What better place to meet two legends than in the bowels of
Actually, the prospect sounds kind of cramped and
ill-smelling. However the Bleacher Bar, situated below that venerable Fenway Park
seating area, proved atmospheric and pleasant and a cozy spot to interview Paul
Rudd and Jason Segel, stars of the soon
to be released “I Love You, Man,” and rising stars whom “Vanity Fair”
recently included among their “New
Comedy Legends.” They are joined by the film’s director John Hamburg,
a legend of sorts himself (he co-wrote one of my favorite recent comedies,
PK: They showed the film last night to a college crowd?
JS: It was a young, kind of raucous crowd. There was a group of girls in the front row
who had clearly had too much to drink. And were very raucous.
PK: Did you have a Q&A?
PR:Yes. It was a lot
of students that were there last night. Yeah.
JS: A lively bunch.
PK: Do you think we should have faith in the future college
generation based on your experience?
JH: From last night, no. Not from last night.
PK: What’s the gender breakdown on the movie, do you think?
PR: From what I understand, it’s split pretty evenly down
the middle. Men and women both seem
to--boys and girls--what do you call them? Young men and women?
JH: Young men and young women.
PR: XX and XYs.
JS: They all seem to like it cause it’s got elements for
both. John can probably speak to that
more, because he wrote the brilliant script.
Jason. (Laughter) No, you know, you judge that from all your
previous great test screenings and see how the different--they divided into
four quadrants and men and women under 25 and over 25, and it was at these
previews they were within almost a percentage point of the same you know
reaction to the movie.
PK: All four percentiles?
JH: Yeah, yeah.
PK: Would you say that the women over 25 they just sort of
forget about it…
JH: Not really. I
mean, it’s been proven with a lot of recent movies like “Sex and the City.” I
mean, that was like, suddenly they tapped into these audiences. Women over 25 love going to movies. They just, sometimes the movies aren’t
marketed toward them, but we found you know they connected with the movie the
same way guys in their early twenties did.
PK: When I was watching the movie at first I thought this is
promoting the same stereotypes that you see in the beer commercials, and then I
said, oh, this is kind of like interesting because you’re sort of subtly
subverting these stereotypes.
PR: Yeah, it’s
actually “not that.” It’s a truer
depiction of the male psyche than the basic generalization. And I know that when I read it, I thought,
oh, these are like guys I know and um, and--I love that Jason and I are two
characters that can wear our hearts on our sleeves, that we can talk about our
feelings and it’s…
PK: Just like real life.
PR: Just like real
life. Yeah, that’s the way I do. We’re very, very touchy feely guys.
JS: Yeah. The only
stereotypical alpha male in the movie is the Tevin character and he is
villainized. I think if anything, we
turn all those stereotypes on their head.
PK: This is the Jon Favreau character?
JS: No, Tevin is the
associate, who’s such a, such a…
JH: Well, Favreau’s
got a bit… Favreau’s…
PR: I was gonna say
that it’s such a funny thing that he said the other day when he was doing the
JH: Yeah, they
interviewed Jon Favreau. They came to
the set, some, Comedy Central or somebody and they said, “So Jon, do you
consider yourself a guy’s guy?” And he
looked around and he saw Paul and Jason and Samberg and he then he goes
(imitating), “In this crowd I am.”
(They all laugh)
PK: So you’ve got three actors in this cast who’ve all
written and I guess directed movies? Is
it a little contentious at times, what’s going? Or did you get a lot of improv going on?
JH: It was only weird
when they started yelling ‘action’ and ‘cut.’ Aside from that, we got along famously. No, you know what, this movie was a very enjoyable experience to
make. And if anybody has a good idea
then we all talk about it and there’s no… I don’t believe there’s any egos
involved in doing it. It’s just the, Jon
Favreau wanted to do a lot of CGI work.
Which we didn’t have time for.
PR: Or the budget.
JH: The budget, or
PK: I thought it was all CGI.
JH: Most of it. Well, Paul’s performance is CGI.
PR: Yeah. We needed the latest technology.
PK: Your wardrobe was CGI.
JS: Yeah, my wardrobe
was pretty remarkable, wasn’t it?
PK: Did you have to pick that out?
JS: No, the amazing
costume designer Lisa Evans picked it out, who also did the costumes for “Forgetting
Sarah Marshall.” She
styled me. I mean, it’s so bizarre but
it’s brilliant. I mean, have you seen
Ugg boots that size in your whole life?
PK: Uh, not really. No. Where did you find
those? Well, she found them.
JS: She found them, in Andre the Giant’s wardrobe.
PK: You’re wearing them right now.
JS: I am. I am.
PR: They had to be specially
JS: Each Ugg boot was
four other pairs of other Ugg boots sewn together.
PK: So this is the bromance genre. Do you buy that?
JH: I think, I have
no problem with it, but I don’t really--we never approached the movie with it
as a bromance genre. In the original
story for this movie was written by a writer named Larry Levin, like six or
seven years ago before there was any talk of this. I think, there’s always just been movies
about buddies, you know, Hope and Crosby even.
PR: Laurel and Hardy,
JH: Laurel and
Hardy. Abbott and Costello. I mean, there’s always been comedy duos. It just seems that maybe in the last six
months or something, the term has been created, but we never thought about that
term while we were making the movie. We
just said, this’ll be great to explore male friendship and really make that the
theme of the movie as opposed to a subtext.
