BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Actor Elliott Gould is in town to show off his family. Not that family. His on-screen family in the new movie Dorfman, being screened Tuesday and Wednesday at the Miami Jewish Film Festival.
“It’s about the human condition and how the human condition will affect the future of subsequent generations,” said Gould, who plays new widower Burt Dorfman, a man with two grown children (played by Sara Rue and Jonathan Chase) still trying to find themselves in the film.
In real life, Gould has lived in the public eye since he was a child performer in Brooklyn. His career took off in 1962 when he co-starred in the Broadway musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale, which also featured his soon-to-be wife, Barbra Streisand. By the end of the decade, both were parents to son Jason and full-fledged movie superstars.
Gould received an Oscar nomination for 1969’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (opposite Natalie Wood, Robert Culp and Dyan Cannon). The next year, he starred as Trapper John in Robert Altman’s classic war comedy, M*A*S*H. After he and Streisand split, Gould married Jenny Bogart, with whom he had a son, Samuel, and a daughter, Molly.
Still busy acting, Gould has co-starred in the recent Ocean’s film franchise and become well known for playing fathers, including Ross and Monica’s dad, Jack Geller, on TV’s Friends.
“I only have my own experience, my own heart and soul to call on,” says Gould, now 73. “As I grow, as I’m aging, as I’m evolving from one age to another age, I’m interested in continuing to cast myself. I can’t cast myself as I did when I was a younger person.
In 1997, Gould played father to both his own sons in Jason’s short film Inside Out, a quasi-autobiographical comedy about a young gay man coping with having two celebrity parents.
“I don’t know anyone more decent than Jason,” Gould says. “He’s really gifted and so sensitive. He’s writing music now. He’s singing what he’s writing.”
Both Jason’s parents support him completely, Gould says.
“Even though we are divorced, we are still family and we love each other. We have a special relationship and kinship. A grain of pride is good for the heart. No more than that. Pride can be blinding. It’s the first deadly sin.”
Gould says that being a parent is a tough job for anyone, not just the famous.
“Just because parents are well known or parents have succeeded does not mean they were good parents. I was not at all capable of being the kind of parent I am now. The idea is to endure the storm, not to be in denial, not to impose ego in the guise of being a caring parent.”
Gould says he’s had a lifetime of self discovery. “I’m into nature. Nature is a gift. I stay alive and try to be open minded and sensible and reasonable. And go to the gym.”
No regrets, except perhaps one: Gould says life would have been different if he pursued the hugely popular TV version of M*A*S*H.
“Why would I have done it, if they had asked? To make enough money for my family so I would never have to work again.”
IF YOU GO
Elliott Gould will attend screenings of Dorfman 6 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Regal South Beach Stadium 18, 1120 Lincoln Rd., part of the Miami Jewish Film Festival. Tickets: 888-585-FILM (3456).