When you put Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live) and Jason Bateman (Teen Wolf Too, Silver Spoons) in a movie together, you automatically have my interest. When you add Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland and Julie Bowen to the cast of Horrible Bosses, it becomes a must see film. In the film – which arrives next month – Bateman, Sudeikis & Day play friends that decide to kill their bosses who are played by Spacey, Farrell & Aniston. With this being a comedy, needless to say, nothing goes according to plan.
Last summer, I got to visit the set while the production was filming in Woodland Hills, California. During the visit, I got to participate in a very small roundtable interview with Day, Sudeikis and Bateman. They talked about the great cast, real life bosses, their characters and the relationships with one another, filming with digital cameras and how that changes the way you can do a scene, ruining takes from laughing, and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to the conversation.
Before going any further, I suggest watching the trailer:
As usual, I’m offering the interview two ways: you can either click here for the audio, or you can read the full transcript below. Horrible Bosses gets released July 8. I’m extremely confident it’s going to be very funny.
Question: We were talking to the producer before watching some filming and we were asking if it was going to be PG-13 or R. We weren’t really sure what the vibe was going to be. We obviously just watched a scene that was as filthy as anything that I have ever seen on any movie set. Is that typical for the entire film?
Jason Bateman: No. That is one of our spikes right there.
Jason Sudeikis: One of our R spikes?
Charlie Day: I think we were getting some filthier alternatives that we might end up using I think to serve a happy medium in that scene between where that actor was taken in and where it will probably wind up.
JB: He was giving the director options.
CD: A lot of options for the editing room, but who knows? Maybe it will get as raunchy as it can be?
Was it you that said the don’t resort to puns joke?
CD: Yes, it was me.
I was guessing it was you.
JB: After awhile you have to put your finger in the hole.
CD: Yeah. I don’t think it was on camera, though. So I don’t know if it will make the movie. I still had to say it.
Jason, you’ve got Kevin Spacey as your boss in this movie. He is sort of well known for sadistic characters and he played one of the great evil bosses in Swimming with Sharks. How scary does he get in this? How intimidating is he?
JB: We haven’t really done the scary stuff yet, but he is a very….you never really catch him acting. He is very intense about what he does. It is certainly perfect for this character. I am obviously looking forward to working with him. He is one of the best we got. I will be watching and learning, and also trying to say my lines.
CD: But his character does get pretty evil.
JB: He does.
CD: And he tortures you.
JB: Yeah. He actually commits a crime in this film. So he is definitely horrible.
Are any of you drawing from past work experiences as you approach the bosses in this film? Are there any horrible bosses that come to mind?
CD: Well, I’ve never been sexually harassed from a gorgeous dentist. So I can’t really draw from experience.
JB: You just haven’t met the right girl.
CD: I haven’t had the right boss I guess.
JS: You haven’t met the right dentist. Colin Farrell plays my boss and there is an element of knowing more than your boss that probably in righteous arrogance or youthful arrogance I might be drawing from. I feel that my character knows a little bit more than him.
JB: Well, he is the son of a boss and a coke addict. So the bar is the lowest of the low.
JS: Yeah. That is true, but there is nothing specific for me fortunately I guess.
We hear that Colin is really getting into the character. How is that going?
JS: He is all done. He is probably out of the character by now.
JB: He’s probably out of the hair piece by now.
JS: It’s a really funny look. He’s exorcizing a lot of demons from his past I imagine. I would guess but I don’t know. His character has a love for cocaine. He knew his way around that stuff. I would say that he was definitely into it. He was also good at going right back into his lovely Irish accent. I wish I could do that.
So what are your characters’ relationships like outside of their separate jobs?
JB: We are best friends and we sort of commiserate with one another about our tough situations. We may be brighter than our bosses, but we are not bright enough to avoid the main plot, which is to think that we can get away with killing our bosses. We kind of come up with that plan with the help of an equally non-bright guy named “Motherfucker Jones” played by Jamie Foxx. We go about trying to kill these three people and the script is constructed in a pretty hilarious, non conventional, kind of unpredictable way. Even though it stays pretty linear and it is a pretty easy watch – it never gets boring.
JS: When it is just the three of us though we have the tendency to become our own enemies a little bit. There is a lot of ganging up.
Are they old school friends?
CD: They are old school friends in the movie. It’s almost to the point where we are almost like a married couple.
JS: There is a lot of pairing up like two against one.
CD: We are certainly there for each other, but I think we wear on each other’s nerves through out the film as well.
Charlie, we know you best from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. How similar is this character to the character that we know from the show? The dress is similar it looks like.
