Sean Anders’ Horrible Bosses 2 opens tomorrow with Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis reprising their roles from the first film. This time around they decide to be their own bosses by setting out on their own entrepreneurial venture. When a slick investor (Christoph Waltz) steals their idea, they decide to kidnap his son (Chris Pine) and hold him for ransom. Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx all return for the sequel. While Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t going to win any awards, I’ll admit that I laughed a lot mostly from the great chemistry between Bateman, Day and Sudeikis. For more on the film, watch some clips, the trailer, or here’s all our previous coverage.
At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive interview with Jason Bateman. He talked about not wanting to make a “stinky sequel,” what it was like on set working with Sudeikis and Day, if he likes to check out the movie while it’s in the editing room, how it’s going on his second feature, The Family Fang, his hope it will premiere at Telluride, working with Shawn Levy on This is Where I Leave You, the status of IPO Man, what he learned directing Bad Words that he wants to apply on future projects, and a lot more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
BATEMAN: You can’t, but I like to play the good cop.
Oh, there it is.
BATEMAN: No, I’m kidding, do whatever you want.
I didn’t know, I would have liked to have done video. How are you doing?
BATEMAN: Good, how are you?
Saw the movie last night and I laughed a lot.
BATEMAN: Good, good.
I saw it with a theater full – and this is funny – sorority girls and fraternity guys at UCLA.
BATEMAN: Good crowd.
What was funny was one of the girls leaving with a whole bunch of sorority girls, the movie ended and she goes, “There was a lot of sex in this!”
BATEMAN: See these public universities, it’s not very active there.
I found that very amusing. What I found watching it, how the eff did this movie not take a year to make with the amount of takes you must have ruined? Having shots with the three of you, how did you make it?
BATEMAN: Yeah, there was a lot of messing up, a lot of giggles, but we – it’s like you can’t make your kids laugh, we can’t make each other laugh that way. We know each other’s fast ball and we know when it’s coming. We’re just kind of used to it. We were pretty serious about wanting to make this thing not suck. We were really happy and proud of the first film. Neither one of us have been in oodles and oodles of blockbusters, so for a film that we were in to do really well, we didn’t want to soil that by doing a stinky sequel. Which you’re kind of allowed to do, I guess. Everybody expects sequels to kind of stink. We all got on the phone early on when the studio contacted us about doing a sequel and ,the three of us just talked about – are we going to have the kind of work ethic it’s going to take to make this thing not suck? Because it would really easy for it to be a retread. We’re not going to surprise anybody or sneak up on anybody, so we’ve got to work double hard and there’s got to be a great plot and story to it, and we have to do everything that we managed to back into in the first one. So there was a lot of hard work happening on the set, which is my long winded way to answer how we kept a straight face. We were working pretty hard.
He is so good on his feet. Do you feel like you’re in that same league? Because he flips a switch and it’s just on. Are you able to do that like him? You’re funny in you’re own way, but he’s like…
BATEMAN: Jason – we all have our different fastballs, to go back to that, we all have our different skill sets, and I think that’s why the three of us work well as this sort of three-headed monster. Jason is lightening fast all the time, and that probably has to do with his extensive improv training. I’ve done quite a bit of that myself, but my instinct, my comedic instinct, is a little bit more rooted in – my mother’s British so I’ve always been more of the dry receiver of the crazy as opposed to the initiator of the crazy. I’m kind of predisposed to be the straight man. That’s my tempo. I’m not one to really flick the switch and grab the mic, but I’ll lurk to hit the big softball when it comes my way.
Now that you’re a director, how much are you involved in the editing room? Or are you kind of like, “I’ll finish on the set, show it to me when it’s done”?
BATEMAN: Yeah, I wasn’t involved at all in the editing of this.
Even in general with the past, is that something that you want to be involved with or is it “show me when it’s done”?
BATEMAN: I would love to, but as actor you’re not invited and it’s probably better that way, because there’s really no wrong way to do anything in what we do, yours included. What we all do is kind of exercising our own personal taste, so if you put too many cooks in there you’re going to end up just making a big messy stew.
Or making a short film that plays at four in the morning.
Sorry, I had to.
BATEMAN: I enjoy editing when I’m directing, but when someone else is directing, that’s there film to cut.
Since I have such limited time with you I definitely have to ask, I know you’re in the editing room now on your second feature (The Family Fang), please tell me how it’s going. And what can you tease people about it?
