Capone has angry couples counseling with I LOVE YOU, MAN's Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressly!!!
Published at: March 18, 2009, 12:06 p.m. CST by Capone
Hey all. Capone in Austin, Texas, here. I teased you a couple days ago with the sliver of my interview with Jon Favreau from SXSW that had to so with casting on IRON MAN 2. In actuality, most of our interview was focused on his new film as an actor, I LOVE YOU, MAN, in which he plays the biggest bastard in the world. His inexplicably tolerating wife is played by the lovely and insanely funny Jaime Pressly, who is, as far as I'm concerned, the funniest thing on "My Name Is Earl," a show I watch religiously. I actually interviewed Favreau and Pressly together, and a small part of me wanted to ask them to do the interview in character, since they are so aggressively entertaining in the film as the antithesis to the seemingly perfect relationship between Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones. Any let's jump right in with the happiest couple in America, who negotiate for sex and fight like wolverines who haven't eaten in a week. Just so you know, Favreau has recently discovered Twitter, and was Tweeting every five minutes his entire time in Austin, including when I came in the room to talk to him. Enjoy…
Jon Favreau: So I Twittered from the airplane bathroom on my way to Austin and took a picture and sent it out and called it "Shitter Twitter," and it got picked up by Defamer and Gawker. And the best part was, it said, "Photo by Jon Favreau. I got a photo credit for my photo.
Capone: That's entirely appropriate. That's good journalism.
JF: That's the new age, man. I caught on in less than a week.
Capone: Did you give much thought to Denise and Barry--The Early Years, when these two might have actually been a loving couple?
Jaime Pressly: I didn't give much thought to the early years. I think we gave more attention to where they were at right now in their relationship.
JF: Once I found out I had a small cock, that gave me all the backstory I needed. Hot wife, small cock, lot of money, 40 pounds overweight, Jew-fro--I knew I wasn't a happy guy. That was the real revelation. I was so busy with finishing IRON MAN, and [director John] Hamburg said, "I really want you to play this part." I'm still an actor at heart, and when someone says they wrote a part for me, it's really flattering, especially Hamburg. I've know about his writing for so long, never worked with him. And I said to my agent, let's just find the time for this thing; he said he wrote the part for me. And then I read that Jaime says, "I'm 40 pounds overweight, I have a Jew-fro, and a small dick." And I'm thinking, "Thanks so much for thinking of me, John. I'm glad I inspired you." It's interesting to see how people see you. But it did also give me the excuse--because we really are peripheral color to the movie--but it gave us the permission to go as hard as we wanted. There were no likability issues.
JP: If you're the lead, you have to make sure that everybody cares about you enough and that there's a lot of heart in those characters. The only time you see heart in Denise and Barry is at the end when she says, "I'm pregnant."
JF: It's amazing to me, thought, having written and been in things and dealing with notes in directing, people are adamant about what makes a character likable and what you want to watch, and with this, we were just as brutal--even the shit that's in the movie isn't as brutal as the stuff that isn't in the movie. We were brutal as could be, and everybody says, "I love your characters."
JP: They say those characters and that couple was the most realistic out of everybody.
JF: And we're the most over-the-top, crazy…
JP: We just kept going, and each take was bigger than the last, and we were throwing F-bombs left and right, to he point where Hamburg had to come up and say, "Maybe a little less on the F-bombs."
JF: Just about the "fucks," but everything else, they were loving it. We were just so cruel, and we did so many takes.
Capone: The sexual bartering is the stuff that disturbed me the most.
JF: It bothered me a lot. I don't if that happens more than people are willing to admit. When I talk to people about that aspect of their relationship, there's a sadness to that that we never really deal with.
JP: Well, yeah. If you're with your wife, your husband, your significant other, and you have to barter to get them to sleep with you, there are some really big, underlying issues that you aren't even paying attention to.
JF: Maybe you don't belong together. And I think that any couple that's together that doesn't have to be, there's something driving them and a powerlessness to the relationship. Look, I have a beautiful wife and we have…we're attracted to each other, and just from having kids and being together for so long, it's difficult to keep sex new and fresh and to make it a priority like we did when we first met each other. That I get. But there's never been a problem with somebody finding the other person distasteful, and to me there is such a sadness to that notion. It gave me a lot that I had to know about this dude, that he is in a relationship that he's either with a woman that he feels is too good for him, which says something about somebody and how insecure they might be, or it says that he doesn't have the courage to get out of a relationship that isn't healthy, and he'd rather stay in it and beat the shit out of the other person emotionally. That's terrible too. And I find that unhappy people, once you've got that at your core, it justifies any sort of behavior. So I just went at everybody; I was like an injured animal for this movie. From that point on, once you have it justified, you just let it off the hook and have a great, fun time with it.
