Set Visit: 40-Year Old Virgin

I’m standing in a geek oasis, more specifically an apartment covered from top to bottom with geek treasure. Action figures, dvds, video games, models, posters, LPs, you name it. What’s this over here? It’s a leather chair, with speakers built into the headrest, and video game controllers attached to the bottom. And this? A Martin Sheen action figure from the movie SPAWN? This guy is clearly King of the Indoors.

But it isn’t a real oasis, or a real apartment. It’s Andy’s apartment, one of the main sets on the new movie THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN starring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, and Paul Rudd, and directed by Judd Apatow. JoBlo.com and some other web journalists were invited out to the set, as the shooting schedule came to a close.

The story has been described as a “middle age coming of age” story. More specifically, it follows Andy Stitzer (Carell), a 40 year old man who has never had sex. No, it’s not a tragedy, it’s a comedy. Andy’s friends at work find out about his secret and make it their mission to get him a woman. We also follow Andy’s misadventures as he tries to build a relationship based on a no sex policy with Trish (Keener). But first, a little more about that apartment.

The production designer on the film is Jackson De Govia, and I can say looking at this set he has outdone himself. He and his team have really gone all out to make this set an extension of Andy’s character. The theory being that if you were a 40 year old virgin, what would you be into? Naturally, it would be comic books, models, games and more. The set shows a guy who is strongly connected to his childhood, somehow he can’t let go all of the way and make it to being a full fledged grown up. Hell, I like him already.

The prop that impressed me the most was a poster for the band ASIA, the popular rock group from the early 80s. This almost seems like a relic, perhaps the one of the few things that Andy has good memories about from high school, or maybe it reminds him of a girl that he had a crush on back then, but never had the nerve to talk to.

Why am I going on and on about this when you came here for interviews? Because the set design goes to show that this isn’t some cheap gag movie. It will likely be raunchy film, full of explicit humor, but at the core is the likeable Andy, an everyman that most people reading this story will no doubt identify with (except for the virgin part). The world is full of people who don’t like themselves or don’t fit in. In some way, it makes Andy a hero for our times. Mind you, this is all coming to me from the set design.

We are escorted into another feat of set design as we are taken onto the set of Andy’s work, a store that looks a lot like a Circuit City. The atmosphere is relaxed. We get to see a scene being filmed where coworker David (Rudd) tries to convince Andy to come out with the guys for speed dating. Director Judd Apatow keeps the camera rolling, allowing for multiple takes and Rudd to find the right tone. Each take is great, but full of small differences, small options for the editor to choose from. The scene is evolving organically before our eyes, with Rudd and Carell playing off each other’s lead. It’s like jazz more than it is Hollywood filmmaking. This is what co-star Romany Malco calls “a freestyle” approach to their work. The other scenes we are shown feel the same.

We are introduced to director Apatow, famous for the TV show FREAKS AND GEEKS, and writing features like THE CABLE GUY and ANCHORMAN, who took some time out to speak with us about making the film.


Are you doing an unrated version of the movie for the dvd?

We do a lot of stuff for the dvd. We hired an editor just to cut deleted scenes and an uncensored version of the movie.

When do you need to have the film ready to be previewed?

Usually you preview about 10 weeks after you wrap. But we have multiple editors on, so we’ll start previewing 7 or 8 weeks. We’ll try to get into it quick, ‘cause we shoot some many options as you can tell. That way if there’s problems, we can adjust it.

Are there any scenes where you went on and on?

Most of them. Well, we shot a scene where we waxed his body (the character of Andy), and so we put 4 cameras on him and literally waxed his chest. We didn’t have much of a script there. It’s funny, people see it and they think it’s a special effect, but it isn’t, he was like, bleeding on camera.

What was the writing process like?

We just together and just talked through the movie for a long time, and we wrote it very fast. They greenlit it very fast off our first draft. Then we started rewriting. And what I like to do is have a rough script and start casting very early and then doing major rewrites because I know that Paul Rudd’s in it, and Romany’s in it, and Catherine Keener, ‘cause it changes so much of the movie…it’s always weird that people don’t rewrite for the actors.

Is it based off of anybody you know? Any personal experience?

I wish I could say it wasn’t my most personal work! (Laughs) I think of it as FREAKS AND GEEKS if none of them got laid, or one of them didn’t have sex, this might be were they would be at 40 years old!

At this point, Judd was pulled away to finish shooting a scene. During another break we got to speak with star Steve Carell.


Are you worried this movie might hurt your sex symbol status?

That has never ever been anything near the forefront of my mind. If anything, it will accentuate my sex symbol status, which I’ve really cultivated over the years. (LAUGHS)

Then we got treated to an up close and personal view of the waxed patches of Steve Carell’s chest, blank spots in a sea of hair, even seven weeks after shooting the scene. Two things: Steve Carell is a very hairy man (not Sasquatch hairy, but you know…he’s got a full pelt) and he is a much braver man than I. This must’ve hurt like hell.

It kinda looks like a burn…

It actually looks like a face. Paul Rudd calls it a “man-o-lantern”. That was a very excruciating day. I told Judd that it has to be real…you have to see that this is actually happening. You could see the blood beading to the surface.

Did you regret it?

No. I mean it was really funny, and looking around at the crew trying not to laugh was a complete reward.

Aside from the waxing, are there any other painful sequences?

No, I just make out with a lot of women in this movie, and the fact that I co-wrote it is indicative. I tried explaining that to my wife!

You do seem to be the first real break out movie star from the DAILY SHOW. How carefully have you thought of this?

Not at all. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason, there no game plan. I’ve just kind of accepted every job that I’ve ever gotten. There’s no master plan.

Did you actually meet 40 year old virgins in this whole process?

I didn’t personally. I did a lot of case studies. There are more people out there than you think, who are this person. So, it’s not something completely off the wall….so many of them are just normal people who kinda slipped through the cracks...(laughs) as that was coming out I thought “maybe not the most correct choice of words”! Not necessarily weird, or phobic or have any sort of emotional problems, but people who, it just never happened to, and at some point they gave up trying. And that’s kind of the thrust of this character. I think the title leads people to believe it’s a really over the top, crazy sex comedy. But it’s really not. It’s actually a very sweet relationship comedy.


Source: JoBlo.com



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