He may play one on screen, but Dane Cook wants it on the record that heâ€™s the furthest thing from a bastard playboy. In fact, heâ€™s a big old softie.
Though heâ€™s played an immoral â€˜playerâ€™ in last yearâ€™s ”Good Luck Chuck” and now, ”My Best Friendâ€™s Girl”, the popular stand-up comedian says he treats women with the utmost respect. He thanks his older sisters for the knowledge heâ€™s acquired in helping keep a female happy.
â€œMy older sisters would come home from these horrible dates; theyâ€™d sit me down in my pajamas and proceed to tell me how to treat girls. So when I started dating I was heavily romantic, and treated the woman right. I usually play a salacious bastard but thatâ€™s certainly not how I approach relationships. If you talk to my exâ€™s they will all safe Iâ€™m a bit of a softie. Probably the dinner with the candles is more my style.â€
Cook based the character in his latest movie on a friend, Robert Kelly.
â€œI was very introverted and shy and he was so no-filter – so darn not afraid to say anything to anybody. My play would be that I would let Robert, and my other buddies, go to the girls and say whatever they liked to them, and when a girl was put off by that and started to slowly kind of walk away, I would go up to the girl â€“ I was the clean-up guy. Iâ€™d apologize for my crazy friends.
â€œI was the sensitive guy. Thatâ€™s how I would get the girls.â€
â€œThing isâ€, adds Cook, â€œif you are [the] nice-sensitive guy you might also be setting yourself up to a four-hour conversation about their favourite poems or the story about â€˜my uncle that touched me, funny, when I was tenâ€™. You better be ready for a long nightâ€.
Cook jumped at the chance to star in ”My Best Friendâ€™s Girl” as soon as he read the script â€“ at which point it was titled â€˜Bachelor No. 2â€™ (â€œI understood why they changed it because most people wouldâ€™ve thought it was a sequel to a bad Chris Oâ€™Donnell movieâ€, says Cook).
â€œI wanted to do one more R-rated comedyâ€, the star of the sexy 2007 comedy ”Good Luck Chuck”, co-starring Jessica Alba, says. â€œI know that my fan demographic is vast, but I wanted to do another R-rated film. Iâ€™d done the raunchy sex-romp, with Chuck, so this time decided that Iâ€™d like to do something in which we omit the sexual stuff but keep the coarse language.â€
Cook remembers the point in the script where he knew he was in love with the material.
â€œThereâ€™s a point in the script where [my character] says â€˜Iâ€™m gonna make her lose her script like a shit collector with amnesiaâ€™. I remember thinking, â€˜Iâ€™m going to be saying that for the rest of my life anyway, whether I do this movie or not. I called my team up and said â€˜I think this is the one that I want to put my heart and soul into and battle to the deathâ€™.â€
Just as he did on Chuck, Cook helped out a bit on punching up some of the jokes in the Best Friendâ€™s Girl script.
â€œMy strength is, if you come to me and say â€˜This scene is weak. Do you have some notes?â€™ Well, yes, I have some notes â€“ theyâ€™re already ready to go â€“ but I certainly believe that this is a democracy, and everyone has an equal amount of say – and so they should, they all work just as hard â€“ and not everything I want should end up in the movie. So there are a certain amount of scenes that I really pushed to put into the movie â€“ because it was more suited to my style of comedy – and then there moments when I said â€˜Iâ€™d like to try and challenge myself as an actor-comedian and give that a try, even though itâ€™s not normally my thingâ€™. So yeah, I helped but not a lotâ€.
One of the funniest moments in the film doesnâ€™t involve Cookâ€™s character but his on-screen best friend, played by American Pie star Jason Biggs. Making a sudden move in the hairdresserâ€™s chair, the character finds himself suddenly eyebrow-less.
Cook says Biggs was such a professional that he was â€œgoing to shave his eyebrows, but [Biggs] ended up doing a lot of research on the internet â€“ he said thereâ€™s a site called dontshaveyoureyebrows.com, with all these warnings that it doesnâ€™t grow back the same way as hair on your body â€“ and ended up going with a prosthetic fake thing. It looked realâ€.
â€œI shaved my testiclesâ€, cheekily adds Cook. â€œFor no reason whatsoever but just as a show of appreciation for Jason.â€
Cook had a great time with Biggs on the film.
