Cast: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry
Director: Jake Kasdan
Synopsis: Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) are a married couple still very much in love, but ten years and two kids have cooled the passion. To get it back, they decide – why not? – to make a video of themselves trying out every position in the joy of sex in one marathon three-hour session. It seems like a great idea, until they discover that their most private video has gone public. In a panic, they begin a wild night of adventure – tracking down leads, roping in friends, duping Annie's boss – all to reclaim their video, their reputation, their sanity, and, most importantly, their marriage.
Release Date: July 17th, 2014
'Annie and Jay are a married couple who are ten years down the road. They have two kids and they find themselves in that part of the relationship where they're not doing their best to keep it alive. They have a very happy marriage, but like a lot of couples, there's just no time to have sex," says Cameron Diaz, who re-teams with her Bad Teacher co-star, Jason Segel, in the outrageous new comedy Sex Tape. 'So Annie comes up with this idea – let's make a sex tape. It'll be exciting, it'll be fun, and then we'll erase it."
'They film it on their iPad to watch once and – theoretically – erase it," says Jason Segel. 'But Jay doesn't erase it right away. And then there's a cloud malfunction resulting from Jay's use of a new app. Now, there are a bunch of people who should not have the sex tape who have the sex tape."
And so begins a wild night of adventure as Annie and Jay try to return the video to the deleted items bin where it belongs – but in the tension of the chase, the truths of their relationship will come to the fore. 'The movie is about the challenges of marriage, and trying to keep it fresh," Cameron Diaz continues. 'Losing the sex tape is something that might cost them, but instead it ends up strengthening the relationship – reminding them of the team they've always been."
'Jay and Annie make this slightly questionable decision, but hopefully you understand why they do it," says Jake Kasdan, who directs the film. 'There's something about Cameron and Jason that makes this relatable – you can identify with them. They're hugely accessible and charming – and they make marriage look pretty good."
The idea for Sex Tape began in the offices of producers Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal during a meeting with writer Kate Angelo. After working with Kate Angelo on the film The Back-up Plan, the producers were eager to work with Kate Angelo again, so the writer came in to discuss possible ideas. 'We were coming up with ideas, she was coming up with ideas, and then Jason Blumenthal wondered what would happen if an ordinary married couple made a sex tape and they woke up the next day and the tape was missing," Todd Black remembers. 'My mouth literally dropped open, Kate Angelo's mouth dropped open and Jason Blumenthal sat there smiling. We proceeded to stay in my office for hours, riffing on this great concept."
Rolled up into one idea was a story that could simultaneously be an outrageous sex comedy and also a romantic comedy with a lot of heart. 'We knew we had something right away – a married couple very much in love that decides to try something adventurous, and then all hell breaks loose," continues Jason Blumenthal. 'What's more satisfying than watching a movie about a husband and wife forced on a challenging journey – especially one that involves retrieving their private sex tape – who fall even more deeply in love?"
'What I learned from producing Risky Business in the early 80s," says producer Steve Tisch, 'was that you can't take the audience for granted – they're smart, they know what they want. My producing partner at the time, John Avnet, the writer/director Paul Brickman, and I thought, -Let's give this audience something more intelligent with complicated characters and a plot that's not one dimensional and see how we do.' I think we're doing that with Sex Tape."
Kate Angelo, a veteran writer of such television shows as 'Will and Grace" and 'Becker," says, 'Writing -Sex Tape' was perhaps the most fun I've ever had writing a script, particularly because the idea of making, and then losing, a sex tape is so outrageous and cringe-worthy, it just keeps driving the story forward. The key was grounding the couple and making their marriage relatable. All of the bawdy and raunchy comedy in the film works because if you love this couple and relate them, then you can go anywhere with them."
'I think everyone who has been married a while and has young children can relate to the feeling that the spark has dimmed a bit (sorry, honey, if you're reading this)," Kate Angelo continues. 'I loved the idea of trying to rekindle that spark with a night of reckless passion, innocently making a sex tape and then waking up to find it missing. The surprise is that it's the crazy and hilarious journey to track it down that brings them back together. They are finally united and back on the same team."
