This is the second of my two-part 'Discussions with David Wain," (Read Part 1 HERE), which features an interview conducted in October, the morning after Wain did an anniversary screening of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER as part of The Onion A.V. Club's New Cult Canon series at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. I shared breakfast with Wain and his wife and WAINY DAYS co-star Zandy Hartig to discuss pretty much his entire career, including details on THE STATE, WET HOT, ROLE MODELS, THE TEN, and his upcoming film WANDERLUST, which I'm hearing great stuff about but had not seen when this interview took place. Please enjoy…
Capone: So we're going to cover as many topics as we can.
David Wain: Sure. Anything that has anything to do with me is something I’ve very excited about.
Capone: There were a lot of people in the audience last night who lied about having seen WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER in the theaters.
Capone: I’m sure you come across that. You’ve probably had more people say that to you than…
DW: …than the box office numbers at the time. Yeah, like I say “The studio sent us the list of who came to see it in theaters, and I memorized it, so I know who saw it.”
Zandy Hartig: I thought it was funny that the theater manager said, “There are more people here tonight than on your opening weekend.”
Capone: I think what he said was that the screening made more money than you made in your opening weekend. But both statements might be true.
DW: But that’s true. But in fairness, I think it only opened on one or two screens opening weekend, but still…
ZH: I know, hon, but probably most of those kids could not have seen it in the theater; they were too young.
DW: With a lot of them, that’s true, and also I remember when we first finished the movie, we had a screening for friends and cast and crew at the Kips Bay Theater in New York, and it was filled. They also had like promotional tickets that they gave out. I was like, “What are you doing? This is going to be half our box office that you are giving away for free.” And it turned out to be kind of true. I’m like, “If we could have filled this up with paying people, that would have been a significant help to our box office.” And they still have that mentality like when we do like many many test screenings for like WANDERLUST, I’m like, “Why are you showing all of these people the movie for free?” But I know on the studio level, that’s not how they see it.
ZH: And a lot of people today are like that kid who came up to us last night and was like, “I loved it,” so he will tell people.
DW: Yeah, of course, if they loved it.
Capone: Let's start at the beginning: I watched "The State" when it was on MTV. I was a loyal follower. I bought the DVDs as soon as they came out.
DW: The thing that really bugs me is when people are like “I loved "The State" when I was six…”
Capone: I wasn’t six. But how important was it for you to get the show out on DVD finally? I heard you were the guy that never stopped pushing to get those out on DVD.
DW: When you work so hard on something, you inevitably just want it to be available for people to see it again. To me, it was just as simple as that. We also knew that there was a desire among fans to have the DVD, because we got asked about it everywhere we went for seven years or whatever it was. That was the most-often asked question we ever got, and so for that reason and just because having the DVD on the shelf means that it’s there to be seen forever now, theoretically. It’s just nice to have that on the record.
Capone: Yeah, but it’s also part of the evolution. WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER makes more sense in terms of the cast and tone, if you're familiar with "The State" and everything that came after that.
DW: Definitely. When WET HOT came out so many people didn’t like it or didn’t get it or didn’t key into it, and those that did a lot of them had already had some familiarity with "The State," which is on one hand strange to me, because we never thought we were doing something so out there or so weird; we thought we were just trying to be funny.
ZH: Can I add something?
DW: He we go…
ZH: Way before I knew him--I’m an actress--I had an audition for WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER and I just had the sides for it and I went in going “What the hell? I do not get this. This is supposed to be funny? I don’t know what to do with this. I have no idea.” And needless to say I did not get a callback.
DW: But then actors like Chris Meloni I think only were able to sign up for it because they had seen "The State" or had an idea of how we execute this kind of material. When we did the "Stella" series on Comedy Central, we genuinely thought that the shorts were really crazy and out there, now we are doing like the very straightforward stuff, everyone-will-get-this comedy. We will just do straight-up funny stuff. And to this day, I still watch it and I’m like… I mean I get it, but…
ZH: No, the first time people watch it it seems really, really weird, and then you have to watch it multiple times in order to get it.
DW: I know. I guess we were just in our own heads to the point where I didn’t realize how left of center it probably was. I look at it now and I actually have more perspective, and I’m like “Oh my God, why did they ever let us shoot this? I can’t believe this was ever on TVm and I’m not surprised they cancelled it after one season.”
Capone: Going back to the Monty Python folks or SNL, in terms of the writing, they tended to pair up. How did the writing happen on "The State"? Was it similar?