CD: It’s not too different. You know, they shot down my hair piece idea.
JB: But they went with the fake beard, which looks great.
CD: The fake beard which looks much like my real beard and my beard on the show. He is similar in so far that he makes stupid mistakes like my character in Sunny. But he is different because this guy can read and write, doesn’t eat cat food, huff spray paint, and share a futon with his father. Charlie on the show would never get hit on like my character in this movie does. So I guess there is a little more sex appeal.
JS: Season 7
CD: Yeah. I’m bringing the sexy to this role. For me, I get to play more of a genuine nice person because I’m in love with my fiancé played by Lindsay Sloane. I want to make sure that I don’t do anything to sully our soon to be wedding. So I refuse to sleep with Jennifer Anniston. For me, there are a lot of things that are similar, which are fun in a comedic sense. Then there are some things that are a little more serious, which are fun just as an actor.
You guys are filming on the Genesis camera. We have been told that you can do 42 minutes at a time. Have you worked with a digital camera before? How does that change the way it is on set with performances, improv, and all that sort of stuff?
CD: What is great about the camera is that you can roll and roll and you don’t have to worry about circling takes. It frees us up to experiment and try other things.
JB: And shoot some stuff that will never be in the movie.
CD: [laughs] And shoot some stuff that will never be in the movie or some stuff that you and us as well will be surprised is in the movie.
JB: You keep a rhythm going, which is nice. You guys just saw that last run there where he just kept going and going. Usually, you would have a roll out in the middle of that, which is unfortunate. I imagine it is easier for them in post-production too.
JS: God, you would hope.
Which one of you throws out the funniest material that breaks up the others while doing improv off the cuff stuff material on set?
JB: It changes every day I think.
CD: Yeah. What is so great about this script is that there is an opportunity for every character to really run and steal some moments.
JS: But mostly me.
Have any of you ruined a take by laughing?
JB: I know I have.
CD: You got me yesterday.
JS: We’ve all laughed in some form.
JB: I think Jamie got all of us too. Jamie Foxx just killed it. He did a great, great job,
CD: I got Jamie one time, which I was very proud of.
JB: Yeah, because Jamie never cracked.
Can you talk a little bit more about Motherfucker Jones and what he is all about?
JB: He is a guy that we contact to help us out with murdering three people. We go down to a shady area looking for a shady person and he says that he can help us out. So, you know, we broker a deal and we take his advice.
JS: For better or worse.
JB: Yeah. Things predictably do not go so well.
Can you talk about how you actually got involved with this project? When you got sent the script, was it one of those things that while you were reading it you were going, “I am doing this.”?
CD: Jason and I did a movie with New Line last year called Going the Distance. So New Line contacted me and said, “We have this movie we are doing and this role.” I sat down and met [director] Seth [Gordon] and he had a lot of great funny ideas. So once I was done giving out hand jobs over at New Line [laughs] they let me in their movie. No, I’ve worked with Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. They were the guys who rewrote it and I knew them. I think I was the first one to sign on to star in the movie. I really enjoyed working with New Line last summer and I wanted to certainly wanted to stay in their comedy family I guess. I felt like a pig in shit or the luckiest guy in the world with the cast that followed. I had no idea who I was going to be teamed up with and I was a little worried about it. I was very excited when they came on and basically called Sudeikis and begged him to come on too. So that was my process.
What about the two of you?
JB: There weren’t a lot of questions from me. I loved it and wanted to be a part of it. It was just a question of trying to work out some dates and we were done. It was really simple.
JS: I took a little bit longer. I had just done a movie. I did another movie for New Line and I was doing SNL. So I took a couple of more weeks. Luckily, when it came time, everything was all cleared up schedule wise. They still wanted me and I did it then.
Is there anything kind of debate about which role you wanted because of which specific boss you wanted to be torturing you?
JB: The bosses came on after we did.
JS: Not me. The bosses were set by the time I came on. Everyone but Kevin. Kevin was last.
JB: Kevin was last. Yeah.
JS: But, no. I never thought about any of the other roles.
JB: Yeah. It really wasn’t the option.
JS: They just told you “Nick”, right? And they just told you “Dale”?
CD: I think so or when I read it I responded to Dale. I can’t remember, but I am happy with the one I got. [laughs]
Can you expand a little more on how horrible she is? It seems like Jennifer Anniston constantly hitting on you…
CD: Wouldn’t be so horrible?
It doesn’t seem to be the reason to hire an assassin.
CD: You would think, but she gets to the point of blackmail. For my character, and a lot of people have said to me…
JS: We say it in the movie.
