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Q&A with James Caan

2 minute read
Rebecca Winters

James Caan is currently in the movie Elf and on the NBC show Las Vegas.

The other men in Elf (Will Farrell, Bob Newhart) wear tights. But not you. What gives?

I had a strict no-tights clause in my contract. If I wore ’em, they’d have to get me implants in certain areas. They didn’t go for the expense, so they put me in a camel-hair coat and covered everything up.

You play a security expert at a casino in a new show called Las Vegas. Are you a gambling man in real life?

I used to be. I gambled when I was 22, and I’d lose $5,000, which was everything I owned. Now I hate to lose. Now I’m gambling in my work.

You’ve famously turned down some great film roles. Why did you pass on Jack Nicholson’s part in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

At the time, I thought–because I’m a genius–it wasn’t visual enough. It took place in these four walls. I didn’t know that [director] Milos [Forman] was as good as he was. It’s my opinion that I’m stuck with, unfortunately. I’ve made some bad choices.

Is playing the biological father of an elf a good choice?

I turned the title down. I said, “I’m not doing anything called Elf.” But once I read it, it was great. Plus, the tights thing we cleared up.

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