Once Kate Angelo had turned in her first draft, the producers knew they'd struck gold. 'It's a really good, sharp idea with a great title, and if we didn't make it somebody else would," says Todd Black.
In putting the project together, the producers reunited the Bad Teacher team – stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel and director Jake Kasdan. Jason Segel would write a new draft of the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller.
'It was an incredibly funny idea," says Jake Kasdan. 'And a perfect idea for Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, both of whom I just love working with. And it was an opportunity to make a big wild comedy about very real, human things- love and sex and marriage. As soon as Jason Segel and I started kicking it around, I was laughing like crazy and I knew it was something we had to do."
The comedy also hits home as Jay and Annie's predicament is set in motion by an increasingly complicated relationship with technology that they only loosely understand. 'In the movie, Jay works at a radio station, and each time he gets in a new generation of iPads, he hands off his old iPads with his fantastic playlists on them. Those iPads are connected to each other by the cloud – and that's where the debacle begins," Jason Segel explains. 'I'm a technology buff, I love technology, but I personally have a big fear of the cloud. No one quite understands it. In this movie, we get to make fun of how we're becoming a real cloud culture – how we talk as if it were a real thing."
'The whole technological farce aspect of it was hilarious to me because I feel like I'm constantly screwing that stuff up," says Jake Kasdan. 'I send things to the wrong people, over and over again. I think I've deleted something and it's gone, but then it's not gone. I text somebody from one device, and then it appears on another device. All of these things that are supposed to make our lives more convenient can sometimes sort of get away from us, and you can get to where you feel like your gadgets are winning. As we were making the movie, we found that people related very closely to this anxiety - a lot of people have had some sort of syncing debacle or texting accident or something."
Jake Kasdan says that balancing the tone of the comedy was an appealing challenge. 'The comedies that I am attracted to can be big and silly and broad in places," says Jake Kasdan, 'the same way life can be big and silly and broad in places. And the funniest stuff to me is always the stuff that feels most true. Ultimately, much of the execution is about the actors who play the parts, and both Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz have this deep, inherent honesty to what they do."
Jason Segel says that the threesome share a shorthand familiarity that made a risky – and risqué – project seem much safer and saner. 'I've known Jake Kasdan for fifteen years now"he directed the pilot of -Freaks and Geeks,' so we've been friends for a long time. We had a great time on Bad Teacher, one of the best experiences I've ever had. It was a no-brainer to reteam the two of us with Cameron Diaz," says Jason Segel. 'There's so much intimate stuff in the movie, that I think the fact that the three of us are so comfortable with each other gave us the opportunity to up the humor. I felt really lucky to be there."
'I was hoping for the opportunity to work with Jake Kasdan and Jason Segel again," says Cameron Diaz. 'The experience of Bad Teacher was so much fun, but it happened so fast. It was one of those films that had to be done very quickly – there was no time to play. This film was very different, and a very intimate experience for the three of us because of the content and the humor."
Todd Black says that in the end, that intimacy paid off when Jake Kasdan, Cameron Diaz, and Jason Segel shot the scenes of Jay and Annie shooting their tape. 'Before we shot the scenes of the making of the sex tape, I was really nervous about it – how much Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel would go for it, how much Jake Kasdan would go for it, how much the studio would go for it," confides the producer. 'It actually kept me up at night, nervous. But Jake Kasdan directed it beautifully, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel were game for the whole thing; there was no reason to worry. The scene is always focused on what's funny and what's appropriate, nothing is gratuitous."
'Oh my God, it was hilarious," says Cameron Diaz of shooting the scenes. 'The most hilarious aspect was that Jake Kasden had to be a part of it," she laughs. 'It was not just Jason Segel and me. It was Jason Segel and me and Jake Kasden. We had these moments when Jason Segel and I were in bed or in some funny position and we'd look up and see Jake Kasden looming over us trying to figure out what the shot was going to be. And we'd ask -Hey, Jake Kasden, how's it going?' So, yes, the funniest part was how the three of us spent those days, with Jason Segel and me half-naked and Jake in there with us, requesting, -Can you guys do it faster, faster, slower, a little higher, a little lower?' Jake Kasden had full control of our sexual positions."
