Jason Segel and Paul Rudd Jam and Chat in Chicago with Capone!!!
Hey all. Capone in Austin, Texas here. So what could be better than interviewing Paul Rudd or Jason Segel? How about interviewing them together? Upon actually listening to the recording, this might either be the best or the worst interview I've ever done. Once these two get going, it's impossible to reign them in, and there were time where I literally felt like I'd lost control of the interview. That said, I was laughing so heard at what they were saying that I didn't really care at the time. I hope some the fun come through in the transcription.
Let me set the stage for you, if I may. This interview took place just before Jason, Paul and I LOVE YOU, MAN director John Hamburg hit the stage in Chicago at the Vic Theatre/Brew & View after a screening of the film before 400-plus readers who were literally laughing until they cried. The setting for the interview were in the dressing rooms below the stage, usually reserved for rock bands. Paul's flight was late, so I got to chat with Jason for a while while we were waiting for Paul's car to arrive. Jason really wanted to go upstairs and listen to the crowd's reaction, which we did. Just watching him light up as the crowd exploded into laughing fits made the evening worth while. He's clearly so proud of the film and his work in it that getting that immediate feedback is clearly necessary to him. Paul arrived and we headed back down to the dressing rooms where the two caught up. This evening marked something of a reunion for the two, who had been traveling and promoting I LOVE YOU, MAN separately until that fateful, legendary evening in Chicago.
Paul and Jason took separate paths through the works of Judd Apatow to get to this point (although I LOVE YOU, MAN is not an Apatow production). Segel first came to our attention as the stoner drummer Nick in "Freaks and Geeks," while Rudd was already an established actor by the time he started down his comedy path in films like ANCHORMAN and THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN. The two first worked together in KNOCKED UP, in which they were rivals of a sort for the affections of Leslie Mann. In last year's FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, Paul pops in as a clearly brain-damaged surfing instructor to Segel's lovesick, heartbroken musician pining after a famous TV actress. But seeing them share the screen so equally is something to behold. The only thing greater was seeing them on stage together taking questions from their adoring admirers.
Segel told me he learned in high school that his naked body was funny to other people (I'm guessing he's talking primarily about women), and is quick to share the story about a beautiful woman who came up to him in a bar after SARAH MARSHALL was released and whispered in his ear, "You have a beautiful dick." His only response was "Really?", to which she blurted out "No!" as she ran off giggling to a table full of girlfriends who had dared her to say what she said to Segel.
We all know Paul's history--from HALLOWEEN 666 to CLUELESS to ROMEO & JULIET to WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER to THE SHAPE OF THINGS to "Friends" to ANCHORMAN and so on. Strangely enough, last year's ROLE MODELS was really his first name-above-the-title hit. But it seems to have opened the door to so many cool things, which we get into a little bit during our talk. To get these two together when the recorders are put away is to hear a succession of perfectly told stories (complete with impersonations and funny voices) of awkward celebrity meeting. Paul relays strange run in with Bruce Springsteen, Bono, and others, while Jason loves to tell his story about meeting Brad Pitt and completely wasting the opportunity. But if you ever get the chance and Segel has the time, get him to tell you about meeting Mickey Rourke around awards season. Thats' a story that needs to be gently placed in the Congressional Archives.
I think that about takes care of the preamble. One last thing, usually I note when laughing is a part of the conversation, but with this interview, that seemed pointless, just assume that most of this conversation is bathed in laughter. Enjoy that stars of the funniest movie of the year so far, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel…
Capone: I think last year at SXSW, I missed you [Jason] by about six hours because I had to leave town to go to Vegas on the same day as the SARAH MARSHALL party.
Jason Segel: That's right. Harry was there.
Paul Rudd: Oh, you guys haven't met before…
JS: That was crazy, because we flew in just before the party began, and then flew back out just after the Q&A. It was insane.
Capone: It's funny, Jason, when we first walk into Sidney's Man Cave, and we see the drum set and we see the Rush posters, I remember seeing the film for the first time at Butt Numb-a-Thon and there was an audible gasp from the crowd who were clearly making the connection between Sidney and Nick from "Freaks and Geeks."
