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When you see The Other Guys in theaters, the scene I watched them film will probably be pretty short and straightforward. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg walk in to a crime scene to investigate, Michael Keaton shows up to fire them, and rival detectives played by Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr. come in to taunt them, reminding Wahlberg's character about how he shot Derek Jeter and earning a punch from Ferrell. The scene ends with Riggle consoling Wayans over the punch, and that's where things got weird on the set. Riggle stroked his beard. He called him by his first name-- something cops would never do, he explained later. By take 10 or so he was instructing his partner to "just lie down" and accept some manly comfort.
Things progressed to the point that even the crew was having a hard time stifling their giggles, and even if the bit gets cut, it showed that there will be a lot to look forward to from Riggle and Wayans Jr. when The Other Guys comes out August 6. Riggle, known for his stint on The Daily Show and bit parts in movies like The Hangover and Talladega Nights, and Wayans Jr.-- son of Damon, obviously, and star of Dance Flick-- came to talk to those of us visiting the set once their bromantically charged scene was over. It was their last day on set, and it was clear they had built a dynamic together in the weeks of filming, finishing each others' sentences and riffing off each other, cracking up everyone in the room in the process. It takes guts to steal a movie from Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, but that may be exactly what these guys are about to do.
So when did the romance start between your characters?
Wayans: This scene!
Riggle: It started way before production. Actually, this scene is when it really comes to light.
Wayans: He really let me know how he felt.
Riggle:Riggle: Well you can't make fun of my partner.
Wayans: I know, but there's like defense, and then after they left you were like--
Riggle: Motherly protection?
Wayans: Even mothers don't go that far.
Riggle: You're right. What mother would do that? Not mine.
[Director] Adam [McKay] spoke earlier about how he encourages improv and takes ideas from everybody. Is there a point where you hit the wall? When do you guys get burnt out? How do you keep it fresh?
Riggle: Honestly I could do bits all day long.
Wayans: It's all we do.
Riggle: Honestly, you could beat me, torture me, just don't bore me. That's how we wind up doing bits all day long, just to entertain ourselves.
Wayans: Even when the camera's off, we're trying to make each other laugh all the time.
Do your characters appear a lot in the movie? Do they show up every time these guys mess up?
Wayans: Every time they mess up we show up, or we're the cause of them messing up.
Riggle: We are the rival detectives in the precinct.
Wayans: We want to do anything to demean them. Anything to make it easier for us to succeed.
Riggle: Once the top cops disappear in the movie, then there's a power vacuum. They're trying to get it, and we're trying to get it. So it's a healthy competition.
Did we hear right during the scene? Did you say someone farted up your nose?
Riggle: Yeah, that wasn't in the script. That's why I was staggering out there, going I--uh--I-uh. It hit me like a slap in the face. I did, I walked into a fart cloud.
Who was the perpetrator?
Riggle: I can't say.
Wayans: Someone doing their own ad-libbing.
Riggle: We'll blame it on an extra. That's not fair, and it's not right, but that's what we're going to do.
Is Adam telling you anything between takes about getting back to the story? It seems like you're getting bigger and bigger with each scene.
Riggle: Sometimes for sure. But for a large part of the time he's like, I loved it, do it again.
Wayans: Say whatever you want.
Riggle: Try this, try that.
Wayans: That's his thing.
Do your characters get into any of the action scenes? Car chases or shootouts or anything?
Riggle; We definitely do a driving scene. We show up at some crime scenes after the fact. There's a fight sequence. So there is some stunt, action stuff.
Wayans: Violence. There's violence involved. I kinda like it.
Riggle: Yeah. There's some moments.
So it's more than just taking a punch from Will Ferrell?
Wayans: Yeah, actually yeah. And it's well-deserved too. We're not the nicest guys. Riggle: Mark Wahlberg and I have a fight scene.
Wayans: Instigated by yours truly.
Is it after the scene we're watching?
How would you rate Will's right hook? It looks a little soft.
Wayans: It's soft, yeah. It is. But I kinda just gave him that. It was for the camera. He hits like a bitch.
Has the rest of the movie been kind of like this, where every scene has some improv? Or are there some really serious scenes.
Riggle: No, there's moments that require different levels of gravitas. But they're very few and far between. It's a comedy. It's Adam McKay, it's an Adam McKay movie. There's going to be a lot of improvising.
Wayans: You know usually in action movies, it's just like action with a little bit of comedy, or comedy with no action. He just put both of those worlds together in this movie, perfectly I think. Because it's like nonstop, balls to the wall funny, plus crazy Bourne Identity action. [in macho voice] It's sick!
How do he and Will compare to the style of your massive family of comedians, Damon?
Wayans: Um, I don't know how to compare. It's just a totally different way of doing stuff. Improvving, I'm used to going, say what's on the script. Then I got here and it was like, oh, this is what I do with my friends all the time.
Riggle: He's a natural improviser.
Wayans: They make million-dollar pictures by just riffing. It's great.
You look at something like Dance Flick and you see looseness in it, so you'd think there'd be improvisation.
Wayans: I got to improv. At the end of the day, they pick what they want to pick. A lot of it was still the script.
Riggle: That's the thing, this movie is going to have so many people in it, so many great actors and great comedians. And it's going to have so much funny in it that I don't know how they're going to cut it down. I think it needs an intermission.
Wayans: It does.
Riggle: I think it needs to be a three hour movie with an intermission.
Wayans: I agree.
What's the most trying thing you've had to do on this film? What's the one thing that hasn't been fun?
Riggle: It would probably be stroking his face.
Wayans: Yeah, that didn't really bother me too much.
Riggle: My toughest day was wrestling and fighting Mark Wahlberg all day. He's a very strong man.
Wayans: He likes to show it. He likes to show that he's strong.
Riggle: He beat the tar out of me all day. But actually it was a lot of fun, so I can't complain too much. There hasn't been a bad day. For me, personally, I've had a great time.
Have you heard some of the stuff that Michael Keaton's throwing out there? He's got some amazing stuff.
Riggle: He was an incredibly talented stand-up comedian back in the day, he's an incredibly talented improviser, and we all know his acting credits and skills. We actually laugh more with him off-camera than we do on, just standing in the hallway doing bits.
Wayans: He purposefully tripped over your foot. That was retarded.
Riggle: Yeah, just walking into the scene, he purposefully kicked my foot and did a big trip.