Jason Segel and Paul Rudd have spent a very, very long time on tour to promote I Love You, Man, so it makes sense that they would have worked out a rhythm of doing interviews together. But when we met with them last weekend, it had gotten to the point that Paul was snacking on candy with a nearby reporter while Jason told the story of how the movie came to be, and neither of them really missed a beat.
Though their characters in the movie are fairly different-- Paul is buttoned-up Peter, while Jason is free-spirited Sydney-- they're fairly similar in person, riffing off one another's jokes and making the whole room of us feel like they're the ones grateful to be hanging out with us. Now that's talent-- and class. Check out the hilarious interview below.
Did you know when you first read the script that it would be the project you had to do together?
Jason: John Hamburg invited Paul and I to lunch, and we read the script. I loved the script, and when I found out Paul was going to do it...I think he and I had been working toward doing a buddy comedy like this for a while. So then we finally on this got to have the opportunity to do a full movie together.
Paul: I know when I read it, I absolutely wanted to do it. I've known John for years, and I always thought he was a great writer, but I thought he hit a home run with this script. I was surprised this movie hadn't been made already.
Jason: The other thing I really liked about the script is it wasn't a cynical look at a guy trying to make friends with other guys. There certainly wasn't a homophobic element about it, which could have been a pitfall to fall into.
Paul: it wasn't mean-spirited at all. I loved it.
Did you improv a lot?
Paul: We did a pretty fair amount. I think, beacuse now we've worked together several times and we have in the past, it's become something that we start to do if the director wants us to do it. There were also other scenes that were never even written, like when we go to get fish tacos. It says in the script that we're going and getting to know each other, but all the stuff that we talk about was on the spot.
Jason:: Our big problem with that scene is John had to tell us that we looked like we liked each other too much. It looked like we've known each other for 10 years. So we had to tone that down a bit.
Is it hard to make friends in this business? Individually, do you stay in touch with people you've worked with, keeping them as friends as opposed to acquaintances?
Paul: In the past few years I can say yes. Also because we've worked with each other several times.
Jason:: Yeah, I think there is sort of a luxury of our group. We really enjoy working together, and as a result we get to know each other really well, and we found we really enjoy hanging out together too.
The frank sex talk between the girls in the movie seems to really surprise the men.
Jason:: That's a shame they didn't know already. This thing about locker room talk, I think is a total myth. Or at least the kind of guys Paul and I are, and thusly the guys we hang out with. It's not like that. It's women who are super super dirty and explicit with their friends. Whenever I've run into friends of an ex-girlfriend, they're always like 'I know about you!'
Did you base your characters on anybody?
Paul: I didn't feel that different from my character. There are a lot of qualities that John Hamburg has that I see in the character I'm playing. It's just heightening those awkward moments that I feel in life, and just play into that a little.
What was it like fighting Lou Ferrigno? And where did he come into the script?
Jason:: That was John's idea. He settled on the idea, that was really funny, that if you're a realtor in Los Angeles, there's a good chance that you could have a celebrity client. Who else would it be but Lou Ferrigno?
Does he really have a Hulk statue in his house?
Jason:: No, no. That was one of the amazing things about acting with him. He's such an iconic figure that a lot of times people can get really precious about their image. He was totally game. He got the joke. He thought it was funny that there were the Hulk shorts on the wall. He thought it was really funny. Fighting him on the boardwalk was super fun.
Have you guys ever seen the show Bromance, and is this the start of a crazy trend?
Paul: I've never seen the show.
Jason:: I've never seen it either. We're kind of annoyed that that show came along and brought that word to the cultural zeitgeist.
Paul: When we were working on it we'd never heard that term.
Jason:: We called it a bromantic comedy at some point while we were filming, and thought we were so clever.
Can you talk to us about the atmosphere on the set? Rashida said there's got to be a DVD worth of you giggling.
Paul: Easily there's that. I ruined a lot of [takes].
Jason:: Giggling isn't even the right term. Sometimes you would laugh yourself into tears.
Paul: There was an entire mag of film, which is a whole reel, an entire mag because i couldn't even get one line out. John wouldn't cut. I'm crying ,and I'm really trying to collect myself. He shot an entire mag, and nothing was accomplished.
And how did Rush come into play?
Jason:: John Hamburg was actually in a band in high school called the Luv Rhinos. And they covered Rush. Rush is also the quintessential band that guys of that generation love, and women kind of don't get. I don't think that will offend them, because they seem aware of it. It was the perfect thing for Paul and I to bond over that would alienate Rashida. We tried to think of other bands, but nobody is quite like Rush. Why did you guys get to wear body suits in the Vanity Fair cover shoot? Well, except for you Paul.
Paul: I really did luck out by getting the tuxedo.
Did you whisper sweet nothings into Seth's ear?
Paul: I would nuzzle into Seth's neck. At one point I got his back hair in my mouth.
Jason:: As you know from Sarah Marshall, I would have been more than fine [going naked]. There were two problems. One, Vanity Fair was interested in still selling magazines. Secondly, it was close quarters between me, Seth and Jonah. As you saw from Sarah Marshall, that can be dangerous for Jonah.