Jay Roach may not be the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of sharp political satire, but with his recent Emmy Award winning drama Recount he has proven that he is both funny, and politically adroit.
Now, he is preparing to shoot a political comedy starring Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell for release just in time for the 2012 election cycle. At a dinner to promote the upcoming DVD release of Dinner for Schmucks, Roach gave us the lowdown on the new film as well as tidbits about his aborted take on Used Guys and the possible future of Austin Powers 4. Hit the jump for the details.
I was lucky enough to be seated directly next to Roach during dinner. Over the course of the evening we talked about everything from fake testicles for neutered bulldogs to the differences between German collectivism and American individualism.
The concept of Narcissistic Personality Disorder seems to weigh heavily on Roach’s mind and play into this new film with Ferrell’s character playing a narcissist driven by his own confidence while Galifianakis will play “something else,” which in context seemed to allude to a sort of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington vibe.
This news does not come as a surprise frankly, as Ferrell has spent his entire career playing pompous boobs, but at the same time, given the depth of specific political analysis that Roach casually threw off, it seems as though the film might reach a little deeper into the cultural zeitgeist. That said, Roach was also quick to mention that the film will not be a polemic or based around any of the specifics of modern politics. There is no specific axe to grind in this film which Roach twice referred to, with emphasis, as, “Broad. Very Broad.”
Collider: So, is it difficult to craft a satire about a political campaign that hasn’t even happened yet?
JAY ROACH: Well, we’re not, and “satire” is such a big word, we’re not really doing that. It’s a more of a movie about smear campaigns. Zach and Will both came from the south and they really like playing southern characters, so they developed this with Adam McKay, but he was busy doing something else. It’s really just a comedy about an escalating smear campaign that destroys everyone involved.
Later in the evening, Roach described his concept for Used Guys, telling journalists and cast members from Schmucks about his detailed science-fiction musings, many of which were obviously influenced by his years of friendship with the late, great, Douglas Adams.
The film, which was a go at Fox in the mid-2000s until budgetary concerns and the under-performance of the similarly themed Idiocracy killed it, detailed a world in which men have become extinct because of a combination of war and power drinks that give energy, hair growth, muscle growth, and terminal cancer. With men out of the picture, women take over and develop a way to reproduce without Y-chromosomes. Clones of certain types of men remain as pleasure slaves. Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller were to play outdated pleasure clones trying to evade a recall.
Roach’s eyes lit up as he described elements of the film like ovary shaped cars that would be safe to drive and automatically apologize if there were any type of collision. Also, his draft included a sort of fire alarm system for women that featured a non-lethal water gun to use if any of the pleasure clones began to act up.
“I wanted to call the film When Women Rule the World,” said Roach as he described a sequence where young girls were taken through a museum that showed them all of the stupid things humanity did when men were in charge. The exhibit ended with a display of childbirth, a totally foreign concept to women in this world.
Roach also said that he is still talking to Stiller about making the film. And while many directors will casually comment that they would be interested in making pretty much any film, ‘if the script is good,” Roach went a step further, calling it “The best unproduced comedy screenplay in Hollywood,” And adding that he would absolutely love to direct it if he were ever given the chance.
Finally, Roach squashed rumors that Little Miss Sunshine directing duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris were still working on the project. “I think they got bored of waiting for Fox to step up.”
Roach also briefly mentioned the status of Austin Powers 4, echoing earlier sentiments that he would like to do a film entirely about Dr. Evil and Scott Evil. However, though he has spoken to Meyers about it, it does not seem as though there is any immediate movement on the film.