Exit Interview: Marshall Herskovitz

Bala Cynwyd’s thirtysomething creator returns to the big screen

EI: As a producer and writer, do you spend much time with your stars, or do they keep their distance from you no-name types?

MH:I’ve gotten to know them all. Cruise is one of the most misunderstood people in the country. He’s a prince. When he jumped on Oprah’s couch—he does that shit every day. That’s Tom. He’s the most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. I still can’t imagine why people found anything wrong with that. When we were doing the final battle scene in The Last Samurai, there’s 600 extras, everybody’s in costume, Tom is in his armor. I arrive on the set, he comes up to me and shakes me and screams at me, “Is this fucking great? Is this fucking great?” That’s who he is. It’s infectious.

EI: You’ve got two A-listers in Love and Other Drugs. When Anne Hathaway walks into a room, do rainbows appear and birds sing?

MH: I’m like a member of a cult now. I find her to be so delicious as a human being that it’s hard for me not to sound like a press agent. The combination of Anne and Jake [Gyllenhaal] in these two parts was so delightful from day one.

EI: Guess I need to ask a question on behalf of our female readers. That Gyllenhaal guy. He’s, like, good-looking. Anything else to say about him?

MH: Jake plays a guy who’s been an utter failure in life except at one thing, and that’s getting laid. He’s kind of a jerk. Jake is a very nice, sweet person who had to find something very different in himself for this. It was pretty amazing to watch.

EI: The film was shot in Pittsburgh. What’s up with that? No love for Philly anymore?

MH: I kept pushing for Philadelphia, but money talks, and Pittsburgh came up with the bucks that Philly couldn’t. There was about a million-dollar difference. There’s so much being shot [in Philly] now, which I love. I always tell people how great Philly is. I’m due for a trip. I miss my relatives there. I miss Tastykakes.