Breaking News
More () »

Grand Rapids' Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Grand Rapids, Michigan | WZZM13.com

Jeff Daniels to Hollywood: 'If you want me, I'll be in Michigan'

The venerable actor appeared on "Sunday Today with Willie Geist" giving the host a tour of his hometown of Chelsea.
Credit: Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Jeff Daniels at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Jeff Daniels continues to shine in the spotlight.

The venerable actor appeared on "Sunday Today with Willie Geist" giving the host a tour of his hometown of Chelsea and sitting down with Geist at the theater he founded, the Purple Rose Theatre.

The theater was named for the movie he says changed his life, "The Purple Rose of Cairo." His role as the dashing, sweetly naive archaeologist Tom Baxter in the 1985 Woody Allen film earned him praise. But would he work with Allen again?

"If Woody were to call me and say 'I want you do a role in my next movie,' the easy answer is to say, 'No,' " Daniels said. "The harder answer is 'I don't know' because I would have trouble, I would be saddened that I would have to say no to someone who did so much for me all those years ago."

Daniels has written 17 plays for the theater, which he founded in 1991. The latest show is "Flint," finished its run Saturday.

His breakthrough role was 1983's "Terms of Endearment" with Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine. He portrayed Flap Horton in the Oscar-winning film, a young professor who loves his wife but feeds his ego by constantly cheating with other women.

Just as he career was taking off, Daniels moved back home.

"If you want me, I'll be in Michigan," he said.

He moved back to Chelsea with wife (and childhood sweetheart) Kathleen and their three children.

"The career wasn't that important. ... They came first. Our quality of life came first," he said on "Sunday Today."

"Dumb and Dumber," playing Harry Dunne opposite Jim Carrey in 1994, got him back in the Hollywood game.

"I went from 'What's your name?" to 'Jeff Daniels,' " he said.

Daniels won a best actor Emmy in 2013 for his role as Will McAvoy in Aaron Sorkin's HBO series "The Newsroom" about a fictitious cable news network.

After reading the speech for the fed-up newsman's speech in the pilot, he was hooked.

"I have been waiting for that speech for decades," Daniels said. "Now Aaron Sorkin of 'West Wing' fame ... is handing it to me. There was no way I was going to screw that up."

Daniels is teaming up with Sorkin again this fall on Broadway. Daniels will play Atticus Finch in Sorkin's adapation of "Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird." Previews are set to begin Nov. 1 with opening night set for Dec. 13.

And Daniels can also been seen now in "Godless" streaming on Netflix and "Looming Tower" streaming on Hulu.

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.