Exclusive Interview: Danny McBride on YOUR HIGHNESS, UP IN THE AIR and EASTBOUND & DOWN

by     Posted 5 years, 28 days ago

Danny McBride image slice.jpg

Danny McBride told me there is a scene in the upcoming David Gordon Green medieval comedy Your Highness where Natalie Portman asks him if his pussy hurts.  If you weren’t excited to see Green’s follow up to Pineapple Express, I don’t know what else will convince you after finding out that Natalie Portman says incredibly dirty and disgusting things to both Danny McBride and James Franco.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Two days ago, I sat down with Danny McBride for an exclusive interview to help promote Jason Reitman’s awesome movie Up in the Air.  But while we spent a few minutes on that film, we spent the majority of our time talking about the next season of Eastbound & Down and his upcoming film Your Highness, which he just wrapped in Belfast.  So if you’d like to read or listen to a great interview with Danny McBride, hit the jump!

Since the interview is about 15 minutes, here are some of the highlights:

Danny McBride image Eastbound and Down.jpgEastbound & Down:

  • They’ve been writing the second season and they will be filming early next year.
  • Second season is like the first.  Self contained.
  • The plan is for three seasons.
  • The second season is going to be 7 or 8 episodes.
  • Structure of season two will be the same as season one.  Danny says, “It has a new vibe and there’s new issues and it’s not just different versions of what happened last season.”

Your Highness:

  • The movie is a lot bigger than you’re expecting
  • They will be at Comic-Con next year.
  • Doesn’t know when the trailer will be released
  • According to McBride, the buzz that it’s a medieval stoner comedy is “not really accurate.  It centers around two brothers, Franco and myself and he’s the first born and I’m the 2nd born so he’s going to be King and I’m a little jealous about that and therefore I just kind of shirk responsibility and don’t really try to live up to being a good Prince. And with that I mean he drinks and smokes and does all these sorts of things but that’s no means like the driving force of the movie.”
  • When talking about the movie, Danny says, “Pineapple Express” becomes an 80′s action film without making fun of 80′s action films. It just kind of becomes one by the end and that’s really what we wanted for “Your Highness”. We didn’t really want to make fun of 80′s fantasy films. We just wanted to make an 80′s fantasy film.  And so that being said the costumes, the sets, all that stuff was taken seriously and it was done on a big scale. No jokes are had from cod pieces or anything like that. You wanted to world to be real and the comedy just comes from the people that happen to be in this world and really shouldn’t be.
  • When I asked about Natalie Portman saying crazy stuff in the film, McBride said, “Yeah, so most definitely does. There was a lot of times where she would be saying things to me and it was harder to keep a straight face than with any of the comedians I’ve worked with because it was just so surreal to see Natalie Portman asking me if my pussy hurts, you know? Just disgusting, really.”

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As I said, Your Highness sounds like an amazing comedy.  The only negative is it doesn’t get released until October 1st.

Finally, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here.  I always recommend the audio….

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up_in_the_air_movie_poster_US_george_clooney_jason_reitman_01.jpg.jpgCollider: Well, first of all thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time. I’m very happy though because you…limited press today is good.

Danny McBride: Yes, yes.

So let’s just jump in. I have a few things to cover but I’m going to do “Up in the Air” first.

McBride: Okay.

Because I hear Paramount is sitting here. They want to make sure that I’m working in the movie.

McBride: Yes, of course.

So you’ve been in more and more films and you’ve been…your parts have been getting bigger and bigger. This is a more limited part in the film. What got you into this?

McBride: Yeah, I’ve been a fan of Jason’s work and I’ve met him a few times and really liked his vibe. I thought he was a nice guy and he sent me the script and just was curious if I’d be interested in it. And, to me, I just felt like the project was definitely special. It jumped off the page and the chance to get to meet Clooney and work with him was definitely a draw and to just be a part of something Jason believed in, it seemed like a no-brainer. So, yeah, I signed on for it and just thought I’d give it a whirl.

Coming from where you came from and you’ve talked to me before about, you know, how you got into the film industry and how it all came together, did you ever think you were going to be in a film that’s going to most likely be nominated for Best Picture?

McBride: You know, people have asked me this before and like I said, you know, “Hot Rod”, “Land of the Lost”. I did think these things would be Academy Award nominated films, so I’ve been surprised that it hasn’t happened sooner.

