When he was young, Romany Malco was a member of the early ‘90s hip hop group College Boyz and even did one of the raps as MC Skat Kat on Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract.” By the end of the decade he had become an actor, and has since put in enthusiastic, scene-stealing turns in “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Blades of Glory” and “Think Like a Man,” plus a long stint on “Weeds.” But he hasn’t been surrounded by as many legends as he has been in “Last Vegas,” in which he plays the hotel assistant tasked to tend to old-timers played by Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline. (A fifth Oscar winner, Mary Steenburgen, plays a love interest.)
It’s probably obvious what drew you to the role.
These guys were in it. Honestly speaking, it could have been an industrial video on how to build a polymerization plant and I still would have shown up. But honestly, when I read the script I felt it was so heartfelt. No matter what age you get to, there are bouts of insecurity. It’s about how important it is to have a tribe that helps you get back to who you are. It’s hard for me to do any movie, even if it’s funny, without looking at it from a serious perspective.
You’ve been around for awhile. Were you still intimidated by so many major stars?
I wasn’t as intimidated as I thought I’d be. The minute I showed up on set, they just bum rushed me. “Oh my god, you worked with Mary-Louise Parker, what was that like?” “Dude, ’40 Year Old Virgin!” They were really inclusive. They were regular guys. Mary was the one who intimidated me the most. I’m very good friends with her husband [Ted Danson]. But Mary is intimidating because she’s beautiful and she’s really smart. I get really weird around pretty girls. I think she caught me staring a few times.
De Niro can be pretty loose in comedies, but he has this reputation — especially among the press — for being quiet and hard to talk to.
I had two people ask me the other night how I got past him being quiet and reserved. I was like, “Which Bobby are you talking about?” [Laughs] I haven’t seen that version of him. You must have to piss him off or something. One night he made us go to a club. He did! Jay-Z was doing something in Atlanta [where they shot some of the film] and he made us go. Do you know how 50 Cent got into this movie? Our producer was like, “We need a rapper for this movie.” Bobby goes, “Who do you need? You want 50?” He pulls out his phone. He speed dials — it’s not like 10 buttons, it’s like two. He goes, “Hey, man. You wanna be in my movie? [pause] Yeah, Atlanta. I’ll get somebody to call you.” 50 Cent was there the next day.
These guys have such stamina. Is the stereotype of older people being homebodies overstated?
I hang out with my mom, who is the most Jewish black woman you will ever meet in your life. I go to Florida and I hang out with all her friends, who are anywhere between 75 and 95. I take them out. I have to rent the convertible because they all want to ride in a convertible. Sometimes I take for granted that one of the reason I’m there is because sometimes their kids aren’t. They get forgotten.