DW: Well what’s interesting is that I didn’t write very much with Mike Showalter at all on "The State." In "The State," we all just constantly switched around like, “I’ll write something with this guy and I’ll write something with that guy,” or three or four people would write something sometimes. A lot of times people would write something by themselves, and it just sort of naturally worked out that way. There were definitely some pairings that worked more frequently together than others, but I almost never wrote something with Michael Showalter, and I couldn’t even tell you why, it was just different comfort levels.
I wrote a lot of stuff with Ken Marino, a fair amount with Michael [Ian] Black. Then some of the later groupings were apparent in early stages like the "Viva Variety"/"Reno 911" group did write things together sometimes. One of the things I really liked about "The State" was that it seemed like as a group of 11 people our whole sensibility overlapped so much that each of the individual differences in our voices could mix and match that way, and it still felt like one show with one point of view.
Capone: Compared to what SNL was doing, which was often letting things go too long, you had the benefit of not working live and editing things tightly. It was a nicely paced show, and if the sketch was running the risk of going too long, then you would stop it or you would cut something.
DW: I think that was partly influenced by the fact that we were at MTV and that MTV had an over all aesthetic to it ,which was very fast cut. So I think we were partly influenced by that--or just had to work that way--and partly just by our own taste of wanting things to be tight and disciplined, somewhat as a reaction to SNL. We all watched SNL and were like, “That’s great, now why the extra five minutes at the end of the sketch?” And we loved shows like "SCTV" and Python where you were just “Boom, boom, boom.”
It was fun to see, particularly with Python, where it was so cool like, “Once you get the joke, now move on,” and clearly we were influenced by that, and me and Michael and [Michael Patrick] Jann, did most of the directing and editing, and we were interested in like, “How tight can you get this?” then really like jam it all in. “How many sketches can we fit into the 22 minutes?” I feel like the basic gist of what I do every day is exactly the same as it was then; we were just trying to figure out a way to deliver a certain comedic and story premise, whether it's a scene in a movie or on a web skit or on a "State" sketch or "Stella," it’s all very similar kind of work where you’re just working with people trying to find something that has never been done before that’s fun, and then trying to make it tight.
Capone: You said last night with WET HOT that you didn’t really have the luxury of a lot of takes either, so that worked to your benefit I think.
DW:Well I have to say, a lot of what makes WET HOT work has to be attributed to luck. It’s just so many things: the casting, all of the crew, and all of the elements coming together and just making it work out so well. I mean you can never plan for a movie to last like that. What is most different about WET HOT versus say the bigger movies I've done like the last two is you're just so, every moment, up against your limitations with budget and time. In studio movies today, it’s much more common to do numerous alts and takes and improvs of every single moment, and it gives you the opportunity to find a lot of spontaneous stuff on the set, but it also risks taking you off the spine maybe, or you end up second guessing maybe your first instincts too much.
Capone: On WET HOT, was there much time for improv?
DW: No. In WET HOT, we basically had time to get the scripted material onto the film once or twice and move on. There was certainly playing around and goofing off. Whenever someone had an idea like “Oh, let’s try this,” we would try to do it and be flexible, which is something that I learned about how to do on "The State," because my directing on "The State" was all the second-unit smaller pieces that I would shoot myself with a camera--sort of the precursor to YouTube--so I tried to bring some of that flexibility into the bigger production, where it’s like, “No matter when the better idea comes, let’s try to do it, even if it feels like it’s too late.”
Capone: When you have a scene like the one with Paul in the dining room throwing things around and then picking them up, like a child, that doesn’t seem like something you could script.
DW: Well it actually was.
Capone: The way he does it?
DW: The way Paul does it so brilliantly and turned it into what is is was was all Paul, of course, but the actual nonverbal beats of what happens in the scene were in the script. From Mike Showalter and my point of view, we really just mainly tried to make it just a little interstitial moment to set up the fact that this character is lazy, to set up the joke about him throwing kids out the van, because we wanted to justify that in some weird way. But no one ever expected that it would become one of the more, the most memorable moments.
Capone: Were you in the theater when it was playing last night?
Capone: When that scene starts, people went crazy in the audience just knowing that was coming. That happened a couple of times, but I couldn’t believe it happened then.
