INT: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Following up on our WonderCon report for the FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL panel, we also had the opportunity to briefly chat with stars Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Jack McBrayer (the NBC page from 30 Rock), and director Nick Stoller. You can check out the film for yourself this April.
So you also wrote the film?
I did, yeah.
Did you always plan to put yourself in the lead role?
Yeah, I did. I figured if you're gonna write something, might as well write it for yourself.
Did you also have plans for who you wanted to play the supporting roles?
Yeah, well I think the goal is, having worked with these guys in KNOCKED UP, you wanna write parts people are gonna want. Especially those girl roles, I wanted actresses to really want to play them, so we tried to make everything as rich and complicated as possible.
How is it different working on an Apatow production over others?
I've been working with Judd for ten years now, so I almost donít know any different. I think the best part of it is you know you're working with a group of like-minded collaborators, so it's easy to let go and let people do their thing. Russell [Brand]'s part is much better as he played it than anything I couldíve written, and thatís true of all the characters. It's actually really exciting as the writer. Somebody asked me, "Is it hard to watch other people change your material?" No, it's quite the opposite, its really thrilling.
How much physical comedy can we expect?
There's quite a bit. There are a few pretty serious comedy pieces that you guys will see at some point. I hard to learn to surf, learned how to horseback ride, learn how to do yoga, which isn't really my thing. But it worked out.
A lot of your films and TV shows really appeal to the "geek crowd". Is that because you like the "geek crowd"?
I do, and I'll tell you why. Because I believe it consists of a group of people who do what they like because they like it, and are not striving to be anything but original and do what makes them happy. And I'm so inspired by that. I'm not gonna lie and tell you I grew up as a complete comic book geek or anything, but having very recently over the last five years been very accepted and welcomed in a very loving way by this community that is now its own subculture. Stuff that happens for these conventions, I like it, because nobody's trying to be different, they're just doing what they wanna do and I think that's really admirable.
Do you have plans to work on further Apatow productions? Or is this a one-time thing?
I hope not. I had a great time working with them; I hope they did me as well. I did a "Funny or Die" short for Judd last month, and we're doing another short for the Night of Too Many Stars, that Jon Stewart hosts on Comedy Central, so I'm trying to keep that relationship alive, not only because I think they're great people, but because I think that they work on the best projects.
Did you have much experience with improv before working on the film?
Not really. I studied music and theater, so I took improv classes and stuff, not a ton. Secretly in my dreams I would love to be in Second City or on SNL, but I just don't know that I have the guts.
Any updates on FANBOYS and Heroes?
FANBOYS, we don't have a release date yet, but we did do about two weeks of reshoots in December, which Judd was involved in. Which I think only makes the film even better. Heroes, we should back in about two months, I think the end of April, beginning of May. I don't think they'll start airing until the Fall. I don't know what they're gonna use as far as a storyline is involved, because I know that they had two mini-arcs that they were gonna do in the spring had the writer's strike not happened.
Was it nice playing a likable character for a change, as opposed to somebody like Meg (from Family Guy)?
Hey, listen, Meg is incredibly likable, OK? She's just 14, and awkward. [Laughs] It was a really fun character to play. She's as close to me as I've ever played.
We've seen a lot of physical comedy from the other characters, but not much from your's. Can we expect any?
I actually had very little physical comedy to do. A lot of it was like Kristen and Segel. A lot was Russell [Brand], in specific. But yeah, I had very little to do, so the stuff I did have to do was a-ok.
So does that mean we can expect a sweet side to the film as well?
It's very sweet. It has a very real story, just with silly situation.
There was a lot of improv, right?
Yeah. Everything is improv.
Were you familiar with working like that?
No, no, no. It was like you jump in and hope you can swim. It was kind of one of those things where you're surrounded by such brilliant people that you hope you can at least keep up.
So what kind of character are you playing here?
My character is a newlywed who is checking into the resort in Hawaii with my new bride, and during the course of our honeymoon I find that I'm having trouble pleasuring my wife.
How does your character here compare to your character on 30 Rock?
I'm in Hawaii in this movie. [Laughs] No; in the movie, my characters pretty naÔve, and... yeah, pretty similar. You'll definitely be able to see my range as an actor. [Laughs]
How did your experience with the "Apatow clan" affect your casting in the film? Did you even need to audition?
I definitely auditioned, but I was fortunate in that I had worked with Mr. Apatow and his people in TALLADEGA NIGHTS and WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY. So I was not unfamiliar with that powerhouse, but it was a real pleasure just to be able to do another one.
What was it like working as a first-time director?
It was very, very exciting. I was terrified beforehand, but once we actually started it was actually just fun.
How'd you get the job?
Well, I worked on Undeclared, which was Judd's college show, and I wrote FUN WITH DICK AND JANE with Judd, and Jason and I became good friends on Undeclared. I asked Jason on the set of KNOCKED UP, he told me the concept of the script, and he and I are both obsessed with guys crying, we think thatís a very funny motif. And so I said to Judd, if I guided Jason through a writing process if Judd would support me as the director, and Judd said yes. And then I tricked Universal.
How does the film compare to other Apatow productions?
It's a French sex farce. [Laughs]