Nick Stoller and Jonah Hill chat GET HIM TO THE GREEK and the new MUPPET MOVIE with Quint!
Published at: June 8, 2010, 11:30 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. You may think I’m a little late with this, but I assure you it was by design.
When I sat down with Nick Stoller and Jonah Hill a few weeks ago I had no idea we would be talking so in-depth about a crucial moment from the end of the movie, but when we did cover this naughty territory Stoller seemed nervous about too much being spoiled and requested that I hold the interview until after the film opened.
So, I gave GET HIM TO THE GREEK the weekend and now I present the interview, which I think turned out extremely fun. There’s one audio clip in the interview that shows just how loopy we all were in this early morning. Make sure to click on it to get the full experience!
Also, pay close attention towards the end where Nick Stoller discusses his work on the next MUPPET MOVIE!!!!
Jonah Hill: What’s going on, man? Nice to see you.
Quint: Lots and screw you guys for doing this so early!
Jonah Hill: (laughs) Oh man…
Nick Stoller: We’ve been up for hours.
Jonah Hill: We’ve been up since like six, dude.
Quint: Fuck that.
Nick Stoller: What time is it?
Quint: That’s how I feel.
Nick Stoller: It’s 11:45.
Quint: This is early for me. I’m a night person and I had to write my ROBIN HOOD review, so…
Jonah Hill: How did it go?
Nick Stoller: How is it?
Quint: You know ROBIN HOOD is a weird movie because it starts off where it’s just kind of there. For most of the movie and you are like “Okay… well it’s not bad, but it’s not really great, but it’s there…” And then it really kind of shits the bed in the last act.
Jonah Hill: “Shits the bed!” (Laughs)
Nick Stoller: It looks super boring.
Jonah Hill: I heard it’s like two hours and forty-five minutes.
Quint: It’s long. It’s like two thirty or something and still it feels like they chopped twenty minutes out of the movie like right at the end.
Nick Stoller: Was there good action?
Quint: No, that’s the disappointing thing. You can look at even Ridley Scott’s more mediocre movies and the action is always really great. At the end of Robin Hood is the big action scene, the one you see in all of the commercials on the beach, and shit just happens. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it. It feels like he sent out a bunch of second unit people and said “Go grab as much as you can and we will figure it out in the edit.” There just isn’t really a…
Nick Stoller: A focus?
Quint: A focus, yeah. But enough about that movie! Did you guys dig the screening last night?
Jonah Hill: Yeah.
Nick Stoller: Yeah, it was fun.
Jonah Hill: The Drafthouse is the greatest place to show a movie.
Nick Stoller: It really is. It’s just awesome.
Jonah Hill: The Paramount too, but just Austin in general… The audiences… We’ve talked about this before; it’s just fucking unreal. When you bring a good movie somewhere, this is the first place you want to show it.
Nick Stoller: Mainly for the music they are playing in this room right now.
[Slow jazz is playing in the background.]
Jonah Hill: This has been playing the whole time.
Quint: Oh really?
Jonah Hill: Yeah and when it gets quiet and awkward and this music plays, it just makes it so uncomfortable.
Nick Stoller: Yeah, but it was like… I’ve seen the movie so many times and needed to watch it with the audience here because this is just a great place.
Jonah Hill: Yeah, you don’t want to burn out on it, because you get to see it so many times, especially Nick, but we were on the plane and we were just like “We’ve got to go tonight to the Drafthouse and drink beer and watch it.”
Quint: I think that you are right that it’s very much an Alamo thing. Filmmakers tend to watch their movies with Alamo crowds. Even when Favreau came and showed IRON MAN 2 he sat and watched the whole thing again.
Jonah Hill: Of course!
Quint: I’m sure the beer has a lot to do with it.
Jonah Hill: But it’s the people and the energy, man. People appreciate the hard work and they appreciate film here.
Nick Stoller: They’re real film fans.
Jonah Hill: So if the movie’s good, it’s like the best way to be proud of the work you have done, to appreciate it with people who are like-minded.
Nick Stoller: The laughs are interesting, too. They are different than other places, like the Paul Krugman laugh got a way bigger laugh, his reveal, here than anywhere else, so it’s just stuff like that which is cool to experience here. Yeah, I love watching movies here in Austin.
Quint: And Austin is interesting too because it’s not just a movie town, it’s also a music town and music plays such a big part of the movie, so seeing Lars Ulrich pop up was kind of playing to this particular audience.