DW: We had an anniversary celebration variety show in New York and Paul Rudd and Judd Apatow did a video piece when they were both shooting Judd’s movie [THIS IS 40] in LA at the time. And basically it’s Judd coming into Paul’s trailer and saying he’s got to go shoot the scene, and Paul just sort of has this look of like [rolls his eyes]… and right at that moment…
ZH: He’s like “I’ve got to go to the 10-year anniversary.”
DW: Yeah and Judd’s like “Well no, come on we’ve got to go do this other thing,” and as soon as Paul takes on just the slightest petulant behavior, like “I don’t want to do this thing,” the audience knew what the reference was and went nuts, and then he starts picking up things and throwing them down. It was awesome.
ZH: Also like an adolescent fantasy kind of thing, like a stubborn boy, “I don’t want to do this,” which is David’s M.O.
DW: A lot of people look at WET HOT on the surface and are like “Oh, it’s a spoof of '80s camp movies or a spoof of this and that,” and yes, it absolutely is that, but to me there are things like that that aren’t spoofing other movies. It’s actually to me just a funny moment that says something. It’s just a genuinely funny scene sourced in what people are like, not what other movies are like.
Capone: According to some of the stories you were telling last night, the movie is more of a docu-drama about your camp experience or Michael’s camp experiences.
DW: [laughs] I think it’s certainly based more on our lives versus other movies than people think. All of the earliest reviews were like, “These guys are spoofing HARD BODIES and…” I mean literally just naming all of these movies that I had never heard of, but then again so often you are influenced by a transitive property that you hadn’t seen, like bands today are influenced by the Beatles whether they realize it or not.
ZH: But that scene at the end when Katie tells Coop that she just wants to be friends, that’s totally yours and Showalter’s life experience, right?
DW: So much of the movie is really just our own actual life experience.
Capone: Confirm this for me if it’s true. I remember reading somewhere not long after "The State" went off the air that the cast had sort of made some sort of a pact that they would try to pull each other into whatever projects they had beyond "The State"?
DW: I don’t recall any sort of spoken pact. But it was a natural organic thing for us all to do.
Capone: But a lot of other comedy teams don’t do that, and for The State cast it’s still going on.
DW: I think it has to do with two things. One is those years that we were together, the seven years we were like super active as "The State" for us from ages 18 to 26, nearly 10 years, those years were so forming for us, and we all taught each other everything we knew about comedy exclusively. We also worked in a bubble; we weren’t really part of any other scene. We were in New York. It was pre-Upright Citizens Brigade, so there wasn’t really anybody else influencing us except ourselves really, and so we just really bonded. We were just absolutely family forever
And then the other factor for me, separate from that, is that they are the funniest people I know and the best performers and the best writers, and so I just so often times if I’m casting something or thinking about who to work with on something, I will go through various ideas in my head and then often end up with, “Well, the best person is Michael Black” or “The best person is Michael Showalter.” They're just the funniest people, and that’s what struck me when I first met them as a college freshmen at age 18, I was like “Jesus, these guys are just awesome.”
Capone: You mentioned last night that you and Michael Showalter had begun the writing process on a sequel for WET HOT.
Capone: Can you afford the cast with the same people?
DW: [laughs] Yeah, if we paid everyone their going rate, it would be like a $300 million movie. I think the only way we can do it is we are going to make the second one the same way we made the first one, which is for almost nothing, and everyone is going to come in and work for scale, and nobody’s going to make any money upfront, and we'll all share in whatever profits later. But we'll all do it for the fun of it, and so far just about everybody in the cast has said, “Just tell me when and we will do it,” so it’s been great.
Capone: Have you gotten to the point where you know the structure and when it’s going to take place or what the basic story is?
DW: Yeah, we have definitely charted out a lot of the broad strokes of what it is and what the story is and how it works. The challenge of making a second movie, particularly from a comedy, is that it so rarely ever works, because so much of what makes a comedy great is the freshness of it. But we really have studied that question, and I think we have come up with the version of the WET HOT movie that will both satisfy the fans of the first movie that are excited to see more and be its own separate entity that lives on its own merits and isn’t just a copy of the old one.
Capone: Will Paul be killing more children?
DW: I can’t comment on it any further on a story in process.
ZH: I can say that he comes back from the writing sessions so excited, the point of tears so happy.
Capone: Oh yeah?
DW: Well it’s funny, I haven’t worked as much with Michael Showalter in the last few years, because I’ve been doing more stuff on the west coast, but we've started this process of writing WET HOT AMERCIAN SUMMER again, and it’s like very much a feeling of where we were 13 years ago when we wrote the first script. I can’t believe that it’s actually coming very organically, and we are reconnecting to that world and our memories of what it was like to be that age again, so that’s nice.