â€œPeople want to pigeonhole [Biggs]â€, Cook says, referring to the actorâ€™s legendary role as â€˜Jimâ€™ in the ”American Pie” movies. â€˜â€™Heâ€™s always â€˜the guy with the pieâ€™ but I think in this he gets to show his strengths. He does some great stuff in this. He shows a different side of his comedy. Itâ€™s a breath of fresh air for Jason and Iâ€™m really glad to hear that people are enjoying seeing him in the part. Heâ€™s a funny cat.â€
Cook also gets to share scenes with one of his idols, Alec Baldwin. He recalls a day on set where he finally got to courage to admit to Baldwin his love of his work in the acclaimed ”Glengarry Glen Ross”.
â€œIâ€™d made a DVD, which was in my office, which kinda pumped me up, which featured all my favourite scenes from my favourite movies â€“ like Reservoir Dogs and The Empire Strikes Back. And it also had [Baldwinâ€™s] whole 7-minutes from Glengarry Glen Ross. So to sit with this man, and be collaborating ideas and vice versa, and then looking at him one day and saying â€˜Alec, coffeeâ€™s for closersâ€™ and having him shake my hand and say â€˜youâ€™re damn rightâ€™ is tremendous!â€.
The only thing about the movie the actor wasnâ€™t pleased with was the filmâ€™s theatrical poster. Famously, Cook mentioned on his MySpace page that â€œWhoever photoshopped our poster must have done so at taser point with 3 minutes to fulfill their hostage takers deranged obligationsâ€ and â€œThe left side of my face seems to be melting off of my skull. I guess I am looking directly into the Ark of the Covenant? Are they going for the bells palsy thing here? My left side looks like Brittany Spears’ vagina.â€
He meant what he said, but he didnâ€™t mean to ruffle anyoneâ€™s feathers with the comments.
â€œI had a little funny with the posterâ€, says Cook, following his words up with a devilish smile. â€œSome people were saying â€˜were [the filmâ€™s American distributor] Lionsgate upset?â€™ but I come from a stand-up comedy background where you only roast the ones you love. I think it was more self-deprecating on me. If the movie makes a $100 million dollars then I get to change the posterâ€.
Though heâ€™s appeared in several films now, including the Kevin Costner thriller ”Mr. Brooks”, the comedy ”Waiting”, and Jessica Simpson vehicle ”Employee of the Month”, Cookâ€™s still relatively new to the scene and as far as the critical community is concerned, remains unproven. The actor says he still gets a little upset reading some of his reviews but realizes theyâ€™ll probably never be his audience so it doesnâ€™t matter matter.
â€œI read every single review when I first started â€“ a couple out of ego, but a lot of it because I just wanted to know if Iâ€™m doing anything wrong. I wanted to know if there was a glimmer of hope for me â€“ whether I could add anything to the Hollywood legacy. And so, I read the worst quote ever about myself that said â€˜Dane Cook gives one of the worst performances to ever disgrace the silver screenâ€™. I was sitting by myself, in my office, near weeping and then I thought â€˜thereâ€™s nowhere to go but upâ€™. So early on, when they would attack me, and I would read them, I would be pretty bummed out about it but nowâ€¦. I just think there are some critics out there who just yield mallets and canâ€™t wait to swing them. They just know great vicious words. See thereâ€™s better words for vicious reviews than there are for complimentary reviews â€“ you know somebody just wants to use those [vicious] words. It still gets under my skin a bit, but I try and focus on the fan reviews â€“ thatâ€™s the stuff that really matters. My job is to keep the people that have come with me, pleased. Too many people are focused on trying to get those people â€˜over thereâ€™ to love me and not keeping those people happy who already love you.â€
Having said that, doing movies gets easier because Cook slowly gets more confidence.
â€œI used to think when I was 25 â€˜Why canâ€™t I make it now?â€™ â€“ Iâ€™m so glad I didnâ€™t. I have the focus and experience now that I didnâ€™t have back then. So yeah, it has got a little bit easierâ€.
Though heâ€™s got nothing directly lined-up at the moment â€“ he is planning an international comedy tour for 2009; Australia being one of the places heâ€™ll bring it â€“ Cook has written a comedy script heâ€™d love Meryl Streep to star in with him. He knows itâ€™s a long shot, but knowing Streepâ€™s penchant for comedies, doesnâ€™t think itâ€™s a dead-end.
â€œI loved her in Devils Wears Pradaâ€, Cook says of the Oscar-Winning actress. â€œIâ€™ve written a comedy script, where if she were to ever play my mother in this film I think it would be a tremendous collaboration.â€™â€™
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