INT: Rudd / Mann

Paul Rudd is one of those actors that is always interesting and always choosing unique roles. And lately, with his wonderful comedic work in such films as ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY, THE FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN and now KNOCKED UP, he is proving to be one of the best comedic actors out there. And in KNOCKED UP alongside the very talented Leslie Mann, they prove to be a match made in comedy heaven as a married couple with children, figuring out how to make it work.

Both Leslie and Paul share amazing chemistry and make for a very real couple coping with jealousy and childrearing. In fact, and I stand by this, if Leslie Mann doesn’t receive an Academy Award nomination, I won’t be watching. This is a character that many guys will have trouble with, yet she is makes her very complex and layered. She gives a wonderful performance which sadly, as comedies often do, will probably get overlooked so I’m sure something else will be on TV that night.

When Paul and Leslie stopped by to talk to the press at the Casa del Mar in Santa Monica , it was easy to see how they shined together in the film. They are obviously friends and respect each other… well, that is when Leslie doesn’t hate him. And they were both so pleasant and open when it came to guy talk - the dirtier the better – and what it’s like maintaining a relationship like this in a comedy. It’s also easy to forget sometimes what a varied career Paul Rudd has had when you look at his recent films. But it was nice to hear him talk about working with Jessica Lange in London in the stage version of “Long Days Journey Into Night”. What a thrill it was to talk to a couple of major talents like this. And make sure you check out KNOCKED UP on June 1st. It’s worth the price of admission, especially if you want some variety aside from Pirates, Spidermen and big green ogres.

Leslie Mann Paul Rudd

Leslie, did you have any trepidation about putting your kids in an R-Rated Film?

Leslie Mann (LM): I did. I didn't want to put them in the movie, but Judd [Apatow - her husband], he thought that it was a good idea. Time passed by, and I was saying no, no. no, and then I'm like — I dunno, maybe. And then it was like a week before and he said, you have to tell me now. He would ask me when I was really busy, so I couldn't really focus on it and then it ended up just happening. But it's okay…

Did you explain to them what they were doing or anything about the movie?

LM: Ah — anything about the movie? Ah you know they just — what did we say to Maude? She was just so good. I'm trying to think of what we said to her. [To Paul] Were you there? We just told her she would need to talk about how babies were born. You know, that's as much as we told her, and then she improvised that, right?

Paul Rudd (PR): Yeah, yeah. She was sitting at the table and came up with several different explanations.

LM : That was all her. She's very comfortable improvising. We had three cameras on her, people standing all around her, and she was so comfortable and really funny — and good. So it worked out… so far. [Laughing]

What sort of challenge did you face having to maintain the context of your characters while doing the funny stuff?

PR: I don't know. We improvised a lot of arguments (both he and Mann laugh). At first it was kind of startling because Leslie's so good, I thought she hated me after the first scene that we did, which —

LM: I kinda did —

PR: Yeah. In the restaurant, right?

LM: I did. A little bit.

PR: You said 'you fight so much differently — much more different — from the way Judd fights.' I'd make a joke — yeah — and that's not a good thing to do when you're fighting with your wife to —

LM: Make light of it — try to get out of it —

PR: Make light of it. It seemed like that was a funny way to go, but it did make me feel really weird the next day. I remember you came up to me the next day too because you had heard I’d said, 'I think Leslie really like hates me' [Leslie laughs] — We even knew each other too before —

LM: I just think it was really fun. It was fun to kinda heighten — torque it a little bit and make it even crazier. Like take a normal fight that you have in your marriage and then just make it really big for fun.

PR: And then just to know what to say to provoke somebody is really fun to do. It's fun to do in life, but you can't really do it in life without fearing the repercussions, but we — that was kind of why we were playing these parts to do that. The first day — I think — the first scene that you and I filmed together was — we were in the bathroom together and just kind of talking about our lives — you know — just about sex — do you want to have sex? — and we probably should — it was really hard not to laugh because I think that was the first thing. I asked Leslie if she wanted to have sex and you just went (makes ugh sound). It's always hard not to laugh when you're doing these scenes when somebody says something really funny.

Leslie, were you familiar, comfortable with, or shocked by the male group dynamics?

LM: You know, one day, at the end of shooting the movie, I was stuck in the hospital room, in the waiting room area, with all of the boys during the birth scene, and I was so disgusted by — all they talk about is like porn sites —it's real — the way they talk in the movie, that's how they talk. And I had to sit there all day with them, and [to Paul] you. And he knows all about that stuff too, and I just had to sit there and listen to them talk about the dirty — you know, DIRTY stuff. Like you just don't hear, that I'd never heard about. [To Paul] You remember any examples?

PR: No, I don't remember any —

LM: The site . . . you know what I'm talking about, don't you?

PR: Which site in particular? [Laughing]

LM: You know what — there was one that I remember being really shocked by —

PR: Of different sexual terms?

LM: No, not the terms. They were like websites with dirty —

PR: Oh yeah. I do know the one you're talking about. Yeah. [Laughing] I probably shouldn't — it ended .org which also was one of the funniest parts. It seemed like it was some kind of business or an educational facility, but it wasn't.

LM: I thought that I had heard —

PR: Well, Jonah had a picture of it on his phone too. He was like — that's what it is.

LM: I thought that I had been around all these guys. They don't — for some reason, they felt very loose and comfortable with me, or they forgot that I was there and they just talked like they normally talked. And it was really disgusting. I couldn't wait to get out of there. Dirty, dirty boys. They really are.