Capone: For a film that is, on the surface, all about men, the scenes of the women talking to each other are the hidden gems of the film.
JF: I think so, too.
JP: I think the film shows what really goes on with me and what really goes on with women behind closed doors when they get together. I think the difference between men and women, which we show in the film, is that when a man falls in love with a woman and decides that's going to be his wife or this is the girl I'm going to be with, he stops talking about their intimate life and personal details with his friends. He stays on the surface about her because he's more protective of her and doesn't really want to discuss her or her body or what they do behind closed doors. Women, we will talk about that stuff until the day we die, whether we're in love or not. We get together, and there is no detail that we will spare. We just roll with it and talk. It's not like, "Oh, I'm in love now, so I'm not going to tell you about what we do in bed." We fall love and we're talking more. We've got more to tell. It's very different. I've been in the Man Cave and been the only woman among men and listened to everything, and they have not screened anything around me. There's no not letting it all out because I'm there. But just being with other women, I can tell you women are terrible [laughs]. We get together and we say things that are much more crude and rude in the way that we speak to each other about the intimate details than the men can are.
Capone: I'm a Day One watcher of "My Name Is Earl," and I said in my review of I LOVE YOU, MAN that the only flaw with that show is that Joy can't swear. So to hear you cut loose in the manner you're talking about is filling that void in my life.
JP: I absolutely remember reading your review. It was actually nice to be able to do that. I do play a character on the show that is so strong.
Capone: Yeah, but in the real world she'd be swearing.
JP: Of course.
JF: You see, I like her on the show because she says so many fucked up things. I buy that she's too classy to swear, but she's saying the most awful shit about people and their kids.
JP: Like when Marlee Matlin, a couple seasons ago became Joy's lawyer, and Joy starts laughing at her. And Marlee says, [in Marlee's voice] "What? What is it?" And I'm like, [with full-on Joy accent] "I'm sorry, it's just so funny. If you could hear how you sound." You can't say shit like that in the real world.
JF: That's awesome.
JP: This character, you believe, would. And it's just like the character in this film. You believe she can pull it off and cuss and get away with it.
JF: It's coming from a different place. That show has a real heart. The whole story of "My Name Is Earl" is about redemption, so what's nice is that instead of making it fucking "Touched By An Angel," they took a very significant religious archetypal story and completely change the whole way it's presented so that it totally takes the piss out of it, makes it entertaining and disguises a very earnest story that's being told. I think they found the pitch-perfect tone, and I'm not surprised it has been so successful for so long.
Capone: Why is having sex with the lights on so important to Barry, and why is having sex with the lights off so important to Denise?
JP: I can tell you, women just feel so much more comfortable when the lights are off, because women are just so much more insecure with their bodies.
JF: I think it's a power thing too, because she doesn't like it. It's such a gross relationship to me [laughs]; I really couldn't wrap my head around that. I probably had the most difficulty with those scenes because I didn't understand where he was coming from. It sounds so silly. There are women, I guess, who either don't like to have sex or have sex with their guy. And guys are generally hornier than women.
JP: And guys don't normally have the same issues with their bodies. They're like, "Whatever. Sex--let's do this."
JF: And a woman wants the lights off and for everything to be quiet, as though they're suffering through a traumatic experience and wanted to get it over with.
JP: [laughs] Yeah, that's so terrible, though.
JF: But I think they've also had good sex too, but it only happens on rare occasions, like in Jamaica. Clearly there were moments…
JP: …when they both wanted it, and it was enjoyable.
JF: Or she was at least putting on a better show. So I want the enthusiasm and that whole thing. But it's also a big turn on…I think a lot of what you see between them in the arguing is foreplay. It's like puppies fighting. I think it's power play; it's fuck or fight.
JP: It's like make-up sex. They break up to make up. And they argue, argue, argue to the point where it escalates to the point where they can't stand each other, and then they have sex.
JF: I think they dig it, because they get so pissed at each other. It's like, "I'm going to fucking teach you a lesson. Shut the fuck up. What the fuck did you say to me?"
Capone: I love it when Jon saying they're going to have sex "all night long." And Jaime says, "Whatever." It'll be five minutes as usual.
JP: [laughs] Yeah.
Capone: It's kind of remarkable, Jon, all of the IRON MAN responsibilities you had while shooting this movie. I mean, the film actually opened while you were shooting. That's incredible. Were you impossible to be around, either because you were anxious or because you were getting a big head about it?
JP: No, he was humble the whole time doing this film, because even if he wanted to get a big head, the minute he would start feeling, "Yeah." We'd say thing like he was 40 pounds overweight with a Jew-fro and a small dick. Or he gets thrown up on.
