Interview with Jason Bateman (Nick), Jason Sudeikis (Kurt), Charlie Day (Dale), Jennifer Aniston (Dr. Julia Harris), Seth Gordon (Director), Jay Stern (Producer), Michael Markowitz (Screenwriter), John Francis Daley (Screenwriter), Jonathan Goldstein (Screenwriter).
Question: Jennifer, one of the stunning aspects of Horrible Bosses is your character's outrageousness. Do you think there's a shift in comedy towards gorgeous women saying really naughty things?
Jennifer Aniston: I'm not going to answer that. [Laughs] I know I had no hesitation to answer that part of your question at all.
Jason Sudeikis: She made them dirtier. [Laughs]
Jennifer Aniston: I did.
Michael Markowitz: I can say that when we wrote the script-and now the truth can be told-I always had actors in mind.
Jennifer Aniston: You had actors in mind?
Michael Markowitz: Yes, I did, and Jason Bateman and yourself were the actors I had in mind for those parts. I never knew whether it would be rude to tell you that I thought of you for that part, but… [Laughs]
Jennifer Aniston: Are you kidding? It's a compliment.
Michael Markowitz: I knew you could do it. And then I broke my leg and I was watching DVDs. I watched Friends start-to-finish and said, 'Oh, well, she'd be great at this.' So, I always knew Ms. Aniston could do it.
Question: Jennifer Aniston, did you work with Seth Gordon to develop the character and how much did he encourage you to use your potty-mouth?
Jennifer Aniston: It wasn't really encouraged. It was on the page, so I was just doing my job. But there was nothing that happened that he wasn't just getting, I think, so tickled and excited about. After every take, he would just be like, 'The raunchier, the better.' So, it was pretty easy. It really was.
Seth Gordon: I was cackling between every take, especially all the stuff in the dentist's office, just all the nuances of the foul mouth. I just loved it. There was always a little wheeze and a cackle you can hear on some of the takes.
Jennifer Aniston: You don't want to play it safe all the time. And I've never had a script come to me that allowed me to go into this direction. So, it was a great opportunity. I really thought it would just be fun for everybody. I would hope.
Question: For the writers, can you talk about how you developed the boss characters in particular?
Michael Markowitz: There are several horrible bosses that I've had and elements of them made their way into Harken and into Pellit. So, I'm sad to say that I lived through that.
Question: Seth Gordon, can you talk about casting Jamie Foxx as MF Jones?
Seth Gordon: I wanted to find a great comedian to play that role with all the intensity that he could muster and I feel like it's forgotten somehow that Jamie Foxx started in comedy. He's just hilarious and I think that's because he has Oscars for playing a different side of things, but I thought he brought such intensity and awesomeness to that role. I think it's one of the really strong parts of the film when he tells his back-story, just so marvelous. I was glad he could be a part of it.
Question: Jennifer Aniston, can you talk a little about satirising male sexist behavior when it is seen in a female?
Jennifer Aniston: That's what I think was so fun about the part, sort of being a female that is usually the male character. I thought of her as just like a guy and that's what made it that much more fun.
Question: Did you have any input into your character?
Jennifer Aniston: No. Not at all. [Laughs] I did go to the dentist right beforehand though. See how they hold the tools. The rest was easy.
Seth Gordon: It was like a De Niro kind of thing. You developed your character that way. There was nothing wrong with your teeth.
Question: Clearly, they're all horrible bosses, but Jennifer Aniston's character didn't seem that bad to some of the guys.
Charlie Day: Are you a married woman?
Question: No, actually I'm not.
Charlie Day: Okay. Most men don't cheat on their wives. [Laughs] Not all, but most.
Jason Sudeikis: Your guy's engaged though. So, again, he's not even married.
Charlie Day: Let's not speak to this guy here, but I'm a married man. I've gotten that question here and there. I got one earlier from a reporter and he said, 'I would've slept with her.' I said, 'Are you in a relationship?' He says, 'Yeah, I've been dating a girl six years.' I said, 'Will you write that in your article?' And he said, 'No, I won't do that.' [Laughs]
Question: A question for the actors: how much of your improv ends up in the film?
Jason Sudeikis: Improvisation for me, when you say that, is like the cameras start rolling and we don't know where we're going and let's just waste people's time and money. It's not what happens. There's a lot of time and a lot of people involved. All three writers laid out a tremendous framework and then, at the beginning of the day, the four of us: Charlie, Jason, Seth and I, would just talk about a scene and develop a different rhythm than what was on the page, because I don't think that [the writers] had Charlie and me in mind for these parts, maybe Jason, but you might not have know who the hell we were.
