INT: Paul Rudd & Jason Segel
Yep, I love I LOVE YOU, MAN. It is funny and it really made me laugh, often. You really can’t beat this cast. I’m a fan of Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Jane Curtain, J.K. Simmons and the list goes on. So I was thrilled that I got the opportunity to speak with both Rudd and Segel about the film. In the past few years, the two of them have become a part of some of my favorite comedies. I’ve been a fan of Paul Rudd for years, all the way back to CLUELESS. I’m happy to see him back and finding the leading man status he deserves. And the same can be said for Segel, after all, he helped make “Freaks and Geeks” the cult hit it is today.
While it was early in the morning for me, it was great to talk about the film and the state of comedy today with the boys. It was very easy to chat with them about whatever happened to come up. Whether it is the film or their recent photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. I hope that audiences get to the theatre this week when I LOVE YOU, MAN finds its way into a Cineplex near you. It is definitely worth your time.
Paul Rudd and Jason Segel
Paul Rudd: Yeah, I can relate to it. It’s a little heightened. I don’t think that the part I’m playing necessarily is representative of me but there are aspects of that character that I certainly feel hit close to home. You know, I understand those feelings of overcompensation, insecurity and trying to kind of, fit in. And I think that is a very relatable thing for anybody.
Jason Segel: For me, I’ve had the same best friend since I was twelve years old and we’ve lived together the past couple of years and he just left. And I think that, for me, I actually related to my character in that regard. I’m always had a really, really close male friend. And then slowly, we’re all growing up and he’s gone off to med school now, and I’ve sort of been left alone to some extent, having to make new friends. So I did relate to it, yeah.
The interesting thing about comedy in the past few years is that, thanks in large part to Judd Apatow, it seems to have regained some respect. Why do you think this kind of character driven comedy has become so successful these past few years?
JS: I think that one of the things we all do, and certainly I was kind of mentored by Judd into the writing, when I went to write Sarah Marshall, Judd gave me advice and he said, in this first draft I don’t want you to worry about it being funny. This movie is ultimately going to be funny. We’re going to cast it with hilarious people and we’re going to add jokes to punch it up. But what you need to do in this first draft is write a drama. That’s what people will stay in a theatre for 120 minutes for, you know, or 90 minutes. It has to be a story that is relatable and real underneath and then comedy layered on top of that. I think that is what people are responding to. They’re getting to see a real movie and not just punch lines. You get bored with just punch lines after twenty minutes, you know.
I agree with that. What about you Paul?
PR: Yeah, sure. I always… you know, people want to be moved and they want to be able to identify and relate to a character. The only thing that matters is what is going on with the character. If you’re doing something that is totally silly, which is also… I love that stuff too you know, really broad, out there comedy where it is like a cartoon. But my favorite stuff is stuff is both dramatic and funny, just very real and it has relationships and characters that don’t feel that different from me. Just as a viewer I feel that.
JS: Every riff that I write I feel like it was influenced by BROADCAST NEWS.
Nice. I love that film.
JS: It is easily one of my favorite movies and it pains me to say, that I think that if you showed that to today’s younger generation, they would think it was slow. That kills me.
Sadly I think that may be true with many films from that era. If some people watched RAGING BULL today I wonder if they’d find it too slow or dull.
Well speaking of “back then” I was always a huge fan of the original “Not Ready For Primetime Players“ and “Saturday Night Live“, and one of the best things about I LOVE YOU, MAN is the inclusion of Jane Curtain.
PR: That was pretty awesome.
JS: That was pretty remarkable.
PR: She was very open about talking about that stuff [“Saturday Nigh Live”] and telling stories. It was really thrilling. It was also cool to see Andy Samberg there and listen to the two of them talk about SNL and Lorne Michaels and how it is done. These stories of the writers and the producers and people that have been there the whole time, it was really cool.
I loved the family dynamic, with both Curtain and J.K. Simmons and with both you and Samberg as the kids. Again, people will absolutely be able to relate to that.
PR: Good, I hope so.
Now Paul, this is your 200th film this past couple of years right?
PR: 200th film since 2006.
Are you also interested in continuing writing as you did with ROLE MODELS?
PR: Absolutely. I’ve written a couple of things and a lot of that has come about just because, I think, the way in which a lot of us have worked over the last two years when it comes to writing jokes and or improvising scenes, or whatever it is. It seems like it is a natural progression.
It just seems like this company of players, has really opened things up. Honestly, I hadn’t been liking very much in the comedy genre for several years, that is, really, until the past few years I’ve been loving it, thanks to Apatow and what you guys have brought to it.
JS: That’s a nice compliment man, thank you.
PR: Judd has really been, well, huge in our lives, but what he has done… and not just Judd, I mean Adam McKay is another guy and there is actually quite a few. But Judd does seem to get mentioned all the time. He’s very good at kind of, picking up what everybody is going through. With problems and feelings, but not in a sentimental way. But in a heartfelt, but still funny way. And he was able to shoot movies for a relatively small budget and he could cast who he wanted. And the studios let him. And it was an amazing thing. I remember doing THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, and everyone was saying, ‘Can you believe that this guy, Steve Carell is going to be a lead in a movie?’ And it seemed unheard of for some reason. Despite the fact that Steve Carell is hilarious and great. It just seemed novel at the time. And Judd really wanting to cast the way he wanted to cast them. And he has opened up casting possibilities that a lot of us that work in these movies, it is because of him. You know, we might not of gotten these opportunities before.
Like the opportunity with Vanity Fair?
PR: The Vanity Fair cover?
Yeah, whose idea was that?
PR: That was Annie Leibovitz’ idea. Any picture she takes, that is her vision. And we didn’t know really what it was gonna be about or what they wanted to discuss, they just asked us if we wanted to be in the magazine. We were thrilled. That’s new for us man!
JS: I’m constantly fighting the feeling, I think as everyone, that I’m going to be exposed in the broad… I’ve never been more afraid of that happening then standing in front of Annie Leibovitz [Laughing].
PR: Like Jason, you did…
JS: I did Buster Keaton.
PR: And I wanted to be Gene Wilder.
Fine choices by the way. Again going back to classic comedy which seems to have returned. And like you said earlier, they have a strong element of drama that makes it work and it is easy to relate to. Funny thing, after I was I LOVE YOU, MAN, I called my wife and told her I was going to go to an open house and bring home some food.
JS: [Laughing] That’s hilarious!
Have either of you ever done anything like that? Just go, ‘let’s see what happens if we do it…’?
PR: I live in New York, and my wife and I… it’s actually a Sunday activity, to just go through the paper and go through all the open houses and look at the really nice apartments that we would never be able to buy. That’s a day out sometimes.
JS: Oh that’s fun. My closest to that is, every New Years Eve, I just start walking though neighborhoods and if there is a party, I just kind of go to it.
Are you serious?
JS: Yeah. I really enjoy it. And I go to like, three or four parties, and then someone say’s like, ‘Who do you know here?’ and I usually leave [Laughing].
What was the worst situation of that, where someone kicked you out? Were you every literally thrown out?
JS: The worst situation was, I once did that, and it was someone I knew [Laughing]. It was their party and I didn’t know where they live. And I walked in and it was like a group of people and they were really confused as to why I showed up [Laughing].
Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@JoBlo.com.