Nick Stoller: We cut the song out of the movie. I wanted to keep it, but…
Jonah Hill: This one?
Nick Stoller: Yeah, this song.
Jonah Hill: It’s so crazy that they didn’t realize we were in this room with this music. Just listen to it! Just be quiet for one second!
Nick Stoller: I play sax on this. It’s called “Nautilus.”
Jonah Hill: Like it’s the perfect volume… It’s called what?
Nick Stoller: I call it “Nautilus.”
Jonah Hill: “Nautilus…” (laughs)
Nick Stoller: It’s me and my band, “Dreamwave.”
Jonah Hill: “Dreamwave!” (laughs) He’s been rehearsing over Skype with the rest of the band in LA. I’ve been noticing that.
Nick Stoller: Yeah… You’ve been noticing that? (Laughs)
Jonah Hill: I’ve been noticing you rehearsing saxophone with a full band on Skype.
Nick Stoller: It’s great; we can all do it because my whole band, Dreamwave, lives all over the world, so… The keyboardist in Norway.
Quint: And you’ve never met, I’d assume.
Nick Stoller: Not in person. We record our instruments separately and then I put it all together on my Mac.
Quint: Whenever you play shows, you just bring your macbook and set it up?
Nick Stoller: We don’t play shows. This music is best not live.
Quint: This is where it really thrives!
Nick Stoller: When it’s live it can’t be as precise.
Quint: But this music does make it difficult to concentrate, doesn’t it?
Jonah Hill: It just brings a weird environment to the room.
Nick Stoller: Actually, it makes the room feel like purgatory.
Jonah Hill: Like it forces you to feel weird.
Jonah Hill: I’m totally comfortable with you and I’m totally comfortable with you, but for some reason it makes me uncomfortable.
Nick Stoller: I feel like he’s about to decide whether to go to heaven or hell.
Jonah Hill: It’s purgatory music.
Jonah Hill: It seems like Defending Your Life, like you are just in a waiting room just waiting. It’s like a dentist’s office.
Nick Stoller: A dentist’s office plays better music. They have magazines to break the awkwardness.
Jonah Hill: I’m going to bring a HIGHLIGHTS magazine with me next time.
Jonah Hill: Cruise through a puzzle on HIGHLIGHTS…
Nick Stoller: We have an interview with HIGHLIGHTS later…
Jonah Hill: I’m going to be on the cover of HIGHLIGHTS!
Nick Stoller: “What’s wrong with this picture?” You’re like, it’s heroin up your ass…
Jonah Hill: “Pediatric orthodontics and GET HIM TO THE GREEK’S Jonah Hill.” (laughs)
Quint: It’s like a form of immortality, because that will be in dentist offices and doctor’s offices for the next ten years. As a matter of fact, they probably won’t be there until ten years from now.
Jonah Hill: That’s right; well HIGHLIGHTS magazine will be on an iPad, right?
Nick Stoller: Totally.
Jonah Hill: Are you worried about Penny’s generation? Your daughter?
Nick Stoller: What do you mean?
Jonah Hill: Because like by the time she’s in school probably…
Quint: Paper won’t exist?
Jonah Hill: Yeah, there won’t even be all of the things from when we were kids, probably.
Nick Stoller: Yeah, yeah. I’m more worried about like global warming for her generation. That freaks me out.
Jonah Hill: Right. We ran into Norm MacDonald at a radio station this morning and we got to hang out with him and he came on the radio with us.
Quint: Oh yeah?
Jonah Hill: It was awesome.
Quint: I’m planning on seeing him. He’s playing Cap City tomorrow.
Jonah Hill: He’s the best, man. I had never met him before, but he’s so funny. I’m such a fan of his.
Quint: DIRTY WORK is his movie that like nobody liked when it came out and I think it’s hilarious.
Jonah Hill: I loved it. Chris Farley is great in DIRTY WORK.
Quint: That was one of those weird things, because it was like a year and half after his death or something. It’s just like “Hey, how is he still in movies?”
Jonah Hill: It was a great old comedy premise, DIRTY WORK.
Nick Stoller: What was it?
Jonah Hill: They start a revenge business.
Nick Stoller: Oh right, yeah.
Jonah Hill: They just fuck with people and someone pays them.
Nick Stoller: I liked his TV show. I thought he was funny on it.
Jonah Hill: He was the best “Weekend Update” for me.
