It’s a good time to be Ben Stiller. This past weekend, the veteran funnyman took down the Terminator, as his “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” upset perceived favorite “Terminator Salvation” at the box office . This Sunday, he’ll receive our highest honor at the MTV Movie Awards, taking home the Generation Award . And if all that weren’t enough, he also has some high-profile friends who are mighty impressed with his new piece of hardware.
“I think there’s no question he deserves it,” grinned Owen Wilson when we caught up with him recently to discuss Stiller’s Generation Award. “It’s long overdue, in fact. I was up in arms the last few years when he wasn’t up there. When you think of all the great stuff Ben’s worked on, it’s pretty amazing. Going back all the way to the show he did, and then right up to [‘Battle of the Smithsonian’].”
Ricky Gervais, who co-stars in “Smithsonian” alongside Stiller and Wilson, said that while he’s proud of his friend, one Hollywood star might be protesting outside the MTV ceremony. “Let me tell you something about Ben, shall I?” he teased. “There’s a monkey in this film, called Crystal the monkey. It’s probably one of the cutest things in the world; it’s a tiny little thing, a tiny Capuchin monkey. It wears a diaper; there’s nothing cuter. He hates it!” deadpanned Gervais. “So, that’s your Ben Stiller.”
Another Stiller collaborator on the “Museum” movies, Robin Williams, similarly took advantage of the opportunity to poke fun at the nominee. “That’s how desperate you are? That’s like giving Macaulay Culkin a lifetime-achievement award,” he said, faking outrage. “He’s getting a lifetime-achievement award at the age of what, 40?”
While Stiller would appreciate the comment, he is actually 43. “That’s so wonderful, because normally you’d have [an old man saying], ‘Thank you for this wonderful award. When your mother and I was growing up, there was no Twitter,’ ” grinned Williams. “Cool, a lifetime-achievement award for Ben Stiller — and he’s not that old. … That’s so lovely. Well, that really shows we’re a short-attention-span culture. That’s going to stick with me for the rest of my life.”
As for Stiller himself, he told us that he’s been getting a bit reflective ever since hearing he’d be receiving the Generation Award this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.
“Thoughts? Well, the thought of age creeps in there. And I guess I’m getting to that point in life where you can have an award named the Generation Award. That means you must be at least a few generations into your life,” he explained. “When something like that comes up, all you can think is, ‘Wow! Really? That can’t be it!’
“You look at the clip reel and think, ‘That’s how I’m going to be remembered?’ I’d better get working on some other stuff!” Stiller grinned. “But no, I’m very proud [of my award], it’s very nice.”
Will the vampires grab more trophies than the slumdog? What was the year’s ultimate onscreen WTF moment? It’s up to you to decide the winners of the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Vote now, and tune in on May 31 at 9 p.m. ET, when the big show airs live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.
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