Interview: Hot Tub Time Machine's Lizzy Caplan and Collette Wolfe

Hot Tub Time Machine may be a film about four guys going back in time via hot tub, but no buddy comedy is complete without some female counterparts to humanize the raucous insanity. In this case those ladies are April and Kelly, and they’re played by Lizzy Caplan and Collette Wolfe.

Way back when, Adam (John Cusack) was really into a girl who didn’t share his feelings. Lucky for him, April, a music reporter following the band Poison, is there to pick up the pieces. Kelly’s situation isn’t as sweet. She has a rather unconventional relationship with Lou (Rob Corddry). In the midst of heaps of hatred and insults, the two actually share a connection.

Wolfe is certainly part of the comedy far more than Caplan, but both actresses have their times to shine and manage to reveal Adam and Lou’s sensitive sides. Check out what Wolfe had to say about her sexy time with Corddry and Caplan about her passion to see more female-driven comedies.

How did you guys get involved?

Wolfe: I read the script and thought it was funny and then went in and auditioned and then auditioned again and then got a call that I got the part.

Caplan: I painted a picture of a landscape and sent it in to Steve Pink and he was really impressed and he offered me a part in the movie. [Laughs]

Collette, you’re wasted the entire movie. Was that fun to play or more of a challenge?

Wolfe: I thought it was really really fun. I’ve never gotten to play a bad girl before ever and so I just liked that she was just kind of bad and looking out for herself all the time. I didn’t really have to worry about my posture or any of the things you have to think about when you’re on camera, especially a girl when she’s very cute or whatever. All of that went out the window and it was just be whatever you feel like being and have fun and be free, which is nice.

And Lizzy, you’re the complete opposite. You’re the most normal one in the movie!

Caplan: Yeah, I didn’t get to do any crazy craziness. Although maybe a little bit of it got in there. But, no, nothing compared to what Collette got to do.

Wolfe: The slut.

Caplan: Yeah, the slut. The little slut. Our little slut.

Talk about your scene with Rob.

Wolfe: Oh? Which scene? The sex scene? [Laughs] Um, yeah. So what do you want to know about it?

What was it like to shoot?

Wolfe: I was really nervous. I’ve never done even I think a kiss - no I’ve done kissing. I had never done a sex scene before, but I had my bra and underwear on so it wasn’t that scary but it was a little bit uncomfortable. You’re in a small room and it was really hot with all of the lights, I was sweaty and I was like, [whispers] ‘Sorry.’ It was just embarrassing more than anything, but he’s super nice and sweet. And it was hard to like keep a straight face. We had to do things over and over especially during the orgasm part. That was free form improv the things he was saying, so Steve was just like ‘Just go. Do whatever you guy want during the orgasm part.’ So we’re both supposed to be whatever and I was laughing hysterically. I was trying when he screamed ‘Shia LaBeouf’ in my face. You see the one version, but there are many versions of things and then they take whatever works best.

Caplan: I feel like he definitely does that in real life. You don’t just come up with that.

Did you guys get to play off each other? It almost seems like it was kind of a sleaze-off.

Wolfe: Yeah, absolutely. In the original script there wasn’t as much of this love/hate relationship. The aggression stuff came out when we started working together for some reason. Steve was like, ‘Now say fuck you to him’ and then he was like, ‘Now make out!’ We did several scenes like that where it was – and I’m not sure if all of them made it in the movie.

What do you think the film would have been like if the lead characters were female?

Caplan: I think it would have been better. But I always think that all the guy characters should be played by females. I’ve gone into many auditions and asked if I could play the boy role. They don’t like that.

It definitely seems like there are more movies coming out like that. There’s a Hangover with women, Natalie Portman’s version of Pineapple Express.

Caplan: Yeah, which I read about and I hope that that’s awesome because we need those kind of girl stoner movies very very badly. Because, you know, they really don’t all have to be about weddings. Girls do sometimes think about other things. Sometimes. I mean, not us, or any girls we know, but – [Laughs] Can you imagine not dreaming of her wedding day?

It sounds like you have some frustrations.