I agree with “Hot Rod”.

Danny McBride image Hot Rod.jpgMcBride: Yeah.

I was very disappointed about that one actually. Quite good stuff.

McBride: Um-hum.

Working with….when you tell people you’re going to be working with George, is it one of those things where people want to visit you on-set and sort of hang out a little bit more?

McBride: You know, we were shooting in St. Louis and so no one really wanted to visit me in St. Louis, but I think it makes my parents…like their ears perk up. They don’t think that I’m just fucking around. They’re like “Oh, that’s a real job then, huh?”

Are they really thinking that because you’ve made some in-roads in other movies before?

McBride: I have but my mom loves Clooney, so this was a big one for her.

Now did you get a signed picture?

McBride: I didn’t. I didn’t. I was too embarrassed to do that. I’ll buy my mom a copy of the DVD.

Okay. That’s fine.

McBride: Yeah.

You have recently been in Europe filming some small Indie movie.

McBride: Yeah, a really small film. It’s been great.

I was at Shepperton Studios when the sets were being built for your film.

McBride: Oh really?

We’re talking about “Your Highness”. And it seemed to me that this thing was a lot bigger than I expected.

McBride: You know, I think that’s been the case for us as well. Like it…yeah it was a pretty big scope. That was the thing that other than that I’m good friends with David and I love any chance I get to work with him, that was the one thing I thought would be really cool for him to do on “Your Highness” is….he’s a guy like with “Pineapple Express” you know “Pineapple Express” becomes an 80′s action film without making fun of 80′s action films. It just kind of becomes one by the end and that’s really what we wanted for “Your Highness”.  We didn’t really want to make fun of 80′s fantasy films. We just wanted to make an 80′s fantasy film, you know? And so that being said like the costumes, the sets, all that stuff was taken seriously and it was done on a big scale. No jokes are had from cod pieces or anything like that. You wanted to world to be real and the comedy just comes from the people that happen to be in this world and really shouldn’t be.

Well, the buzz is that it’s a medieval stoner comedy. Is that accurate buzz or is not accurate?

pineapple_express__movie_poster.jpgMcBride: No, it’s not really accurate. I know where that comes from. It centers around two brothers, Franco and myself and he’s the first born and I’m the 2nd born so he’s going to be King and I’m a little jealous about that and therefore I just kind of shirk responsibility and don’t really try to live up to being a good Prince. And with that I mean he drinks and smokes and does all these sorts of things but that’s no means like the driving force of the movie. It’s not “Pineapple Express 2″ or anything like that.

There is also been talk….Judd Apatow recently did an interview that I believe he said that “Pineapple Express”…he’s talked about sequels to previous films of his. What do you think about sequels to some of the films, from “Super Bad” to “Pineapple Express” to all that stuff? Do you think like that we’ve moved into this place where all we want are sequels? And have you noticed that? That that seems to be the….

McBride: Everything is a sequel or like a re-imagining of something. I mean, obviously people seem to be responding to that stuff. They support it. They go out to the theatres and buy tickets for it and so that’s the reality of it. But I mean, at the same time you don’t want people to stop making new things.  And we’ve got to keep making new things so that 20 years from now the kids can rip our shit off and remake it 20 different times.

One of my favorite things of the last few years has been “Eastbound & Down”.

McBride: Oh cool.

And let’s talk about what’s going on with season 2.

McBride: Yeah, we’re writing it right now and we’ll get into production early next year and yeah, get it out to you next year.

You mentioned the last time I spoke to you that you had like an arc for it, if you will, and you were being a little bit coy with me. I want to say it was about you going to Mexico but I could have been wrong about that.

McBride: Yeah, one of the ideas with this show always has been like we’ve never been interested in trying to find a formula that like ends up making “Eastbound & Down” being something that can be syndicated or anything like that. We always have…with the 1st season we were surprised anyone let us make it. And so we tried to make it so it would stand on its own if we never got a chance to make more. And that’s how we’re approaching the 2nd season as well. We have an overall idea of where we’d like to take the arc, if we were given the opportunity to do it, it would be a 3 season arc, but with approaching the 2nd season, we’re making the 2nd season very much in the same way we made the 1st where it could stand on its own at the end of the day. And if we don’t get picked up for another, it will have some sort of resolution to it.

