Ben Stiller on Directing 'Escape at Dannemora': "It Was a Relief Not to Have to Deal With Me"

The director praised the performances of Patricia Arquette and Benecio Del Toro, along with the storyline that deals with human relationships.
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Ben Stiller

Recent Emmy nominee Ben Stiller appeared as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday night, where the actor-director discussed Showtime drama Escape at Dannemora with host Kimmel. 

Stiller served as director and executive producer on the seven-part miniseries, which is based on a real prison escape that occurred in 2015 at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. The series is nominated for 12 Emmy Awards. 

"It was an amazingly finite story," said Stiller, explaining that it all happened over the course of six months. When Kimmel asked if he liked not having to act, Stiller replied, "It was a relief not to have to deal with me." He then clarified that seeing himself on screen in the editing room is a difficult part of the job. "When you go to edit, and you have to look at yourself...it's painful."

The director went on to praise the performances of Patricia Arquette and Benicio Del Toro, the latter of whom he used to see on the audition circuit, along with the interesting storyline of the show. "It's about human relationships," he explained, adding that the conflict deals with a real prison escape that happened because people were "connecting with each other in a way that the prison couldn't stop."

At the end of the interview, Kimmel reminded his guest of the post-punk band Capital Punishment, which Stiller was a part of as a teenager. Although they never played live, they did record an album.