At this year’s Toronto Film Festival, I was able to sit down with Adam Scott for an exclusive interview about Friends With Kids. Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein), the plot centers on a pair of thirtysomething best friends who observe the toll that having kids has taken on the couples they know and resolve to bypass that stress by having a child and then date other people. Scott and Westfeldt play the lead couple, while Jon Hamm (who also produced), Kristen Wiig, Chris O’Dowd and Maya Rudolph play the couples with kids. Edward Burns and Megan Fox are also in the film.
During the interview, Scott talked about what the last few years have been like as he’s started landing some high profile gigs, how he got cast in the film, the short production schedule, being the lead with this great cast, future projects like Bachelorette, My Mother’s Curse, and A.C.O.D. (Adult Children of Divorce), and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to the conversation.
As usual, I’m offering two ways to get the interview: you can either click here for the audio or the full transcript is below. Friends with Kids was recently purchased by Lionsgate for domestic distribution and I can see it doing very well when it eventually gets released. No word on a release date.
Collider: I’ll start by saying congratulations on the movie. I think you hit a big home run with it. I really dug your performance and I definitely think that you will be able to show this off. You have worked in the business for awhile from appearing in TV shows like Boys Meets World to Party of Five, but I’m curious about how the last few years have been for you because it does seem like you have taken that next step.
Adam Scott: It’s funny because I equate it to the old adage, and I think is an old adage. It’s either that or I dreamt it and now it is just in my memory banks as being something, but isn’t there an old adage about how if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water it will just jump out?
Scott: And if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and just slowly turn the heat up it won’t even notice?
It is something along those lines. I get the analogy.
Scott: Okay. So that is me. I’ve been at this since 1993. So that is 17-18 years or so. So it has been incredibly gradual. So, yes, if I were to kind of look around and then go back to 10 years ago and look around – things are a lot different now. At the same time, it has been a very gradual ride. I’m really grateful for that because if I found success back in 1996 when I was beating my head against the wall trying to get roles in I Know What You Did Last Summer or Scream 3 or the pilot for CSI: Miami…first of all, if I had gotten the part on CSI: Miami, I would probably still be on that show and I probably wouldn’t be that happy. If I had gotten the parts in Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer, I would not have been very good in them and I would’ve squandered whatever success I had gotten because I wasn’t ready for that sort of thing. So I feel grateful for all of the years that I have behind me trying to get traction and a career. Now, not only do I appreciate it, but I know how fleeting it is. It could all just go away tomorrow and I could be back to trying to get a guest spot on whatever. So I just appreciate it more than I would have if I had gotten an early success, which I wanted so badly. I was so frustrated for so many years, but now I think it is a very healthy way to go about.
Scott: Absolutely. Not only would it have destroyed me because I would have just been an idiot about it and I probably would have done stupid things, but I also would have just done dumb things and bad work. I don’t trust my 22-year-old self to choose appropriately.
I was at the Q&A last night at the premiere and I heard that you guys were friends and etc… Can you talk about how you got involved with the project and did you know right from the get go that you had a pretty good role?
Scott: Yeah. I knew from the get-go. I mean, I was really moved by the script the first time I read it. I was moved by it all the way up until we were shooting it. I just thought that [actor/writer/director Jennifer Westfeldt] had done something great. Jen really, really outdid herself. It is a great script. Jon [Hamm] and Jen taking a chance on me playing this part is…I know how lucky I am. I know how lucky I am to have good friends like that. It is not like casting me in your movie is going to help you get financing.
Scott: Right. Exactly. [laughs]
There are 6-8 diehards.
Scott: [laughs] Yeah. Not many more than that. So I am just lucky to be at the table at all, you know?
You had a 24 day shooting schedule, it was very condensed, and it was a brutal winter. It seems to me that it was a recipe for a lot of issues, but it came out looking great. How was the process like making it while being front and center?
Scott: It was tough just because it was a low budget movie in the worst storm in New York in 40 years. It was all cramped in unusually little apartments. There were no dressing rooms, trailers, or anything like that. Like you said, we did it fast and furiously. We made it in 24 days and it was insane. Other than that, it was terrific because we are all friends and we enjoy each other’s company. It’s a good thing we do because we were smushed together for 5 weeks. It is a tough shooting schedule, but it can be a lot worse than being in a scene with Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Meagan Fox, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, Edward Burns, and Jennifer [Westfeldt]. So, yeah, I was exhausted when it finished, but looking back it was a great experience and I am so glad that I got to do it.
Scott: Well, I was nervous. I was sitting next to Kristen Wiig, who I have so much admiration for, and I had to give that speech over and over again. In a lot of takes I couldn’t stop thinking, “I wonder if Kristen thinks this sucks?” It really is something that is difficult to shake because I think she is so great and she is so great in this movie too. And she is doing stuff that we haven’t seen her do that much of. Her role is primarily dramatic and she is so amazing in it. So I was self-conscious of that and then on my other side is Megan and then Maya is across the table from me. Then there is Jen, who wrote the thing, and then there is Ed Burns, who is a director. So I was thinking, “Do all of these people think I suck?” It was kind of difficult in that way. But at the same time, they are all lovely supportive people. So we just kind of did it. But we were doing that scene for 12 hours. That was a long day. So by the time it was over I was just relieved that it was done.
Scott: No, it was scripted.
Did anything change along the way?
Scott: Maybe. I don’t remember specifically. We did that through the whole thing. I think that scene was set in stone. I mean, there was no reason to change anything or lose anything. It was pretty set in stone and as written.
With a 24 day shooting schedule, I would imagine that you were very tight on time and that probably everything you shot ended up in film. Were there things that were lost along the way?
Scott: Oh, yeah. There were some scenes that were cut out. I can’t remember what exactly, but I think I had a little more stuff at my job and at my work.
Wait. You had a job in the movie?
Scott: Well, there are a couple of scenes of me in an office doing stuff.
Scott: [laughs] There was maybe a little more than that, but not much. Like you said, we didn’t have a whole lot of time. We just had to shoot the movie and do it quickly. So there is little stuff that got trimmed here and there, but not much.
I looked on the always-accurate IMDB, which you know is never wrong.
Scott: It’s like The Bible.
I noticed a number of your other projects like Bachelorette and Guilt Trip. Can you talk about some of your upcoming projects?
Scott: Bachelorette I’m shooting right now in New York. Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, and Kirsten Dunst are the leads in it and James Marsden, Kyle Bornheimer, and I are the guys in it. It is about this bachelorette party gone wrong, and it is hilarious. Leslye Headland is writing and directing it and she is just terrific. Guilt Trip is I’m guessing the new title for My Mother’s Curse. Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand are the stars in it and I just have a scene in it. So I got to spend a few days with Seth and Barbra Streisand, which was awesome.
I have to ask, do you have a Mom or a family friend who was like, “You are going to be working with Babs? I might have to visit you on this one.”
Scott: Yeah. I had a lot of people that were like, “Holy shit, dude. Really?!” It was really cool. She was so sweet and just lovely. She was a really nice lady and I could never stop thinking, “This is Barbra Streisand!” It is funny because I said that to Seth and he said, “Yeah, me too!” [laughs]
What is A.C.O.D.?
Scott: I’m really excited about that. We are starting that in March as soon as I finish on Parks and Recreation. It is this really great movie. It stands for “Adult Children of Divorce.” I play a guy who is trying to keep his long divorced parents apart. He is trying to keep them away from each other and keep his family intact for a wedding that is coming up. It is really exciting and I can’t wait to get going on that.
Have you already cast people in it?
Scott: Someone has been cast, but hasn’t been announced yet. So I can’t say.