Capone chats with Patrick Wilson about his comedy BARRY MUNDAY, coming to DVD next week!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
At this year's SXSW Film Festival, I was thrown into a situation I'd never actually been in before, but have been a couple of times since. It all started when I saw a surprisingly funny indie comedy at the festival from writer-director Chris D'Arienzo called BARRY MUNDAY (based on a book by Frank Turner Hollon), starring Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloë Sevigny, Colin Hanks, and others. The film got a very limited release in early October and is set for DVD release next week. The thing that struck me in particular was how funny Patrick Wilson's performance was as the titular character, a nerdy swinging single, whose ways with women are frequently embarrassing. When he is attacked in a movie theater, he wakes up in the hospital minus his testicles. Fun. Soon after, he gets a hostile visit from Greer informing him that she's pregnant with his baby after a one-night stand months earlier, and he was so trashed at the time, he doesn't remember her or the sex they made.
Clearly, the combination of these two events has a profound effect on Barry, who realizes that if he doesn't step up to be a father to this child, he'll never have the chance to do so again. But his repeated attempts to connect with the abrasive (and severely uglified) Greer are slapped down each time. Wilson's performance totally sold me on this film, and to my recollection, I'd never seen him do comedy before, although he's spent a great deal of this year making up for lost time with such films as THE A-TEAM (Wilson was the best thing about this movie in my estimation), THE SWITCH, and MORNING GLORY.
Wilson has been on my radar since his incredible performance in HBO's adaptation of ANGELS IN AMERICA. But a string of sub-par films, such as THE ALAMO and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA didn't do him any favors. However, in more recent years, he has absolutely killed in powerful movies like HARD CANDY, LITTLE CHILDREN, LAKEVIEW TERRACE, and, last year's THE WATCHMEN, in which he played Nite Owl. Even if you disliked the movie, you have to admit Wilson held his own. And out of the Toronto Film Festival, I have heard nothing but great things about his work in director James Wan's latest, INSIDIOUS, set for release in 2011.
What was so unusual about our interview, is that I was standing around in the hotel lobby in Austin waiting to talk to his co-star, Judy Greer, when the attending publicist informed me that Quint had to back out of his interview with Wilson due to scheduling conflicts. "Do you want to talk to him?" he asked, desperate to fill the time slot. And so I walked into the interview armed only with my strong affection for the film and a fairly solid knowledge of Wilson's career. Hope I didn't embarrass myself. I'm sure you'll let me know if I did, or you'll verbally slap me on the back and say, "Great work, buddy." Ahem… Wilson was a supremely nice guy, and almost too handsome to look at directly. I'll have that Judy Greer interview for you soon. So in the mean time, check out BARRY MUNDAY on DVD when it's released December 7, and enjoy my talk with Patrick Wilson…
Patrick Wilson: Hi Steve, how are you doing man? It’s good to see you.
Capone: Excellent. It’s nice to meet you. Just so you know one of our other writers was supposed to do this, and they literally put me in here because I’m having a little delay with talking to Judy [Greer].
PW: [Laughs] So you have no idea who I am?
Capone: Of course I do, and I saw the film.
PW: Oh good, so you saw the film.
Capone: Oh, I absolutely saw the film. I would not be here if I had not seen the film. In fact, I’ve just been telling everyone about how messed up Barry is in the movie. You are going out of your way just to make us really uncomfortable in that movie. In other words, I’m winging it here, but I liked the movie enough that I can probably do that.
PW: That’s all right, we’ll chat. Where you from again?
Capone: Ain’t It Cool.
PW: Oh, I love that site.
Capone: I write as “Capone” for the site.
PW: You’re Capone! Nice! [laughs]
Capone: I don’t know if you talked to any of our guys around WATCHMEN or not…
PW: It’s funny, I love reading that site until I have something that comes out and then I’m very scared, so I bail out and might not read it for a while in case I hear “That sounds like a big hunk of crap!”
Capone: The guy who runs the site just posted really liked the movie too.
PW: Harry liked it?
Capone: Yeah, he really did.
PW: Good. I’m not just telling you this just because you are here, but I said to [director] Chris [D’Arienzo] “Whoever sees this movie, I really hope that Ain’t It Cool is there.” I know of course it will be.
Capone: You mean like on board with it?
