Paul Rudd Interview I LOVE YOU, MAN

     March 19, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

Over the past few months I’ve written extensively about “I Love You, Man”. I’ve repeatedly said how much I loved the film and how it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s also one of those rare movies that you can see with your guy friends or on a date and have a good time either way. Trust me, this is a great film and one worth your hard earned money.

Anyway, last week I was in New York City for some press junkets and I got to participate in a roundtable interview with Paul Rudd.

In the film, Paul plays someone who has just gotten engaged. But while his fiance (played by Rashida Jones) has plenty of girlfriends, Paul has almost no friends and he definitely doesn’t have a best man.He then sets out to rectify the situation by going out on “man-dates”. Enter Jason Segel’s character of Sydney Fife. After an awkward beginning, they begin to get to know one another and it leads to a bro-mance. But does this new friendship jeopardize everything else in his life….

During our interview Paul talked about the making of the film, working with the band Rush, and a lot more. If you’re a fan of Paul’s you’ll definitely enjoy the interview.

Again, I can’t recommend “I Love You, Man” enough. Go check it out. Finally, here’s a bunch of clips in case you want to see some footage and here’s Matt’s review.

Question: Paul, when are you going to be on the cover of ‘Heeb’?

Rudd: I was on the cover of ‘Heeb’ and my family has never been happier. Honestly, I thought that it was going to be for this one. But apparently it’s Andy Samburg on the cover of ‘Heeb’. How about that? Who’s a lonely island now?

Question: Can you talk a little about getting the Rush vibe and what that scene was about?

Rudd: Rush scared me when I was a little kid. I saw the ‘Tom Sawyer’ video and I thought that it was scary as hell. Geddy Lee can be a really intense figure to a six year old, but then I kind of got into some of their songs and was excited to meet them. I was really nervous actually. And a fifteen minute drum solo is scary as hell. They’re reclusive and there’s a mystery about Rush and they just couldn’t have been nicer and funnier and really, really cool. Do you like Rush?

Question: Not really.

Rudd: Yeah. I know John [Hamburg] wanted Rush. It seemed like that was the kind of band that two guys like me and Jason [Segal] would’ve bonded over and they do seem to have a primarily male fan base. When they were shooting I was so hypersensitive that they would have a good time and that they wouldn’t get bored or feel as if we were mocking them in any way because that’s the farthest thing from what we were doing. We weren’t doing that at all. But in the scene we’re dancing around like crazy and Rashida [Jones] is acting bored. So I was telling Geddy Lee, ‘Look, this is part of the story. We’re going to be dancing around and she’s just going to be standing around like she’s not really that into it.’ And Geddy Lee said, ‘Oh, so you mean it’ll be like every one of our concerts.’ I was like, ‘Alright, Geddy.’

Question: For ‘Vanity Fair’ why didn’t you go full monty for the cover?

Rudd: The should call it ‘Vanity Hair’ judged by how far down my shirt goes. I could’ve constructed that joke better. I have to rewind it.

Question: Is that the first time you’ve told that joke?

Rudd: It was. It was the first time. You see what I’m saying. I did draw the long straw on that photo shoot, didn’t I? I got the tuxedo.

Question: Jason said that he was hairless, that he was like a smooth baby.

Rudd: Ew. You know what, he might want to rethink the way he said that. I’m not touching that. That came out wrong, too.

Question: How much improvisation was there on set?

Rudd: We would do little things here and there, but the script was really solid.

Question: Jason said that a lot of your awkwardness was improvised.

Rudd: I think that probably all of us will agree with that.

Question: This film is like a love letter to Los Angeles. Did you add any of that?

Rudd: Well, that’s really John. I know that he wanted to set it in Los Angeles. There was a very specific reason for doing so, and I’ve heard him talk about that in answers that he’s given to that in terms of how isolated you can feel in Los Angeles. You’re in your car and everybody is separate and also when you meet people in Los Angeles everyone kind of has a shield up anyway, this feeling of, like, ‘What can you do for me?’ I know he always found that to be somewhat of a tough place to make friends.

Question: You did ‘Knocked Up’ with Jason Segal, too. I’m not sure that you did a lot of work together in that. So was this the first time you got to work a lot together? Jason said that on ‘Sarah Marshall’ you guys would collide at the pool bar at the end of the day.

