‘Happy Days’ Legend Henry Winkler Wanted to Pitch Idea on New Movie But Was Quickly Shut Down

by Keeli Parkey
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The acting career of “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler goes back more than 40 years. He is an Emmy award-winning television star. And he is beloved by television viewers and film fans of all ages thanks to his acting talents and his extensive filmography.

So, if Winkler came up to you and said he had an idea about a project he is working on, chances are very good that most of us will listen to what he has to say. That, however, is not what happened on the set of the upcoming film, “The French Dispatch.”

The “Happy Days” star talked about this surprising incident during a recent interview with The New York Post. The 75-year-old legend said he and his fellow actor, Bob Balaban, were talking with one another on the set of the new movie, which is directed by Wes Anderson.

The director has been the creative mind behind such popular films as “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Rushmore,” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Henry Winkler Shares ‘True Story’ from the Set of Upcoming Film

While filming in Angouleme, France, Henry Winkler was struck with an idea. And he thought he should share it with Anderson. However, before he did so the “Happy Days” star decided to run the idea by Balaban.

“Here is a true story. We’re standing on a bridge. It’s winter and the wind is blowing off the river in both directions. It’s so cold that (co-star) Léa Seydoux is in her guard uniform and she’s covered in blankets. That’s how you stay warm — you stand there while Wes composes the shot,” Winkler recalled. “And I whispered to Bob, ‘I have an idea, should I tell Wes?'”

Balaban’s response was an emphatic one. “And Bob whipped his head around, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘No!'” Henry Winkler also shared.

Wisely, the “Happy Days” star followed the advice Bob Balaban, who is known for his work in “Seinfeld,” as well as “Gosford Park,” and “The Monuments Men,” gave him. Balaban had previously worked with Wes Anderson in “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Grand Budapest” hostel.

‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Shares What It is Like to Appear in a Film Directed by Wes Anderson

Working with director Wes Anderson was a new experience for “Happy Days” legend Henry Winkler. In fact, the actor said he had to learn how to understand the unique way Anderson creates his interesting films.

“You don’t say anything. You learn the language of Wes. This man is a visionary. Remember those EF Hutton commercials, ‘When EF Hutton talks, people listen?’ That is the set on a Wes Anderson film. The props are from Germany, the costumers are from Italy, the makeup people are from England, the drivers are from France — and when he speaks, everyone listens,” Henry Winkler also said.

You can watch “Happy Days” icon Henry Winkler in Wes Anderson’s film, “The French Dispatch,” beginning on Friday, Oct. 22. If Winkler and Anderson aren’t a big enough draw for you the cast also includes other famous names. Among them are Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Jeffrey Wright, and Saoirse Ronan.

Outsider.com