Can you talk a little about getting “Rushified?”
Jason Segel:Well, our characters bond over the band Rush. But I was a little too young to experience them during my prime, but I learned about them on Freaks and Geeks. Paul was a huge Rush fan, as is John Hamburg.
Paul Rudd: Rush scared me, I saw the Tom Sawyer video and it was scary as hell. Geddy Lee can be a really intense figure to like a 6 year old. But then I kinda got in to some of their songs. I was excited to meet them, and was really nervous actually.
Segel: Tell them the story about when you brought that up to them, about the scene.
Rudd: I know John wanted Rush because it seems like that’s the kind of band that two guys like us would’ve bonded over. They do seem to have a primarily male fan base. When they were shooting, I was so hypersensitive that they would have a good time, that they wouldn’t get bored, that they wouldn’t feel like we were mocking them in any way, because that’s the farthest thing, we weren’t doing that at all. But in the scene, we’re dancing around like crazy and Rashida is acting bored and I was telling Geddy Lee, “look it’s part of the story, we’re gonna be dancing around and she’s gonna stand there like she’s not really into it” and Geddy Lee said “oh so you mean it’ll be like every one of our concerts?”
Do you have any favorite bands or movies, favorite stories to share?
Segel: We love comedy, Paul and I. We’re both a bit students of comedy and comedy dorks. Things like Mighty Boosh and Little Britain. We love comedy and we’ll quote lines and stuff like that, so we definitely bonded over stuff like that. How much did you guys improvise on the set?
Segel: The script was really tightly honed. John has been working on it for a while. By the time it got to us, it didn’t really need much improv. There were a few scenes like the first man date scene where there were no scripted lines.
Rudd: We would do little things here and there.
Rudd: But like you said, the script was really solid.
Segel: A lot of the Paul awkwardness was improved because it is impossible to write how awkward Paul can actually be.
Rudd: I think all of you probably agree with that.
Can you talk about the fact that the film is set in L.A.?
Rudd: Well that’s really John and I know he wanted to set it in Los Angeles and that it was a very specific reason for doing so. I’ve heard him say in answers that he’s given, about how isolated you can feel in Los Angeles and you’re in your car and everybody is kinda separate. Also when you meet people in Los Angeles everyone kind of has a shield up anyway. This feeling of “what can you do for me.” I know he’s always found that to be a somewhat tough place to make friends.
Was this the first time you really got a chance to work together?
Segel: Well Sarah Marshall, Paul came out to Hawaii, and was nice enough to play the surf instructor. We were sort of sequestered in Hawaii. We shot the movie at the same place where we stayed. So we would be together all day while we’re shooting and then at night we would all collide at the pool bar.
Rudd: Collide might be the right term, depending on how many Mai Thai’s…Segel: Yeah, there were a lot of Mai Thai’s. We got to know each other pretty well then. Most of those scenes were improved ’cause my script wasn’t nearly as tightly honed as Hamburg’s. And I think there we started to think that we might be a good comic duo. We bounce off each other well.
Rudd: In Knocked Up, we had a little of it. I remember, the scene that we did, where you’re standing at the door. And in the movie you say “you’re Deb’s husband” and I say “yeah” and you just shut the door in my face. We did start doing riffs here and there. I remember you wore the track suit, and I congratulated you on winning the World Cup. And you said something about my jeans. So we did a lot of that kind of stuff. None of it particularly funny or else it would’ve been in the movie. But that was the first time, I think, we sensed that we could play off of each other alright.
Are you talking about other projects you might want to do together?
Rudd: You know, it’s been really cool in the last few years to kind of in a way, get my foot into this group that’s existed for a long time with Judd and Freaks and Geeks guys and kind of feel a part of this collective. We’ve work together on several things. I hope it continues, it’s really fun.
Segel: There’s so much really fun of the mix and match. We all work together in various different capacities. Paul, the reason I say he was so nice to do Sarah Marshall, which he always says “that’s crazy talk,” is Paul is a leading man. You know, he is. And he was willing to come because he loves acting and he loves comedy.
Rudd: And I love Hawaii.
Segel: He loves Hawaii. He was willing to come do a part that he shot for a week and was in a few scenes.
Rudd: I was really excited to work with you.
Segel: It speaks to your character and what kind of actor and friend you are.
Rudd: Thanks, buddy. I loved the character. This is another thing, it wasn’t even that it was a stoner type guy but the idea that if you ever go to resorts or Hawaii and you meet the people that “oh, they were from the mainland and then they came to Hawaii and stayed because they kind of figured out that all you really need, the pure joy in life, the sand and the surf,” and you meet them and there’s something zen-like about them and you think they’ve got it figured out. But if you hang out a little while longer and really talk to some of these people, oftentimes they’re running from something, and they’re just depressing. And the idea of that type of character, minus all of the jokes and everything, was a really fun, interesting character, the kind of thing that could actually be a dramatic thing.
Segel: Paul really created that character, too. Did you improv the phone joke? How you don’t wear a watch anymore? There’s a joke that Rudd did, that I think that he improved, I know I didn’t write it.
He says “you know ever since I moved here I don’t even wear a watch anymore” and I say “wow that’s so cool” and he says “yeah, there’s a clock on my phone.”
Can we retire the term “bromance,” and if so, what do you propose we use instead?
Rudd: It seems like bromance just came out a couple of months ago and when we were working on the film we never even heard of it, you know.
Segel: It’s kind of annoying.
Rudd: Somebody said earlier today we were “manpanions.” That’s pretty good.Any scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor that you think should have been in the movie?
Segel: I have one regret that there’s something not in the movie that it will be on the DVD. Remember when I wrestled Lou Ferrigno? The scene ends with me passing out. What I thought was the funniest thing, the scene continued and Paul came to get me. We just did the weirdest run of me waking up not knowing where I was and being super confused. I’m a gigantic guy, and we did this thing of Paul trying to lift me up and me continuing to fall over and it was such a funny physical comedy bit, but I think it was maybe self indulgent. It went on for like 10 minutes at a time.
Rudd: It’s really the trick of finding the right tone and that’s left to John and the editor, really. There are lots of funny sequences that either were cut for time or they just seemed too broad, maybe. We all wanted the movie to be realistic and not so over the top.
Segel: That’s one of the things I
love about the movie, that it’s not a cynical look at these relationships. It’s also not a wink-wink nudge-nudge jokey version of them. We tried to do a really natural and realistic depiction of a guy trying to find a new friend and layer funny on top of that, but not start with the idea of let’s do the funniest version of how difficult it is. We wanted to do the realest version and have that be funny.
Which character that you’ve played can you relate to the most?
Rudd: I’m pretty connected to the character in I Love You Man. I tend to think of myself as more of an optimist, in a way that maybe Peter, the character I’m playing in this movie, is.