Nick Stoller: Definitely.
Jonah Hill: “Ehh uhh, what’s up, friend?” “Ehh uhh, tired! Tired? Great…”
Nick Stoller: He was my favorite “Weekend Update,” too.
Quint: So, I was told I have to ask you about the heroin needle fight scene.
Jonah Hill: (laughs) That was one of our first ideas we talked about when we talked about the movie. It was in a draft. I read it in a draft.
Nick Stoller: It was in a draft. It was in many drafts and I know it was in so many drafts because I had conversations with our prop guy and the A.D. on how to get it to work.
Jonah Hill: Yeah, we had this idea to just have this…
Nick Stoller: Heroin needle fight.
Jonah Hill: …heroin needle argument that lead to us throwing it, like there would be one stuck in my neck and…
Nick Stoller: Tonally it didn’t seem correct.
Jonah Hill: On any level.
Nick Stoller: Yeah, a strange mix of mood.
Jonah Hill: It’s too dark and too broad. That’s the only time that’s ever happened!
Nick Stoller: It’s LOONEY TUNES meets TRAINSPOTTING.
Jonah Hill: Yeah.
Nick Stoller: LOONEY TUNES meets REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.
Quint: I’d see that movie!
Jonah Hill: KUNG FU HUSTLE meets TRAINSPOTTING…
Nick Stoller: KUNG FU HUSTLE meets TRAINSPOTTING meets Rush. (laughs)
Jonah Hill: At what point did that get taken out?
Nick Stoller: We were in preproduction, but it was early. It was early in preproduction because that whole sequence got changed.
Jonah Hill: Was it just tone or was it the severity of that joke?
Nick Stoller: There were a few things, the tone, the severity of the bit, the fact that it wouldn’t have worked.
Jonah Hill: And every other possible thing about it.
Nick Stoller: It would have never worked. It would have been hard to do logistically and then when we shot it, we wouldn’t have included it in the cut because the audience wouldn’t have like it.
Jonah Hill: We were having a real hard time finding any reason to leave it in.
Nick Stoller: (laughs)
Jonah Hill: I thought it was funny.
Nick Stoller: I thought it was funny, too.
Jonah Hill: On the poster even… it would have been the heroin needle, like all over our faces.
Quint: The movie itself… I can see how it might fit, though.
Jonah Hill: Did you like it?
Quint: Yeah I liked it, yeah. In particular the end. You are talking about tone… The whole threesome thing was really fucked up. The more I think about it the more I’m just like, “Wow! The movie just turns on you at that point!”
Nick Stoller: At the moment that you think the movie is just going to get soft and Jonah’s going to be like “I’m really sorry” and you’d be like “everything’s okay,” I wanted it to be like “No.”
Quint: And from what I gather from the Q&A last night, this version is even the tame version of that, so it’s like… I can’t imagine how that went over before.
Jonah Hill: There’s a Todd Solondz version, for sure, that I saw.
Nick Stoller: My wife is very supportive of everything I do. She loves dirty jokes. She loves it all. The first cut of the threesome she turned to me and said, “You have to cut that down.” (laughs) “That doesn’t work.”
Quint: Were you like a proud father going “Oh check this out!”
Nick Stoller: It was at a screening. I don’t remember if it’s on the DVD… First of all there’s a really long shot of Jonah watching them hooking up and basically I’ll use character names so as not to disrespect the people, Aldous is taking Daphne from behind and in a really weird way, like it’s tight on Aldous’s face and he’s going “Ugh agh” and then you pull out to reveal what’s going on. (laughs)
Quint: Yeah, I think you crossed a line… not in a bad way. As a moviegoer, I love being surprised by stuff like that, but even in this version it’s like…
Jonah Hill: It’s the perfect amount of uncomfortable now, I think.
Nick Stoller: Also any more, you just don’t root for Aaron and Daphne to get back together.
Jonah Hill: You wouldn’t want him to get back together with her.
Nick Stoller: You wouldn’t. In reality I think there’s an emotional moment where you are just like “I wouldn’t get back together with my girlfriend if she did that.” But there’s something interesting because it’s also to revenge on him and when we did test screenings older women loved the movie the most. Because the end is like this kind of… she gets to hook up with this hot guy and take revenge.
Jonah Hill: It’s the… Out of all of the movies Judd [Apatow] has directed or produced, it’s the highest testing with women, right?