'It was just the three of us, trying to come up with every insane moment we could for a sex tape," says Jake Kasdan. 'I shot most of the actual sex tape myself, with a handheld camera, as opposed to with a crew of a hundred people, so the video has a very homemade, handmade feeling to it. And the two of them were so incredibly free and brave and funny, it sort of knocked me out. Their ideas and their willingness to try any kind of joke... Even as I watch the movie now, there's stuff in there that I can't believe actually happened. But it all feels completely truthful, in the most hilarious, horrible way."
Of course, making a movie is also a technically challenging feat, but the director of photography, Tim Suhrstedt, says that Jake Kasdan had it all under control. 'One of Jake Kasdan's talents," notes Tim Suhrstedt, 'is his willingness to rehearse a scene, let the actors get comfortable with how they physically move through it, and then make suggestions, adjustments, etc. Once he and the actors are comfortable, the placement and movement of the camera, lens choice and lighting considerations come from that. Since there is rarely, if ever, an -overlay' of some arbitrary stylistic choice, I think the cinematography stays true to the reality of the performance, and, hopefully, helps the comedy of the scene."
Annie and Jay
Jake Kasdan notes that the roles of Annie and Jay were written expressly for Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. 'Working with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel on Bad Teacher was one of the great experiences I've ever had," says Jake Kasdan. 'And I really wanted to find something else for them – I knew that they were hilarious together and I knew that, in these very different roles, we could pick up where we had left off on the first movie and do something completely new. I had a strong hunch that there would be something kind of spectacular between them, in these characters, and they surpassed all of my hopes and expectations. As actors, they are both hugely supportive teammates that really commit, and as comedians, they're generous with each other and eager to set each other up to get a laugh. They pitch jokes for each other... And then of course, they're both just hugely appealing, on their own and together"
Jake Kasdan says that the parts play to each actor's strength. 'Jay is well-meaning, an optimist who loves his wife and kids and has a powerful desire to make things right, but doesn't always know exactly how to go about that," he says. 'I think Annie is slightly more pragmatic; she's a mommy blogger and concerned parent who is feeling somewhat remote from her more carefree past."
'Everybody's eyes lit up when the idea came to cast Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz," remembers producer Jason Blumenthal. 'To me it's like the pairing of Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. When they come together, magic happens."
To portray Annie, Cameron Diaz says she embraced her character's everywoman qualities. 'Annie is a mom, she's a wife"someone for whom everything is about her family," describes Cameron Diaz. 'She loves her partnership with her husband and has an adventurous and playful spirit"she's content with her life and she utilises her blog as a release. It's a way of talking about the things that she cares about, to work them out for herself as well as her readers. As Annie expresses on her blog, you always remember what it was like in the beginning of the relationship and wonder how can we get that back. When you've been with somebody for a long time it's hard to keep the physical part of your relationship going – you really have to work at it."
Cameron Diaz says she was never intimidated by the material, because she knew that she would be working with Jason Segel. 'Considering that this is a film where we had to be naked with each other, here was a partnership where I could feel so safe and at the same time, completely playful," she says. 'We could laugh and find humor in what we were doing and at the same time tell the story of these two people who really love each other in a real way. We're not trying to be shocking just for the sake of shocking. Annie and Jay are doing some crazy stuff that they never thought they would ever do, and they're doing it with somebody they each feel safe with. And that's how I feel about Jason Segel – he's just the guy you can do that with."
'Cameron Diaz is really game," says Jason Segel, 'and she's a student of comedy. One of my pet peeves is people who settle for pleasant instead of funny, and Cameron Diaz goes for it every time."
'Jason Segel is a double threat that we haven't seen in a long time," says Jason Blumenthal. 'He's a great actor and a phenomenal writer. A lot of writers lead with the -funny' and that's it; Jason Segel leads with the character. And he's an inherently relatable actor - you root for that guy."
