Director Penny Marshall, who died last month, is still fondly remembered by many people who worked with her over the course of her decades-long career in film. One such person is actor Steve Zahn, who starred in Marshall’s last film, 2001’s Riding in Cars With Boys.
On the latest episode of PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, Zahn told host Lola Ogunnaike about the first time he met with Marshall about the movie. His recollection captures multiple sides of the director.
On the one hand, Zahn says “Penny was so great” and “I loved her to death.” But on the other hand, he called her “crazy as a sh— house rat, man. Just out of her mind in the greatest, most beautiful way.”
RELATED VIDEO: Tom Hanks gave Steve Zahn advice during That Thing You Do! that he uses to this day
To illustrate what he meant by those different descriptions, Zahn described their first meeting at her house. It sounds a bit like that scene in The Big Lebowski where Jeff Bridges goes to meet Julianne Moore at her place and for some reason David Thewlis is also there in the background cackling like a madman.
Image Group LA/ABC/Getty Images; Chelsea Lauren/WireImage
“I was up for this part and I wanted it so bad,” Zahn said. “She goes, fly out to L.A. and meet me. I get there, and I’m at her house, and this guy comes out calling me Steve. It was very strange. I go into the house, I can’t find her. He’s like, she’s on the phone. She goes, ‘I’m back in my room, come back to my room.’ I’m like, how do I get there? This is how I remember it and I could be wrong, but she said ‘take the back staircase.’ And then I ask the guy about it and he says, ‘There’s no back staircase.’ Like, what?”
Zahn continued, “So I go to her room, she’s got a Lakers jersey on, and we watch TV. It was beautiful. We just sat there and talked about the movie. She had this big Lakers jersey, and we ate bacon. She was on some diet that was like, yeah, bacon’s good for you.”
Watch the clip above.