JS: Originally in [writer-director John] Hamburg's script, he had me drumming [Rush's] "The Spirit of Radio," which he has subconsciously directly stolen from "Freaks and Geeks." And we moved my character from drums to guitar…
PR: Yeah, I was supposed to play guitar and you were on drums, and you said, "No, we need to switch this up."
JS: He had a scene too where Paul burst through the door with an axe and says, "Here's Johnny!"
[John Hamburg is actually in another part of the room eavesdropping on the conversation and says, "I had no idea that was in another movie."]
PR: What about that scene where you cut off my hand and then tell me you're my father?
JS: Yeah, what about that? That was ridiculous.
[Hamburg: "That's from IDLE HANDS, right?"]
JS: Yes, exactly, with Seth Green.
PR: I think it was EDWARD SCISSORHANDS actually.
Capone: I like that Sydney is a little mysterious at first. We learn pretty much everything we need to know about Paul's character in the first 10 minutes…
PR: I'm an open book.
Capone: But John deliberately keeps Sydney's past a bit of a mystery, and when he asks Peter for the loan, we think we have him figured out. You don't usually play a man of mystery.
JS: Absolutely. That's what was so exciting about it, you know. Because of my TV show ["How I Met Your Mother"], I get to do one movie a year, and I fancy myself a character actor. I like to play characters, and when I saw Sydney was so different than what I'd done in SARAH MARSHALL and on the TV show, I play kind of a whipped husband, and in KNOCKED UP, I was just sleazy, so it was fun to play something new. It reminded me--I was a bit in awe of Russell Brand in SARAH MARSHALL, and I tried to do my version of Russell Brand. I don't care what people think of me; this is who I am, a cavalier man of mystery.
Capone: Watching the two of you in these three movies, where you go from rivals to acquaintances to buddies--it reminds me that there are no great comedy teams any more. Where have all the great comedy teams gone?
PR: That's my favorite Carole King song. Or what is Paula Cole? "Where have all the comedy teams gone?" [sung to the tune of "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"
Capone: The Vanity Fair issue images just came out today, and it struck me that you guys all work together in various combinations, but I'd like to see two of you just make a bunch of ON THE ROAD movies or something.
PR: I think John Hughes got a bit of that in his films.
JS: I think we could be more like Laurel and Hardy. Our next film will be PAUL AND JASON MEET DRACULA.
PR: JASON AND PAUL ON THE ROAD TO CAIRO.
JS: I actually pitched how weird it would be to do "Adventures of the Apatow Gang, Volume 1: Paul and Jason Fight Dracula," all shot in black and white.
PR: And I hear the death knell.
JS: The final stroke of self-indulgence that ends the whole thing.
PR: [In his best trailer announcer voice] "If you weren't sick of him yet, here comes Dracula! Watch as they reference VAMPIRE'S KISS and DEAD AND LOVING IT. How many Dracula movies can they reference? All while being incredibly Jewish."
JS: [In Dracula's voice] "That can't be kosher!"
PR: "Does this blood have ham in it?"
Capone: I think George Hamilton's LOVE AT FIRST BITE already covered Dracula's reaction to a Star of David.
PR: Wasn't George Hamilton also ZORRO, THE GAY BLADE? Remember that one?
JS: ZORRO, THE GAY BLADE? What a great title.
PR: That might have been a little before your time.
Capone: That was very early '80s, right?
JS: I was born in 1980.
Capone: Get the fuck out of here.
JS: I know.
[John Hamburg: "Fuck you, Segel. Born in '80, what a douche."]
PR: I remember 1980.
JS: You were doing theater with Olivier.
PR: Not Olivier. René Auberjonois were doing "Orphans" in 1980. I remember, Auberjonois-'80; Patinkin in 1981; and then Linn-Baker in '82.
JS: Oh, of course, who could forget that performance?
