He, however, was “immediately smitten,” he recalled in 2018 on Off Camera With Sam Jones. He met her when the director, Peter Medak, got them together for dinner to see if they had the necessary chemistry. Basically given the go-ahead to “look this person in the face and in the eyes, at dinner I was just ‘Oh my god, look at her.’ She had this thousand-watt bulb going off behind her eyes, she was so light, and so interesting.” He motioned with his head to indicate he was down for the count.
Danson said he didn’t find out until later that Steenburgen was suspicious of him, recounting how she had said, “‘Ugh, I love the script, but if Ted Danson’s attached to it and he’s that Hollywood-slick, Sam Malone-kind of guy…'” But, he felt that she started to look at him differently one day when they were in the lunch line on set and she noticed that he was both splattered with paint (taking up painting was part of his “self-discovery,” he explained) and had a tear in the back of his jeans, so she could see his “tighty-whities,” as she called them.
“And she went, ‘Well this guy’s not cool,'” Danson said with a laugh. “‘He’s a doofus! Now I’m interested!'”