Michelle Monaghan and Bobby Farrelly Interview – THE HEARTBREAK KID

     October 3, 2007

Opening this Friday is the new Ben Stiller/Farrelly Brothers comedy “The Heartbreak Kid.” So to help promote the movie I got to participate in roundtable interviews with some of the cast.

Of course by now all of you have seen at least one of the classic Farrelly Brothers comedies like “There’s Something About Mary,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “Kingpin,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” “Shallow Hal,” “Stuck On You” and “Fever Pitch.”

Anyway, this new one is the first one that Ben Stiller has done since “There’s Something About Mary,” but unlike that one which had one female lead, this new one has Malin Akerman as his new wife and Michelle Monaghan as the woman he falls for on his honeymoon.

So while most of us thought the Farrelly’s would be paired together for the roundtable interviews, for some reason each was put with one of the female leads… and this interview is with Michelle Monaghan and Bobby Farrelly. During the interview they talk about road trips, being cut out of movies, Danny McBride, has Ben changed in the 10 years since “Mary” and a lot more. It’s a very good interview and one you might want to listen to…

As always you can either read the transcript below or download the audio as an MP3 by clicking here. And since I know some of you are fans of Carlos Mencia, you can click here for his audiointerview and you can click herefor the audio of the interview with Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry and Danny Mcbride.

Finally…if you missed the movie clips you can watch them here. “The Heartbreak Kid” opens this Friday at theaters everywhere.

Question: You have press junkets for ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ during the same weekend. What’s your day been like?

Michelle Monaghan: I haven’t been doing too much for ‘Gone Baby Gone.’ I’ve been concentrating on ‘The Heartbreak Kid.’ Actually, that title could work for ‘Gone Baby Gone’ as well. That’s interesting. We scheduled this first. I’ve been doing a little bit of press, here and there, but the junkets were the same day, so I haven’t been able to do [much press for ‘Gone Baby Gone’].

Q: Those Afflecks are going to kill you.

Michelle: [Laughs] Exactly. I didn’t know which brothers to go with (the Farrellys or the Afflecks). I like to be with you (she says to Bobby Farrelly). What can I say? [Laughs]

Q: Which is easier for you to play, a comedic role like this, or a dramatic role like that?

Michelle: It’s really challenging to play comedy. I had never really done comedy before, so I was totally game. If you’re an actress in Hollywood and you want to do a comedy, who better to do it with than the Farrellys. But, I’ve got to tell you, you can’t really prepare to be funny. With drama, you can really develop your character over a course of time, and you know what you want to achieve when you’re making the film. But, on the day, you’ve just got to hope you’re going to be funny, and just be prepared to go for it and really push the envelope and improv, or do whatever it takes. So, that was a definite challenge for me. It was good I had Ben [Stiller] to lead the direction ‘cause, as you all know, he goes for it. It was fun. It was a fun bunch. It was a great atmosphere to work in. They create an atmosphere where you’re expected to embarrass yourself. You can try anything, and that’s a great gift when you’re doing a comedy.

Q: So much of the film is about misunderstandings. Were there ever takes where you thought you had said a little too much?

Bobby Farrelly: I don’t think so much in the takes, but we did spend a lot of time in the writing, thinking that whole part where she (Michelle) thinks that his wife was murdered, and Ben thinks that she knows about his wife and she’s cool with it. That’s a critical moment because, if it doesn’t work and the audience isn’t understanding what each one’s thinking, then the whole movie collapses. It was dangerous for us, filming it. I kept thinking, “Geez, I hope this works ‘cause we’re in big trouble if it doesn’t.” But, they really sold it. To look at you (Michelle) during that scene, you clearly were thinking that this is a guy who is down here grieving, and he was playing it like, “I can’t believe it! She knows I’m married and it doesn’t even bother her!” I think it was the writing, and then the editing. We had to make sure that that was water tight.

Q: How likable is Ben Stiller’s character then?

Bobby: In most of our movies, we spend a lot of time trying to set up a guy that you do like enough that all these crazy things can happen to him and you like him, as they happen. And, we did do that in this movie, but as the story unfolds in this, more than any of our other movies, he is a bit of a cad. He’s a bit of an anti-hero. What he’s doing is not necessarily right, and that’s why there is no real traditional happy ending to this movie. He didn’t really deserve one. He is the Heartbreak Kid. But, hopefully, you like him enough that you can understand him and you understand that he falls for Miranda. He does mean to tell the wife, but a lot of things get in the way of that. He means well, but he’s still walking on thin ice.

Q: How has Ben changed in 10 years?

Bobby: He’s a little grayer, but it works. He’s been so successful, for the last 10 years, non-stop. He just keeps going and going. And, he’s been involved with so many movies that have really been good movies. I just think he’s more vocal about what his opinions are, and things like that. Early on, when we were making ‘There’s Something About Mary,’ if he had opinions, I think he kept them to himself. But, now, he thinks about what everyone else is doing, and he comes over and tells us his opinions. With him, it’s good because he’s so smart that he’s almost always right about the things he points out. It’s not like he’s just being difficult for the director, or something. He really is extraordinarily helpful in making it better and better, so it’s much more collaborative.

Q: Is it easier, making an R-rated movie now than it was back then?