Caplan: I have a little bit. There are great roles. I feel like I’ve been very fortunate and I’ve gotten to play some interesting characters for sure, but yes, there are far more interesting guy roles. Especially in films. In television you can find more interesting girl roles. But, yeah, it’s pretty annoying to read a lot of scripts that are hilarious where it’s the guys being crazy and the girls kind of disapproving in the background every fifteenth scene.

How do you balance wanting to do the good stuff with the need to keep working and keep your face out there? You’re looking for the good stuff, but every now and then, you probably have to be willing to take some of the not-so-good stuff. Is that how it works?

Caplan: Yeah, I’m not too scared of not working for stretches of times so I’m willing to kind of sit around. I really like working though, so occasionally after a certain amount of time I’ll get fed up. But it is possible to be selective and wait for the roles that are more rewarding even though they’re rarer and you just have to, if you really are frustrated with it, then you have to just develop your own material.

Like what Natalie Portman’s doing. Are you looking into doing something like that?

Caplan: For sure. You can only complain for so long before it’s like, what are you going to do about it?

If you two switched roles in the movie, how do you think you would have done?

Caplan: I think I would have failed.

Wolfe: I don’t think I’m cool enough.

Caplan: Get out of here!

Wolfe: I don’t! That kind of role would really scare me to be like an indie chick. I feel like I’m not indie at all. The cool girl scares me. I’ve never been that cool.

Caplan: But the cokehead slut.

Wolfe: I can play that. I don’t know why. [Laughs]

Caplan: It’s in your wheelhouse!

Wolfe: It’s in my wheelhouse – but, it’s not – so! I feel like to be cool you have to be relaxed and stuff and that’s not really me. To be like a cokehead crazy party girl, you just invest energy and I can do that but to be really relaxed and cool, not so much me.

Caplan: I’m frequently fatigued.

Wolfe: So that would work! [Laughs]

Caplan: It helps.

Was it strange to play the love interest of these guys in their 40s and have to picture them as their young counterparts?

Wolfe: It didn’t bother me at all. Instead of focusing on what they look like it was just like I think this is hot. So it almost didn’t matter, the audience can layer that on, what they look like, but as the actor, it was just that’s what I find attractive or appealing and I’m going to go for it.

Caplan: Yeah, I think the casting of the younger guys is so spot on that it’s a little creepy, especially Cusack’s younger self. He was a very sweet kind of introspective young boy and he just looked like John Cusack years ago and it just freaked me out so I’m kind of happy that I never had make out scenes with him. It’s like some kind of weird ghost of John Cusack past. That would freak me out.

Is it weird to be the spiritual advisor to John Cusack?

Caplan: No! I feel like it was a role that I’m born to play. [Laughs] I’ve been his spiritual advisor in my heart for so long it was great to finally meet him. He’s like everybody grew up watching his movies, he ruined men for women so getting to work with him it’s like one of those things that you cross off your bucket list. Oh wait, this is in print! Please don’t write that.

What was it like wearing the 80s costumes?

Caplan: It was awesome. The costume designer, Dana Pink, did all of that. All of those extras just looked perfect down to the last detail. She dressed exactly how she dresses my character and I kind of really loved the outfit and I’d totally rock that now if I could get my hands on it.

Wolfe: I liked my 80s costume. I wore the same thing everyday so it got a bit old. And I have a huge foot and so they couldn’t find shoes, like I got there –

Caplan: You have A huge foot?

Wolfe: Huge feet! She’s mad at me for calling her a nerd. Yeah, I have huge feet, thank you Lizzy Caplan, and yeah, they couldn’t find shoes for me so that was a nightmare. I ended up with these pointy god-awful heels that they had to paint and they were like 75 years old but other than that, I loved my costume.

You were both pretty young in the 80s. Did you have to do any research to prep for your parts?

Caplan: Yes, a few things required some Googling.

Wolfe: I called my mom and I was talking to her because she’s a hair stylist. I was like ‘Mom, they’re going to ask me what I should do with my hair. What do you think?’ And she was like ‘Oh, you need to look like Christy Brinkley.’ I went online and got some pictures and was like ‘I do need to look like Christy Brinkley’ [Laughs] circa 1985, so I printed out some pictures and cut them out and was like ‘make me look like her please’ and they tried.

Perri Nemiroff

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.