: Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Leslie Bibb, Kate Bosworth, Gerard Butler, Bobby Cannavale, Kieran Culkin, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, John Hodgman, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Justin Long, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Chris Pratt, Liev Schreiber, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet Director
: Steven Brill, Peter Farrelly, Will Graham, Steve Carr, Griffin Dunne, James Duffy, Jonathan Van Tulleken, Elizabeth Banks, Patrik Forsberg, Brett Ratner, Rusty Cundieff, James GunnGenre
: Comedy Rated
: MARunning Time
: 98 minutesSynopsis
: An ensemble comedy intertwining different tales. Release Date
: February 7th, 2013
A Note from Producer John Penotti
I'm one of the producers of Movie 43. I run GreeneStreet Films, a New York based Production Company. We produce, develop and finance a wide variety of films in all types of genres - but nothing before like this.
My producing partner Charlie Wessler on Movie 43 is a dear friend of mine. About five years ago, he had me up to his farm in Rhinebeck, NY for a weekend extravagansa. It's here that I met my other producing partner, Peter Farrelly. They pitched me the idea of developing a series of short films, which we could somehow wrap around into a feature film. I thought that sounded unique and interesting, so we went for it.
We spent over two years soliciting scripts from, literally, around the world, and we ended up commissioning and buying about 125 of them. We gave writers the simple mandate that they had to be between three and eight minutes long - and everything was fair game, as long as it was very bold and outrageous - it's an R-rated comedy. Beyond that, we just didn't care what they came up with.
It was a strange process, trying to get people onboard - everyone from writers, actors and directors. It was tough getting unions and agents to understand that this wasn't just little short films for the internet - this was bona fide feature film material, and that we'd be casting A-level actors. People would just look at us strange, because we couldn't really describe what the movie was going to be, because, frankly, we had no idea. Every conversation, you had to resell the idea from scratch. But we relied a lot on both Charlie Wessler's and Peter Farrelly's track record - that helped a great deal.
On the financing side, we were actually greenlit by one studio, and were just days away from shooting "The Catch," when suddenly, the parent corporation took a look at it and, almost unprecedented, said, "Absolutely no way. This is way too outrageous," and pulled the plug! So we decided just to jump in and finance it ourselves.
We shot a few of the shorts, and, at that point, Relativity became interested, and they showed tremendous grace and foresight and enthusiasm - and we found our home. As far as casting goes, we never hid the fact that we only had a modest budget. But, funny enough, most agents and, for sure, the actors, who we mostly just went to directly, just said, "Don't worry, that's not what this is about. It's stuff I never get to do."
The shoot took place over about a two year period. These great actors would often just find time for us, but it had to fit in between other projects they were already committed to. They'd say, "Listen, I totally want to do it, but I've got to shoot this feature first. Could you wait for me?" And we did.
Alternately, we had people like Richard Gere, who said to us, "Hey, it's Monday, I can do this on Friday and Saturday, if you could use get it together." It was a crazy process of both running and gunning and starting up production and then closing down for a long time. We produce like a commercial production house, like a mobile MASH unit, just immediately pulling together top level A-list crews and assembling a team to shoot whenever our cast was ready for us.
In getting these amazing directors, we often found that just working our way through their agents could be a little cumbersome. The real heroes here were their assistants. The trick was to get the assistant interested, who was usually young and hip, and got the idea. We'd say, "Hey, when that great director calls, we're not pitching a feature, just tell him about this crazy thing." We found that worked more than you could imagine.
Coming up with the wraparound material, with the three kids searching for this crazy movie on the internet, was tricky. It's very hard to find something to tie these disparate pieces together, and I think we found something terrific. We had a loose idea of it early in the process, in the first year of shooting, but we actually only shot it as the second-to-last piece, because the segments had to relate to the shorts which preceded and followed them.
That "dart board" gag in the beginning, by the way, was conceived, written and shot in three hours by Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko, with director Steve Brill - on the day of shooting. It was completed by 11am that morning! And it's an incredibly funny way to get us into the picture.
This whole thing really came out of the mind twisted of Charlie Wessler - in fact, at different times, we thought of calling the film "From the Mind of Charlie" or "Charlie's Shorts," things like that. He would pitch me these stories straight faced, before we commissioned the writing, and I would be howling and saying, "Charlie, there's no way. There's not even the slightest chance we're doing that." But, as you see. . . we did. "Davis: As a kid I used to get made fun of all the time."
"Beth: Was it because of your (points at her neck)?"
"Davis: My stutter. I used to have a really bad stutter. I actually took, probably, 9 years of speech therapy to get rid of it." The Catch
Directed by: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet
As told by Director Peter Farrelly:
"The Catch" is about a woman, played by Kate Winslet, who's set up on a blind date with a guy (Hugh Jackman) who is, by all description, perfect. He's talented, good-looking, successful, single. Sort of too good to be true - and it turns out is too good to be true. He has one flaw that she never could have expected. He's got a pair of nuts hanging off the bottom of his chin.
I love this kind of comedy of one person seeing something that nobody else in the room seems to notice - kind of like the old "elephant in the living room" nobody is willing to talk about. At one point, actually, we had it that he has this thing and everyone notices, that everybody in the restaurant's looking over, like, "What the hell's going on?" And then we realised it's not funny if everybody is feeling the same way she's feeling, which takes away some of her uncomfortableness. So we just thought, "Well, what if nobody acknowledges it at all? What if she's the only one that sees this thing," or these things, I guess. That was funny.
