Talk a little bit about collaborating with Roland, what did you think it was going to be like before you got here and what has it been like in actuality?
It’s funny because I’ve always said that movies are a direct mirror of the director, I mean they just are. And it is totally clear in this instance as well. Roland, when you go into his house, it is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been in my life. There is so much unbelievable art. He’s really into propaganda art, all kinds from all different countries; every room in his house has a different propaganda theme. It’s very, very interesting.
He knows how to do things big, but he wants it to be fun, he doesn’t want it just to be big for big. He is really specific. He is an actor’s director, as big of movies as he does do, he does have very specific notes on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. I think when I met him I didn’t know what to expect because I was just like, alright, big movie director, generally the spectacle is the most important thing and making sure that that’s correct. With Roland, I’ve had more fun on this movie because he’s a big kid.
Most directors will sit in these big movies--because you’re running behind always in the set ups--if the squibs go off and you didn’t get the shot now it’s a 30 minute reset, and he doesn’t get stressed…when you watch him at the monitors, he’s like a kid; his eyes are wide. He’s making motions; he’s like “Yes, yes!”
You can always tell how the take went by the way he yells cut. When he goes, “Cut! Ha!”, then you know it was a good one, if it’s “Cut…” You’re just like “Dammit, we’re going again.” But he enjoys it and I will make movies with him forever because of it, I really will. We’re talking about something else because, I just really do, I think he’s one of the more enjoyable directors. What we do is not brain surgery, but especially the schedule we’re on right now, working 6 day weeks, 15 hour days, it can be grueling and you can lose your patience like that [snaps fingers].
You were talking about how Roland seems like a big kid and that seems to permeate the whole set, can you talk more about the energy of this environment?
The director sets the tone, and if someone’s ruling it with an iron fist, people are quiet and the days go long in my experience. When there’s a very serious tone, the days just drag. When there’s someone who in between takes is joking or laughing the days go quick. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, but I think that he completely is aware of what we’re doing. He loves filmmaking and he thinks it should be fun. It will be our 15th hour and he’s the only one still having fun and we’re all just like, “God…” We’re just exhausted and he’s like, “Alright, a little more time, let’s go!” And you’re just like “Alright, here we go,” and then you just do it.
I think I would love to make movies with people like that for the rest of my life, because at the end of the day, you look back on it and no matter what the movie does, this was time out of my life that you don’t get back. Whatever it does in the box office is just a whole other thing. That’s a whole other campaign of selling the movie, doing the whole thing, trying to be creative. This is our version right now of being creative, and when you can look back on this and go, “Alright no matter how it does I was really happy with that time spent in my life,” then that’s saying something in my opinion.
You had to be a little bit surprised at the success of all your movies this year, even with Magic Mike breaking 100 million. Talk a little bit about what it means to you to see all these films doing so well. What’s it been like for you over the year?
I feel like I’ve won the lottery three times, I’ve used that line a lot, even getting into this industry is winning the lottery. Jonah and I said it a lot when we were doing Jump Street; you don’t work any less hard on any one of these movies. You don’t phone it in. You’re there trying to make every scene, trying to make every day as good as possible, and there’s so many things that can go wrong. You could have a great movie and you don’t know how to sell it, or the marketing people don’t get it, (so the) movie goes nowhere and it’s a failure. You can have a crappy movie and then they have a great marketing campaign, everybody sees it and they think that’s what you’re doing and you’re just like, “Shit.” You don’t ever know.
For The Vow to have done what it did, I think the marketing campaign was classic and really perfect for that movie. I think me and Jonah’s chemistry in (Jump Street) was amazing and Chris (Miller) and Phil (Lord) murdered that movie. They completely knocked it out of the park, and you just don’t know, you just don’t know if those things are going to shine through. Rachel and I had a great time on (The Vow).
Then Magic Mike, we had no idea what was going to happen with that thing. It was such an outlier that we knew how we wanted to make it. And that’s why we made it for so little money, because we wanted to make it outside of the studio system. Soderbergh knew what kind of movie he wanted to make and even along the way we were like, “Are we doing this right?” We tested the movie; it did not test well. It tested in the 50s and we were like “Oh shit, what did we do?”
We went back to the drawing board on the ending, we made the ending a little different, and we tested it again and it only tested 69 or something, and we were just like, “We are screwed.” No, not screwed, but then we just kept telling ourselves, “Okay, this movie doesn’t test, this movie doesn’t test, it’s going to be fine. This movie is not a testable movie.”
We were running circles in our heads. I can’t even explain to you guys what that feels like, when you’re just like, “I put all my money into this movie and I’m praying that it works,” and that’s the kind of results you’re getting back. Then the online was skyrocketing, the press from it and the tracking of was tracking like The Avengers, the awareness online. The normal tracking was abysmal. They were so far away from each other we had no idea what the movie was going to be. We were just white-knuckling the weekend; we had no idea what was going to happen. It worked.
I don’t feel like any of these movies I knew for a fact were going to work. The Vow, I didn’t know if people were going to want to see it, but we felt good about it. We we’re like, “Alright, either way, I liked the movie for what it was,” and I think we knew exactly what we were trying to do. Jump Street, I knew we had a great time, it didn’t matter, didn’t know if it was going to do well. Magic Mike, you just don’t know. I think that just luck, luck and a lot of hard work. It’s got to be at the right time. Like Magic Mike came out during 50 Shades of Grey. I think it was kind of perfect, there was this whole 50 Shades of Grey movement happening and Magic Mike just, “Bam!” Just hit it, and we couldn’t have lucked out anymore.
Speaking of Magic Mike, you did not mention Magic Mike 2 when you were listing your projects.
We’re scratching our heads because Soderbergh is gone, for directing, at least for a long time. He wants to paint and I think he should, I really do. I think he wants to be done for a while and I don’t think he should make movies if he wants to be done. I think these last two that he made, from what I hear, I haven’t seen A Bitter Pill [later retitled Side Effects], and I haven’t seen Liberace [later retitled Behind the Candelabra], but I hear they’re some of his best movies, and I think he should go out on a high note, for a little while.
So that leaves us with who’s going to direct Magic Mike 2? Greg Jacobs said he would do it if we come up with the right script. Warners was like, “Well, why don’t you guys do it?”--me and Reid--and I’m like, “I am not going to direct my first movie behind Soderbergh!” There’s no win there [laughs], there’s zero win. But Greg has been working with Stephen long enough and Stephen would produce it. I think it would probably be Greg if we did it or somebody completely different. It would almost be like reboot, like we’d get someone like Roland to do the thing and just completely change it…We’re dying, everybody’s dying to do it, it’s just it’s got to be right. None of us just want to do some cash grab of a sequel. We want it to be good, because it was a special one for all of us and we all just jumped in family-wise on it.
But there definitely is going to be a stage version, a Broadway version, so we’re slowly pounding away on that. None of us has ever done anything like that so we’re writing a light story and we’re trying to find somebody to really write the stage version because none of us know how to do it! [laughs]
Would you reprise the role?
We’re thinking we want it to be a musical so I’m not… I might do it as a “ha ha” one night, but I don’t think you all want to see me sing and pony. I don’t think it would be so good. I wouldn’t mind doing it, but I don’t know how to sing like that, singing for the rafters, not my bag.