In the hilarious new comedy Wanderlust, over-extended and over-stressed Manhattanites George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) leave their over-priced micro-loft in the West Village and stumble upon Elysium, an idyllic community populated by very colorful, sexually adventurous characters. While the couple embraces a refreshingly different way of looking at things, they begin to question how they should live the rest of their lives.
During a press conference at the film’s press day, co-stars Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston talked about how much fun they had teaming up again (having first worked together on The Object of My Affection), what they enjoyed about working with director David Wain, how nice it was to shoot somewhere that they could disappear without the ever-present paparazzi, how much they enjoyed getting to improvise on set, and how long they think they would last, if they ended up in a place like Elysium. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
Question: Paul, you’ve been in all of David Wain’s films. What keeps that relationship with him going?
PAUL RUDD: I’m a huge David Wain fan. He’s one of my best friends now, but he just makes me laugh continually, much to the annoyance of his wife. She’s like, “Don’t encourage him,” when we have dinner, and stuff. I just think he’s got a very specific sensibility that is unlike anybody I’ve ever met. I happen to think that he’s a really talented filmmaker.
Jennifer, since this was your first time working with David Wain, what was the experience like?
JENNIFER ANISTON: I was welcomed in with open arms, and I had just the time of my life.
How was it for the both of you to team up again, in a movie?
ANISTON: It was heaven! We were so happy. It felt like no time had passed. We’ve also seen each other, throughout the years, so it was just that excitement of, “Oh, this is going to be so fun and comfortable,” especially playing a married couple and having that ease and familiarity. It was just fun.
RUDD: We knew that there were certain things that we wouldn’t have to try to create, just because we have the benefit of knowing each other for as long as we have. There was also something really cool about really feeling the time. The first movie that we ever really worked together on was The Object of My Affection, and Alan Alda was in that as well. Now, the three of us are hanging out, years later, and playing very different parts. Being able to be nostalgic was really cool.
The couple in this movie wants to get away from their busy New York lifestyle, and they end up in a place that’s completely different. As celebrities, have you ever wished you could go someplace and disappear, and not have to deal with the paparazzi?
ANISTON: Every day, yes. For me, going to Clarksville and shooting this movie was a version of that because there was no paparazzi and there were no secret, tricky little cell-phone pictures being taken. It was just this great community and these amazing people. I really realized how much I had walled myself in, not consciously so, but just with this protective armor that I have. It’s not for my friends or people in my family, but just being outside in the world, I’m always on guard. So, there was just this sigh of relief, after week one, that was like riding on a horse, out of the bubble. It was really special to get back in touch with that part of myself and that anonymity. I really made a conscious effort to remind myself, “Don’t wall up like that.” I think that you miss out on a lot of stuff when you’re so protected and isolated.
ANISTON: I honestly don’t think I would.
RUDD: It depends on what version it is. There’s something great about the idea of working the land and living communally. That’s healthy. That’s good. But, the version in the movie would get old pretty fast.
Were there any takes where you just couldn’t believe how long they were letting you go?
RUDD: Just about every single one in the movie, I’d say.
ANISTON: David [Wain] would do it, just for his own laugh. You’d hear him laughing. We would just be going on and on and on, and then finally he’d yell, “Cut!,” while he was laughing, and we knew we were just giving David a kick.
RUDD: I like it. I’m not a fan of just doing the scene, cutting, setting up again, and doing the scene again. It’s nice when you can keep going and find a rhythm and groove. Something can happen, particularly if you’re improvising. So, it’s great when you have a director that wants to work like that. For me, I like it.
ANISTON: That’s where you find the magic. The fun stuff comes when someone is not so strict on sticking to the script. You’re allowed the spontaneity, and great moments can happen.
Paul, did you ever surprise yourself, in the bathroom scene when you’re talking into the mirror?
RUDD: That was just gross. That was our first day of shooting. That was the second scene that we shot, and it did go on a long time.
ANISTON: He set the tone. He had that and the scene sitting on the toilet with Jordan [Peele] and Kerri [Kenney]. It only went uphill from there.