PR: Mark Linn-Baker and I did "Greater Tuna" at Theatre Under the Stars
JS: And then you did the "The Zoo Story" in '84 with Leonard [long pause] Nimoy.
PR: That was a bit I used to do…did we do that bit a lot on this movie?
JS: Oh, yes.
PR: [puts on a theatre-ized voice of a much older man] "Ah yes, I remember Linda and I were doing "The Gin Game," and we had a bit of a love-hate relationship. We had a matinee perf, and it was right before the evening show that we…Lavin." And I'd see how long I could tell a story before you drop the last name in a boastful way.
JS: That's so gross.
PR: "Bobby and I, we were doing "Rappaport", '83. What a run. It started in Williamstown, but we'd gone on a national tour, and we'd gotten to Santa Fe…I'm sorry, Guillaume. God rest his soul."
JS: This was most of my time on set, listening to Rudd.
Capone: He's actually been doing theater just long enough that these stories could be true.
JS: I know.
PR: It's true. I'm sorry, what was your question?
Capone: I'm not even sure there is one at this point. We were talking about comedy teams. I did suggest in my review of I LOVE YOU, MAN that the two of you might next tackle a Wayland Flowers and Madame biography film.
PR: How funny. That's the one impression that I do, is Madame.
[Paul then proceeds to throw his head back, his mouth pops open and his right hand hits his chest and goes shooting straight out in front of him.]
PR: That's all I do. So I'd just sit on your lap?
JS: Yeah you would. I'd operate you with my dick.
PR: Much in the way Wayland Flowers actually did.
JS: Rudd and I found doing SARAH MARSHALL that, as opposed to having similar sytles, we have very complementary styles, and we both understand each other's moves. And I think we're both kind of prideless about who gets the punchline. A lot of times you can feel the other person throwing the lob, with full confidence that you would catch it and dunk it. And that went both ways. One person would do the set up, and you knew what the punchline was.
PR: That's a good way of putting it; I think you're right.
Capone: You were talking about Russell Brand before, do you have any hand in GET HIM TO THE GREEK [the spinoff film following Brand's character from FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL]?
JS: I'm writing the music for it, because I wrote Russell's music for SARAH MARSHALL. You know, it's a tricky thing, those songs. Sometimes when you have just a proper musician working on them, they get a little too musical about it. The songs are going to play for 20 seconds; they just need to be funny and have a hook to them. It's like writing a song for the radio. Sometimes these guys are like, "I think it's a little reminiscent of this and that." And I'm like, No, it needs to be 20 seconds and funny. So it's been really fun. I'm writing songs for him and Emily Blunt, who's playing a Fergie-type character. They start shooting in April.
Capone: Paul, that one clip of you and David Cross from YEAR ONE came out already. Have we seen the extent of your participation in that film?
PR: I think so. That's the thing about playing Abel, if you know the story, you know what happens to me. David Cross is all over the thing from what I hear, but I haven't actually seen the movie, only read the script.
Capone: I think the film I'm most curious about is this James L. Brooks movie. Is that for real?
JS: Are you going to do it?
PR: I don't know. There's still so much that they're trying to figure out, but it would be pretty amazing to work with that guy.
JS: And what a great part too. I went in for that as well.
PR: Oh, you did?
JS: Yeah, and I was doing one of the scenes, and he stood up from his chair and said, "Dammit man, you've got to do it like Robin Hood." And I didn't quite know…
PR: I don't even know what that means. I don't know him. I've only met him a couple time, because of the process, I went in to read for the movie and meet him. But he's thinking on a whole different…That Robin Hood comment makes sense to me because it makes no sense at all. It seems like, in just my few brief encounters with him, he's thinking several steps ahead, and it's clear that he sees in his mind what he wants to accomplish. And he gets super-excited about the process of working on things.
JS: I hope you get to do that, man. That would be unbelievable.
PR: It would be, and I do hope it works out.
Capone: It's interesting because Judd's films have been compared to Brooks, especially if what I'm hearing about FUNNY PEOPLE is true. But it would be great to go back to the source.
