Sunday, June 19, 2005

Vince Vaughn: Doubles Down on The Wedding Crashers

Last week I was over at the Four Seasons to cover the junket for NewLine Cinema's upcoming comedy The Wedding Crashers (starring Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams and Jane Seymour) and although I'm not one to jump the gun on such things, I must say that the flick was funny, yo. Animal House funny. I've just gotten around to transcribing the interviews and Vince Vaughn's got country with the jokes and insights. Dude speaks on shooting Psycho, cruising for booty with Jon Favreau, working with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on Mr. & Mrs. Smith as well as The Breakup -- an upcoming joint he's set to shoot with Jennifer Aniston. The Wedding Crashers doesn't open until July 15th. Go check it out because it's been a minute since an R-rated comedy has been out...that's funny. Before you start reading, let me sort you out: in the film, Vaughn's character (Jeremy) gets his "carrot waxed" while sitting at the table with the "waxee's" parents -- we started from there...


Q: Okay, so was it a stunt crotch or what?

A: Well Uhhhh (laughs) You know, I don't know because some of the scenes we filmed, we went back to re-shoot because we had a gag that read just a 'little weird'. So no, not all of that is me under the table.


Q: What did you think when you read that scene?


A: It's one of those things that you're like 'this could be funny' or it could be really 'not funny' -- you just have to go for it, you know? There's no half-assing it with a scene like that, you just have to really go for it but you don't know. When you're doing a scene like that you can't look for set (crew) laughs, you just have to stay in the moment -- as stupid as it sounds -- and just try to be as connected to that as you can. (laughs) But you can't have anything enter your mind except this is happening and I'm in this moment -- Dave (Dobkin) did a great job of putting it together. So much of it is (in) the editing, if it was edited differently it could've come off really poorly, I'm sure.


Q: You ever get embarrassed while shooting "compromising scenarios?"


A: I think prior to them you have self consciousness and that's kind of the work that you put into them. It's like, if you play a sport -- which I was never very good at but it's an analogy anyway -- but if you play a sport and you don't know your plays, you're nervous. You don't know where to go, you're hesitant. You're thinking, you're in your head but if you know what you're supposed to do then you're just reacting -- muscle memory. And the same thing is true, I've had a lot of scenes I've looked at on page and went 'Jesus! What am I going to do here?' but you just do so much preparation in your mind that when you get there, you're not thinking of those things. You have to do enough work so that you're just reacting.


Q: There's a scene in Psycho which is not in the Hitchcock version...


A: Yeah, that scene was very important to me -- that was my idea -- and I always felt that when people said to me "that doesn't make any sense', I'd say to me it made sense in that it's usually the sex drive that happens that's not controllable. In that moment of those urges and wants the release happens and you're no longer driven physically but you're peaceful as far as your drive is concerned -- that's when the guilt and regret would come in. How many times have you slept with someone and after you're like 'I shouldn't be sleeping with that person' or whatever. So, to me that made perfect sense that once that release happens, he would then transform and the guilt and regret would come in. But it's not as strong, in my mind, if it's able to stop the urge. The urge is stonger, it overcomes him and then that kicks in -- to me, that always made more sense.


Q: You've played some big, broad moments -- in Dodgeball, certainly. How difficult is it to play those moments so huge and what's the challenge to have a dramatic moment that still works?


A: Yeah, so much of it is tone and informing the audience that the movie could go in either direction. In Dodgeball, it was really different because I'm kind of the lead who's the sane man in an insane world -- I'm sort of like Dorothy in that movie. In this movie, I'm more like the tin man -- I could be a little more crazy, a little more motivated because it's not my burden to carry the movie when you see the movie through my eyes. My favorite kind of comedy was always like the Bad News Bears...48 Hours is a great comedy because comedy that comes out of awkwardness or pain or things that are uncomfortable (makes it) so that it feels good to laugh. Like in Swingers when Favreau makes that phone call, you know what it's like. It's painful but it also makes you laugh. So I think you get into a movie like
this, there's a fine line between tension and laughing at it or feeling akward about it.


