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Horrible Bosses 2 Interview : Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman sat down with press on set of “Horrible Bosses 2,” to chat sequels and being back together again with the gang.

How does it feel to be back together after all of these years?

It does feel like a direct continuation, there’s a rhythm that the three of us easily fall into and didn’t take a lot of warming up to do that on this one. It probably helped that we did a lot of work on the script, so we’ve been at this a few months before we started shooting.  So, we kind of knew what we wanted to do with each scene and what kind of role each one of us was going to play in each scene, who was going to be angry, who was going to be dumb…you know.

Have you been improvising?

Yes, absolutely. The director’s got to tell us to shut up.  I’m sure the audience will think as they watch it too, there’s some kind of a natural yammer that happens with the three of us, and I don’t know what it is, but it sort of keeps this three-headed character alive. It’s the way the three-headed character breathes, is to either constantly be bickering or griping or commenting on something and fortunately we know when or when not to talk over one another and it just sort of braids into one character’s dialogue.

Is there a process in pre-production for you all as a team and is there a democracy to that process or…

Although we’ve never spoken of it, there’s at least something that exists there that is reliant on this sort of mutual respect and admiration we have for one another.  We respect each other’s sense of humor, and if we can make the other two laugh, then that’s a great thing.  We care about making each other laugh so that really fuels it.  As far as the democracy of the process, there’s somehow a sense that the three of us know when something really matters to one of the three of us, the other two just kind of shut up and live to fight another day. There might be another scene down the line that the other person cares more about.  The three of us can kind of make a good argument for doing things our way, and so you can have three legitimate different directions to go in each scene and Sean Anders, the director, has been great at navigating that.  I don’t envy his position in the middle of all that, but somehow it’s all worked out and I think we’ve got something better than the first I hope.

Jason Bateman in "Horrible Bosses 2"
Jason Bateman in “Horrible Bosses 2”

As you approached the sequel, is it important that you’re not repeating that same elements of the first?

To a certain extent you want to repeat a lot of the elements because you’re telling people if you liked the first one, then come see the second one, that’s why we put a two on the end of it, but you don’t want things to be too predictable, you want to give satisfying twists, and a bit of an escalation from the first one, but you also don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We’re not chasing any academy awards here and we don’t want to give anybody a mind cramp with the film, we want to make people laugh. So, there’s kind of a weird cocktail there that we’re trying to be respectful of in the script development process. I think we managed to do what we did in the first one which is give a satisfying plot as well as a satisfying layer of humor through it as well. So, we’ll see but it feels good.

You’re all pretty good buddies with different senses of humor; do you ever annoy each other?

It’s nothing we ever speak of but you can tell that we have very different ways of going about what it is that we do. Some people call it process but that’s kind of an actor-y term we don’t really use around here but I guess it’s appropriate.  It’s not annoying but for three people who share one character, it is something that out of respect for the other two people in that character, you have to respect that there’s a different way that they get to the mutually agreed upon finish line. There’s never really been a problem with that, probably because the three of us are very mindful and respectful.

In the first film, each of the characters had a moment to themselves with their own bosses, is that the same for this film?

No, in this one I don’t think there’s a scene that the three of us are not together.  I don’t think we’re ever apart, which I don’t know if that’s good or bad but we’re having fun.

Can you give us any clues as to Jennifer’s involvement?

Her character has an element that we need to execute our shitty plan. So she plays a significant role in this thing and she was great. We had a really, really fun time doing her parts.

Kevin Spacey is back?

Yeah, he also has something that can help and we go to visit him in prison.

Has there been a particular scene where you couldn’t stop laughing or hold it together?

Yeah, it happens once every other day. We’ll be involved in something that’ll just kind of make us all laugh but you want to stop that pretty soon because usually the crew isn’t really aware of what you’re doing. They’re doing their job while we’re doing our job and you have to be respectful of other people’s time.  So, you try to get rid of the giggles.

What do you want the audience to expect for the sequel?

I hope that we deliver on what we’re telling them we’ve got, which is an escalation from what you enjoyed in the first one. So, if they liked the first one, then they’ll like this one better. That’s what we’re expecting them to expect.  That’s what’s informed our writing process, our acting process, our shooting schedule, and ultimately, the editing and the marketing. You’re trying to elevate it, escalate it.  I think there’s an obligation to do that, but also an obligation to scratch a familiar itch. You’re serving them the same food, you just want to cook it a little differently but you don’t want to change the meal entirely.

Outside of the three of you, who has surprised you the most, with the new additions to the cast, with their comedic timing?

Well, Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine have been doing a really, really good job. They both have a less obvious comedic history than the three of us, so you’re not really positive of what you’re going to get. It was great to see them come in and approach this comedic effort with the same kind of talent, pedigree and  uality that they do their more prestigious projects with. There’s a great credibility and as I said pedigree they leant to the film.

Any more sequels on the horizon?

Well of course. I hesitate to comment at all because oftentimes, a more generic response from me is thrown up there as an update, which, I have no update, let’s be clear. But if you ask me, if you like those people and you like this product, of course, how could you not want to spend more time with them?

 

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Jason Bateman – Horrible Bosses 2