Robby and Tess
After receiving an anonymous, taunting text informing them that their supposedly private video has, in fact, been synced to several devices in the hands of friends, acquaintances, and even possible future bosses, Jay and Annie begin a madcap race against time to reclaim the synced iPads.
Their first stop is the home of their closest friends, Robby and Tess (Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper), who become their accomplices in tracking down the remaining devices.
'The scene when Annie and Jay come over to Robby and Tess's house to suss out if they know about the sex tape was so much fun to shoot," says Ellie Kemper. 'It was a wonderful game that the four of us played, with Annie and Jay reading Robby and Tess's sheepishness, as if they were trying to hide something. The misunderstanding and awkwardness before the truth comes out was really fun to play."
'It turns out that this evening is Robby and Tess's 12th wedding anniversary, so they're eager to do something besides hang around and watch TV," continues Rob Corddry. 'They are just so intrigued by the whole thing that when they get the opportunity to help out by insinuating themselves in the adventure," he chuckles, 'they are thrilled."
Of course, Robby finds a way to make the situation even more uncomfortable. 'My character is pretty delighted from moment one," he says. 'At first, he has this anticipation – and then he has great admiration for Jay's endurance and for Annie overall. He becomes a great fan of her work."
'For me, Robby and Tess were one of the funniest things in the script," says Jason Kasdan. 'I knew that I wanted the two couples to play as people who have spent a lot of time together – there's a real intimacy between them and they're comfortable having these really matter-of-fact conversations about this insane sex tape problem. The dynamic between the two couples sets the tone and the sense of reality for the whole movie."
'I could not have imagined a better pairing," says Jason Blumenthal. 'Tess and Robby are the couple that Annie and Jay love, but that absolutely drives them insane. It's like -I Love Lucy' – Lucy and Ricky are the main focus, but they are only as good as the Fred and Ethel with whom they interact. That's what Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper deliver here."
As if it wasn't mortifying enough to have to face their friends, Jay and Annie also come to realise that their entire future may be at risk. Annie's pastime – recording her thoughts as a wife and mother on her blog – could be about to hit the big time if the multinational toy company Piper Brothers decides to purchase it. The decision rests with the mild-mannered, family-values CEO, Hank Rosenbaum, who's supposed to be reviewing the blog this weekend on an iPad that Annie has graciously supplied.
'In their madness, Jay and Annie rush out the door in the hysteria of -How do we get this thing back?'" Cameron Diaz explains. 'They show up on Hank Rosenbaum's doorstep, without any plan or explanation of why they're there – they just need to find that iPad."
And Annie and Jay will stop at nothing to find it. 'So while Jay is ransacking my house," says Rob Lowe, who plays Hank, 'Hank co-opts Annie into his very surprising and unbelievably bizarre world that no one, including she, would ever see coming"which is why I wanted to play this character, along with the fact that the script made me laugh out loud. I didn't want to play an uber-smoothie, good-looking CEO charm bomb; that's been done. Instead, I'd describe Hank as -hail fellow well met' – a Silicon Valley power dweeb with a secret. When he reveals to Annie who he really is and what he's really about… that moment really made me laugh; it's everything I look for in a part."
'Hank could have been a more brash and aggressive character, but Rob Corddry did something unexpected and made him into this upbeat, spirited guy with a really complex life who and is, ah, dealing with some issues," says Cameron Diaz. 'He has a buoyancy that Annie understands and is drawn to"they have an amazing night together."
'Rob Corddry is just hilarious in this movie," says Jake Kasdan. 'He saw a way into the part that was just inspired. He plays Hank as an inspirational CEO type, a guy whose entire presentation is designed to impress shareholders. He speaks very eloquently about the values and mission of his very wholesome, All-American company – a family brand- and he tries to project that image himself. And he's in the process of deciding whether or not to buy Annie's mommy blog. So, he's not the guy you want to have your sex tape."
About The Production
Behind the scenes, Jake Kasdan reunited with two key collaborators – production designer Jefferson Sage and costume designer Debra McGuire, both of whom have collaborated with Jake Kasdan on several feature films and on the television show 'Freaks and Geeks." They were joined by Tim Suhrstedt, the film's director of photography.