Nick Stoller: Yeah, testing crazy high with women because of that sequence. Then young boys did not like that sequence because it makes them uncomfortable. It’s the funniest thing, just totally the opposite.
Jonah Hill: It’s their worst nightmare, their girlfriend just having sex with someone in front of them.
Nick Stoller: (Laughs) So yeah, anyways… I’m glad we surprised you. You see a lot of movies…
Quint: It was genuinely shocking to me because it does… It feels like even when the idea is thrown out there you are like “Oh cool, they are going to run with that and it’s going to be really awkward and funny or whatever it will be,” but then I ended up sitting there going “I don’t know if I like this so much.” Not the movie, the situation…
Nick Stoller: Right. We are supposed to also hit the truth of it, which was like this guy is like bad news, like Russell is bad news…
Jonah Hill: He just can’t help but destroy everything.
Quint: And then of course you get to have all of that and then with the exclamation point of Jonah’s ass, so you have this whole serious thing and then it’s like “Oh where are my pants?”
Jonah Hill: Right, you realize he’s been completely bottomless the whole time, the entire argument just Donald Ducking it all over that room. That whole argument he has just been no pants, no underwear, maybe socks, and half-boner. Socks and dress shoes. (laughs) My normal sex outfit. Gym socks and dress shoes.
Nick Stoller: If you write up anything, I guess… Well, never mind… I’d like to try keep the threesome a surprise, but whatever…
Quint: I won’t run this until it comes out, so we will at least give it its opening night.
Nick Stoller: Just so that the people can have the experience that you had… The unpleasant experience you had. (laughs)
Quint: They won’t see it coming, the sucker punch. “Oh man, this is going to be really funny! They are going to be… Oh my God, she’s coming right now. Wait a minute, this went past a line like last scene and I didn’t even realize it.”
Jonah Hill: That’s what I like about it because you think it’s going to be all wrapped up all nicely and then it’s like “Fuuuuuck.”
Quint: Speaking of “What the fuck am I watching?!?” You talked a lot about Sean Combs last night, but I can’t believe nobody asked about the whole process of him eating his own head. Because to me that’s the funniest shit.
Jonah Hill: That’s just pure Nick Stoller right there.
Nick Stoller: I think that specific one was a Rodney joke.
Jonah Hill: Really?
Nick Stoller: Yeah, that was a Rodney joke. The floating head I think was my idea and then he had this idea of him eating his own head.
Quint: Okay, the concept’s funny, but what sells it to me is all of the little heads going “Nooooo!!”
Jonah Hill: Yeah, I love that. “Look, I’m eating my own head!”
Nick Stoller: “No! No!”
Jonah Hill: “Weeeeeeeeee!” I love that. Diddy is just is amazing.
Quint: He was the biggest surprise of the movie. From the TV spots and the trailers…
Jonah Hill: He’s the McLovin, I think. Well, it’s different actually because you expect Diddy to not be good because he’s not a comedic actor that you… You don’t know him as a comedic actor and then you are just so shocked that he genuinely destroys.
Nick Stoller: He is so good.
Jonah Hill: It’s not hype. He genuinely kills it in my mind.
Nick Stoller: He’s just so good in it.
Quint: And it’s consistent. You figure with the TV spots or the trailers where they pretty much cut them from the same two jokes with him and then it’s like “Okay, well that will be his role and then it will be all on you guys,” but the fact that he is kind of like overlord of the film…
Nick Stoller: We wanted to be like… Russell freaks (Jonah) out and then Diddy freaks both of them out, like we wanted to take it to the next level. “Oh, you think this guy is crazy, there’s actually this other guy that’s crazier.”
Jonah Hill: And that’s the real statement of the music business, too. I love when he’s like… “That’s what the music business is all about.” It’s like “What?”
Nick Stoller: “What is going on?”
Quint: Coming from Sean Combs, that gives it like… “Wait, is he like smiling when he’s saying that?”
Nick Stoller: He thought it was funny. He’s very aware. He would talk about the music biz and his dealings in it and he’s like “It’s a show.” Like so much of it is like a show… I would be like “Do you call people up and yell at them?” He was like “Yeah, I’ll call up someone and be like ‘Where the fuck is the fucking thing,’ but they know that it’s just a show. It’s like we’re all playing parts” and that’s what it is. I started to realize that in seeing his kind of public personality and this and that, it’s just a big show and it’s pretty fascinating. The dude is just a brilliant guy and I feel my life is richer having met him and worked with him. He’s just awesome.