But you know each other's rhythms at that point and you know where the scene's coming from and what it's going into and you just try to make it lively on the day. So, little things will change, but it's more like just quick discussions about punching things up.
Jason Bateman: There's a lot of fun stuff in the script that's in the movie. And there are a couple of things that we came up with that made it in the movie, too. So, it's a nice balance.
Michael Markowitz: I've never seen a cast and director and everybody involved with the movie take the structure of the movie and what we three writers did and just build so beautifully on top of it. It just became this wonderful, I think, team effort.
Jay Stern: There was a great confluence of a really open-minded, excellent director with three brilliant guys that just tried to improve what was on the page at every turn. It was a great thing.
Question: Charlie, you're hilarious in this movie.
Charlie Day: Oh, thank you.
Question: Please tell me that the photo shoot you did with Jennifer Aniston actually happened and wasn't photo-shopped.
Charlie Day: Yeah, that was an actual photo shoot. We took those photos together and we got to know each other.
Jennifer Aniston: We were together.
Charlie Day: We had a nice little private session and took some photos. I've never been more embarrassed about my body in my life than standing next to this woman. But I've since started to see a trainer…
Question: Jennifer Aniston, were you sort of one of the guys? And what was the atmosphere like behind the scenes on this movie?
Jennifer Aniston: I just kept apologising to Charlie Day for everything that had just happened. I wasn't with the guys, really. It was just me and Charlie Day and Seth Gordon. So, we would just sort of get to know each other in between straddling.
Question: Charlie Day, it must have been pretty rough for you. Did you forgive Jennifer Aniston for what her character did after every take?
Charlie Day: I'll live through it, but you did bite my ear pretty hard. I'd say.
Jennifer Aniston: Did I really?
Charlie Day: Yeah, but it's realistic.
Jennifer Aniston: Well, that's what I was going for.
Question: Jennifer Aniston, can you tell us what's the toughest job you've ever had?
Jennifer Aniston: Toughest job I ever had was being a bike messenger in New York City.
Question: How old were you?
Jennifer Aniston: I was nineteen.
Question: What was your worst thing as a bike messenger?
Jennifer Aniston: Probably driving into a door that opened. I'm very uncoordinated, extraordinarily klutzy, and I just should never have been allowed on a bicycle, with cylinders.
Question: Can you also talk about finding a new look for this character in this movie?
Jennifer Aniston: I knew I wanted her to look different. I wanted her to have dark hair, but I was doing a movie right before and right after, so we had this wonderful period of time that we call 'Hairgate' because nobody wanted me to wear the wig. But, I was like, there's no way that I can be saying these words and playing this woman and not look somewhat different. So, that was really fun for me. It was such freedom. I had never had that much fun with a character before.
Question: Seth Gordon, what do you think are the basic elements that turn a comedy into a classic and what are some examples of those classics?
Seth Gordon: I think the best comedies always have really high stakes and full commitment to the characters and the story. And it never undercuts itself; there's never any attempt to excuse itself for what it's doing. In our case, I think we really went for it. There was never a question of, 'Oh, should we? Could we?' Every day we just went for it and I think it shows. Also, there's a universality to this movie in some ways. We've all had bosses. We've all hated bosses at one time or another.
Jay Stern: Some Like It Hot. Some Like It Hot is a classic comedy.
Question: For the three guys, I kept thinking of the Three Stooges in this movie and I wondered if you decided who was going to be Larry, who was going to be Curly, who was going to be Moe when you were doing this?
Jason Bateman: As far as the Stooges thing goes, I think that we knew that the three of us were going to create one character and that was certainly the conversations that we had with Seth in rehearsals. So, there was a sense of, 'Well, if you're going to do x then I need to do y and you need to do z and that'll constantly be rotating to create one guy.' And Seth shot it all, for the most part, in the three-shots where you could watch whichever one you wanted to have it all balance out.
Seth Gordon: Actually, seeing them together for the first time changed the way I shot the movie. It was going to be more traditional comedy coverage and then, when I saw the three of them interacting and filling in every nook and cranny with comedy, it became clear that the best way to see this movie was to hold all three guys in one shot and that affected coverage of everything throughout. I will say, on the Stooges point, there was more and more slapping of each other as the film shoot went on, which I think was probably partly because they had to be stuck in that car so much.
Jason Sudeikis: Slap fuel. We called it slap fuel by the end. And as far as who's Larry, Curly or Moe, it was actually Carrie, Miranda and Samantha.
