Yahoo Movies
Why you can trust us

We independently evaluate the products we review. When you buy via links on our site, we may receive compensation. Read more about how we vet products and deals.

Danny DeVito says Chris Pine was 'engulfed' in directorial debut 'Poolman': 'He's tenacious'

DeVito praised first-time director Chris Pine for his film love letter to L.A.

For Danny DeVito, whose robust list of credits includes film and TV roles in front of and behind the camera, working with first-time director Chris Pine on the new film Poolman was a reunion of sorts.

“I’ve known this guy since he was a kid, since he was in high school,” DeVito told Yahoo Entertainment about the Los Angeles native. “This is his town.”

While Pine might be best known for his roles in films like Star Trek and Wonder Woman — as well as for being one of the Hollywood Chrises — the actor is extending his Hollywood reach by directing the screwball comedy love letter to his hometown of L.A.

“Every director has to come with a passion, with a knowledge, with a desire, with all of the things that make a director: The understanding of this subject, all of that Chris possesses,” said DeVito, who plays an on-again, off-again filmmaker in Poolman. “He’s tenacious about it.”

Chris Pine and Danny DeVito.
Chris Pine and Danny DeVito star in Poolman. (© Vertical Entertainment /Courtesy Everett Collection)

Pine serves as not only the director but also the co-writer and star of the film, which is about a dedicated pool guy at the fictional Tahitian Tiki apartment complex who stumbles upon a local scandal. While the Don’t Worry Darling actor said he’s starting to dip his toe in the directorial pool, he’s not saying goodbye to acting anytime soon.

“I’m an actor first and foremost,” Pine told Yahoo Entertainment. “I don’t think I’ll ever give that up.”

After all, the actor-director knows more than a little about the industry itself. He's the son of actor Robert Pine (CHiPs) and actress Gwynne Gilford (Masters of the Universe), and even discussed his “nepo baby” status recently with podcaster Marc Maron. That said, DeVito was quick to champion Pine’s dedication to the project.

“I’ve worked with Milos Forman, I’ve worked with a lot of people that were all engulfed in the story. This is the way he works,” said DeVito, who also confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment that he’s working on an upcoming project with his Twins co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“We are in the middle of the process,” DeVito said. “It’s being written, and well, hopefully next year when he’s done with his [TV series] Fubar.”

“But, you know, every movie takes a long time,” he added. “Arnold and I are very eager to work together, and we’re gonna do it next year.”

Two photos of Chris Pine and the poster for the film.
Chris Pine stars as a dedicated pool guy at the fictional Tahitian Tiki in Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment)

Poolman, which also counts Annette Bening, Jennifer Jason Leigh and DeWanda Wise among the cast, takes some of its inspiration from the L.A. film noir Chinatown, which stars Jack Nicholson as a detective who also solves a mystery that’s more than he bargained for.

Pine explained that his inspiration didn’t come from the 1974 classic alone, though.

“I think my film, at least from an aesthetic standpoint, kind of owes some of its existence to my love of ’70s cinema,” he said. “There’s some screwball comedy, like What’s Up, Doc? There’s a little bit of, I hope, [Hal] Ashby in there, a little bit of Being There. That was a big touchstone for me.”

His Girl Friday and “a little bit of Buster Keaton” influenced the first-time director as well.

Pine said he enjoyed the seemingly constant motion of filmmaking.

“Film is a lot about waiting, so I like 12 hours a day of just kind of moving, hustling, working,” he explained. “That made me feel really good, so I definitely want to do it again.”

So who would he cast in a future project?

“I think that I want to direct myself again,” he said.

For DeVito, who also starred in L.A. Confidential, working with a director who also understood the perspective of someone in front of the camera was key.

“I always say that a really good director has to understand what the actor is going through,” DeVito said, “and I think, big-time, Chris knows that.”

Poolman is in theaters May 10.