PW: Yeah, because when you are a small movie and you feel like it could go out of the way, people could either get it or not, and I don’t know what will happened with the movie, I’m just glad that we got out of that screening yesterday. I thought it was just such a great reaction from what I gauged in the audience and people enjoyed it. The sound was sort of off to me.
Capone: I didn’t go to the screening last night; they did a press screening Friday morning.
PW: Oh wow. Did you see it with just press people?
PW: Oh wow, that always scares me.
Capone: They were laughing.
PW: Yesterday [at the premiere], it played unbelievably and I was like…
Capone: I would much rather see a comedy with a crowd, so I get what you're saying. So, let’s start with the look you've adopted for the film, because I have a photo of me like that from about 1989.
PW: I mean, I graduated high school in 1991, right, and I was shooting for like “Okay let's go…” Chris’ idea was so awesome; he was like “I’m thinking the look needs to be the last time he felt cool.” So we are not putting it in the '90s or '80s, but he was definitely holding onto the '0s with his DeLorean and hanging on to that.
Capone: That was a nice touch.
PW: That was awesome, are you kidding me? But with Barry we were like “Let’s just go with late '80s- early '90s, like that style that was sort of awkward and weird with rugby shirts and okay how about that braided belt with jeans.” You know pre Abercrombie and Fitch, but where you could find like a puka shell on a leather necklace. You know, trying to hold on to that and the goatee. I remember Ethan Hawke when ALIVE came out or REALITY BITES, in the early '90s, it was like everybody started growing goatees, then they would chop the sideburns off and the hair. It was fun. It was so fun.
Capone: It just occurred to me, the look resembles, oh what's his name, he was on "E.R." and he was in REVENGE OF THE NERDS, and I can’t think of his name…
PW: Anthony Edwards?
Capone: Anthony Edwards! That’s who Barry looks like to me.
PW: Oh, that’s funny.
Capone: Out of the corner of my eye, that’s who I see in there.
PW: Now that’s funny.
Capone: He is the guy who you can tell may have been cool at one point in high school and probably had some luck with women.
PW: Yeah, it was so much fun creating this guy and having the freedom. There were a couple of people that I based it on, none of which I will ever tell that I did, but the posture just standing around and the posture hitting on ladies, that was really important, because I didn’t want him to come off as sleazy.
Capone: You didn’t want him to come off sleazy? You failed, if was your goal.
PW: Well, there’s a difference between sleazy and douchey, you know what I mean?
Capone: That’s true, he is douchey.
PW: Yeah, because you know what the difference is between sleazy and douchey, I guess. Sleazy is off-putting to other people around him, where I think Barry is a “Yes” guy. He’s game for anything. He’s not going to put down another, like if there’s a gaggle of girls, there are some sleazy guys who would be like “You are the ones that I want, and those girls are ugly” and then you are off-putting. But he would be like “You are the one I want, and all of you ladies are beautiful as well.” I hope by the end of the movie you realize he’s got such a big heart. “Yes he is a big douchebag,” but I look at him very objectively from far away.
Capone: Did you ever consider what went wrong after high school? What happened in his life that turned the corner?
PW: I grew up in Florida and there’s a very suburban view of… We used to hang out at Bennigans after dark, I remember. It was like the only place when you were 18, and I always get fascinated when we would go to those places and it’s like “Hey we got happy hour, you can get two-for-one 20 ounce beers,” and I’m like “But it’s five o’clock, who’s going to throw back…” It’s not like New York where you can get on the subway and go home. You’ve got to drive. This is so crazy.” I always found that very strange to me. Now I forget what you asked…
Capone: About what went wrong.
PW: I just think that’s who he is. I think it was really important for as much as he learned in the movie; he’s just that guy you know? He’s gotten a little soft and doesn’t really have a whole lot of close friends. I thought that was really kind of sweet actually. For as blustery as he can be, I think he’s got a really good heart, I really do.
Capone: I was fascinated with the film, because at many points I thought I knew exactly where it was going and it never went there, and the way that the two of them meet is painful to watch. Barry obviously wants to make this work on a certain level either as a parent or as a relationship with her, and she’s resistant. But it actually ends in a much different way. I don’t want to ruin it, but it just went somewhere I was not expecting.