Rudd: Collide being the operative term, depending on how many Mai Thais we had. I think that on ‘Knocked Up’ we had a little bit of that and some of that isn’t in the movie. But I do remember having a scene that we did where he was standing at the door. In the movie he’s Deb’s husband and I say, ‘Yeah –’ and then he just shuts the door in my face. We did start doing riffs here and there. I remember he was in the track suit and I congratulated him on winning the World Cup and he said something about my jeans. So we did a lot of that kind of stuff and none of it particularly funny or else it would’ve been in the movie. But that was the first time that I think we sensed that we could play off of each other.

Question: Do you have plans to work together again? Jason said you guys were going to do ‘Paul and Jason Meet Frankenstein’ like an old school comedy team.

Rudd: [laughs] I haven’t read it yet. It’s been really cool in the last few years to kind of in a way get into this group that’s existed for a long time with Judd [Apatow] and the ‘Freaks and Geeks’ guys and getting to feel like a part of this collective a little bit. We worked together on several things. I hope that it continues because it’s really fun.

Question: Well, he talked about your role in ‘Sarah Marshall’ as being a favor to him because you’re really a leading man.

Rudd: Well, I was really excited to work with him. I loved that character. I also loved, and it wasn’t even that it was going to be a stoner type guy or anything, but the idea that if you ever go to resorts or Hawaii and you meet people there, there are always that kind who were from the mainland and then they came to Hawaii and then just stayed that all you really need is the pure joy in life, the sand and the surf. You meet them and there’s something Zen like about them and you think they’ve got it figured out, but if you hangout for a little while longer and really talk to some of these people, often times they’re running from something and they’re depressing. The idea of that type of character minus all the jokes and everything was a really fun and interesting character and the kind of thing that could actually be a dramatic thing. Lets not talk about this anymore. I feel uncomfortable.

Question: This is like the quintessential Bro-mance. Can you talk about that and can we officially retire that term?

Rudd: You know what, it seems like Bro-mance just came out a couple of month ago. When we were working on the film none of us had either heard of it, but it is totally annoying. That just happens. Oh, wait, I heard earlier today man-panions. I thought that was pretty good.

Question: In real life, Paul, you’re married. Can you talk about how easy or hard it was to pick a best man?

Rudd: Well, I didn’t have a best man at my wedding. My wedding was really small and there was no wedding party or anything like that. No brides maids or things like that.

Question: Were there any scenes in this that ended up on the cutting room floor that you wished were in the movie and might be on the DVD?

Rudd: As far as things on DVD, I mean I know there are some things that’ll be on the DVD. There was a lot of stuff that seemed funny at the time. The chair farting, I made a move while we were getting to know each other in the film in the chair, you know how that happens –

Question: It makes fart sounds in the rubber.

Rudd: So we kept doing that, shifting so that it sounded like that. It was some really sophisticated humor. There’s just stuff like that. It’s really a trick about finding the right tone and that’s left to John and the editor really. There were a lot of funny sequences that were either cut for time or they just seemed to broad maybe. We all wanted the movie to be realistic and not so over the top.

Question: When you started out you were kind of the straight man and you still kind of go in and out of that now, being funny and being the straight man. Which role are you more comfortable in?

Rudd: I don’t differentiate too much. I like reacting to things. I often don’t think really so much in terms of drama or comedy and straight man or – I don’t know what to call it – not straight man, funny guy. I don’t know. That also came out wrong. Not straight man.

Question: Favorite superhero?

Rudd: Not Straight Man [laughs]. Often times my favorite element of anything dramatic is the humor that’s brought to it. That’s how I’ve dealt with anything dramatic in my life, any kind of trauma. I don’t think that I’m necessarily really funny enough or good enough to be like the super crazy funny guy. I think I’m probably more of maybe the setup guy. But I also think that you can find a lot of humor in the setup stuff. I don’t have any preference to anything. That sounded really sincere.

Question: Out of all the characters that you’ve played on film which one parallels your real life and person?

Rudd: I feel pretty connected actually to the character in ‘I Love You, Man’. I mean, there are aspects of some of the more cynical characters I’ve played like in ‘Role Models’ that I put a lot of myself into. But I think that those two energies can coexist. But I tend to think of myself as more of an optimist and kind of the glass being half full type person in the way that Peter, the character that I’m playing in this movie, is.

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