Age is just a number, and Hollywood legends Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Norman Lear and Mel Brooks gathered to prove just that at the premiere of their new HBO documentary film, If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, on Wednesday night at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills.
The documentary from producer George Shapiro and director Danny Gold is hosted by comedy icon Reiner, who created the title after sharing his morning ritual everyday.
“Every morning before having breakfast, I pick up my newspaper, get the obituary section and see if I’m listed. If I’m not, I’ll have my breakfast,” Reiner said in the opening previews of the documentary.
Throughout the HBO special, Reiner tracks down his famous friends and aged icons to assess how they’re all still thriving at an older age. Each featured person offers inspiring and humorous insight on getting older and what it’s like to redefine the stigma of being over 90.
“When people watch this movie, you can see that people should be judged by their talent and what they can do, not how old they are. I hope this movie dispels that myth,” Gold told The Hollywood Reporter.
Gold said that by sharing each star’s story on how they celebrate vitality, audiences can be inspired to stay driven and embody the same joy for life.
“Just because you retire from your job, doesn’t mean you retire from life. I think it’s about staying active. All of these people are doing things. As long as you stay interested in life. I think that’s what it’s about,” said Gold.
Shapiro told THR that it was the stars’ stories that ultimately made him want to create the documentary. “I got excited about reading about these people. I see the joy that they all have,” said Shapiro.
Prior to filming, Shapiro spent his days researching and reading articles on inspiring stories from people over the age of 90. After executive producer Aimee Hyatt told him to ‘just shoot it,’ Shapiro started making the calls to the stars.
“I was throwing all these articles in a file, and Aimee Hyatt motivated me to do it, and luckily I knew all these people. They all said yes right away,” Shapiro explained to THR.
While each of the featured stars have their own respected interests to keep them busy, they all have one thing in common: refusing to retire anytime soon.
“I think it’s a mistake. You wouldn’t retire from something you love to do,” 91-year-old Van Dyke told THR. “I’ve been one of the lucky ones. I can understand somebody retiring from something they don’t like, but you don’t retire. You find something you like to do, because that is the worst thing you can do.”
Reiner, 95, continues to write every day. Brooks, 90, is still touring. And Lear, 94, enjoys driving and maintaining his office visits.
One of the documentary’s most inspiring stories came from Tao Porchon-Lynch, 98, who is recognized as the oldest yoga teacher and dancer in the world. When she was 12 years old, Lynch marched alongside Gandhi and to this day continues to share the same peaceful mentality about herself and her life.
“I think it’s nice and refreshing that Hollywood is doing this. In two months, I’ll be 99, but I don’t go by age,” Lynch told THR. “I just think nothing’s impossible. I’m like a tree that’s very old. I recycle myself.”
If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast premieres on HBO Monday, June 5.