PR: Judd has said that too, "That guy's the real deal; I'm just a cheap imitator." Yeah, I know Reese Witherspoon is doing it, and they're talking to Owen Wilson.
Capone: Jason, I know people are going to ask you this question a lot on this tour, but what are the prospects of your Muppet movie getting made?
JS: The script is in to Disney, and now we're just waiting to hear what they want to do. In fairness to them, it would be relaunching the franchise; it wouldn't be just making a movie. So there are discussions about toys and rides and these crazy promotions, and I think they're rallying the troops to figure out how to handle this.
Capone: If they're already talking about merchandizing and promotion, that sounds like they're going to do it.
JS: I hope so, man. You never know what's going to happen with these things, but I sure hope so. It's a tricky one; that's a very beloved franchise. They've got our script, and I'm just hoping that they decide they want to proceed.
PR: But the one thing is you have a genuine love for those characters, and I can't imagine that that doesn't come across in what you wrote.
JS: I hope so. The script is a very pure representation of the early-'80s Muppet movies. It's a lot like MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTEN.
PR: Would you want Paul Williams to do the music?
JS: Yeah, we've already talked about it. It's…ah, I don't want to talk shit, but somebody came up and asked me if they could write the music for it who has worked in this genre but in a cynical way. And I said, no, you can't be cynical when you approach the Muppets. That's the whole point, it's got to be pure.
PR: Paul Williams, man, what an awesome guy. That whole Jim Henson-Paul Williams partnership was so awesome. Even some of my favorite songs growing up were anything off of "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas." "We're closer now than ever before…"
JS: Oh, man. Absolutely.
Capone: Just so you know, the audience upstairs thinks there's a chance Paul might not be here yet or might not make it at all.
JS: We should do a farce, like Paul couldn't make it. I wish we had SUPERMAN music cued up on the P.A., so that we could start the interview and then SUPERMAN music starts playing and you walk in.
PR: What if I just walked in carrying so much luggage?
At this point, we are ushered upstairs to begin the Q&A, most of which can be seen in these four clips.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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March 22, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST
March 22, 2009, 12:45 p.m. CST
This is the one that I am truly bummed that I did not get to go see. It sounds like it was a blast.
March 22, 2009, 12:51 p.m. CST
One of the rare breed of entertainer worth interviewing these days.
March 22, 2009, 2:07 p.m. CST
March 22, 2009, 2:25 p.m. CST
my life seems to be a little unproductive now, by comparison...
March 22, 2009, 2:33 p.m. CST
March 22, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST
my life never was productive
March 22, 2009, 3:11 p.m. CST
On-screen and off. The "40 year old boy" character is played out now and just done to death.
March 22, 2009, 3:39 p.m. CST
...in the US and I didn't see one single review of it here! Is it good?
March 22, 2009, 4:24 p.m. CST
just film the interview... then we don't have to worry about wondering what you're laughing at.
March 22, 2009, 4:42 p.m. CST
Rudd can suck a fuck.
March 22, 2009, 4:44 p.m. CST
"The two first acting together in KNOCKED UP, in which the were rivals of a sort for the affections of Leslie Mann." Come on, guys. The TBs are better written than the articles.
March 22, 2009, 6:06 p.m. CST
What a douche bag...
March 22, 2009, 6:57 p.m. CST
What is the general AICN consensus on that film? I thought it was meh, at best. Had a few funny moments, but nothing great.
March 22, 2009, 7:28 p.m. CST
by Mr. Zeddemore
It could've been better, but I liked how unafraid Segel was to play a rather pathetic human being. There was little vanity there, which was refreshing.
March 22, 2009, 7:53 p.m. CST
Guy casts himself as someone who gets to fuck Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis, stood there waving his dick in your face and filled the movie with his shitty songs.
March 22, 2009, 7:56 p.m. CST
I saw it yesterday. Some LOL moments, some places where it dragged (though those might have been intentional). The performances were fine. Worth seeing, but don't expect an AFI seminar about it any time soon.