PK: So when does a bromance movie become gay? Is there a dividing line between…
PR:(uncomfortable pause) Well, I think we all know maybe,
technically, what the answer might be.
PK: I mean, is it like, kissing but not on the lips? (longer uncomfortable pause) Or… I guess, we’ll leave it at that.
You’ve been acclaimed as the new ‘legends of comedy.’ How do you feel about that?
JS: I think it’s a
gross overstatement, personally.
PR: I don’t think
anybody’s really thinking that. I think
probably. It’s very, very flattering to
be in “Vanity Fair.”
JS: It’s hyperbole,
isn’t it. We’re just doing our best in
this crazy world.
PR: Aren’t we all,
PK: You chose different comedy icons to represent
yourself. (To Paul) You chose Gene
PR: I chose Gene
Wilder. Who really is a legend. I love Gene Wilder. I always have. And I love that movie, I mean “Young
Frankenstein” is one of my favorites.
PK: (To Jason) And Buster Keaton was yours?
PK: That goes way back.
JS: Yeah, you know, I
started out as a fan of Charlie Chaplin.
Beause I think, you know, as a kid I was more familiar with Charlie
Chaplin. "Chaplin" had just come out. Remember Robert Downey Jr. in “Chaplin,” in
that breathtaking performance? Uh, yeah,
and then I found that there was sort of another dude. And so I checked out Buster Keaton and I
actually liked him better. While Charlie
Chaplin had a more hopeful energy, Buster had a more stoic and sort of morose
energy, which I really enjoy.
PK: It’s more existential.
JS: A bit.
PR: And he loved
PK: Chaplin’s a bit creepy I think
PR: You think
so? I think he’s incredible.
JS: Yeah, I love
JH: I think some of
his, you know, real-life dalliances may influence that creepy factor. But I think he married a 13-year-old.
PR: You’re sure you’re
not thinking of Jerry Lee Lewis?
JH: I, I… maybe.
PK: I think it was more like sixteen. But he did rob the cradle at one point.
PR: And then he
married Eugene O’Neill’s daughter, Oona.
JH: I didn’t know
PR: Yeah. Oona O’Neill.
PK: So even though you’re not comedy legends, would you say
that there’s a--
JS: What makes you
say we’re not comedy legends? (Laughter)
PK: Well, you said that.
PR: New Comedy
JS: When you
re-listen to this interview, you’re gonna say, wow, those guys are legends in
their own right. With that whole Oona
PK: Yeah, that was pretty good. No prompting either. Well, besides being comedy legends, would you
say that there is a kind of renaissance in comedy going on.
JS: I think there’s
just a shift. I mean, it’s constantly
shifting. I mean, think about what 80s
style comedies were like. Like
“Loverboy.” When Patrick Dempsey is
having sex with women who order a special pepperoni and sausage pizza.
JH: Yeah, he’s a
pizza delivery boy.
JS: Yeah, and it
means they get to have sex. I mean, the
80s movies had a specific type of comedy and then it sort of transitioned into
the Farrelly brothers era of comedies, and now I think it’s moved a little bit
more into this realistic…
PR: I don’t
know. I just think that we’ve been in a
couple of movies that have done well. And… you know, it’s, you can’t really pin any kind of style or
anything. It’s been a fortunate, fun
thing to be a part of. Something that people go see and seem to like. And it does seem that, it is true that the
style and taste of comedies seems to just change, it just does. Different generations.
JS: And what’s going
on in the world around you as well, you know.
PK: Well, it seems like comedy is becoming more and more the
serious comment on gender roles and other important issues. So you would agree with that? Speaking of gender roles, it wasn’t the
cover, but the picture inside you imitated the notorious coger with Scarlett
Johsanssen, Keira …Do you regret doing that at this point? Because, uh, I’ve been reading some of the
websites and they’ve been saying, how come they’re not naked? Are they making fun of the two actresses in
the original cover?
JH: I think if they
were naked, it would be, on the internet, a lot more backlash.
PR: And it’s not as
if… (to Jason) You’ve certainly been naked in the past. Seth has. I mean, is that really a thing? I
lucked out. I just, I got the tuxedo,
JS: Annie Leibowitz
has a reputation to maintain and she didn’t need the three of us actually naked
in that photo. There’s no way to make
PK: Was her call the nude suits thing?
JS: Yeah, she came up
with both of those concepts. And she’s a
genius. Shooting with her was such an
honor. But it was an uncomfortable
day. I’m not gonna lie to you.
JS: Yeah, well Paul
walks out in a suit like, “alright, I’m ready to go.” And then Seth, Jonah and I walk out in these
body stockings and immediately everyone starts laughing hysterically, which is
not… it doesn’t give you confidence. And
we’re supposed to get in these sexy poses and, you know, none of us love
all four cover guys have the same personal trainer.
JS: Yes. That’s the
PK: You’re in good shape.
PK: You’re in good shape, too.
JS: Yeah, thanks for
noticing. I’m a different kind of
shape. I’m pear-shaped.
PR: Eh, I’m not in
such great shape.
JS: You’re pretty
PR: Thanks Jason.
Next: Failure to pick up after your animal.