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Director Lawrence Sher's new comedy Father Figures marks the first time that Owen Wilson and Ed Helms have teamed up as leads for a two-hander, but it's not actually the first title that appears on both of their resumes. Back in 2009, both actors had roles in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, albeit with the former in an uncredited role. This is a strange bit of trivia I only recently discovered while preparing to interview the two actors at the Father Figures press day... but what's funny is that I was apparently the first person to bring it to the attention of the stars, as you'll see watching the video below:
With Father Figures on the verge of release, I had the chance to sit down with Ed Helms and Owen Wilson earlier this month in Los Angeles, and opened the conversation asking how they initially met. I only offhandedly mentioned Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (a film where they admittedly don't share any scenes), instead more curious about potential projects that didn't come together, but as you can see, the title mention caught them by surprise.
While Ed Helms firmly remembered his own part in the Night At The Museum sequel, turning to his co-star with a surprised look after the title drop, Owen Wilson was completely surprised to learn about Helms' part in the blockbuster. The two bantered:
Ed Helms: It's so funny that you dug up the Night at the Museum . I didn't even... I don't think we ever even noticed that. Now that you say it, it's like, 'Of course!'
Owen Wilson: I was going like, 'Ok.' But I was like, 'Ed's in Night at the Museum 2?!' Where?
Ed Helms: I was Ben Stiller's executive assistant. I had like one scene, where he's like running out of his office and I'm running after him.
Owen Wilson may not have remembered Ed Helms' admittedly very small role in Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, but he certainly did show a great amount of respect for his Father Figures co-lead during our interview. He noted that the two had never had the chance to meet before collaborating on the soon-to-be-released feature, but did find himself sizing Helms up like a boxer. Said Wison,
It's like two fighters that have kind of... I knew there was this guy in my weight class, and it's like, 'When am I going to...' You're scared early on because you don't want to get knocked out. And finally I was like, 'Ok, it's now or never, lemme go toe-to-toe with this improvisational wizard!' And you see how it goes!