PR: And they were all like 7 or 8 years younger than me. I was really like the oldest guy which was even more sad, really.

Paul, I’ve seen a lot of your recent films and it seems like you give the smaller characters a lot of detail. It kind of feels like you have a different hair cut for each movie.

PR: Yeah. It's true! “Night At The Museum” was just stupid-looking. And then in “Diggers” it was longish. And in this one it was kind of cool and bed heady. It's all about the hair.

Can you give me more than the hair?

PR: Well, I mean, you know with those ones in particular — with “Diggers” it was a guy who was much more internal, it wasn't really a comedy, although it was kind of funny, but it was a clam digger in Long Island, so his dialect would be different. “Night In The Museum” was just a scene — you know, you just put a bunch of weird phones and pagers on your belt to try and dork it up, but that won't really sustain itself over a whole movie. And this character was obviously different. And then there's something like an “Anchorman” which is just truly hair. I mean that's really long hair and a mustache. I don’t know. They're all different characters, so you just play them differently.

What’s the dynamic of working with Judd – just being on set and getting direction from him?

LM: He's so — He creates such a nice working environment, like a very safe working environment for an actor, so you feel like everything you do is okay and good. So you're more willing to try new things and explore, and you never feel judged by him, like you're doing something wrong and stupid. That's how he gets great performances out of people, I think.

PR: Yeah, I think you're right. It’s never been a case of wondering — oh God, did I just go too far with that joke? He just won't use it . . . because I think we all have at certain points… yeah, especially me. Sometimes in an improvisation or something, it will go in a completely different way than what might be in the script, and he'll encourage that. He certainly feels comfortable enough to spend the time going in a direction that is completely new and he can process all of it in his head while he’s making it, knowing that this will fit into what the next thing's going to be. And he's so funny himself. He'll yell out a line while we're shooting a scene, and we'll just incorporate what he says into the scene, hopefully without stopping.

LM: He kind of rewrites it as we're rolling.

PR: And that's why we shot a million and a half feet of film.

LM : That's why, yeah.

Leslie, your character goes off on the bouncer at the club. Was that easy to do?

LM: [Laughing] We just thought it would be fun for my character to do, and no, I didn't feel uncomfortable. I liked taking it all the way. I think that’s like a dream that people have when they're in that kind of situation, where there's some dumb bouncer guy saying no, you're not good enough. That’s like a dream to tell that guy to f*ck off, and scream at him and call him stupid. Right? Isn't it? No? It is mine. You feel like that sometimes, but you don't do that in polite society, but that was a fun thing to do in the movie. It's the only time you can do it, I guess.

Leslie, were you always going to be in this role? How did Judd ask you to do it?

LM: He knew he wanted me, Paul [Rudd] and Seth [Rogan] from the beginning and then it was just finding Katie [Heigl].

Did you like doing the romantic and serious parts of the movie?

PR: We did. That scene, for instance, in the driveway, I think that the hurt that Leslie's feeling, and the confusion, and the stuff that I'm saying is because I think we kind of do love each other. What’s tough in our marriage is heightened because it's a comedy but I think that we were both… I know Judd and I talked about, [to Leslie] you and I talked about it, you want to believe that these people really are married, and why would they stay together really, so if you can have a couple of moments where you see their love for each other, at the birthday party when we’re talking about having the cupcakes...

LM: It's sweet and romantic and does that answer your question? Does it seem like we love each other? Or does it seem like we're just mad?

Yes, there are those moments where there are real emotions and it’s a nice balance.

LM: That’s good.

PR: Otherwise, it's just a one-dimensional cartoon.

Paul, was it ever your intention to have a big career in comedy?

PR: I always loved comedies growing up much more than anything dramatic, and when I was in college I started thinking about really becoming an actor, then I started to love both, and it just so happens that in the past few years it caught on with comedies for me, and I love doing them. These movies, especially with Judd and Leslie and [Steve] Carell and Will [Ferrell], they're a blast to make, so I'm psyched.

LM: There's a story that Judd tells about before he met you on “Anchorman”...

PR: When I met Judd, actually I knew who he was, I was a fan of his shows and stuff and I was at a dinner explaining fake names and how it's really tricky to come up with a great fake name. And I said the perfect fake name was Gern Blanston, which was from a Steve Martin record, so somebody at dinner said well, that explains Judd's email address, so I went home and emailed him congratulating him on his reference, and we kind of became pen pals. I actually never met him until "Anchorman," but we sent emails back and forth for about a year. Isn't that great?

LM: There’s more. You can ask Judd, but he actually thought you were a pretty boy, and then he met you and found out ...

PR: That I wasn't.

LM: That you're hilarious.

RP: I just remember the first email I ever got back from him, he said cool, now he feels he has an "in" to getting free tickets to Neil LaBute plays.

Paul, you did "Long Day's Journey Into Night" with Jessica Lange and Robin Phillips. What was that experience like?

PR: Different from this one. [Laughs] It was incredible. It's an amazing play and to do it in London, and to play a role like Jamie, which is so tortured and tragic. Actually it was one of the first times where… I’ve always been pretty good at separating what I was working on from my real life. I don't do any of that ‘bring the character home’ type stuff. But that play, four hours, and living in London and it was the winter, it was really tough. It was fulfilling and a great experience but it was the opposite of working on a comedy, especially a comedy with friends where it's all about jokes. Equally fulfilling and amazing -- something I would do again in a second, but just a very different feeling. And also it was a play which they tend to be different experiences anyway.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



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