Bobby: I don’t think it’s easier. The beauty about when we made ‘Mary’ was that people didn’t see it coming. They really didn’t expect it. And so, the type of comedy was really explosive and really worked. And then, after that movie, once it was a big hit, there was a bunch of those kind of movies, and so, it become more expected. It’s not that making them is easier, but getting them to a point where the audience is like, “Wow, this is unbelievable! There’s something really fresh about this!,” is harder than before because there’s been so many of them.

Q: What made you think of Michelle for this part?

BF: We read Michelle for Lila. Michelle had a fair amount of buzz going on, in town. We had seen her in ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.’ We read her for the Lila role, but as soon as we saw her in that, we thought, “She is good, but I think she’s going to be even better for the girl that is really cool and grounded and fun.”

Q: Michelle, how did you feel about that?

Michelle: Oh, I just said, “Just hire me for one of the roles.” I just so desperately wanted to be in the movie.

BF: You wanted to play [Carlos] Mencia’s role. [Laughs]

Michelle: I wanted to play the role of the donkey for awhile. [Laughs] I was prepared to do anything. And, it was well cast. It ended up being perfectly the way it should have been.

Bobby: I hate to compare the movie to other movies, ‘cause I love all our movies, but I don’t think we ever got the total caliber as acting here, as a whole troup, before. Everyone in it is the best we’ve ever had. We’re no better, as directors, than we were when we started, so I think it was just better casting.

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Q: Michelle, was there anything in the film that was too outrageous for your taste?

Michelle: No. Certainly not in this movie. It’s one of those things where you have to look at a script and say, “Yes, I’ll go here with them.” I’m not too modest of a person. I’ve got a pretty blue sense of humor. So, I’m pretty much game for anything. I couldn’t think of something, off the top of my head, that’s really offensive to me. As far as comedy, you can pretty much go anywhere.

Q: Can you talk about working with Danny McBride?

Michelle: I love Danny McBride so much. Danny McBride is just about the best guy ever. He is so funny and clever and quick. That character that he portrayed is just really . . . He’s just always some character. He’s so funny. But, I think my favorite line that he has in the movie is, “What are you smoking, the devil’s lettuce?” And, he just came out with that, and we were like, “Oh, shit! [Laughs] The devil’s lettuce? I’m so going to have to use that!” [Laughs]

Bobby: McBride made good choices. As written, he’s just the guy who’s like, “I don’t know about that guy.” And, we’ve seen it in other movies. He’s suspicious of someone who’s dating the sister or the cousin, or something, and there’s a lot of ways to do that.

Michelle: He really made it into something special.

Bobby: He did it in such a way that it was really unique. His take on it was unusual, and I loved it.

Q: Michelle, can you talk about how it feels to have been cut out of a couple films? Does that breed a paranoia?

Michelle: I have been cut out of the films and, at that particular point in my career, I was like, “But, am I still getting the paycheck?” [Laughs] They were like, “Yeah, but you’re not going to be in the film,” and I was like, “Alright, I can deal with that.” I did ‘North Country’ after I had been cut out of ‘Constantine’ and ‘Syriana,’ and I had a few scenes cut out of a film called ‘Unfaithful,’ and I remember thinking, “Okay, I don’t think they can cut me out of here. I’m integral to the script. If they take me out of here, then that doesn’t make sense, that doesn’t add up.” It was so funny. Both of those directors were real gentlemen, and they called me up personally and said, “We’re so sorry. We have to take you out.” And, Francis Lawrence was really dear and he put those scenes on the DVD, so that meant a lot to me. But, the paycheck meant a hell of a lot more. [Laughs]

Q: Bobby, except for ‘Fever Pitch,’ every one of your movies has featured some kind of road trip. Why is that material that you return to?

Bobby: My brother and I were road trip guys. We used to love to [go on road trips], and we still do. When we get a little bit of writer’s block, we’ll get in the car and drive from one end of the country to the other. We’ll drive from here back to Massachusetts because, when you’re stuck in a car, you have nothing to do, so you get creative. It always helps us get through to the next level. So, we enjoy road trips. It’s good for this story because it will let you know, right away. If you think you’re about to get married, get in a car and take a road trip with [the person]. You find out an awful lot. It’s hard to be in a car with someone for three or four days. Little tiny things will start to get on your nerves. It’s kind of a microcosm of marriage.

Q: Michelle, have you ever gone on a road trip with your husband?

Michelle: Yes. And, we’re still married. [Laughs]

Q: Can you guys talk about what you have coming up?

Bobby: I believe my brother and I are going to make ‘The Three Stooges,’ at some point. We’re going to try to reinvent them. We also have a project over at Fox, called ‘Hall Pass,’ about a couple of married guys whose wives give them a week off from the marriage to sew their oats. We’ve got a couple projects like that, but I’m not exactly sure. We’re always writing and trying to work on new stuff. We’ll come up with something.

Q: Do you think you’ll be able to tackle a project before this “strike” happens?

Bobby: I’d hate to think that I would jump into a project, just for that reason. We would only make a movie if we felt like we had a script where we wanted it to be and, right now, we don’t. But, maybe we will by the time the strike happens. I don’t know.

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