I said this before in the short video interview I did with Will Forte and Jorma Taccone, but Will is quite possibly the nicest guy on the planet. He tends to play a lot of creeps and weirdos on “Saturday Night Live” but in person, he’s almost the exact opposite. Shy and polite without a single ounce of profanity. At the end of our 20-plus-minute interview, he was more than willing to keep going (“Is there anything else you wanna talk about??”) before a publicist finally dragged him away.
It’s always fun to talk to someone who’s genuinely excited about what they’re promoting and you’ll see almost right away in this interview, that Will really believes in MACGRUBER and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for it. (including a fake Playgirl photoshoot). Check out the interview below and remember MACGRUBER hits theaters today!
This has been a pretty epic promotional tour for you. From SXSW to WWE Raw to the college tour… Now that the release is finally here, are you excited, nervous, both?
Definitely excited. There is a nervousness just in that you worked so hard on something and you like it so much you want people to see it. There’s just no guarantee. The one thing that is comforting is that I know, no matter what happens commercially, I’m really proud of the movie we made and I love it. In a way it doesn’t matter to me how it does. That takes a lot of pressure of me right there. Sure, I want a ton of people to see it but that’s out of my hands. All I can do is talk about how much I love it and hopefully persuade people to give it a chance.
Is this the hardest you’ve ever worked?
I think so. I’m kind of a workaholic anyway but this is, for the last year, every second of every day has been either filled with MACGRUBER movie stuff or the SNL schedule. The SNL schedule on its own is super intense and you need a lot of weeks off, both mentally and physically, to recharge your batteries. And I never got any of those weeks. Believe me, I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I love working at SNL. It’s fun and being given the opportunity to make a movie is a huge honor. I wouldn’t trade it for the world but I am excited to fit a little vacation in.
Do you have plans for what you’re going to do once the movie is released?
I have no plans! That’s the thing. I always say, “I’m gonna go and get the hell outta here…” and I end up just watching a lot of “Sportscenter.” It’s funny, John [Solomon] and I went with John Lutz, who is an SNL writer and co-stars on “30 Rock,” and this guy Colin Jost, who’s also an SNL writer, we all went to Barbados. We only had four days. Oh and wait, I went away for New Years for two days! (Laughs) I had a bunch of friends who were going to France and I was like, “OK, I’m gonna treat myself to this trip!” We spent more time actually traveling there and back then we did in France. But anyway, in Barbados, Jorma would call us and he’d have all these questions. So even then, I’ve never had an uninterrupted vacation. And again, that sounds so lame like, “Ohh my Barbados ruined with all the MACGRUBER things I had to do!… Poor me!!”
When promoting a movie like this, you’re doing a lot of stuff in-character. Is that difficult to constantly do?
Well, I wouldn’t want to do MacGruber without having a very clear plan for what it is. So I would say it’s much easier to just talk as yourself because there’s no pressure.
I was impressed with how hard you guys were working to get the script perfect for WWE Raw.
We had an SNL work week and before and after that week. So you wake up Sunday and you’re exhausted from the night before and I had to memorize all this stuff and…this was by far the biggest group of people I’ve ever performed in front of. I had memorize all this stuff and it was really terrifying. Ultimately very fun to do but man, that’s scary.
As scary as debuting the film to a packed house in Austin?
That was…one of the best experiences of my life. To embrace the movie the way they did was very special. We were with all the people who made it and my mom was there. It was…one of the best nights of my life. It was so nice. It was scary but at that point, I had sat through a bunch of test screenings so this was the best version of the movie and the first time we were showing the finished projects. This was the tightest and best version of the movie. We were very excited and hoping it would get a good response but had no idea it would play as well as it did there.
Were you disappointed at all when they pushed the release date back to the summer season?
I know so little about that stuff. I was bummed out just because, from being at SNL, you’re used to the instant gratification. You do something on Monday and you get to see it on Saturday. So already I was impatient but they thought it would be good to wait a little bit longer to really show the movie. We did a college tour and really worked to get the word out there. We were so happy with how the movie turned out we thought it’d be a good thing to show it a bunch of times.
During that break, how did you plan when MacGruber would appear on SNL and what hosts it would work best with?
In the past, we would just wait until we’d have an idea we really liked. When Charles Barkley was coming, Lorne let us know that this would probably be a very heavily watched episode because of the NFL playoffs as a lead-in. So we just happened to have an idea that had been brewing so that synced up perfectly. With Betty White we just knew so many people would be watching. We didn’t have an idea beforehand but we really wanted to have the sketch play one more time before the movie. We worked really hard to get an idea and she was so nice to do it.
Was there the temptation to do the sketch when Ryan hosted?
The tricky thing about trying to do one with Ryan was…in the movie, we’ve never met before. So we were thinking it would possibly be confusing to people who would see the movie. We decided to hold off. But he does such a great job in the movie though. His role is such an important one in the movie.
I was talking to Val before and he said he’d love to come on SNL and reprise his character in a sketch. Would that be something you’d be interested in doing? Or is the sketch universe completely different than the movie universe?
We made the decision very early on that the movie was going to be a separate thing from the sketch. I think a lot of people think the movie is going to be a sketch over and over again for 90 minutes. It’s nothing like that. We just took the character and put him in an 80s action movie setting and let’s come up with the craziest stuff we could. They allowed us to make an R-rated movie and we took advantage of that to say the least (laughs).
Jorma was telling me about the amount of pumps in a sex scene…
There is an explosion of sexual pumping (laughs). There’s just SO much pumping… But I would be more comfortable, if people go out and see the movie and we felt like doing something on the show with Val, we could certainly play around with that. It just felt weird doing it before the movie for some reason. And Val is so awesome and such a good actor and so good in the movie, I would love to do anything with him. We would figure out some way to get him in anything. I still can’t believe he agreed to be in the movie…
I remember you told me he sent you threatening e-mails in character during filming. Did you save any of those?
I have some saved on my computer but not the voicemails on my phone. [He looks to see if he has one I can listen to…] Nope, they’re all deleted. He still sends them, by the way…(laughs)