney Channel social media Fox News zombie TV Awards Warner Bros. Creative Arts Emmys SundanceTV cooking Stephen King casting crime biography Masterpiece FOX Box Office NBC politics Ellie Kemper Fall TV ABC Family comic GLAAD space Thanksgiving Elton John Anna Paquin Mary Poppins Returns National Geographic BBC America E! vampires transformers dragons medical drama Winter TV spinoff Trivia period drama Rocketman X-Men game show aliens Emmys SXSW animated PBS anthology Song of Ice and Fire The CW Reality Musicals 20th Century Fox Epix Cosplay Comic Book sports cults Lifetime Nominations dramedy Action 2018 E3 Esquire unscripted psycho based on movie Pet Sematary ESPN Hulu psychological thriller Trophy Talk Ovation Sundance Now CW Seed Rocky golden globes TLC Crackle technology natural history binge streaming San Diego Comic-Con TCM mutant Interview 21st Century Fox President miniseries Lionsgate FXX Tarantino Starz Chilling Adventures of Sabrina History Spring TV Writers Guild of America Comedy Central Showtime ITV Disney American Society of Cinematographers 2016 YA Ghostbusters Premiere Dates spider-man Winners witnail Best and Worst Sundance MCU television Year in Review Fantasy Universal YouTube Premium Sneak Peek IFC Biopics Logo Acorn TV Syfy science fiction Comedy sitcom disaster dc USA Podcast Paramount Chernobyl hist TBS Marvel sequel Pirates Quiz Infographic Food Network Christmas DC Universe Photos Countdown nature Star Trek cats Netflix LGBTQ Super Bowl Pride Month 007 Adult Swim Kids & Family doctor who justice league Schedule Shudder TV Land NYCC PaleyFest Mudbound war Spike Lucasfilm CNN AMC true crime harry potter comiccon toy story Black Mirror cops APB police drama Musical Rom-Com historical drama Character Guide Toys GoT anime BBC Horror FX MTV Holidays Grammys Superheroe Nat Geo SDCC blaxploitation mockumentary Sci-Fi Captain marvel CMT crime thriller discovery TIFF DC Comics VICE Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt adaptation Oscars political drama Music Opinion ABC Amazon Polls and Games DC streaming service Tumblr Pixar Summer jamie lee curtis CBS All Access cinemax YouTube Red Comics on TV Bravo HBO robots New York Comic Con romance Set visit Certified Fresh Freeform Western Calendar Extras crime drama spy thriller The Witch El Rey what to watch composers Heroines DGA Red Carpet Paramount Network TCA 2017 USA Network theme song thriller 2017 Mindy Kaling award winner docudrama Film Festival Apple boxoffice Marathons A&E finale festivals Teen adventure Sony Pictures DirecTV RT21 Reality Competition Mary Tyler Moore Cartoon Network teaser CBS Star Wars Election Dark Horse Comics Rock Shondaland See It Skip It richard e. Grant Vudu ratings Nickelodeon TruTV Pop WGN Country Walt Disney Pictures supernatural 2019 Women's History Month Mary poppins singing competition Britbox Drama RT History 2015 Mystery BET 24 frames GIFs Animation zombies Awards Tour First Look Watching Series Trailer VH1 dceu elevated horror 45 strong female leads serial killer Amazon Prime The Arrangement diversity crossover TNT Tomatazos green book Video Games zero dark thirty Brie Larson facebook Martial Arts Cannes Superheroes Valentine's Day talk show OWN Columbia Pictures travel MSNBC TCA