Capone: Do you prefer to work with people you know? Is that just better for you?
DW: Starting with WET HOT, it’s been an ongoing combination of new people and old people in every way, and in every project I really love having both--the core, the comfort-zone people, and the reliability and the camaraderie of having people around that I’ve known for 25 years now, and then the excitement of having people that I don’t know at all who are great. It’s a very lucky wonderful thing to do.
We were shooing WANDERLUST last year in Atlanta, and it was just awesome to walk around the set and there’s Joe Lo Truglio and there’s Kerri Kenney and Ken Marino and these are people I have worked with consistently for more than two decades, and that’s just so cool. And then there’s Alan Alda and other people who I have never worked with in my life and that’s great too. But the family aspect makes the whole experience both more fun, and I think it helps the project. I’ve always thought when I first saw The New Group at NYU before it became The State--they did one show before I was in the group--I remember thinking, “Wow, they are having so much fun,” and I felt like that’s the whole key. “If they are having fun, then that becomes infectious if it’s inclusive,” and that’s what I’m always trying to do.
Capone: Since Paul [Rudd] wasn’t part of that original group, talk about your relationship with him and just why he’s always been your go-to guy in the films that you've made.
DW: It's because I'm lucky. Basically, I first met Paul in New York, because he had done ROMEO AND JULIET, and he had come to this play that we had been in. Basically, he just really as a fan, as a consumer of comedy, liked what we were doing and really got it. And then we did WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, and he gave such a transcendent performance and very quickly I started to realize just how insanely brilliant he is, and we just became friends, and over time it’s one of those things where I like to work with people who are simpatico.
He has such a unique combination of where he really has deep-seated tools and acting chops . He really, really has a screen presence and an ability to embody a character, just a straight-up great actor and he’s so funny and he’s creative and he’s a great writer and he’s very collaborative. He’s just got all of the qualities one would want, and just watching him on screen and watching him on dailies is just like, “God, he’s so good.” So far he’s been in four out of four movies that I’ve done.
ZH: Well he brought you into ROLE MODELS.
DW: He brought me into ROLE MODELS, yeah. I have him to thank for that absolutely, of course.
Capone: That’s right, because he had a hand in writing that too, didn’t he?
DW: He did, yeah. Ultimately the script that we ended up shooting was written by me and Ken Marino and Paul Rudd. He produced THE TEN with us, and then I produced with Ken Marino the movie that Ken wrote, DIGGERS, that Paul starred in. That’s really like five movies that we have done together, and I would do another five in a heartbeat; he’s just the greatest.
Capone: I haven't thought about DIGGERS in a while, but I did see that. That's a great little movie.
DW: It’s a really cool movie that anyone reading this interview should check out. It’s very under seen, but it’s really a beautiful, moving, very cool story that I was the executive producer on, but I ended up not being heavily involved in the shoot, because it was at the same time that we were doing "Stella."
Capone: It was actually because of that movie that I started to pay attention to the connective tissue between all of the films that Paul did.
DW: Of course, Paul Rudd is a member of every comedy clique.
Capone: He’s the bridge.
DW: I remember reading in an Austin newspaper once, there was a huge division chart of like, “What are all of the comedy clusters?” and there was like this cluster and it says what they are, what defines them, and then who all of the members are, and Paul was the only one that was in more than one list, he was in every list. [laughs]
Capone: Did the success of ROLE MODELS surprise in any way?
DW: I was relieved. We had worked on it for so long; it was my first studio project. It was a lot of work. It was a lot of tumults getting there in terms of we had come into this after another director had left and put it back together, and they had spent more money in post, and there were some reshoots. It was just a long road to get there, but by the time we opened, I was very happy with it and I thought that it was good. You just never know with movies, so I wasn’t shocked that it did well, because I thought it had the DNA to do well. I was very relieved and happy, because as my first studio project. And if it didn’t do well, it would likely be my last studio project, which might have been fine.
Capone: Talk a little bit about WANDERLUST, because I don’t really know that much about it other than who's in it.
DW: Well, it’s a script that Ken and I wrote. When Ken and I wrote THE TEN, it was a time when we both started getting busy in our lives and we decided to just take a full week and lock ourselves in a room and just come out with a first draft no matter how bad it was, and that’s how we wrote THE TEN. And then we decided to do it again with another idea, including coming up with the idea, and so we did that. We took a week and we locked the door, and we said, “Okay, what’s a good idea for a movie?” and we just started. We emerged from that weeklong with a very rough early draft of this movie, WANDERLUST, and then we soon after that got involved with ROLE MODELS, and so it went on the back burner.