One of the things I loved about the show is the cold opening. I guess that’s what its called. And are you already thinking about how to sort of top the first season? Is it going to be similar with those openings?

eastbound_and_down_poster_02.jpgMcBride: The structure of the show is the same…where each episode picks up where the last one left off, but I think one thing that’s been really curious or interesting with writing the 2nd season has been, just trying to avoid it being a bad sequel. I think that one of the recipes for bad sequels are just like taking your cues from what you did in the 1st season and just trying to find different variations upon that and we’ve really tried to like get away and make this something entirely new that has a new feeling. It has a new vibe and there’s new issues and it’s not just different versions of what happened last season. And embrace that stuff where we can but don’t lead with that stuff.

So for you, since “Your Highness”, have you just been working on “Eastbound & Down” and is that pretty much the next acting gig for you?

McBride: That’ll probably be the next acting gig, yeah. I just got back to the States from “Your Highness” just a few weeks ago and so we’ve been on post on “Your Highness” and then we’ve been writing on “Eastbound” and so that’ll probably keep me busy until we get into production on that.

When do think we might be getting the first trailer or anything from “Your Highness” like footage or images or….?

McBride: I’m not really sure. I don’t know. I think we’re planning on trying to release that movie around October 1st so that we can go to Comic-Con and all those cool places with the film. But I would love…I mean they always would cut….Craig Alpert, the editor, he edited “Pineapple” and he was cutting stuff together as we were shooting just to kind of make us hard and so I’ve seen some pretty cool trailers. If we can get them out there to you guys quick, that would be awesome.

And I don’t mean to harp on this but it’s a film I’m really looking forward to obviously when you guys are all together like that. Could you talk a little bit about more of the tone of the film and just what can fans be looking forward to as far as what’s some of the crazy shit that….?

McBride: It’s a pretty crazy movie. I mean, I’ve seen bits and pieces of it and you know David is not a typical director. I mean, he’s like everything I see just…it looks beautiful and to hear the filth that comes out of peoples mouths with frames looking so beautiful. It’s nothing I’ve really seen before and Natalie Portman and Zooey are both in it and Justin Thoreau and all those guys kill in it. I mean, and the rest of the cast…it’s all like everyone from Charles Dance to Damian Lewis, Tobey Jones, all these esteemed British actors and so it’s a nice mix-up. I think a lot of those guys were baffled when there were seeing the type of shit we were saying. You know, Charles Dance plays mine and James’ father in the film and yeah, the first time we improved I think he just kind of looked at me like “who the fuck are you and why are you saying all this disgusting stuff to me?”

I don’t think fans are used to seeing Natalie Portman doing or possibly saying certain crazy stuff. Does she do that in the film?

McBride: Yeah, so most definitely does. There was a lot of times where she would be saying things to me and it was harder to keep a straight face than with any of the comedians I’ve worked with because it was just so surreal to see Natalie Portman asking me if my pussy hurts, you know? Just disgusting, really.

I’m really looking forward to this. I definitely want to ask you, I like “Land of the Lost”. Honestly, I didn’t love it but I really liked it. Why did it not connect with more people?

land_of_the_lost_movie_poster_.jpgMcBride: I don’t know, man. I mean that like the age…you know that’s not the first thing I’ve been involved with that critically hasn’t, you know, found its audience, but I don’t know really. I’m not sure. I think if people could figure that out they would avoid making movies….they would avoid finding themselves in positions where they’re making stuff that doesn’t connect, but yeah…it’s Greek to me. I don’t know.

When you look back…I mean it’s a really funny movie. I mean I was sort of curious, do you think it had anything to do with the release date or was it just sometimes shit doesn’t connect?

McBride: I feel like it’s maybe sometimes shit doesn’t connect. I mean I feel like the more and more it’s out on DVD, I find people who come up to me like “Oh I actually saw “Land of the Lost” and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.” You know, everyone kind of has that take on it and I don’t know. I mean, I kind of feel like when it came out I think a lot of like critics I think weirdly went after kind of Will a lot, which I just think is kind of unfounded and kind of strange. I think Will’s a funny dude. I like the shit he does and yeah, I don’t know. I mean sometimes I think that sometimes the movie doesn’t connect and maybe it takes a little bit of time and it does and maybe people won’t connect with it. It’s the risk you take when you put yourself out there in front of something.