Q: Do you see yourself playing the party-animal character into your 60's and 70's?


A: If there's a God, let's hope so. (laughs) I don't know, what I liked about this, my favorite scene -- well, one of my favorite scenes -- is that scene at the Lincoln Memorial. The guys are realizing 'we're getting older...we're not in our mid-twenties, we're in our mid-thirties and it's not feeling the same'. Those kind of moments, I think, are real and I think it's something that works because me and Owen are older and I think it works in that moment -- our screen history helps with that too.


Q: Did you base this character, Jeremy, on anybody in particular? Anyone in your family or something? It kind of looks like a mixture of Trent (Swingers) and Beanie (Old School) -- like joining the two different characters in the middle.


A: No, I kind of thought of him as like the big, loveable friend who loves life, loves to eat kind of like a big kid. I thought of myself as a big, innocent kid. Like 'I really do love weddings, I don't just -- yes, I want to meet the girls and that's exciting but I want to go with my friend and I want to laugh and want to go eat cake and I want to dance. I want to make the wedding fun, I want them to have a good time at their wedding, I'm not trying to ruin their wedding: I want the groom to have a good time. I like to commit, in that moment, that we've been friends forever and I'm happy for you, there's nothing to explain about it. (laughs) Plus that feeling of creating that in his life, I think that (Jeremy's) kind of innocent and happy and like how I deal with Owen when things go bad -- it's like 'I'm mad, I want to go home' -- like the sleepover's over with. Very much like a big child and I think that they're forgiven for some of their shortcomings because there is such an innocence and genuiness to them. And when they're forced to respond to some of their ill behavior they do, ultimately, change and evolve. But yeah, more of like that big loveable
friend who's like a big kid.


Q: These guys were selling all kinds of crazy with their pickup lines in the movie. Did you and your friends ever use
one that actually works?


A: We were much geekier than that. Whenever I'd go out with my friends, we'd get bored sometimes and so we'd give each other lines that you have to say -- to raise the degree of difficulty. You have to say these lines and you can't back off of them. You can't be like 'ahh, my friends gave me these lines and I have to say them' -- you have to own them because that's who you are. For example: 'excuse me if I appear to be squinting. But I was up really late last night painting miniature elves.' what else have I said...oh yeah, 'you know, sometimes when I'm out in public -- and there's a lot of people around -- I get real nervous and tense, I just picture myself swimming with dolph0ns and I start to calm down and relax.' (laughs) You know, really kind of odd things and you'd be surprised by how many people go "What? What does that mean?" But some people are like: "Totally!"


Q: That's past-tense, you don't really try that stuff out now do you?


A: Sometimes, I'm sure I do. If I'm like out and I'd just joke around and say stuff but like when I was youger, no. When I was younger, we would go out -- there's a couple of cases when me and (Jon) Favreau would even, full-on, play like -- we were more into comedy, like geeks -- we'd go out and try to make ourselves laugh.


Q: Any "Swingers Moment" in particular?


A: Here was one that was interesting: Me and Favreau went out this one time -- he and I never really got girls "together', really. One time we both picked up girls together. Separately, we got girls but together it never really worked out for us, it was jokes, jokes, jokes. So this one time, we're playing these (roles) and I'm playing it like I'm really sensitive and I want to be in a relationship. And he played to the extreme that he doesn't care about relationships, it's pathetic and he just wants to have sex. We would talk and I'd be like: "You're such an animal. I can't believe that you'd do that to that girl. And he'd be like: "Well what about you? All you want to do is hold her and comb her hair." And I'd be like: "Because I respect her as an equal..." and they like him more! (laughs) They liked the guy that was more like "whatever" ...We went to these extremes with this one group of girls and so it was funny -- the one thing about improv is that once you say something, you can't deny it or it kills everything.


Q: Did you and Owen get to ad-lib much in this film?


