Michael Douglas says father Kirk Douglas taught him to not get ‘caught up in the image people try to create’

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Michael Douglas is reflecting on an astute piece of advice his late father Kirk Douglas told him during the actor’s foray into the film business.

The 77-year-old “Wall Street” star was a guest of honor at the Fourth Annual Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival and recalled in an interview with producers that in being so close to his father and mother Diana Douglas, the actor was able to “watch their insecurities and see that what was on the screen was not exactly what that person was like,” according to People magazine.

“I learned to treat this as a true business — being professional and not getting caught up in the image people try to create,” Douglas added. 

Back in 2018, Douglas spoke to Fox News at the “Ant-Man and the Wasp” world premiere about how he learned to act with a green screen, and he said he felt the process paled in comparison to the realness of performing on a traditional film set.

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Kirk Douglas (left) with his son, fellow actor Michael Douglas.

Kirk Douglas (left) with his son, fellow actor Michael Douglas.
(Photo by Kurt Krieger/Corbis)

“I felt a little more confident than I did the first time with all of the green screen stuff,” he said of his overall comfort level from the first film to the next. “I really dig that for some guy who has done 50 movies, I’ve never done this stuff before.”

“Evangeline [Lily] and Paul [Rudd], they were all cooll They had their suits on, and it’s all make-believe,” he added of his co-stars at the time. “I said, ‘There’s nothing here, man. There’s nothing here. What are we looking at?’ And, so you learn all of the tricks of the trade and how to be focused.”

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Added the “Kominsky Method” star: “When we were in our space shuttle rocket, I said, ‘I think they saved the budget on this one, man. They must have spent it on the big stuff because there’s nothing here, you know.'”

“And, I’m faking the buttons,” he noted while simulating pressing buttons with his hands and voicing mechanical sounds.

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Douglas’ mother died in July 2015 at age 92, and Kirk carried on and would live to be 103 until his death in February 2020. Kirk’s second wife, Anne Buydens, died in April 2021 at the age of 102.

Douglas shared a tribute to his father on Instagram at the time of his death. In it, he noted that Kirk “was a legend” and he’s leaving “a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come.”

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Kirk Douglas garnered his first Oscar nomination in 1949 for his role in Mark Robson’s boxing drama “Champion” and followed that up with two more Oscar bids for his part in “The Bad and the Beautiful” in 1952. His performance in the flick also earned him a Golden Globe Award.

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