Capone: So you wrote this that long ago?
DW: Yeah, and then it went in the drawer for a long time and then when ROLE MODELS finally finished, we took it back out and we significantly rewrote it and got a lot of feedback and we had some readings with actor friends, and we started the road of trying to put it together as a smaller-budget, quasi-indie type of movie. We weren’t going to have Paul be in it, even though we sort of wrote it for Paul, but he was going to be shooting DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS and then right into HOW DO YOU KNOW? So we would have had to wait a really long time. Then basically as things go, we got delayed and things took forever, and then eventually we got to the point where we were like, “It wouldn’t actually be all that much longer of a time to wait for Paul, and why would we ever do this without Paul?” [laughs]
And by this point, it wasn’t attached to any studio or anything like that and so we sent the script to Paul and we had showed him an earlier draft, but this was a much different draft. He read it and really loved it and so he came onboard as actor and producer, and then in very quick succession we then brought in Jennifer Aniston and then we brought in [producer] Judd Apatow, and then all of us together took it to Universal and then it got up and running, all of that very quickly. That was last spring, and then by last fall we were shooting it.
Capone: So what is it about?
DW: Oh right. [Laughs] It’s like, “How about my question?”
Capone: No, I care about that stuff too.
DW: It’s basically about a couple from Manhattan, not so unlike myself and my wife Zandy sitting at the table. They are living in a tiny apartment they can’t really afford, and long story short the bottom falls out from their lives, they lose their jobs and their home, and they have to leave Manhattan and they have to go down to Atlanta to stay with his brother who they hate, played by Ken Marino, and that is horrible. Meanwhile they've stumbled into this bed and breakfast on the way there that they found out turned out to be this commune, like a free-love-type commune, and all of these crazy people live there, but they're in a vulnerable place in their lives and they're really enamored by that sort of freedom and the lifestyle of like, “There’s no one way to live. You don’t have to follow life’s rules,” and so this Manhattan couple ends up moving into this commune, and antics ensue from there.
Capone: I’ve told Paul this before, but Jennifer Aniston is known for a certain kind of movie that the critics love to brutalize. People tend to forget that she’s done these other films--smaller things, supporting roles--and I think she excels in those roles. Which Jennifer Aniston is in this movie?
DW: In a way, our hope is that this is Option C. I think what we're going for is that Jennifers Aniston plays a character here that is like both all of the things that everybody loves about Jennifer Aniston, but it’s also definitely an edgy, out there, Wain-Marino type comedy that is not at all in anyway what you would expect her to do.
ZH: But she was up for everything, right?
DW: She was super up for everything. She was awesome. She’s a great sport. She loved the script from day one and she really got it, and really bonded with the whole cast in a big way and never said no to anything. She really is super cool and fit right in. [This interview was conducted before her supposed nude scenes were clipped from the movie.]
Capone: Did the fact that she and Paul had worked together before make a difference?
DW: Yeah, well they had also worked on "Friends" and OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION. That’s actually how we connected with her. She loves Paul, and I’m sure the reason she even opened up the script was partly… Well in fairness to me, she also had seen ROLE MODELS, and I had had one meeting with her maybe a year before just more of like a general meeting like, “I loved ROLE MODELS, and here’s some stuff I’m working on” kind of thing. So I think it was a combination of her being a fan of ROLE MODELS, which made her open to working with me, and she wanted to work with Paul, which brought her to it. We couldn’t think of anyone as great as she is. As you will see in the movie, the part in this movie is just perfect for her, so we're glad she did it.
Capone: Why the delay with the release date?
DW: It’s just one of those things--studio movies and their release schedules. Our post-production took longer than we expected for boring reasons. The original release date was in October, and I think that the studio felt like we weren’t quite going to be ready with the trailers and the marketing. That’s a whole area that I know very little about. So ultimately then they looked at the calendar and were like, “There’s not a really great date that would make sense based on when other movies are coming out until February 24,” and so that’s what they decided. It’s sort of above my pay grade to really understand a lot of that stuff, but we are told it’s a very good date and hopefully it will be good.
ZH: I think people will want to see a comedy in the depths of winter. [Laughs]
Capone: I LOVE YOU, MAN came out in March. Outside of your films, of Paul’s movies, what’s your favorite role that he’s done?