CD: Yeah. Everyone says, “I can’t understand why you wouldn’t just sleep with her.”
JS: All of these happily married people questioning you. [laughs]
CD: I am a happily married man in real life and if she was asking me to sleep with her I wouldn’t sleep with her. It doesn’t seem like such an outrageous thing.
JS: You would kind of go for the threesome, right?
CD: Yeah. I would bring it up.
JB: She never puts that on the table, though.
CD: She hasn’t done that since Friends. For my character, yeah, it might be a little extreme having her killed. But her character really is giving me no option. It’s either sleep with her, or lose my job, or at the expense of my marriage. At a certain point, it starts to make sense for my character, who is not the brightest bulb, that maybe I just should rid the earth of this woman.
JB: Yeah. We somehow find a sort of safe harbor in the notion that we are all going to die one day so why not just a little bit earlier because it will be for the greater good?
CD: We also proceed by just saying, “Let’s just look into what would happen if we opened up the avenue to murdering someone.” Just by setting that ball in motion we get ourselves way in over our heads.
JB: Yeah. We are sort of checking out and trying out the idea for size, and the ball starts rolling a little bit faster than we could control.
[producer] Jay Stern compared it to killing Hitler as far as justification.
CD: I suppose so…but I am not going to touch Hitler. I feel like that is a sound bite waiting to happen. [laughs]
Do your characters have to bring all of the bosses to kill them at the same time or how is it going to be like?
JB: You’re going to have to buy a ticket for that.
Do the bosses ever interact with each other?
JS: They do indeed.
Two of the three of you were just at Comic Con a couple of days ago. Can you talk about your experience of going down there and then jumping right back into being on the set?
JB: It’s pretty simple. It’s just right down the street. I even slipped in a little Legoland in between. So it was easy. It was nice to go down there and that was an incredible thing to be a part of. I feel really lucky to be a part of that film that we were talking about down there. I literally, really, truthfully, and sincerely missed work here. So I was happy to be back here on Monday.
CD: Yeah. You know, I’m with him. It wasn’t too exhausting. Any one who says that thousands of people saying that they love you and wanting to take your picture is exhausting is seriously bitching. [laughs] I think Comic Con is just so much fun to go down there. We screened an episode of Sunny and it’s always really fun to watch the show with a live audience going crazy like that. It was just a whirlwind. We had our fun and came back. I was excited to get back and get to work because I’m really enjoying the process of making this movie and working with these guys. I assume they feel the same way.
Can you tell us what the worst thing that Charlie does in the upcoming season of Sunny?
CD: I marry Frank. It’s a little out there. Danny DeVito and I get married in an attempt to get some health benefits. But Obama changed all that, didn’t he? We wrote that too earlier.
JB: Did he?
CD: I don’t know.
Is there a possibility of teaming up and doing some guest spots on It’s Always Sunny?
CD: Well, Sudeikis is actually on the 6th season because we were friends from doing the movie. We wrote a great part for him and he came on and nailed. If I could ever pin this guy down I would love to get him on the show.
JB: We are getting close on the number. [laughs]
JS: Don’t do it. The bar is too high.
Jason, I’m sure you are tired of getting asked about it, but is there any news regarding the Arrested Development movie?
JB: I have no new news to report. I think [creator] Mitch [Hurwitz] last answer was that it is happening and he is working on it, but that it is going a bit slower than it would if there wasn’t the show with [Will] Arnett happening right now that he is doing. I think once he gets that going he says that he will go over and continue writing the feature script I think.
That is exciting.
JB: Yeah. I hope. I can’t wait.
Jason, when do you go back to New York? When do you start SNL again?
JS: Our first show is September 25th I think. We have to get back a couple of weeks before that usually to do commercial parodies and opening titles.
How long is this shoot?
JS: 50 days.
CD: We wrap production towards the end of September.
Are you going to be doing any 30 Rock guest spots this season?
JS: I don’t know. I usually find out about a week ahead of time.
Do you just go upstairs or downstairs?
JS: Yeah. Wherever they are filming. I just go there, put on a tie, and comb my hair. [laughs]
Do you have any new dance moves for the What Up With That? sketch?
JS: No. But last night I saw a commercial for Step Up 3D and I was like, “I can go there and write that off.” It looks pretty awesome. Maybe I can pick up some stuff. I watched a Soul Train special on Vh1. There are a lot of moves there that I forgot all about. So I’ve been researching.
CD: And your moves are exceptional, man. They are exceptional.
JS: That is very nice.
Here’s more coverage of Horrible Bosses: