At first I was disappointed that John Cusack wasn’t able to attend the Hot Tub Time Machine junket out in Lake Tahoe. But after trying to transcribe the roundtable interview with the film’s other three stars, Clark Duke, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson, one less hot tub time traveler was a blessing.
The four play a group of guys who take a trip to their favorite 80s getaway, Kodiak Valley. The problem is, their partying paradise isn’t quite the same as it was way back when. They throw a private party of their own, which lands the quartet in the hot tub. A little booze, Chernobly and a squirrel later, they end up back in 1986. Yes, it’s as crazy as it sounds.
Rather than writing ‘[Laugh]’ after each comment, I’ll just leave it to you to insert them wherever and whenever you’d like. The guys did provide a number of interesting facts about the film, but, for the most part, this was practically a stand up – er, sitting down comedy show. If you’re looking to get a taste of the comical hilarity this movie has to offer, this interview is an excellent sampling.
How much adlibbing did you get to do? There are so many good lines, shouting out ‘Shia LaBeouf’ during sex for example.
Duke: Those are just things you were thinking of to get hard, right?
Corddry: Yeah, whatever gets the -
Corddry: I just had to have an orgasm for like, we shot it for like five or six hours so you kind of dredge the depths when you’re - and apparently Shia LaBeouf was perhaps not something I would have put in the movie.
There’s a powerful chemistry between all four of you guys. How does that come about? How do you create that feeling of really knowing each other?
Corddry: We just really got a long. I genuinely liked these guys.
Corddry: I think you’re a great man. I like you, I like that guy. I like the other guy.
Robinson: I have a name.
Corddry: So bad at names. I get – it’s Darryl?
Robinson: You do this every freakin’ time.
Corddry: Right, right, right. Darryl’s your character from Parks and Rec. I’m so sorry.
Rob, how many times do you think we see your ass in this movie? Four or five times?
Duke: Not enough.
Corddry: That sounds about right. First of all, you’re welcome. And, yeah, four or five times. It was something for the ladies. Get ladies in seats.
Or what about advertising? Porn sites?
Clark: Gay porn sites.
Corddry: I was actually on a gay porn website.
Robinson: I saw that!
Corddry: I sent a link to those guys. It’s a website for guys that are into like kind of normal looking, hairy, not handsome men. You know what I mean?
Corddry: Not quite bears. In between just normal and bear.
Duke: You’re not especially hairy though.
Corddry: I’m pretty hairy. [Unbuttons shirt to show us his chest hair.]
Duke: Yeah, that’s pretty hairy. Yeah, I don’t want to look at that.
Corddry: Sorry. How long was I doing that for?
If you could change anything about your characters, what would it be and why?
Duke: I would have made my guy Native American.
Corddry: You know what always bums me about it? When you first see me, I’m in my car, I’m drinking in my garage, I’m wearing a suit, which seems very not Lou to be wearing a suit. The back story was, and it was actually referenced in one version, that I was a trader, like a derivatives trader and I lost everything and I’m just an evil derivatives trader, like a Boiler Room type of guy, just an asshole and that was one of the reasons I wanted to kill myself. But that was just kind of silly, so I’d go back and probably change that wardrobe.
Duke: I disagree. I think that’s probably all the context you need to imply what kind of miserable corporate lifestyle you’re leading.
Robinson: I would have spent more time in the hot tub with Jessica.
Corddry: When you two were in the hot tub, were you just sitting there and chatting?
Robinson: No, we were fucking the whole time.
Corddry: Do you see full on penetration in this cut of the movie? I haven’t seen the latest cut.
Robinson: No, no, no, but there’s a tape out there. But you know what happened during one of the takes? So Jessica’s there and she’s wrapped up, and –
Corddry: Wrapped up in Craig.
Robinson: No, she’s covered. And so the sound man who’s holding the microphone, the boom mic, and somebody asked him something just as Jessica took her top off and all I heard him say was, [whispering] ‘Yes.’ It was obviously a delicate situation and you want to be respectful and professional. Because he was answering the person, but like, his breath was literally taken away by her beauty.
If you guys were going back to the 80s and you could take one thing from the modern world with you, what would it be?
Robinson: My Kindle.
Corddry: You’d take your Kindle?
Duke: How would you put books on it in the 80s?
Robinson: I would take the books that I have now.
Duke: Where would you find a USB port?
Robinson: Why are we taking something back to the 80s? Is it for profit?
That’s up to you!
Duke: Okay, I’d probably use it for that. I’d bring a Snuggie. Just take the Snuggie back.
Craig, you give a couple of fantastic musical performances in this movie. How’d you prepare for those?
