Ben Stiller has bad luck with his animal costars. In Meet the Parents, he chased after a sneaky cat that had defiled the ashes of a dead relative. In Along Came Polly — currently in theaters — his on-screen girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston, has a blind pet ferret that roams free in her apartment, bumping into stuff. But Polly's feisty ferret got into even more trouble off screen — the critter attacked Stiller!
"I was bitten by the ferret, but I didn't do anything, I swear," Stiller insists. "I was holding him up and he did this crazy turn-around thing. He literally attached himself to my chin and he didn't let go.
"It was a surreal thing where it's like, 'OK, the ferret is on my chin,'" he continues. "Their teeth are sharp like razors. But I didn't provoke him at all. I had just gotten a root canal the day before, and maybe he sensed that or something."
His next project, a big-screen adaptation of '70s TV classic Starsky and Hutch, is pretty much animal free. Unless you count his costar, Snoop Dogg, who plays Huggy Bear. In fact, it was pretty much smooth sailing on set. "It was really fun. I had a great time doing it," he says. "For me, it was a chance to do something a little bit different, which was a joy. I'm not playing the neurotic, accident-prone guy."
Stiller — who plays Starsky to Owen Wilson's Hutch — says the movie will honor the original series, not just poke fun at it. "I love that show," he enthuses. "[The film] is not a spoof in any way. It does take place in the '70s, which is when the show was done, but it is not making fun of that era. It is as if this was the first pilot [episode] of Starsky and Hutch, and then they recast."