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Ben Stiller on Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Published May 26, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Night at the Museum becomes Ben Stiller’s second franchise, after the Focker movies. This weekend, the sequel Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian finds security guard Larry Daley (Stiller) running his own successful business before a new museum adventure reminds him what’s really important.

Ben Stiller on Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian

“I thought that it would be something that would be different than the first movie,” Stiller said. “Really I thought it was important to have a way into the second movie that was different than the first movie, because we had already done the idea of everything coming to life and Larry being amazed by it. The guy sort of had nothing to do with his life, and the night guard becoming the thing he was happy doing, so to start the second movie, I felt we had have a new idea, the idea of being successful and then in some way that not making him happy. The idea of what he thought would make him happy, not make him happy I just felt like it was a new idea to start the movie off, and that was really the idea behind that.”

Having exhausted the adventure at New York’s Natural History Museum, the sequel takes on all the branches of The Smithsonian. “I really enjoyed everything at the Air and Space Museum. That was just really fun to be around all that stuff, the real stuff, like the real Spirit of St. Louis. We got to walk around the back one day and there is an incredible model airplane collection back there that nobody sees. I mean, there hundreds of model airplanes, detailed out. If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s kind of amazing.”

Of course, it’s Hollywood. Only parts of the film were shot on location. “Well, we were here for the first week of shooting, right? So we shot here as much as we could get away with shooting without disrupting everything. Shooting in the Air and Space museum, the real one, was really important in establishing the scale of it because it’s just so huge. And went back and built sets that were pretty immense in Vancouver, but nothing close to what the real size of the museum is here. But I was really happy to be here that first week because it just helped to ground us in what it really is, get connected with that just to be able to see the real stuff.”

Things get pretty crazy when the different wings do battle in the film’s climax. “There were a couple of times, we were shooting at the Mall and it’s like the Russian guys running across the mall, these guys with lanters running across the mall. You’re just, what is this? This is so weird. This movie’s so weird. And, also, when we were doing like the end battle sequences and on the sets with just the combination of all the different characters, it’s pretty crazy. It was just a weird combination of people.”

Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian is out in theaters now.

For the trailers, posters, review and more movie info, go to the Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of 20th Century Fox

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