BATEMAN: I love it. It’s much more complicated film than Bad Words was. It’s much less comedic, it’s kind of a bit of a mystery and a drama with some comedic elements in it. It’s got Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken in it, it’s pretty amazing for me to be able to direct those two. I just finished my director’s cut. I’m going to show it to the producers next week. I just locked down my composer twenty minutes ago on the phone, which is pretty awesome, and he’s one of the top three composers in Hollywood, which is just blowing my mind.
I have names, but I won’t even put you on the spot.
BATEMAN: Yeah, you know, we’ve got to make his deal so I can’t say anything, but it’s just really really thrilling and the kind of escalation I was hoping for in my second film.
Do you think you can be done in time for Sundance?
Or are you aiming for Toronto?
BATEMAN: Toronoto, and I’m actually hoping for – I hope it’s good enough to hit Telluride.
Oh, there it is.
BATEMAN: Not to say Toronto is not as good, but Telluride is something I’ve never been a part of before, obviously as an actor, certainly not as a director, but it’s a festival I’d like to see from that position. Inside the ropes would be great. We’ll see, but it’s a couple months away from being all wrapped up.
I want to ask about something else, but I have to go back for a second. I really dug This is Where I Leave You.
BATEMAN: Oh, thanks.
I told Shawn [Levy] that and I’ve gone on record saying how much I enjoyed on it, so I say congrats on that as well.
BATEMAN: Thanks, buddy.
I didn’t get to talk to you about that movie, so what was that project like for you? Was it one of those things where it was a very rewarding experience?
BATEMAN: Yeah, it really was. And working with a guy like Shawn, who’s got so much great enthusiasm and energy and appreciation for what he does, is really infectious. As a cast member you really look for that in a director. It was exciting that a big huge studio was releasing something that’s usually an indie, and it was fun to be part of a big studio drama. I haven’t been cast in those movies, or certainly not in the lead, so that was a real privilege.
IPO Man, what’s the deal with this?
BATEMAN: I see that first draft – I probably see that in the next three weeks. I think they’re pretty close to being finished with it, so I’m excited. Certainly the conversations with them during developing the script have been great, and I’m excited to see what they put down on paper. It’s one of the films I’m considering doing as my third and we’re waiting on a couple of other scripts to come in, and other concepts obviously, to see which one I do next.
When that story breaks, are you aware that the story is going to break, or is it surprising you when you’re reading about it online?
BATEMAN: What, IPO Man?
BATEMAN: Sometimes it’s surprising and sometimes you participate in those stories that break. Sometimes there’s a reason why you might want that out, because maybe there’s a competing project, you want to put your flag in the ground, you don’t want a bunch of different movies about the same subject coming out. That wasn’t the case with this, but there’s a bunch of different reasons. For the most part, as you know, there’s not a lot of secrets in this town and people are so eager to get headlines, or click-throughs, or whatever the fuck they call them.
I’ve never been a part of this, ever.
BATEMAN: [Laughs] There’s really no problem with it. I’m not really precious with it and it didn’t really matter.
What did you learn that you wanted to make sure you applied for your second feature and just in general, maybe some lessons learned, if any?
BATEMAN: Well…really I would say you tell me.
[Laughs] I wasn’t on set for your second movie.
BATEMAN: Well, but I mean, I really liked it when I released it, so I didn’t think there was a ton wrong with it.
Oh, I don’t mean it like the movie itself, I mean like as a director “I need to have better time management.”
BATEMAN: Oh, got you.
Sorry that came out bad.
BATEMAN: No, it’s fine. I want to, and will, have much more time with the composer this time. Music is such an incredibly affecting part of any movie-going experience and it just…it shapes your whole experience. There’s a visual component and there’s a musical component, period. And the fact that the musical component gets a few weeks of time, it just doesn’t make any sense to me, whereas the visual component – which is camera, it’s acting, it’s production design – it’s all that stuff. That get’s all of pre-production, it gets all of principle photography, and it gets a lot of post too, obviously, with the editing. But music gets a few weeks in post, that’s it, and to me that’s just not great. That’s not right at all. So I kind of moved funds around in the budget to allow for that this time.
With it being less comedic and more dramatic, is it that much more important to get tone and help the tone of the movie with music?
BATEMAN: Yeah, and just the things that I’m attracted to have a little bit more of a complicated tone. Things that are both comedic and dramatic in the same film; sometimes in the same scene, on the same page. Often times you need the musical element to help navigate that for the audience, to let them know that this is actually not funny or this is funny, because all the stuff that I like lives pretty close to the medium.