Jefferson Sage says that the entire production team was committed to creating a very real world that would serve as a backdrop for the big, madcap comedy adventure. 'The world around the characters can't be anything but real – you have to allow the audience to discover what's funny through the characters, who they are and what happens to them."
As a result, for the most part, Jefferson Sage played it straight. 'The sets are very character driven. My interest is getting the sets right for the characters and not to try to be funny because what happens to them is what's going to be funny. In fact, the look of the sets may not be all that very different from how they would appear if this had been a drama about a similar family."
Of course, there's one huge exception – Hank Rosenbaum. The Piper Brothers CEO lives in an enormous L.A. mansion, and his home is decorated in a way that reveals some of his very unusual personality. 'The screenplay initially described a -Lion King' painting, with Hank as the baboon, presenting Simba to the other animals. But Jake loved the idea of expanding it, so it became a series of four different paintings: Hank as Geppetto creating Pinocchio at his work bench, Hank as a dwarf being kissed by Snow White, Hank as Peter Pan flying above London. We hired several artists to build the backgrounds and another special artist to develop the face of Rob in the paintings."
Even finding Hank's house was a challenge. The film was shot in Boston, but takes place in Los Angeles. 'Where in Boston would we find a Los Angeles-style CEO's mansion?" Jefferson Sage wondered. 'Ultimately we stumbled onto one in the wealthy western suburb of Weston – it was somebody's Italian Mediterranean California fantasy. It had a beautiful neutral pallet of warm marbles and stones and space – we thought of it as a kind of labyrinth that Jay would get lost in as he's searching for the iPad. You really needed to feel that throughout his long search and being chased by the dog he would not encounter any other people. In fact, the first time we scouted the place I found myself completely turned around. -Just how many rooms are in this place?'"
Ultimately, the set Jefferson Sage found one of the most interesting to design was the living room in Jay and Annie's home – which would be the setting of their sex tape. 'I began to think of it almost as a boxing ring – it wasn't meant to be confrontational, but it had to be an open space that you could get all the way around. So, we wanted a big sectional sofa, and it took a long time to find just the right one. We wanted tons of cushions that could go everywhere – they could be on the floor, they could be up. The big, angled shape had to look good from above, in case Jake Kasdan wanted to shoot down. And that informed the choice of a Saltillo tile pattern in the floor, which gives us a nice gridded line. It's a flexible place – as the evening progresses, they can pull the sofa to pieces, the room gets disheveled, and it devolves into the scenes in the aftermath of the sex tape."
For the costumes, the director turned to costume designer Debra McGuire, who, in her work on 'Freaks and Geeks," not only worked with Jake Kasdan but, of course, a young Jason Segel as well. 'I worked with Jason Segel on -Freaks and Geeks,' and he was a boy!" she says. 'More projects followed, and his characters were always boyish, in T-shirts and jeans. Sex Tape is so great for him because he plays a man with a wife and kids. It's the first time I think Jason's been depicted as a -grown-up' in collared shirts! He is physically fit and very tall and thin, so the clothes look amazing...and so does he! So handsome!"
It was interesting for Debra McGuire to dress Rob Lowe as Hank Rosenbaum, not just because of the clothes but also because of what was under the clothes. 'That was the coolest thing for me, because underneath he had those funny tattoos, which said even more about his character," says Debra McGuire. 'The challenge for us was to make him look very normal until the reveal. It was just fantastic."
'With a comedy you're always supporting the humor and never distracting from it," says Debra McGuire. 'Jake Kasdan wants reality – not a heightened reality, but a -real' reality. Real people who get themselves in a very complicated situation that the 'everyman' can relate to. As a designer, I don't want my designs to be ordinary, unless that's what the character requires. It was essential that it be that way so that there was never a distraction from what the movie about."
'Debra McGuire and I have been working together for 15 years now and we have a really great collaboration and also a shorthand," says Jake Kasdan. 'It's really important to me what the characters look like, and Debra McGuire has a great sense of character and knows what values I'm interested in and what I'm likely to respond to. "
Release Date: July 17th, 2014