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Trevor Moore and Zach Cregger are jumping in headfirst with this whole comedy thing. Two members of the sketch troupe The Whitest Kids U' Know, Cregger and Moore weren't just satisfied with starring in their first big movie-- they wanted to write and direct it too.
That's how they've wound up the spokesmen and stars of Miss March, a sex comedy that opens today. We spoke to them about the learning curve for directing their first movie, what makes a classic sex comedy, and having to fire Robert Wagner in favor of Hugh Hefner.
How did you guys end up doing this movie?
Zach: Fox actually came to us with the script. Somebody wrote a script called Playboys with Trevor and myself in mind. It wasn't something we were interested in doing immediately. It's not exactly what we imagined coming out of the gate doing. But the idea of the coma and the Playmate had some appeal, so we decided to treat it as a writing exercise, to see if we could do something within the genre. We tinkered around with at a lot.
Can you talk about getting Hugh Hefner involved? Why was he willing to lend his brand and his presence?
Trevor: I don't know why. Originally from the writing standpoint, we didn't want Playboy involved in the movie. The fear is when you're dealing with a corporation as iconic as Playboy, you don't know how seriously they're going to take their image, and how much they're going to micromanage the script in the writing process. So we intentionally never went to them, and shot the movie without their involvement whatsoever. We had Robert Wagner play Hugh Hefner in the movie. He did a great job, but the problem was when we showed the movie to audiences, it tested great through the whole thing until the very end, when Hefner came out. Wagner did a great job, but it was that kids specifically aren't as familiar with Robert Wagner, and they also know who Hugh Hefner is because of the Girls Next Door show. So we went to Playboy with our tail between our legs, and showed them the movie. We lucked out that Hefner really liked it, and wanted to play himself. We got to go shoot in the mansion. After the movie was over we went back for one day. He was awesome. [Apparently] Hugh Hefner was really nervous about the scene beforehand, and was studying his lines all the day before. This is one of the largest speaking roles he's had as a cameo. The guy's like 82 years old, he has a good amount of money, he doesn't need to do this little money. But he took it seriously and went over his lines.
Could you talk about the poop scene? What was it made of?
Zach: Well it was a mixture of two things. I had a hose that shot a real blast of something. People always ask me what it was. I don't know. I never tasted it. So it was a combination of that, and then in post we actually had an effects house with CGI do a little bit there. That was a fun thing.
Why did you think Craig Robinson would be right for the role of Horsedick?
Zach: We were familiar with him. It was just one of those things, he came in, it was literally instant. When he walked out of the room of that audition, we were both like, call his people.
Trevor: It was the first audition he had been on since Knocked Up.
Zach: And that pisses me off because an actor is supposed to get maybe a small fraction of their auditions. But he's so talented, it's like, goddammit. He did such a great job in the movie. Working with him is like, go Craig, do your thing.
What do you think are the elements that make a classic sex comedy classic?
Zach: I think you need to push the envelope a little bit. People need to be like, I can't believe I'm seeing this.
Trevor: It's just one or two memorable scenes, basically. Just some scene that really sticks in the memory of everyone who sees it. I think we were kind of aware of that when writing this. There's five big centerpiece comedy scenes.
What was the learning curve on the directing side?
Trevor: We were really lucky, because the way the schedule worked out was the movie got greenlit while we were in the pre-production phase of season two of the television show.The TV show is a ridiculous schedule, where you try to shoot over 100 sketches in a 5-week period of time. The day we finished season two, we flew to L.A. and started pre-production on the movie. By the time we did the movie, we were just coming off of this grueling work schedule. We weren't rusty. That helped the learning curve a lot.
At what point in your life did you know that comedy was meant for you?
Trevor: I was very young, and I kind of decided I wanted to do comedy. My parents were musicians, so we traveled on a tour bus. You're in a different town every night, as a kid, you're trying to make friends fast. You try to be funny. I very early on wanted to do comedy. From 10 or 12 that was all I wanted to do.
Zach: I'm a little different. I adore doing comedy, I think it's fantastic. I never saw myself doing exclusively comedy. I've just been really lucky enough to be able to do comedy this long.
Do you guys foresee doing more projects like this outside of Whitest Kids?
Zach: We're taking little baby steps. The next thing we want to do is a Whitest Kids movie. If this movie does well for us, this can hopefully get the Whitest Kids movie made. After that, who knows. This business is not one that lets you look very far ahead in the future.