JF: It all comes back to my small cock. I did get thrown up on. I had a hernia. I would be in my fucking double banger, sharing a trailer. My assistant would come and try to help. I would have to ask her politely to leave, so I could use the bathroom, because it was really a one-room thing with a toilet in it--a prison cell. And my assistant would be sitting outside waiting for me to relieve myself. I'd come in, I'd be working on a Dreamworks movie; I'm number 11 on the call sheet; I'm sitting waiting for my one line of coverage. I'm sitting there and have [Dreamworks chief Jeffrey] Katzenberg calling me on the phone, congratulating me for IRON MAN, and there I am sitting in a trailer on his movie, like a stunt man sitting in his honeywagon. It was two worlds colliding at the same time. But probably the best thing I could have done that week, because my deal wasn't going through on the [IRON MAN] sequel, so it's good that my mind was taken off of that. Generally that comes together very quickly, but because it was new territory for Marvel, it took a long time to figure out that I was going to be on the next one. And then I was also not obsessing on the success or failure or how business way going on the movie from day to day. When something really great or horrible happens in your life, it's hard not to get sucked into it and have it own you. It's not fun. It's very traumatic in a weird way because your life in changing, so to be doing a mundane, day-to-day job of just being a hired gun supporting actor and be able to lose myself in that was a really fortunate turn of events.
Capone: And be a part of something you're not in charge of.
JF: That was good.
JP: That's good and bad, easy and difficult, because when you are coming from directing to acting, and your film has done so well and you're used to shooting quickly, and you go and someone else is in charge, you can't really go and say, "Okay, we got it. Let's move on." That's also a humbling thing, I'd imagine.
JF: It's a different way to work too, because [Hamburg] has to do lots and lots of takes and try all sorts of different things. And looking how it's cut together, he really did find the best stuff. So he clearly had a vision for it, it was just…I'm mean, you shoot coverage for eight people, that's different. It's hard.
Capone: Since you brought up IRON MAN 2, I have to ask. There has been a lot of IRON MAN 2 news flying around in the last few days. What's true? What's not?
JF: I can't confirm any casting stuff because there have been no announcements made, but let me say that the people that have deals that should all be finalized in our cast this week, I should hope…it's a different process being that Marvel is not a big studio and they don't really have the infrastructure to get things out there; it's not as streamlined as a studio, so I apologize to the fans for not being able to say things as quickly as possible. But they really want to have legal protections and not officially say things until everything is done. But, I'm very excited about the people that we have. There are no big surprises in casting coming that I can foresee [laughs]. It's going to be a really, really good group of people and a story that takes advantage of our cast but is in inundated and doesn't get too complex because of the number of new people that we're adding, which is always a tar pit for these superhero movies, you always have to make sure that you add the characters in a smart way.
Capone: Are you quietly relieved that Samuel L. Jackson has signed on to play Nick Fury for a billion movies or something like that?
JF: [laughs] I wasn't worried that Sam signing a nine-picture deal was going to hold up my movie, no. That would have been really bizarre if that had happened.
I also want to thank you. I've been watching your coverage of I LOVE YOU, MAN through Ain't It Cool. With movies like this, I think the movie in many ways is better than the concept, and it really relies on word of mouth, because of the way it was executed and the way it was cast, the way it was directed and edited. It's the tone and soft touch of the film that I really like. If you had pitched me this movie, I don't know if the concept is something that I would have been drawn to. At my age, at this point in my life, but when you add the cast and the way it was done, it's a movie I'm really proud of and love watching, and I flew down here--I'm four weeks out from shooting [IRON MAN 2] because I do believe in it. And I have to say, your support of the film with the screening in Chicago and just keeping people aware of it and giving people a forum to comment who've seen it. That's the best of what the internet has to offer in supporting a film from the grassroots level.
JP: Word of mouth is nine times our of 10 more important than the bus stop ads and all the other stuff.
JF: It is.
JP: Bus stop ads are just posters. When people have actually seen it and can comment on it and enjoy it and they put them up in the forums and stuff, it helps us more than any money they could possibly spend on these press junkets.
JF: It spread virally. And for a movie like this, certainly. I think the movie is stronger than the marketing idea. They are all over the place with the marketing in a good way; it pops up everywhere. And the commercials are up. But I watch the commercials and they're trying to get the experience, but you can't do it in 30 seconds. And thanks to you giving them a more comprehensive view of the film, I think people are getting a better idea what this film does. I saw SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. If you'd told me what that movie was about, I would have never seen it. But I'd heard it was good and something I had to see, and I really enjoyed it. And I think we live in an age where it's not just about the message being presented to you on billboards. It's about other people--whether it's on Twitter or Yelp about a restaurant or a movie--the buzz gets out there. I felt that on the first IRON MAN from Comic-Con. And you've been at the forefront personally for this particular film, and we appreciate it and understand the value of it.
Capone: Thanks. You guys made the great movie; I just called it like I saw it.
JP: We appreciate it.
Capone: It was great meeting both of you, thanks.