A: Well, the writers wrote a great script and the concept was great but Owen and I did customize a lot of the lines -- juiced it up. A lot of them we had done or would do prior to shooting -- it wasn't like we'd make up lines as we shot. We would sit and write and come up with stuff prior to shooting the scenes.


Q: Any similarities with working with Owen and Luke Wilson on a film?


A: Yeah, they're both bright guys and they both have a nice, sarcastic sense of humor to them.


Q: You think this film might inspire copycat crashers?


A: (feigns seriousness) You know, as an artist I can't be responsible for how people interpret the material...


Q: There's a lot lesss of these rated "R" comedies these days, what did you think of the rating put on Wedding Crashers?


A: I tell you, I grew up loving those rated-R comedies like Animal House and for me it's like: if you're doing an adult
themed comedy called Wedding Crashers, what are you going to do? You got to get into it and it's fun to get into it. There's a lot of pressure NOT to make rated-R movies but if you do make a rated-R movie, then there's a pressure to be shocking just for shock's sake -- I mean you don't want to do that either. I don't want to try do anything to out-gross everybody, that's not my style. I don't want to go and be shocking just to see everybody's response. If it makes sense throughout the course of the film, then it's great. This movie "wants to be R" -- for language and also the dinner table scene and the tying up scene and that kind of stuff -- I think you'd just have a "glass of milk" if you didn't have that stuff in the movie.


Q: Did they ever talk about making this movie PG-13?


A: I'm sure it was...but we were all from the git like "here we go" so I don't know what it was before that but you can't do Wedding Crashers and make it a G movie. I mean, what could you do?


Q: Do you even like weddings?


A: I do like weddings, even moreso now because you develop a respect for it when you look at it from the good side of it, there's something really fun. There is something optimistic, if only for that night, even the most sarcastic people don't really say: "this is never going to last." (laughs) There's something hopeful. I like the optimism of the wedding (ceremony). And the coming together of families...it's a celebration!


Q: Would you prefer a big wedding or a small wedding?

A: Probably a small wedding.


Q: How hard has it been to re-assert yourself into comedy because there's been a succession of darker material like Domestic Disturbance, Psycho, of course and even Clay Pigeons. Was all of this by accident or design?


A: I never plan stuff. When I broke from Swingers I was offered MAINLY comedies but I didn't like any of them. None of them made me laugh, it just wasn't my taste. I liked Return to Paradise, I liked those movies and I wanted to do those movies and then Old School came about and I thought it was funny. And then I realized -- from the studios -- if they didn't think I was good at comedy (movies), if they never thought that I did comedies, then it would be a hard time for me to get a chance to do comedy and now I get offered a lot of comedies but it was never a planned thing. I get bored. I liked playing the character in Dodgeball because he's the straight, lead of the movie and then I liked playing (Jeremy) because he's the guy that gets to push the envelope, comedically. And then I like the role I have in upcoming film with (Jennifer) Anniston because it's a more of a traditional romantic comedy. So I like to change it up and do stuff to stay motivated. To grow.


Q: What's up with this flick with Aniston?


A: It's a comedy called The Break Up. All of the romantic comedy scripts that you get always have a really dumb concept, for some reason. It's like, 'if you marry her, you'll get a million dollars' or 'hey I know, I'll do a report for my magazine on the dating habits of New Yorkers or something insane. Like where's the concept? Relationships are off the reservation anyway. So, I like the movie The Odd Couple so I thought "why not do a movie called The Break Up where it's kind of a buddy film. But this is more of a traditional romantic comedy where you have a couple that bought a condo together, they split the mortgage, it takes both of their jobs to pay for it -- they're not married -- and they break up but they're stuck in this place together but (they're) wanting to get out...I want it to come out around Valentine's Day because every guy hates Valentine's Day -- even if you're in love you can't win on damn Valentine's Day, married you can't win on Valentine's Day -- Valentine's Day is like the thing you want to avoid at all costs. (laughs)...I want to come out this Valentine's Day with a break up!


Q: You think of that as a too high concept to be believable, considering the setting?