Question: For Jason Bateman, at this point in your career, are these roles that utilise your wry humor finding you or are your people still having to pitch you for this kind of character that you're so good at?
Jason Bateman: I don't know. I mean, you do get hired for what you last did and I guess it just kind of becomes your choice or obligation to do different things. I haven't had the luxury of drastically different roles coming my way. Hopefully I will someday. And I'll take those…
Jason Sudeikis: Forrest Gump Two.
Jason Bateman: Yeah. Up until then, I will continue to just basically take what I get.
Michael Markowitz: And I will just say, in writing these three guys, once you have your cast, you inevitably start hearing their voice in your head as you're rewriting and tweaking and things. So, you get that Charlie Day voice in your head and it never gets out.
John Francis Daley: It makes it a million times easier.
Charlie Day: And I apologise for that.
Question: For the writers, when you wrote this, did you have another film in mind about strangers meeting on a train? And for the cast, do you think bosses will see this film and think twice about treating their employees badly?
Michael Markowitz: There was a deliberate nod to Strangers on a Train, of course, and people have asked why it's called Horrible Bosses, which is a nod to Ruthless People, which was one of the movies I emulated when we wrote this. And the other movie that it sort of takes off from is one of my favorites, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the theory being that if you apply the right pressure to any random group of people they will forget right and wrong and everything they've ever believed and just go off in another direction, and I really do believe that. So, I wanted to put that energy into a black comedy and Strangers on a Train, of course, because you have to kill a stranger, otherwise you won't get away with it. [Laughs]
John Francis Daley: And Nine to Five.
Jonathan Goldstein: Then there's Throw Momma from the Train, which obviously Charlie confuses in the movie.
Question: This question is for Jennifer Aniston. Your character's obviously an extreme, but do you think that older women particularly are more confident in their sexuality are scary to men? And do you find yourself becoming more confident with yourself or happier with yourself as grow older?
Jennifer Aniston: Absolutely. I think I absolutely get more comfortable in my body and in who I am as I get older, way more than when I was in my twenties. I was just so awkward and uncomfortable. And are men intimidated by sexually confident women? I think men are intimidated by any woman who's sexually confident no matter what age.
Question: For the screenwriters, about It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and what it says about what people are capable of-does this help explain why you kill off the Donald Sutherland moral character at the beginning?
Michael Markowitz: I think part of the challenge for this was to make it in any way believable that these three ordinary guys would contemplate killing their bosses. We had to find ways to ground those motivations and what we came up for Jason Sudeikis' character this love of the company, which came through his relationship with this father figure in Sutherland. And, so, killing him off and putting his idiot son in seemed like a good way to get Jason motivated.
John Francis Daley: We kind of wanted to make Sutherland the best boss in the world and that's why we killed him off immediately. [Laughs]
Jonathan Goldstein: And also it's more fun to watch these guys be immoral. If there's no moral anchor around to remind them they're supposed to be good, you always hate that character who comes in-usually in a sitcom-and goes, 'Now you guys behave yourselves.'
Question: For Seth Gordon and Jay Stern, I think Colin Farrell was an inspired choice for playing Pellit and really shows a different side of himself in this movie. Could you talk about casting him, and also Kevin Spacey?
Seth Gordon: Have you seen In Bruges? Colin is just incredible in that movie. I think he's not known for being a comedian, but he's tremendous and the thought of him in this role was really exciting to me. He hadn't seen a documentary I'd done at the time he'd accepted this role. The documentary is called The King of Kong, and I showed it to him so he could familiarise himself with Billy Mitchell, and I think that aspects of not only the wardrobe, but the posture and the confidence and being stuck in the eighties all were kind of influenced in some way by Billy. So, with Colin, I thought it was just wonderful that he was open to this kind of role and I think he really breathed life into it. In our first meeting, we talked about giving him a belly and this sort of clubbing enthusiasm and he wanted that comb-over. As soon as we saw the first attempt at that, I knew it was right.
Jay Stern: My personal opinion is that Kevin Spacey's character is, to me, so different here than in Swimming with Sharks that it shows how great an actor he is. He found the different colors in what could have been a similar role.
Question: Charlie Day, in the movie you get to talk dirty with Jennifer Aniston, who's long been kind of an 'America's Sweetheart.' Were you intimidated at all when you found out you'd have to get really dirty with Rachel from Friends?
Charlie Day: Yeah, but what's good is that my natural reaction is caught there on film and goes into the movie. So, my job was to be shocked to the things that were coming out of her mouth. So, for me it was pretty easy and a lot of fun.