PW: To me, something that always stuck with Chris--and I don’t know if people see this, in some ways it doesn’t really matter--but we both get very fascinated with '70s cinema and sort of the freedom of how Woody Allen redefined a comedy. How often do you see an entire comedic scene play from one angle, static, and you are not told where to look, where to laugh and you just let the situation play? Because a lot of this was character oriented and situational, so you had to keep the story moving in a very different fashion
Without getting into it, there are points in the movie where you feel like “Is this the end of the movie? I’m only 45 minutes in.” Normally, this kind of event would end a movie, and then it doesn’t and it’s sort of turned into another place. So I thought that was really cool and actually really risky. Look, it is perfect that we ended up at this festival. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been two years since we made the movie. The fact that the journey this movie has had and going to other festivals going, we have had people like “Oh my God, I love your movie. I’m championing for it.” Some people maybe just didn’t get what we were going for and that’s cool. But it’s so rewarding to watch a huge packed house at the Paramount watching this movie laughing going “Thank God, we found it!” Whatever it was, these people get it. I really do feel that way and I haven’t had that reaction with a movie because I don’t do a lot of comedy.
We thought it was funny, but “I don’t know, is this going to land?” Then it does, and those moments in there where you're given permission to laugh. It’s in the trailer, but that genital mutilation scene comes pretty late in the movie, and people don’t really laugh until you see Barry laugh, and then you are like “Oh, okay” and I don’t know if that will play like that a lot. I was like “That’s KG [Kyle Gass] making a hilarious joke.” Crickets… Because he’s so dead pan telling a story, and you're in a very heart felt place in the movie you know? Barry gives you that, because at the end of the day, he’s actually a very open person, so when he laughs--which by the way is really just me laughing at Kyle and all of these other guys…
Capone: It’s not that you just do it once, you do it again with the next guy. A lot of people were focusing on that monologue in the discussion after the screening.
PW: It wasn’t in the script where he says “I’m this this and this and this, and I pee sitting down.” He was like “And yes, I do pee sitting down,” like that was a question we were all wondering. I love that. That’s when Chris putting together this cast, because a lot of this stuff was ad lib, because with any comedy--I think anybody would say that--it has to fit your style. I may jive very well with the movie and the script, but along with this posture there were other little isms that I through in there that became sort of Barry’s vernacular saying “Basically” and “Check it” and all of this kind of stuff that was me just ripping off from my friends that I thought were funny. And that was Kyle too, just taking that “And yes…,” just being what makes him funny.
Capone: Talk about the song.
PW: “Who’s the coolest guy in the world?” Yeah, that became the tagline. I don’t know, I just thought, “Okay, I’m in the shower…”
Capone: Did you make that up?
PW: Yeah. I made that up, because there were a bunch of different takes of that where it went on and on, and I’m actually imitating a friend of mine too that kind of sings. I was always fascinated by people who I thought were… I call them “High School Singers” that weirdly left out their “R”s… I don’t know why, but if they would sing “Black Baaaaay.” No, it’s "Black Barry.” You know, it’s that weird singing dialect that some people have, so I knew he should have that and then with the song I don’t know, I just thought “It doesn’t get more basic than “Who’s the coolest guy in the world?” I just made it up and ran with it.
Capone: I just happened to stay through the credits when we saw it and then there’s a full-blown-out rock version of the song.
PW: [laughs] I told them I better get a cut of that if that becomes a single.
Capone: I was talking to someone in the theater and I’m like “Am I hearing what I’m hearing?”
PW: That was our process. He would throw out something, I would throw out something, he would top it, I would top it. I came up with a song; he got a band to do it. I was like “That’s fantastic!”
Capone: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you do a comedy before.
PW: Not for lack of trying man. This kind of thing just fit me, because yeah I just loved it. I loved doing it. I’m glad you dug it, man.
Capone: All right, well it was nice to meet you.
PW: Nice to meet you Capone!
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Dec. 2, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST
Dec. 2, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST
I could end my acting career on that note and be very happy.
Dec. 2, 2010, 4:37 p.m. CST
by Nerd Rage
But the movie still sucked.
Dec. 2, 2010, 4:41 p.m. CST
Weezer's drummer, that is.
Dec. 2, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST
Hell, everyone was great in that movie.
Dec. 2, 2010, 4:43 p.m. CST
Dec. 2, 2010, 4:49 p.m. CST
The dude strikes me as a genuinely nice guy.
Dec. 2, 2010, 4:49 p.m. CST
One of the saddest things about "Watchmen" not being a huge commercial success is that Patrick Wilson could've otherwise been vaulted into leading man status if that film hit big, I think. He has strung together some really, really good performances in the last few years. Like the aforementioned "Watchmen" and "Little Children," but his turn in "Hard Candy" is fucking incredible. Amazing stuff.