A: Not really because it's a couple living together that breaks up. I couldn't see the concept the way of [shooting] something unorganic like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or that kind of thing. I think something like Meet the Parents isn't high concept in that you DO meet someone's parents. That is the natural flow of life. I mean when there's some imposed concept that's like nothing that ever happens in real life that they always seem to go to. Most of these romantic comedies, if you look at them, have a forced concept to them. That's why I think something like the Jennifer Lopez film [Monster In-Law] that came out and Meet the Parents worked is because those are things that really happen in life. Some might think that Meet the Parents is on the other side of Monster In-Law but those films are more truthful to life. I think that, sometimes, the bigger concepts are just, to me -- I don't really understand them, it just doesn't seem real to me.


Q: You've started filming it yet?


A: We start shooting a week from Monday.


Q: Have you met Jennifer already?


A: Yeah, she's great and she's funny. One of the things I liked about The Break Up was, a lot of times in these comedy scripts the girls are stuck laughing at what the guy says whether the guy's funny or not. The guy is like funny as hell in this movie -- my character's like the crazy, zany character but by default I become the straight man when I'm infused with her. She becomes the comic relief and I'm the guy where you go: this guy's normal and she's out there. I like that she got to be the comedic drive and really funny with it so in The Break Up Jen get's to be really funny, she is really funny [in person] and she's also a good actor. Favreau's going to be in the movie, playing my best friend, Vincent D'onofrio plays my older brother, Cole Hauser plays my younger brother, John Michael Higgins -- a very good actor, is in the movie -- plays Jennifer's brother, Justin Long from Dodgeball is in the movie and Jason Bateman.

Q: What's the optimism in The Break Up?


A: Well, the optimism is that in life not everything works out perfectly. But you can learn about yourself and respond and become someone who's in a better place. Why is the burden on, to some degree, everything working out? I think the real burden on it is: what did I learn from this experience and how could I do it differently the next time? I think most people go through a lot of break ups before they meet 'that person' or even are in a place where they are open to be in a relationship. So, sometimes those things even fuels or are looked at negatively versus having a perspective of celebration and thankfulness for that light and how it touched you...The fact that you broke up doesn't mean that the world ends -- sometimes, it means that it just begins. And when you come out on the other side -- both people -- you come to understand this isn't really about whether we end up together, it's more about were you deficient in why you chose this person to date? And so you get to a place where you're more evolved and respond to that. So, I always thought that the focus is wrong. Some people are in relationships that they shouldn't be in but they watch these movies and go "oh, I got to make this relationship work to be happy." I don't agree with that. I think that sometimes the best thing that you can do is get out of a relationship -- that becomes the positive benefit.


Q: Is that how it's a romantic comedy?


A: Yeah, you'll see. (laughs)


Q: Well, what's your best break up?


A: There's no such thing as a 'best break up'. But like I said, you try to learn from them and not repeat the same mistakes, I guess.


Q: What brought you into Mr. and Mrs. Smith, your friendship with Doug Liman?


A: Yeah, I did Swingers and he called me and asked me 'would you do a cameo in this movie?' and I said 'sure'. And then he said would you do a couple more days?' and I was like, 'yeah, sure' and the next thing you know, I'm in the trailer for the film. (laughs) I don't even take billing on the movie because I wanted to be a surprise for everyone. But I really like Doug, I respect him as a film maker. Doug has a way of making movies work -- he's not someone who's always understood in his journey by people but he's four for four in my opinion. He does have an intelligence there that's not conveyable in a traditional way but effective. I felt very confident that the movie would be worthwhile. I liked Brad and Angelina's work and, for me, it was fun to get to go on and play around -- I got to write a lot of the scenes I did in that movie and I had a great time doing it.


Q: What do you think of all the hoopla about the supposed "relationship" that evolved between those two on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith? Did you sit back and laugh or go "thank God it's not me or what?


A: I never really get into it all that much. I don't spend a lot of my time focusing on that stuff -- it's kind of a non-issue to me...


Wedding Crashers opens nation wide on July 15, 2005, go see it, yo...Laters...

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