One of the factors that helps make Pixels such an entertaining movie is the fact that Josh Gad steals a lot of the scenes he's in. But there was one in particular where he pushed the patience of director Chris Columbus, which you can learn about by watching my interview with Gad below.
The scene in question happens in the later half of the first act. Adam Sandler’s Sam Brenner and Josh Gad’s Ludlow Lamansoff have been whisked off to a military facility where they’ve been hired to brief and train a group of Navy Seals on how to fight their video game nemeses. Trying to overcome a case of stage fright in front of the U.S. Military, Ludlow overcompensates just a little bit, yielding an over-the-top moment of humor that makes for one of the film’s best comedic hits.
With a moment such as this in a film like Pixels, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s a lot of improv involved, which in turn guarantees a lot of takes being filmed in order to offer the editor and director options on which version to ultimately use. However, the risk you run is having one too many takes on your plate. Judging by Josh Gad’s remarks on filming the sequence, that’s just what happened on set that day, which didn’t go over well with Pixels director Chris Columbus. Gad’s take away from this scenario was the following:
It gave me such joy, but it made Chris Columbus apoplectic. He just was ready to kill me at the end.
The wrath of the director aside, Gad had a lot of fun filming this scene, and apparently so did his co-stars, as he mentioned the fact that there was a lot of laughter to be had on this particular day. Not only did Gad expect this, but reveled in the fact that he got to go all-out while his co-stars had to keep their acts together, as evidenced by his statement below:
Part of the joy of doing a scene like that is not only do [your co-stars] have to keep a straight face, but the entire scene depends on an aggressive response to what I’m doing, and these guys kept breaking.
The antics of Josh Gad have undoubtedly generated a gag reel that’s worth more than the price of admission, and if we’re lucky we’ll get to see it when the film reaches home video. This is, of course, on top of the already funny finished product that is Pixels. Being tasked with playing one of the nuttier characters in the film’s well stocked cast, Gad gets a couple really good one liners that make up the unique personality a film like Pixels has. You’ll get to see Gad’s stand out performance in Pixels this Friday when the film opens nationwide.