Ben Stiller and his teenage trip to the Holy Land

Jewish American actor says on a "father-son" bonding trip to Israel, he had a whirlwind romance and was inappropriate near the Western Wall.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
December 24, 2013 12:42
2 minute read.
Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller. (photo credit: Reuters)



Jewish American actor Ben Stiller admits to some inappropriate behavior near the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, according to Parade Magazine.

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Ahead of the highly anticipated release of Ben Stiller's  "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," the Jewish American gave an spoke with the magazine reminiscing about his time spent in the Holy Land.

In an interview with Parade, Stiller describes a "father-son" bonding trip he and his father took to Israel when he was 16-years-old, but the memories that surface for Stiller from his trip are not those bonding with his father.

"Is it blasphemous to say we ended up making out near the Western Wall? It might be. But we did…It was one of those times you don’t ever forget.”

Human disconnect, social isolation and the transition to an increasingly digital era come crashing together in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," actor-director Ben Stiller's personal take on a classic story.



"Walter Mitty," out in theaters on Christmas Day, finds Stiller not just re-imagining the character made famous from author James Thurber's 1939 short story of the same name in The New Yorker magazine, but redefining what Walter Mitty has come to represent in popular culture.

Walter Mitty is described by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "a commonplace unadventurous person who seeks escape from reality through daydreaming," and is often used to describe people who imagine themselves greater than they are in reality.

Stiller's Walter Mitty is different. A middle-aged man trapped by financial responsibility, Walter is a photo archivist at the dwindling Life magazine, a job that is being replaced by machines. Shy, sheltered and reserved, he is isolated from the environment around him.

"(He's not) some kind of an oddball or loner or nerd, but just a regular guy who has a lot of potential and hadn't figured out a way to unlock it," Stiller told Reuters.



The movie blurs in and out of Walter's imagination as his daydreams take him into new worlds and personas, be it the rugged explorer seducing his crush Cheryl, played by Kristen Wiig, or jumping into a fiery apartment to save trapped residents. But as he breaks out of social isolation and makes real human connections, Walter finds himself living a real life far greater than his imagination could conjure up.

Stiller, 48, who has built up a body of directorial works from 1994's dark comedy "Reality Bites," 2001's goofball modeling parody "Zoolander," and 2008's farcical action-movie send-up, "Tropic Thunder," said "Mitty" marks a new chapter in his catalog of works, and one that resonates closer to home.



Reuters contributed to this report.


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