DW: A lot of his smaller ones are some of my favorite ones, like THE CHATEAU. It’s funny, interestingly Jesse Peretz, who is a very close friend of Paul’s and a friend of mine too…
Capone: He did OUR IDIOT BROTHER.
DW: Exactly. I think OUR IDIOT BROTHER and THE CHATEAU are two of my favorite performances he’s done for two very different reasons actual, since he’s playing two completely opposite characters. I’ve loved most of the performances from him. CLUELESS he’s great. I really love him in, well I do love him in DIGGERS as well. Of course I LOVE YOU, MAN, I just can’t get over what he does in that. KNOCKED UP is incredible.
Capone: Have you seen his scene that got cut from BRIDESMAIDS?
DW: I haven’t yet. I’ve heard about it.
ZH: Have you seen it?
Capone: Yeah, it’s on the DVD. It’s a really long sequence, and very funny.
DW: We usually download movies from Apple TV, so I guess we have to wait to see it. Maybe it’s on YouTube.
Capone: It will be if it’s not already. In doing research for this interview, I stumbled upon a clip of you and Paul when you were promoting THE TEN on this TV show, Keith Faison Show. I'm sure I'm late to the party on this one, but what the hell is going on there? It looks to me like you two have goofed on this guy’s show for a very long time, and then you find yourself on it by design, and you're trying very hard not to laugh in his face. It's one of the single most awkward interviews I've ever seen.
ZH: [rolling with laughter] You are so right.
DW: Let me explain. Paul Rudd and his wife, Julie, are very serious aficionados of specifically taping things off public access, and they discovered this guy Keith Faison, who is just the greatest.
Capone: He's so awful.
DW: There’s another link on our website too of another of my favorite interviews he does with Dee Dee Licorish, and Paul Rudd and I had watched that hundreds of times and can recite it for you, and the words from that interview come out in our daily conversations. So we thought, “Wouldn’t it be our dream to actually be interviewed by Keith Faison?” So we actually sought him out and asked him to interview us for THE TEN, and so that’s how that happened.
Capone: I love his style of finding a way to bring everything back to him.
Capone: It’s a gift.
DW: He has his own unique technique.
Capone: It’s Keith’s world, and we're just living in it.
DW: He’s wonderful.
Capone: Paul specifically said to ask you about something. He said you have the joke about CVS.
ZH: Oh no…
DW: All right, here it is. So, Steve, that show "60 Minutes", what network is that on again?
ZH: I hate Paul so much. He encourages this kind of behavior
Capone: [laughs] That’s it?
DW: That’s it.
ZH: He's the worst. He encourages this. He makes my life that much more difficult.
DW: But that’s the thing: Paul was the guy who introduced me to THE ROOM.
Capone: He did the same thing with me actually, and now I’m doing events at the same theater you were at last night with Tommy [Wiseau].
DW: Yeah, we were talking about that. But he and I both share just a huge absolute love for really really dumb stuff and really not funny stuff. And as Zandy says, he encourages that in me in a way that’s probably not healthy.
Capone: I remember we were down in Austin for SXSW a few years ago when I LOVE YOU, MAN screened down there, and a bunch of us went out to dinner, and he started talking about THE ROOM. Then [I LOVE YOU, MAN] director, John Hamburg, said “I’ve been in Paul Rudd’s bedroom, and he has a little nightstand, and the only thing on that nightstand is a copy of THE ROOM.”
DW: [laughs] There was a period of time when all he did was watch THE ROOM. He said, “You’ve got to come over and just watch this.” I’m like “What is it? What are you talking about? How are you? Let’s have a drink” “No, just watch this.” I’m like “Okay,” and then definitely within a minute of it I’m like, “Oh my God, get ready to watch it again.” I remembered, John Hamburg has a really nice home theater, and we invited a bunch of people over, and it was maybe 10 people who hadn’t seen it, and it was just like we had to stop every five minutes and roll it back.
ZH: Then after we were done, everyone was like, “I feel like I took LSD.”
Capone: I watched it at home by myself the first time and then that weekend I had like a dozen people over who had not even heard of the thing, and we all watched it together, and it became the obsession.
DW: It was a couple of years after that that I had seen it for the first time in a theater with an audience, and I defy you to name me a “real comedy” that gets laughs with every shot. You’ve got to hand it to that.
Capone: I do. Well, those are all of the questions that I came armed with. David, thank you so much.