Question: What about when you were actually saying the more disgusting things?
Charlie Day: Oh, like in the car? I don't know. I've got a filthy mouth. It was no problem for me. [Laughs] I'll talk dirty to anyone who wants to hear it.
Seth Gordon: For the sake of schedule, we had to shoot the bathtub part first and he was actually on the phone saying those incredibly crazy things. I think Jennifer said, 'You need to have him repeat that stuff when we do Charlie Day's side of it on-camera.'
Question: Have any of you ever been part of any hair-brained schemes that have simply gone too far?
Jason Sudeikis: Yeah, I got arrested for a group of friends in college trying to break into a car wash in the middle of winter in Kansas. Yeah, that was a hair-brained scheme that didn't work out for any of us.
Jennifer Aniston: But, wait, why were you breaking into a car wash?
Jason Sudeikis: It was in Fort Scott, Kansas. We were back early for basketball practice before the rest of the people got there, and we got into a car and there was a crowbar in there and a friend had an idea that we were going to go crack open like the dollar machine that you get your change out of so that you can put it in the vacuum and we didn't get to it. [Laughs] I mean, there was nothing going on in Kansas and we got rolled up on and guns pulled. So, yeah, that was about the extent of my criminal career.
Question: Jennifer Aniston, I know you keep getting called 'America's Sweetheart.' Did you actively want to take on this role to kind of challenge that label?
Jennifer Aniston: No, I didn't take the role so that I could sort of rid myself of that title. I don't know where that title came from. I mean, there are so many different American Sweethearts. I just took the part because I loved it and I thought it would be a fun challenge and fun for me to step out of what people usually like to see me play. That's a label. There's always going to be something attached to you, but, no, I wasn't.
Question: Seth Gordon, based on your experience with documentary film and TV, how or why were you chosen for this project?
Seth Gordon: I had done the documentary King of Kong and New Line was the studio that actually bought that film. I've always been trying to find something to work on with them and when I read the script, I laughed so hard I cried, and that doesn't happen. You get these scripts that you just don't connect with and with this one, I mean hat's off to these guys. It was just phenomenal, especially the Dr. Julia lines, and the only person I could imagine saying those lines and having it being electric and amazing was Aniston and I was just so glad she said yes.
Jay Stern: We met with a bunch of directors, the New Line folks and me. Seth Gordon came in and he was really smart about the script, what he wanted to do. He was really smart about the tone of it. He understood that it had to be a mainstream movie. It couldn't be a really dark movie. And he also had a gimmick. He had a flip thing. He had about ten or 12 actors for each role and he kind of flipped them so that he could mix and match, which was excellent. Seth Gordon was really semi-brilliant in the room.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland, Jamie Foxx
Director: Seth Gordon
Running Time: 104 minutes
Management candidate Nick Hendricks has been logging 12-hour days and eating everything his twisted supervisor Dave Harken dishes out, toward the promise of a well-earned promotion. But now he knows that's never going to happen. Meanwhile, dental assistant Dale Arbus has been struggling to maintain his self-respect against the relentless X-rated advances of Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S., when she suddenly turns up the heat. And accountant Kurt Buckman has just learned that his company's corrupt new owner, Bobby Pellit, is not only bent on running his career but plans to funnel toxic waste into an unsuspecting population.
What can you do when your boss is psycho, a man-eater or a total tool? Quitting is not an option. These monsters must be stopped. So, on the strength of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con whose street cred is priced on a sliding scale, the guys devise a convoluted but foolproof plan to rid the world of their respective employers... permanently.
But even the best-laid plans are only as good as the brains behind them.
Review: Horrible Bosses boasts an all star cast including Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey and of course three of the funniest guys in Hollywood, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis.
Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) face daily, awkward and distressing circumstances in the workplace and one night, after a couple of drinks, they decide that the only way for their lives to improve is to kill their bosses.
Horrible Bosses is an extremely funny movie that showcases the worst in horrible bosses and shocking workplaces. Dale's boss is promiscuous and blackmailing dentist Julia (Jennifer Aniston) who plays her role perfectly equipped with foul language and sexual actions. Whilst Kurt's boss is drug-addicted, child-like, spoilt Bobby (played by the unrecognisable Colin Farrell) and Nick's boss is the psychotic, egotistic and disturbed Dave (Kevin Spacey).
Blu-ray Special Features:
My Least Favourite Career
Surviving a Horrible Boss
Being Mean Is So Much Fun
Making of the Horrible Bosses soundtrack