Ben Stiller says he doesn't like to be the center of attention -- but that's precisely what he was Wednesday (November 12) when New York's Museum of the Moving Image held an all-star salute to him. Robert De Niro, Diddy, Mike Myers, Jack Black, Will Arnett, Amy Adams, and Bill Hader were among those singing his praises in person, and Tom Cruise via a videotaped message ("I'm thrilled for you tonight, but even more thrilled to be able to tell the room that I am one of your -- if not the biggest -- fans," Cruise said).
While Stiller was being feted for his work as an actor, he said it's his behind-the-scenes work as a writer, director and producer (from "Reality Bites" to "Tropic Thunder") that he's most proud of. So which of his many writing-directing-producing jobs would be next for him?
"I don't know yet," he admitted. "I'm still trying to figure it all out."
One of the jobs on his plate is producing the animated superhero spoof "Master Mind," which might double as an acting gig ("I could be a voice," he said). The project has gone through a couple of directors already -- from Gary Trousdale to Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson. But Stiller said that it's firmed up now with his "Madagascar" director, Tom McGrath (who also did double duty, voicing Skipper the Penguin).
"I've been learning a bit over the years through 'Madagascar' how the animation process works," Stiller said. "And if you've got a good story and talented people to bring it to life, it can be really fun."
The plot of "Master Mind" -- written by first-timers Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons -- is a send-up of superhero stories, in which the superhero dies in the opening scene of the movie, and the story becomes more about what the supervillain feels about it.
"The idea is that Uberman, who is the big hero of the city, dies," Stiller said, "and Master Mind is left without someone to be evil to. He sort of loses his sense of what his purpose in life is, so he has a midlife crisis of sorts. And he falls in love. It's dealing with the emotional life of a supervillain."
Stiller said Robert Downey, Jr., would voice the part of Master Mind.
"This genre's been done so many times," Stiller said, "that it's always interesting to try to find a postmodern version of it."
If Robert Downey, Jr., is Master Mind, who do you think would be good for the part of his nemesis, Uberman?