Robinson: Thank you. It was fun and my band is actually playing on the soundtrack, and I was able to listen to them and then prepare. It was just fun and at first I was a little nervous because going up and performing is one thing, but filming a performance is different because you’re milling about and then all of a sudden you’re performing and then you’re milling about. So as I warmed up it got more and more fun. I’m a performer. I do comedy and music and I blend them together and put in my band, The Nasty Delicious. We love to get up and act a fool, so that was a good time.
Rob, Steve mentioned you gave him a time travel book.
Corddry: Yeah, I did. What the fuck was it? I believe it was Ronald – I forget, This American Life did a story about this guy, Ronald Mallett, his name is, and he basically invented time travel. It’s actually possible. The problem is, is that with his theory of time travel you can only travel back to when you turn the switch of the machine on and it’s actually impossible to build a machine that big. So, his theory of time travel is sound, it’s just not valid.
Duke: That was in The Invisibles too. Grant Morrison said that in The Invisibles in like the 90s.
Corddry: Well, this might have been in the 90s.
Duke: The reason we haven’t seen people from the future is because we haven’t built the machine yet. That’ll be the first point that like – as soon as we build it, people will come back, ‘We’re here from the future!’
Corddry: Why would they talk like us from the 40s?
Duke: Trends. Trends come and go. Things come in and out of style. That’ll come back. ‘Great Scott! Come with us!’
Looking around the set, was there anything you found particularly nostalgic?
Corddry: You know what happened to me? I would see the sea of background extras dressed in 80s gear and I could almost, at times, smell Love’s Baby Soft. Remember that perfume? It smelled like baby powder basically, it like defined my junior high experience. It gives me an erection just smelling baby powder. [Pauses] Yeah, I said it. Baby powder.
Robinson: You always have an erection Rob.
Corddry: I do. I have an erection right now. I’m full on aroused.
Clark, can you talk about your character and what your take on him is?
Duke: He’s kind of an introverted guy and going back to the 80s, he comes out of his shell a little bit, but a lot of that back story got removed and he’s sort of just getting it by the third act.
Corddry: ‘Guys, there’s a ticking clock!’
Duke: No, I’m kind of the straight man in the film.
Did you feel bad for him at all? He gets verbally abused almost the entire time.
Duke: A little bit, but I thought it was really really funny that Corddry hates me because he’s my father. That wasn’t originally in the script, but it kind of changed the whole plot of the movie. He’s kind of the little brother character that you pick on and I definitely don’t feel sorry for him.
Corddry: You don’t feel sorry for him because he holds his own.
Duke: Also, he’s the only character that’s not really stupid.
You said that wasn’t in the script. Him hating you wasn’t in the script?
Duke: Him being my father.
When did that get added in?
Duke: I came up with it at the first table read, the first roundtable. And Lougle. We came up with Lougle too.
Then what was your character’s through line?
Duke: Still the thing with the mother and being born, but it was someone random. I think it was Chaz maybe was my father, the ski instructor guy, right?
Corddry: It might be.
Duke: I think the villain was my father.
There seems to have been a number of changes in the script. Without those changes, do you think the movie would have been as good?
Corddry: The first version of the movie I read was completely retarded.
Duke: It was diagnosed by a doctor.
Corddry: It was like, my character, Lou, actually rents a Delorean. When they’re back in the past he rents a Delorean and he’s pissed when there’s no flux capacitor in it. That’s – stupid. With this version of the script there’s just enough heart in it and just enough, I don’t know what, reality? The characters play at the top of their own intelligence, even if they’re stupid, whereas before it was pretty crazy.
Duke: It was just a different movie totally.
Lou is really on the verge of being completely unlikable, but then he has these moments like when you’re trying to wake up your buddy with fake cum on your face and it’s somehow sweet. How do you balance that?
Corddry: Get to know me!
Duke: You’ll see at the party.
Corddry: Yeah, tonight at the party you’ll be like, ‘Why do I kind of like this guy? There’s nothing really to like about him, but I do kind of like him!’
Robinson: Wait a second – fake?
Was that hard for you?
Robinson: Very much so.
Duke: The second and third takes were harder.
Corddry: We’re at six or seven takes, I was like, ‘How many you got in you buddy?’
Robinson: You know, we’d have to go fake had you not nailed it that last time.
Corddry: I’m really good at oral sex.
At that very moment when you’re about to go down on him, it seems like it’s adlibbed.
Corddry: We reshot that a couple of months after we wrapped. We were pretty much writing it up until the day.
When you’re shooting the scene where you sing the Black Eyed Peas song, is there any rehearsal time for that?
Duke: It’s pre-recorded.
Robinson: There’s a performance there but, yeah, then we go to the studio and record it, so it’s put down and mixed, but –
Duke: You had a vocal double too, right?
Robinson: No, that was me.