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John Michael Higgins on Christopher Guest’s process

Larry King NowOct 11 '17

John Michael Higgins – who is one of a handful of actors to appear in multiple Christopher Guest movies, from ‘Best in Show’ to ‘A Mighty Wind’ – explains the mockumentary master’s process, including what it’s like to work without any scripted dialogue.

Larry King: Okay, Christopher Guest movies…

John Michael Higgins: Yes, sir.

Larry King: Why is he the master of mockumentaries?

John Michael Higgins: Well, he kind of invented it. And, this was back in spinal tap days, it was made by Rob Reiner and Christopher was in it, it was a real team effort. There were ideas about mockumentaries before, and some examples, but as far as an all improvised documentary style picture, that’s him.

Larry King: How much does he let you do?

John Michael Higgins: He doesn’t let us do it, we have do it. I mean, there’s no script, no one gave me the lines if they wrote them, it didn’t meet my pay grade!

Larry King: It’s like ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm?’

John Michael Higgins: Yeah!

Larry King: They just give you an outline? What does he tell you, let’s say?

John Michael Higgins: Well, you know, by the time we shoot, it kind of looks like a script but it doesn’t have dialogue in it. So it’s like: ‘Scene 65: Hotel Lobby - Day’, and it just says you know, ‘Stefan and Scott arrive at hotel’. Good luck!

Larry King: There’s a lot of editing, then?

John Michael Higgins: Oh, yeah. It’s hard for us, the performers, to actually watch these pictures because all of our babies are gone. The only thing there’s time for, for the editor, is the story.

Larry King: So when you work with a script, is that hard for you?

John Michael Higgins: It’s a relief, actually!

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