Douglas: ‘I had something to say’ |

Douglas: ‘I had something to say’

Stewart Oksenhorn
Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis, left, swears in actor Michael Douglas as a sheriff's deputy during the Aspen Filmfest at the Historic Wheeler Opera House. Aspen Times Photo/MarkFox.

If Michael Douglas had listened to career advice offered by virtually everyone around him, his notoriety would have come for his behind-the-scenes contributions to the film world rather than his on-screen roles.Helping honor Douglas in an Aspen Filmfest event Wednesday night at the Wheeler Opera House, host Joel Schumacher, Douglas’ director in the 1993 drama “Falling Down,” noted that Douglas’ early success came as the producer of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The China Syndrome.”

“Wasn’t God telling you to be a producer?” asked Schumacher.”It wasn’t God,” said Douglas, who received Aspen Filmfest’s Independent By Nature Award, four days after turning 60. “The business was telling me, why act? I was totally acceptable as a producer, but not [as an actor]. I quietly resented it. People said, ‘Why do you want to act?’ I thought I had something to say.”Ignoring the advice, Douglas has made his name as both a producer and actor. Douglas’ credits as a producer include “Flatliners,” which was also directed by Schumacher, and “The Rainmaker.” On-screen, he has starred in such films as “Romancing the Stone,” “Wonder Boys,” “Fatal Attraction” and “Wall Street,” for which he earned a Best Actor Academy Award.

Douglas was honored by Aspen Filmfest for his multifarious contributions to filmdom and for his acting versatility. Laura Thielen, executive director of Aspen Filmfest, noted that Douglas had starred in “every conceivable type of movie, bending and blending genres to reinvent them.”The ceremony included a reel of highlights from Douglas’ career, the presentation of the Independent By Nature Award – in the form of a silver aspen leaf belt buckle by Aspen silversmith Jim Hayes – and an on-stage conversation with Schumacher. The evening ended with a most unexpected surprise, as Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis swore Douglas in as a sheriff’s deputy.

Schumacher, who had earlier noted Douglas’ mischievous, bad-boy side, emerged from side stage to quip, “You have no idea how ironic this moment is. It shows how you can live to see everything.”Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is