Columnist Liz Smith reports that Stiller, who was to star as hot-shot real estate salesman Richard Roma opposite TV-film actor Danny DeVito, has decided to back out of the production. "I've made the difficult decision to withdraw from [the play]," Stiller tells the gossip maven. "My priorities changed after the birth of my daughter, and the reality of being separated from my family for the better part of eight months caused me to rethink my commitment. We decided this would be the best thing for us. Sadly," Stiller continues, "I will miss the opportunity to work with this brilliant team of David Mamet, director Daniel Sullivan, producer Robert Cole and co-star Danny DeVito ? especially in this masterpiece. I want to publicly apologize to everyone involved for not being able to be a part of what I know will be an incredible production. My highest hope is to have the chance to work together sometime in the future."
DeVito, who is scheduled to play the downsliding has-been Shelly Levine in Mamet's Pulitzer Prize winner, commented on Stiller's decision. "Glengarry Glen Ross is one of my favorite plays ever. I know it must be tough for Ben. So much has changed for the three of them in a few months. I don't know who will replace him. I'm leaving that to the director and producer." Producer Cole adds: "I am now exactly where I was in April prior to Ben Stiller's involvement ? I'm sitting on top of the world with Danny DeVito."
Stiller, the son of actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, first made his name on television and then as an actor, writer and director in such off-beat films as "Reality Bites," "Flirting with Disaster," "Something About Mary" and "Zoolander." DeVito, star of "Taxi" on the small screen and "Romancing the Stone" and "Throw Mamma From the Train" on the large, will play the central role of desperate, aging real estate salesman Shelly "The Machine" Levine. Levine, whose sales have been slack in recent years, turns desperately to petty crime in Mamet's punchy, profane look at the curdled American Dream. Robert Prosky and Joe Mantegna starred in the original Broadway mounting.
Glengarry will be David Mamet's first Broadway outing since The Old Neighborhood several seasons back.
?By Andrew Gans and Robert Simonson