Screenwriter Justin Theroux returns to his acting roots for a showy, silly role in the new DVD and Blu-ray release “Wanderlust”.
What appealed to you about WANDERLUST?
I loved the script and I loved the character. I wanted so badly to play that guy Seth.
What did you think when you read the script?
A: I laughed out loud which is always a good sign. I kept thinking to myself, “This is really funny!”
How do you see Seth, your character in WANDERLUST?
A: Seth is deeply sincere in his insincerity, a guy who actually believes the outrageous new age crap he spews. In his mind, the world revolves around him and he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with that. He’s the kind of guy who you could say “I’m really upset with you” to, and he would probably say “You have no idea how upsetting that is for me.” And make it about him. I think anything anyone says to him is always seen as a reflection of himself. A true narcissist.
How did you prepare for the role? Is there someone who inspired you?
First I grew a beard. Then I actually started looking at actual cult leaders who seem to be able to convince people to live the way they want them to. I also thought of those cool, rugged-looking revolutionary type guys from the 60’s that made you wonder about the true reasons behind their actions. Do they want to affect change or do they want to bang hot girls by saying they want to affect change.
Would you say Seth is a hypocrite?
He is a total hypocrite. Once he locks in a better deal he is prepared to leave everyone and his morals behind.
Was the character fun to play?
Just putting on Seth’s wardrobe every day made me laugh.
As an actor, do you prefer to play a character that is far away from who you really are rather than someone you may have more things in common with?
I think the closer you play to your true self, the harder it is. I am all about working out of my comfort zone.
Did you have to grow the beard and long hair to play Seth?
The hair on my head was a wig, but the beard was all me. When we were finished filming, I shaved the beard but then we had to go back and do some additional photography so I had to grow it back again. Not to brag, but it usually only takes me a month to squeak out a beard.
Were you familiar with your cast mates before working on WANDERLUST ?
Of course. I knew it was going to be a fun movie to make when I found out about the cast that was being put together. The WANDERLUST set had great energy. It was like going to art and theatre camp with a bunch of friends every day.
What do you believe Paul Rudd brought to his role as George?
Paul brings a grounded, wonderful kind of ‘every-guy’ aspect to his performance, and then is deeply funny to boot. George and Linda, played by Jennifer Aniston, are a genuinely loving couple that begin to sort of fall out of love. Then they discover Elysium, which becomes a place for them to reconnect, until they realize it might not be the best thing for their relationship. Linda and George are the heart of the film. They ground it.
What can you say about working with Jennifer Aniston?
Jennifer is one of the most present actresses I’ve ever worked with. She’s such a spontaneous performer and is always deeply rooted. Add to that, she is hysterically funny.
How was it to work with Alan Alda?
Alan is extremely funny, witty and smart. He probably understands comedy better than any of us. Getting to know him, you realize how his curiosity and great sense of humor continue to make him such a wonderful performer. Alan is just a genuinely funny and curious person who still really cares about acting.
How would you describe the experience of shooting a movie about a commune, on location, outside of Atlanta?
For us it was like being in the commune within the commune. I think it helped that we were on location because we probably wouldn’t have had the same experiences if we had been shooting the movie in LA. We were so far removed from our regular lives that we ended up entertaining each other. We would have dinners, parties and even do karaoke. It helped that everyone was so funny. We all genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.
How much improvising went on during the shoot?
Judd Apatow (Producer), David Wain (Director) and Ken Marino (Producer/Writer/Actor) were open to all ideas and encouraged everyone to bring anything they wanted to the table, as long as it was funny. We would usually shoot the script first and then take a couple of runs at it with improvisation. On top of that, David would also have surprise lines that he would throw at us from time to time. In the end, WANDERLUST is this beautiful mix of improvised, scripted and alternate lines.
You have worked with filmmaker David Wain before. What is he like?
David understands sketch comedy very well. And Ken has a great eye for what’s funny and also a great left of center way to write jokes through a particular prism. Often times the joke within the joke is the funniest, it’s just sometimes tougher to catch.
How involved was producer Judd Apatow in WANDERLUST?
Judd was shepherding it all along, even in post-production, to make sure the edit was as tight as possible. He was also there during rehearsals and even on set at times. Judd is great at not only knowing where the jokes should be but also knowing where the story needs to be heading for the audience in order to keep the pace moving along.
Do you think it would be a good idea to spend some time at a commune like Elysium?
No. Not necessarily. Elysium, but maybe an Elysium with a little more structure to it. However, I do think it’s good for people to check out or spend a couple of weeks somewhere where they are un-plugged from everything.
What was the experience of working on WANDERLUST like for you?
It was a wonderful reaffirmation of how you can have an enormous amount of fun, laugh a lot and adore the people you are working, all while making a good movie.
”Wanderlust” is available to rent or buy on Blu-‐ray & DVD from July 18th 2012.
Over taxed, over stressed and over everything life is throwing at them, loved up couple George and Linda (Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston), face their worst nightmare as they pack up their lives and move to Atlanta to live with George’s obnoxious brother (Ken Marino) and clueless wife (Michaela Watkins) until they can get back on their feet. While enroute to Atlanta the deflated couple accidentally find themselves venturing into Elysium, a small, free-‐ spirited community where money has no value, clothes are strictly optional and everyone works together to make life more meaningful. George and Linda cannot resist the temptation of a carefree lifestyle and commit to living in their very own Wanderlust. However it’s not long until there’s trouble in paradise. Between awkward sexual advances from other community members and hlauscinagenic episodes, the whole experience tests Linda and George’s commitment to each other. Full of hilarious moments, classic one-‐liners and dry witted sarcasm, Wanderlust will have audiences bent over with laughter at its very best.
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Out on Blu-ray and DVD from July 18.