Jonah Hill: Me too.
Quint: Nice. So what’s next for the both of you? I’ve got to say, I did read an early draft of the Muppet script and I loved it.
Nick Stoller: Oh, thanks!
Quint: As a Muppet fan, I was reading it going “Oh my God, they are never going to get (Christian) Bale, but that’s an awesome cameo idea.”
Jonah Hill: I just love that it’s two fans, him and Jason [Segel]. They are just such enormous fans. That’s what’s cool to me.
Quint: And it shows.
Jonah Hill: It’s not just some famous writer person, it’s like two huge Muppet fans and it makes me, as a fan, excited that they are behind it you know?
Nick Stoller: And the script that got out is very different now. It’s just gotten better and better and James Bobin, who is the FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (writer/director)… He makes us look like… He’s like a crazy Muppet fan.
Jonah Hill: Is he?
Nick Stoller: Muppets were huge in England. I call Muppets the gateways drug to being a comedy nerd. You kind of like watch it and you are like… It’s the joint, it’s the weed. Segel and I are obviously just obsessed with Muppets, but the same with Bobin. Bobin will mention characters like “You know who would be good here is Uncle Deadly.” I’ll be like “Who is Uncle Deadly?” It’s like this obscure character and he’s totally right every time. And his sensibility and notes on the script the little work he’s done on the script is like… The script has taken huge leaps forward from what you read, so I’m really excited for it. It’s going to be fun.
Jonah Hill: So exciting.
Quint: Is there still the rich oilman in it?
Nick Stoller: Yeah.
Quint: He was wonderfully over-the-top in the draft I read. May I suggest Bill Paxton?
Nick Stoller: James’s real big note on the script, which was just brilliant, was he was like “I don’t think the bad guy should be played goofy.” Because when you watch the old movies, that’s where it feels dated. He was like “It should be Jeff Skilling.”
Jonah Hill: Who is Jeff Skilling?
Nick Stoller: From Enron, or Ken Lay. “It should literally be a suit and tie, play it totally completely normal like you are watching a Steven Soderbergh movie about the oil business.” You know what I mean? It’s like the funniest idea to just… So we wrote him like mustache twirling guy and he becomes weirder as the movie goes on, but like when it starts, it’s just like a businessman. It’s like the funniest thing, like we are doing THE KINGDOM or something, but yeah it’s exciting.
Quint: What about you, Jonah? What have you got coming out? Top that!
Jonah Hill: I’m shooting MONEYBALL next in July.
Nick Stoller: And topped. (laughs)
Jonah Hill: (laughs) It’s just a little movie with me and Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright…
Nick Stoller: It’s the second movie from the director of CAPOTE…
Jonah Hill: Yeah, last time around he was nominated, we’ll see about this time… (laughs) Honestly I’m obviously thrilled to be a part of that. We looked at a lineup today and it was announced that Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright are in negotiations to be in the film and it was just Brad, me, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright and in my head it just looks like a friend made like a super imposed picture you know? But I’m honored you know? Bennett Miller saw CYRUS and that’s why I got cast in that movie.
Quint: I loved CYRUS, by the way. I saw it at Sundance.
Jonah Hill: Thanks. Thank you for all of the nice things. Didn’t you just write something recently that was really sweet?
Quint: Oh, I don’t know.
Jonah Hill: You don’t pay attention to that bullshit? (laughs) The site’s been really cool about CYRUS and I really appreciate that.
Quint: Well it’s a good movie, so…
Jonah Hill: So, Bennett saw CYRUS and wanted to give me another dramatic part and it’s so exciting and then David Gordon Green and I are going to make this movie called THE SITTER, which is going to be batshit crazy and awesome. It’s basically kind of like ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, but it’s a baby sitter movie with me and a bunch of kids on a coke run.
Nick Stoller: That’s awesome.
Quint: Now real “kid” kids, right?
Jonah Hill: Like little kids, yeah.
Jonah Hill: And hopefully we will have some insanely shocking casting news soon.
Nick Stoller: Oh really?
Jonah Hill: Yeah, I can’t get into it, but it will be awesome! David had some ideas about casting that are mind blowing. And then 21 JUMP STREET and then I want to direct a movie.
Quint: Nice. I think that’s about it from me.
Jonah Hill: Always a pleasure to see you, man.
Quint: It was good seeing you, too. Good luck with the film.