RUDD: The toilet scene was the first scene, and the mirror was the second scene. I remember vividly seeing the many faces of the crew with an expression of, “What the fuck am I working on?” They were legitimately concerned and like, “This is not what I read. This is weird.” But, they went with it.
ANISTON: They had the best time. We had the best time with our crew.
As actors, does all of the extra stuff you shoot make seeing the finished product more of a surprise?
ANISTON: Oh, God, yeah! We haven’t seen the “Bizarro Cut,” but going to the premiere last night, I did not know what to expect. There have been so many incarnations of it. It was so fun, seeing it and experiencing shock and awe.
RUDD: David would probably like to make the “Bizarro Cut” the regular movie.
Paul, given your history with David, did you go into the movie knowing that you would have that freedom?
RUDD: Yeah, we’ve worked together enough that we’re like, “Let’s try this and this.” We can share a brain a little bit. But, that style is actually more Judd Apatow than David. The first time I worked with David was on Wet Hot American Summer and a lot of people have said, “God, you guys must’ve improvised a ton,” but actually, we really didn’t. Most of that was written. David’s history, and the way that he’s always worked, has actually been to write a pretty tight script. Judd writes a script and it’s tight and it focuses on jokes, but he loves to just keep the cameras going and see what happens, and yell out directions while we’re filming. He shapes it and directs it as it’s going on, and conducts it like an orchestra. I have noticed with David, and with other directors that I’ve worked with more than once, that that way of working seems to be becoming a little more mainstream. So, I would say that is actually more of a Judd influence than anything else.
RUDD: There’s pressure, every single time, of not sucking. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I’m screwed.
One of the themes in the movie is free love. Do either of you think that works in a relationship?
ANISTON: No. I think that, for some people, it’s possible, but to each his own. I just think that, eventually, it’s going to start to not feel good.
RUDD: Emotions can get in the way, and it gets muddy.
Jennifer, you have a scene in the film where you take your shirt off. How comfortable are you with that kind of thing? Was that liberating?
ANISTON: It kind of was. There was a little bit of nerves, but adrenaline takes you through it. And then, you have the girls come in and cover you up, immediately. But, I got very comfortable with seeing nude people, pretty much immediately. It was very bizarre, to know that these were actually nudists, because there’s a nudist colony in Clarksville, and how comfortable they are being nude. Then, there would be the ones that you could tell were not the authentic nudists because they were groomed. You could spot the fakes. But, shockingly, it was bizarre how at ease we became with having a bunch of naked people everywhere.
RUDD: You do have to focus on keeping eye contact, so that you don’t look to pervy and weird. It’s a weird thing when not everyone is naked.
ANISTON: Right, but that’s where sunglasses come in.
ANISTON: Well, there was the period where I wanted to be a therapist, if the acting thing didn’t work. That was pretty much it. I don’t know why. I was just always the girl that people would come and talk to about their problems, and I still am. But, I also had a good feeling about acting. I think I was innocently ignorant. I was waitressing, and doing this, that and the other thing. I would audition, and couldn’t get hired to save my life, so I would do Off-Off-Broadway theater. That was great. I was excited and thrilled. I was like, “Well, it’s Off-Off-Broadway, but there’s still the Broadway in there.”
Paul, was the Spin Doctor’s song, “Two Princes,” always going to be the song you sang in the film, or did you think about or try any others before deciding on that one?
RUDD: It was just so fun to sit around and think about what the song could be. I put more time into that than anything else. I do think it reveals a lot about the character, but it’s just super-fun when you go, “Oh, yeah, that would be a good one. It’s be really funny to play.” The one that we almost did, and David and I spent hours laughing about, was the song “Tough Enough,” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. But, who would learn that song on an acoustic guitar, and then try to play that? It was almost that, but I didn’t know how to beat the Spin Doctors.
Jennifer, how do you feel about getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
ANISTON: Well, I’m extremely flattered, humbled, nervous and excited, all at the same time. It feels very surreal, to be honest. I was born here, and that’s something that you went and saw as a kid. You were excited about just walking around and seeing the names. To imagine that you’re going to be there is really special. It’s fun.