Opening Christmas Day is director Peter Segal’s (Get Smart) boxing comedy Grudge Match. Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone play two Pittsburgh fighters whose rivalry ended abruptly in 1983. Thirty years later, a boxing promoter (Kevin Hart) convinces them to get back in the ring for one last fight that turns into a “must-see HBO event.” Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, and Jon Bernthal also star. Watch the trailer here.
A few days ago, I landed an extended video interview with Segal here in Los Angeles. He talked about why it’s taken him so long to direct another movie, how Grudge Match came together, the process of casting Stallone and De Niro, what it was like to direct them, how the test screenings affected characters and storylines, deleted scenes, what will be on the Blu-ray, and more. In addition, Segal also talked about what happened with the Get Smart sequel, Shazam, Vin Diesel’s The Machine, Bleach, Harvey, and how he almost directed a different version of Neighborhood Watch with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. Hit the jump to watch.
Collider: I’d always heard that Steve Carell wrote a script for Get Smart 2. How close did that get to being made?
Peter Segal: It was very close. It was a very funny script. I think Get Smart was Alan Horn’s baby, when he was the head of the studio. When Alan left, I think the life of Get Smart the series left with him. It’s too bad that Disney can’t purchase the rights to that because I adore Alan, but maybe that will see the light of day. Who knows? Anchorman 2 got made nine years after the original. There was a version of that script ready to go.
Another project I was really curious about was Shazam…
Segal: Well, Shazam has always been dogged by Superman. Going back to the 1930s, Shazam was the most popular comic on the planet. Because Captain Marvel had certain powers that were similar to Superman’s, DC Comics enjoined them, they sued them, and they squashed Shazam. Years later, DC bought Shazam. And so, now, the same company that owns Superman owns Shazam. After Bryan Singer’s Superman was successful but maybe not as much as people might have hoped, we thought, “Oh, now there’s a chance that Shazam will see the light of day.” That’s when there was a blip on the radar a few years ago for our movie, but now that Superman is back and he’s battling Batman, he may have to hide in the Rock of Eternity a little longer.
- 0:25 – Talks about the time since his last film and what he’s been doing, plus the changing worlds of movie and television production.
- 2:00 – Comments on the uptick in quality of television programming, the success of online media and binge watching.
- 3:20 – Gives some background on the movie, how he decided to get on board and the process of casting Stallone and De Niro.
- 5:15 – Reveals more about the personal relationships with Stallone and De Niro, and the path to get them involved.
- 7:20 – Talks about directing Stallone and De Niro.
- 9:30 – Comments on his initial assembly cut.
- 10:15 – Reveals what he learned on the first test screening.
- 10:50 – Talks about the cuts he made and how that affected characters and storylines.
- 12:00 – Reveals he’ll be including a lot of funny deleted scenes on the Blu-ray and using extra takes for marketing purposes.
- 13:05 – Says there’s about 15 to 20 minutes of deleted scenes.
- 13:35 – Comments on the Get Smart sequel script and why the movie didn’t get off the ground.
- 14:05 – Also comments on his Shazam project, the comparison with Superman, and the legal issues surrounding the character.
- 15:15 – Talks about the Vin Diesel property, The Machine.
- 15:55 – Reveals what other projects he almost did, including a different version of Neighborhood Watch with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.
- 17:00 – Also comments briefly on Bleach and Harvey.