Michael Douglas has had to rethink this whole notion of retirement.
He’s 75, an age when retiring might seem reasonable. But in “The Kominsky Method” (shown here), his co-star (Alan Arkin) is 85; also, his dad (Kirk Douglas) will turn 103 on Dec. 9.
“I’ve got a long ways to go,” said Douglas, whose second “Kominsky” season starts Friday on Netflix. “It’s very exciting. I never anticipated (these) options as I reach the three-quarter-century mark.”
For Douglas, who survived throat cancer almost a decade ago, there should be a lot more ahead. His dad had an acting role at 91, was in a documentary at 100 and was a Golden Globe presenter at 101.
At any age, new things appear. “Kominsky” is:
— His first time working with Arkin. “We knew each other for about half an hour,” Arkin said. “That’s all I knew of him, outside of having seen him in 150,000 movies.”
— Douglas’ first comedy series. “Comedy is not necessarily something I’ve done a lot of,” he said.
— And for writer-producer Chuck Lorre, 67, the first time to really dig into a show filmed movie-style, with a single camera and no studio audience. “One of the things that’s been a revelation to me … is the close-up,” Lorre said. “There is so much that’s new to me.”
They were talking to the Television Critics Association in February on the set where the second “Kominsky” season was being filmed. Lorre had just been at his “Big Bang Theory” set, which was nearby … as were his “Mom” and “Young Sheldon” sets.
Now “Big Bang” is gone, but the others are back, plus his new “Bob (hearts) Abishola.”
Lorre has done a few single-camera shows (“Young Sheldon” and the cancelled “Disjointed”), but he’s more involved with this one. He directed the opener and co-wrote all 16 (eight per season) scripts.
As Douglas tells it: “I say,’What’s the arc of the season?’ Chuck says, ‘I don’t know.’ I say, ‘What do you mean, you don’t know?’ (He says,) ‘I have a blank page and start the next episode.’”
In short, it’s a character comedy that evolves as Lorre gets to know the people he created. Douglas plays a former actor who now has an acting school.
The goal, Lorre said, “was always to pay homage to acting as a craft. I thought it would be an opportunity to see young people with real chops, with real talent, being nurtured into a career tha is filled with broken hearts.”
He’s seen young actors soar on “Big Bang” and beyond … and he had a vivid example on “Kominsky.” Emily Osment had co-starred in “Hannah Montana” and starred in “Young and Hungry,” two comedy series requiring no nuance. Then she played a teen addict on four “Mom” episodes and Theresa, a “Kominsky” acting student.
It was odd, Osment told the TCA in August: “Michael Douglas pretending to be your acting coach, but in reality you are paying attention very well while you are working. (It) is very cool.”
She did all eight episodes in the first season; now she’s one of the stars of Fox’s “Almost Family,” but is in half the second-season “Kominsky” episodes.
The emphasis, however, is on the old guys. After the first season, Douglas and Arkin were both nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes.
Douglas won the Globe; he already had three others, plus Oscars for producing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and co-starring in “Wall Street.” There should be time for more.