One of the things I admire about you and David and the little troupe, if you will, that you guys have put together, is the fact that you write your own stuff, that you guys are doing original projects. How much do you value that vs. say being a part of a big…like Ben Stiller coming at you with “Tropic” or other projects like that? How do you pick and choose what you want to be involved with?

McBride: Well, to me, the stuff that’s more gratifying is obviously something like…because I’m a writer….like stuff that I’ve written and being able to see that through to the end. To me, I feel the most fulfilled with that kind of stuff, but I mean if you get a chance to work with a guy like Stiller or Jack Black or Will or any of these guys that I’ve just admired their work for a long time.  That in its own brings its own set of rewards, you know? Getting to do some of those guys and I mean I’m proud of all the films that I’ve been in that I….even the ones that I haven’t written, you know like “Tropic”, “Pineapple” all those things. I’m very proud of those things as well, but I just feel lucky that you get a chance to bounce back and forth and do both.

What was your best experience being in Europe for all those months?

McBride: Best experience? I mean it was just cool kind of being a part….like living in Europe. Of course it was Belfast, which is a little different than the rest of Europe, but it was cool nonetheless. We shot our film where the Titanic was built, so that was pretty cool. And there’s a cool restaurant called Nando’s. It’s like African chicken or something. It was delicious.

That’s the kind of thing when a lot of us…or when you’re making a movie you actually get to experience what it’s like living somewhere else.

McBride: Yeah.

So is it something you sort of ever expected to be able to do?

McBride: No. Honestly when they said we were filming in Belfast, I didn’t even know what country Belfast was in. But no, I mean that’s always cool. I mean like the fact that I had to go to a place where I had to put weird things on the ends of all my plugs and you get into their TV and, you know, I do feel like weirdly ignorant now that I come back to it. There’s always amazing films out and things that I’ve missed and shows I’ve missed. They don’t get all the cool stuff that we have over here.

Well, they get it a little later.

McBride: Yeah. I was watching like episodes of “The Gilmore Girls” from like 2 years ago. That’s what we got a lot of every day.

eastbound_and_down_poster_01.jpgI’m curious about Twitter and Facebook and social networking and something that you are…is that something you’re interested in and do you know about the Twitter thing?

McBride: I know about Twitter. I’m really not that interested in it. I don’t know. I guess some people really dig it a lot. Seems to be a phenomenon. I’m cool with people not knowing what I’m doing at every moment of the day. I like that.

See, I need to be a stalker of certain people so you need to….you know…

McBride: Yeah, need to get on it.

I’m joking around, no.

McBride: I’m taking a shit, yeah.

But that’s seems to be the joke. Like a lot of people go for that but it seems to be, in my opinion, a way for a lot of people to connect with other people or maybe help maybe raise awareness or something.

McBride: Yeah, I think it definitely has it advantages. I mean, businesses are finding ways to use it and stuff. I think it affecting the movie industry, when people go see a movie that sucks they call all Twitter instantly to all their friends like “don’t go see the 9:00 show. This movie blows.”

Well, they’re talking about how within one day, like if a movie is bad within one day that night everyone knows.

McBride: Yeah.

There’s no hiding it, if you will, anymore.

McBride: Which, you know, I don’t think is a bad thing. I think it’s, you know, that should just make everyone raise the bar and make better films.

Last question for you, can you talk about your writing process? I’m curious how it works with you. Are you like a 9-5 writer? Does inspiration strike whenever you…could you talk about that?

McBride: Yeah, you know I used to just kind of, when I wasn’t really getting paid to do it, I would just kind of write whenever I found the chance. But now that it’s…you know Jody and the guys, we just got back from Big Bear. We rented a cabin up there for a few weeks and just worked on “Eastbound”. So I’m kind of in the mindset like life is…I get distracted too much so I kind of have to just lock up and dedicate myself to it or else I’ll get pulled away and start…oh I should play this video game or maybe I should go down the street and go buy a cool book instead of writing right now. It’s easy for me to get distracted, so I have to lock up and focus on it.

Is the next season of “Eastbound” is it another 6 episodes?

McBride: I think it’ll be either 7 or 8. We’re working on that right now, yeah.

I like that.

McBride: Yeah.

Good times. I know they’re going to make me go, so I’m going to say thank you.

McBride: Hey no problem, man. It was good to see you again.




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