Dec. 2, 2010, 5:02 p.m. CST
by Ronald Raygun
He made Dan Dreiberg into a guy I genuinely liked and would have a beer with.
Dec. 2, 2010, 5:34 p.m. CST
I loved it; it was very funny in regards to how the various actors performed the characters visually. The film is practically shot as a second person film as the majority of it is just the actors looking at the camera.
Dec. 2, 2010, 5:52 p.m. CST
by God's Brother
...my strong affection for the film and a fairly solid knowledge of Wilson's career." Whoa, you were really unprepared for that interview
Dec. 2, 2010, 6:10 p.m. CST
You'll have to go to Deadline Hollywood for the news.
Dec. 2, 2010, 6:46 p.m. CST
by JT Kirk
It was on-message, focused on the existing film, you didn't let the conversation get too one-sided (I hate when interviewers go on and on and on, then the interviewee has a 2-word response), and it built to a conclusion about the character. Don't second-guess yourself (except where you typed "movi" instead of "movie"... what the fuck, man? You work on a MOVIE WEBSITE!!!), it's a fine interview and seems like if it had more time it would have gotten even better, which is a good sign for any interview.
Dec. 2, 2010, 6:49 p.m. CST
by JT Kirk
that film had very little soul IMO, but Patrick Wilson's performance was the most engaging aspect of the film, he breathed life into the ideas behind the character.
Dec. 2, 2010, 7:08 p.m. CST
I consider myself a delinquent fan as I haven't actually seen any of his movies this year but he's really very awesome and ridiculously handsome. I got his autograph after ALL MY SONS a couple years ago now and he was the sweetest guy. I actually really love and hate PHANTOM OF THE OPERA because it's amazing except for Gerard Butler's singing. If not for that it would have been an incredible film.</p> <p>He should be a much bigger star by now but even if his work isn't appreciated yet it will be eventually. He's built up a resume that when he does become a household name everybody will realize how great they thought he was in other movies previously but weren't really sure who he was like Aaron Eckhart or something. lol That doesn't sound right. But you know what I mean. Just as long as he keeps singing and I can find it on the internets, I'll be happy. For now I'll just put Barry Munday at the top of my queue. :D Nice interview, Capone. </p>
Dec. 2, 2010, 8:04 p.m. CST
not the greatest, but a good dry humor film with some bit parts played by great actors....the self help group he goes to had me lol
Dec. 2, 2010, 8:14 p.m. CST
...playing Night Owl 2 in Watchmen? Fuckin' weird. Never realized that. I agree that everybody did a great job in Little Children, but he wasn't my favorite part of Watchmen. Damn. I just looked up his IMDb entry and saw he's the guy from Hard Candy and Lakeview Terrace as well, which I also didn't realize. Dude does a good job of disappearing into his roles. Especially considering that he isn't doing much to change his appearance.
Dec. 2, 2010, 8:19 p.m. CST
I dig Patrick Wilson (frankly, he could be a star, he was THE 2ND best thing in WATCHMEN..seriously)...but this film seemed boring.And why isn't he a star...making great dramas or badass sci-fi films.
Dec. 2, 2010, 8:50 p.m. CST
he really is exactly how I'd picture Pym! Perfect casting -- I doubt he might do another superhero flick (though that hasn't stopped Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds). But yeah, Patrick Wilson is always fantastic.. I'll definitely check this flick out.
Dec. 2, 2010, 10:17 p.m. CST
Dec. 2, 2010, 10:55 p.m. CST
by Powers Boothe
Dec. 3, 2010, 12:06 a.m. CST
That's what I thought back when they were casting Superman Returns. But then Routh was pretty awesome and I got over it. It would be nice if someone did a manly version of Superman instead of making him younger and younger.
Dec. 3, 2010, 12:25 a.m. CST
He more than held his own in Watchmen, he was arguably the best actor in it. Yeah, Haley was great and gets a lot of [deserved] attention but Rorshach is an easier, flashier, character to play. Dreiberg is an everyman and Wilson's portrayal of the character was note for note perfect, subtle when needed, badass when appropriate.
Dec. 3, 2010, 5:02 a.m. CST
Even though he is right between the line of bankable star and character actor. He hasn't chose which side to pick.
June 16, 2011, 8:09 a.m. CST
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