March 22, 2009, 8:11 p.m. CST
I'm too lazy to click on the clips, but is Capone really Neil Strauss, international author and world famous pickup artist?
March 22, 2009, 8:49 p.m. CST
...don't know if it was what I had for dinner or what, but I had to stop the movie twice to get myself under control...laughed my muscular white buttocks off. Wasn't expecting very much from it, but I kinda loved it.
March 22, 2009, 9:24 p.m. CST
http://tinyurl.com/dh29aj <br> <br> Watch that and tell me the man can't write sincere songs! Jeeze, get Shaiman and Williams in the same room!!! Also, I REALLY trust that if they make Jason Segel's Muppet Movie, it'll be the best since the original. (huge muppet lover here.. and no... not THAT way)
March 23, 2009, 12:11 a.m. CST
I'm dying to know if its worth even a curious look.
March 23, 2009, 12:25 a.m. CST
Solid sci-fi flick. Something you'd expect from the director of Dark City. If Dark City is an A then Knowing is a B-. It's very Twilight Zone like.
March 23, 2009, 1:02 a.m. CST
fuck you judd apatow and all of harry's little circle jerk cock faggots.
March 23, 2009, 2:05 a.m. CST
youdaman. thats what i wanted to hear. even if you just lied to me, you earned that movie me and my girls $20.
March 23, 2009, 4:05 a.m. CST
I remember seeing Zorro, the Gay Blade on HBO, as a kid in the 80's.
March 23, 2009, 8:14 a.m. CST
by Carl XVI Gustaf
my balls are listening. Good interview anyway!
March 23, 2009, 8:57 a.m. CST
Well, I could shit on it, and it would be more appetizing than before.
March 23, 2009, 10:51 a.m. CST
i rented FSM again this weekend to see if after almost a year of its release, my opinion would change, but it didn't. The film is enjoyable, but it isn't the coming age of comedy that my friends and Richard Roeper made it out to be. I found Brand to be quite annoying at times. I am thankful I find someone who shares the same phrase= meh. Now, Role Models is a funny ass film
March 23, 2009, 10:54 a.m. CST
by the new transported man
but the other movies from the related parties have been flat. Superbad, Knocked Up, Sarah Marshall, namely. Really don't like this Segel guy, he's just not a dude I want to watch for 2 hours.
March 23, 2009, 11:56 a.m. CST
Director of Spanglish?!? Sign me the fuck up!
March 23, 2009, noon CST
I've gotten to the age where I have no idea who new stars (relatively speaking) of movies are. I had never, ever, ever heard of Jason Segel... and after seeing clips of this movie, am sorry that I now have. Viva Taylor Negron!
March 23, 2009, 2:41 p.m. CST
... to explain the irony of his own comment to a guy with the screen name "BALZACS_BALLSAC"?
March 23, 2009, 10:36 p.m. CST
Run as faaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrr away from Segal as you can. Seriously. A guy who makes R-rated comedies doing a Muppet movie? WTF? You have expert PR people, probably the best in the world, but there is NO way to make that sound good to parents. This movie would be dead before it hit the theaters. Seriously. Run away. You're already in deep shit with Christian families for dumping Narnia. Don't let Miss Piggy get directed by Mr. Dingle Dangle. Do the right thing...
March 25, 2009, 2:31 a.m. CST
Ok...these guys continue to surprise me. They're practically the Pixar of comedies.
March 25, 2009, 2:32 a.m. CST
I can't freaking wait for the new Muppet movie. If Disney messes this up...i'll be pissed.
March 25, 2009, 4:24 a.m. CST
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March 25, 2009, 11:15 a.m. CST
And his buddy directs, and the result is major suckage...it'll still be Disney's fault, for, you know, providing the money and distributing it and all. Anyway that's how the Disney bashers will see it.
March 25, 2009, 6:39 p.m. CST
I'm not a Disney basher persay...I'm just worried about how they would handle it. I haven't really trusted Disney since Eisner screwed everything up.
Feb. 12, 2010, 12:16 a.m. CST
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