You can read a few extracted questions from the interview, but also make sure you check out the interview in full over at About.com, definitely worth it! Great interview!
Thanks for tackling a film that’s way more original than what we usually get to see.
“It’s absolutely my pleasure. It was a really fun, big departure for me from the type of material I usually work on and it felt like just a really fun challenge to do in a kind of safe environment. You know, if you go and sign on to do a comedy for a studio with a $20 million price tag, if you’re not known as being a comedian it’s a very big risk. But to go and do a $400,000 film, it just felt like a really safe, easy, fun way to challenge myself and try to do something a little bit different.”
Was it the fact it was different that first caught your eye? Were you looking for something in the comedy genre?
“I certainly wasn’t looking for something and I don’t think of myself as a comedian. I’m notthat interested in comedy. The way it came about was Jordan Roberts, the director/writer/producer/financier of the film, somewhere along the line decided that I was the guy he wanted for that role. I got sent the script and just didn’t really see how I could play the role, because it felt to me like it read like a really kind of dorky, passive, put-upon guy whose brother’s always messing with his life and he’s not strong enough to challenge his brother. Jordan said, ‘Yes, I think that’s the way a lot of people read it. I think that’s the very obvious way. I think the much more interesting version of this film – or this story – is that he’s just a really regular dude, like the type of guy that anyone in the audience can relate to. He’s not super macho but he’s also kind of tough. He has his own stuff. The problem is his brother’s this extraordinary larger-than-life character who’s also kind of a psycho, and any normal guy would have trouble standing up to that.’
He just felt like that version of this story was much more interesting. And so the more we talked about it and the more he pitched his version of how we would tell the story, the more it intrigued me and the more I felt comfortable trying to take on the challenge of playing this guy. To me, that’s how it came about. It’s really just Jordan. I’ve done a little bit of comedy in the past that he looked at. I did a show, Undeclared, years ago with Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel and all those guys. He saw that and he said, ‘Listen, go back and watch the show if you don’t think you’re funny, because you definitely have the ability to be funny. And I’m a really funny guy’ – Jordan said – ‘and I’m going to look after you and make sure the jokes land.’ That’s first how it came about.”
Is it refreshing to play someone who is so different from Jax? These characters couldn’t be further apart in personality.
“Yeah, it definitely was refreshing. It’s like a real palate-cleanser to come in to this. And it wasn’t just Jax… I mean, just all of the work that I’ve been doing over the last five or six years are kind of more tough guy, rough-and-ready type of characters. More so than just a palate-cleanser for Sons, it was a real palate-cleanser for everything I’ve been doing over the last few years. And then as a kind of side effect of that, it made me excited to go back into that world again because that’s the world I feel comfortable in. I’ve never played a character as close to who I am as the character I play with Jax. I mean, he and I…he’s a little bit more violent than me, but only marginally. [laughing] But in the way he processes information and the relationships he has with his friends, and the way he conducts himself in the world, if I were in that world, I would be exactly like that.”
That would be you.
“That would be me. So, it’s nice to play a character so far away from one’s self and then it’s also nice to come back to playing a character that feels very close to me.”
Is it true that you suggested Ron Perlman for this role?
“Yeah. I suggested Ron for one of the two roles. Initially, Jordan and I…Chris O’Dowd had already been cast and then he cast me, and then we got Lizzy Caplanon board. And then we were looking for the two other main roles: Phyllis and the out-of-work actor, Lizzy’s father. We initially sent Ron the script to look at both roles, but really focus on the movie star role. I said, ‘Listen, we’re going really quickly. This is an offer – it’s not a financial offer because they don’t literally have the time to do the paperwork to make you an offer, but if you want the role it’s yours. Read the script.’
He called me the next morning and said, ‘You’re going to think I’m crazy,’ and I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘I want to play Phyllis.’ [laughing] I said, ‘Why?!’ And he said, ‘I’ve always wanted to play a woman.’ And that’s kind of where it went from there.
We shot Ron’s entire role in one day and it was by far and away the most fun I’ve ever had in a day’s filming. We just had such a great time together because it was such a departure from our usual dynamic. It was just a really fun, fun day of filming for both of us.”