Gary Coleman limped into the lobby of the DirecTV Tribeca Center in green Crocs and jeans, looking unusually thin and noticeably weary from a day of publicity. A publicist had explained earlier that due to a pulled groin, the interview would have to take place on the ground floor of the building, as Coleman was in too much pain to walk up the stairs.
"I was driving my wife's car and I just starting limping when I got out of it one day. I pulled my hamstring and my groin muscle at the same time. I was beached for like five days. My hamstring just healed."
His wife would be Shannon Price, 23, the pleasant redhead milling in the background. They live in Utah County, Utah together, are visibly in love, and their mortgage is, according to Coleman, what has driven him, now 41, to star in Midgets vs. Mascots.
"If they weren't paying me, you wouldn't be talking to me," Coleman proclaims, motioning at director Ron Carlson and adding, "He is very proud of the film, and I don't know why.
"I have very little good to say about the movie because it's just so offensive. But I'm sure if you're a fan of Borat, you'll like this movie. But I have never liked the word midget."
Coleman describes Borat as "ridiculous, offensive and pointless."
Earlier this month Page Six quoted Coleman as saying he wanted "to bash my fists right in my agent's face" for booking him this job.
Coleman says he was half-kidding.
"He knows as well as I do that I still have to pay my mortgage, and if I want to keep my land I have to do that. I took this job and I promote this film because they pay me. Not because I think it's a good film, and not because I'm in it."
With that, Carlson interjects, "You haven't seen the movie yet."
"And I probably won't," Coleman fires back.
The director continues, "People on the street are coming up to me saying, 'Carlson, Aronofsky brought back Rourke, but what you did with Coleman...'"
"Who the hell is Aronofsky?" Coleman responds with a "whatchu talkin' bout Willis"-like fury.
Carlson busts out laughing and declares 2009 "the year of Gary Coleman."
So what's next for Gary?
"Right now I have garycolemanworld.com, which is a really nice portal for me. It's a shopping portal. I got scented candles, some Amway products, all kinds of good stuff."
Would he consider a run for office again, as he did during the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election?
"Politics is never about the people. It's about money. And wars. And how many heads you can step on and bodies you can step over. And I'm just not that kind of person.
"I would have liked to see California turned around, but there's not a lot I could have done. Arnold has enough trouble as it is, and I don't think I could have done a better job."
Does he realize how much love there is out there for Gary Coleman?
"I know the difference between true love and the love of my fans. It's just not the same. I've been married over a year now, and you can't beat true love. You can't. It's got its own energy, its own vibration, its own felling. It has its own power."
So how is married life?
"It's great. It's one of the hardest jobs you'll ever love."
Midgets vs. Mascots premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has two remaining screenings.
A description from the website:
In this Borat meets Jackass shockumentary, 5 little people and 5 mascots battle for $1 million apiece in competitions like "how few insults does it take to get punched in a bar", and "alligator wrestling". Gary Coleman, leading the littles as himself, is a comedic freight train (or train wreck) as he gets into actual fist fights with mascots, coaches and even Scottie Pippen. Like Borat, much of the film is shot "guerilla improv" as they surprise unsuspecting bystanders when the teams crash restaurants, bars and neighborhoods during outrageous competitions.
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