The script came to us from a writer that Charlie Wessler met with in London at the Soho House when he was gathering scripts. It was originally called "Mr. Bollocks," which is British for. . . well, you know what it's for. He wrote really funny stuff, but it was very English. So we gave it to Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko, who became sort of our core writers on this movie, and they were able to Americanise it.
Hugh Jackman was actually the first actor signed on to do anything in Movie 43. Charlie Wessler had met him at a friend's wedding. He also knew Kate Winslet's agent, Hylda Queally, who showed her the script, and then Kate Winslet agreed to do it.
And then it became about schedule. Kate Winslet was working on a movie, and Hugh Jackman was actually in a play with Daniel Craig on Broadway. So eventually, when we did it, we did it in New York. We shot the whole thing in a hotel - and Charlie Wessler and I stayed there. We shot Kate Winslet's apartment there, and we shot the body of the short in the restaurant at the hotel - we never left the hotel. With Hugh Jackman, we had to shoot him from 6a.m. to 6p.m., and then he would literally get in the car and go to the theatre to do this really complicated and dramatic two-man play.
The two of them were just great - they both did whatever we asked. I remember being how shocked at how off-colour Kate Winslet was. Her sense of humour is hilarious and shocking. You just couldn't believe the things that would come out of her mouth! Not what you would expect from Kate Winslet, that's for sure.
Tony Gardner, our effects makeup specialist, did just a great job on Hugh Jackman's. . . appliance. And when Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman first saw them, they couldn't believe their eyes. They had figured it was just going to be some ridiculous-looking thing. But they looked insanely good. Every angle. I love when they tighten up when it gets cold. But you could walk right up close, get six inches away, and not see any flaws. Hugh Jackman would walk into the room and you'd see these things, and you'd be, like, "You gotta be shitting me." But they were so impressive that, right away, Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet knew this could be really funny, and it jazzed them up.
And their reactions to them are real. They just played it straight. Hugh Jackman was extremely authentic, just this warm, genuine guy with this thing hanging off his neck. And Kate Winslet's reactions - she wasn't trying to be funny. She was acting exactly like she would if this had happened. And that's the beauty of it. "Neighbour: Yeah, high school is about more than just classes and homework."
"Robert: Absolutely, there's the alienation the loneliness."
"Samantha: It should be the unhappiest time in a boy's life. That's why we try to make sure that Kevin doesn't miss out on any of those essential emotionally scaring experiences that he'd get at a regular school." Homeschooled
Directed by: Will Graham
Cast: Liev Schrieber, Naomi Watts, Jeremy Allen White
A look back by director Will Graham:
Charlie Wessler appeared out of nowhere, like a comedy genie conjured out of some tin can I probably kicked on my way into work at The Onion. I was starting the Onion News Network, the web video and now TV branch of the venerable satire newspaper. It was 2008. Did you know that sometimes movies take a long time to get made?
Anyway, we were in our second year at ONN, in the thick of covering voting machines electing one of their own in the 2008 election and the other important fake news of the day, when one day Charlie Wessler e-mailed me out of the blue. Like many of Charlie's e-mails, I think this one was less than 10 words long. It might have been, "I am Charlie Wessler. Get on phone?"
We did, and it led to one of the most fun experiences I've ever had. Charlie Wesller had seen an ONN piece we made, the headline of which was "Use of 'N-word' May End Porn Stars Career," and he had a strange offer: he and Peter Farelly (whom I had worshipped since I was 10) were making a movie consisting of what Charlie Wessler described as "just the funniest shit we can think of." Of course I agreed to do it while I was on the phone with him, even as I was still feverishly Googling to make sure this 'Charlie Wessler' was a real person and not my Dad doing a 'relaxed dude' voice.
I reached out to Jack Kukoda, an incredibly talented writer from our group at The Onion. Jack Kukoda wrote about 96,000 ideas for various different shorts, which he and I culled down to a list of approximately 36,000 that we sent to Charlie Wessler. He latched onto one about a pair of extremely well intentioned parents who home-school their son, but are trying to do it in the most authentic way possible, so that he had every experience that normal kids do -- getting beat up, being shut out of the cool kids party, and so on.
Working at The Onion totally desensitises you to jokes that are offensive or dark, because we do so many of them. When I'm working on something else, I always have to remind myself "how would a normal person react to this?" Except when we were writing this script. We kept coming up with ideas that made us laugh, like the kid having a horrible first kiss forced on him by his mom, and we were like "yeah, there's no way they're going to let us actually do this." But those were the jokes that Peter Farelly and Charlie Wessler loved -- they'd keep saying "go further" -- and that was the moment I knew we'd found real kindred spirits.
That was also the fun of making this idea as a short. If it was a feature, it would be an incredibly depressing drama about parents torturing their offspring. As a short, you just pop in, see how awful this kids life is, laugh (hopefully), and then cruise on to the next tragedy.
I like comedy that's crazy or silly but feels very real. That's what I tried to do in directing the short -- take something that could have felt like a zany sketch and instead just treat it as completely pragmatic and real world. The thing I was most worried about getting across was the idea that these parents aren't evil -- they're really trying to do what they think is the best thing for their kid, and wind up completely fucking him up, as all parents do (except mine, if they ever read this).
Enter Naomi Watts and Live Schriber. When Charlie Wessler first brought them up as a possibility, I was immediately like "they would be perfect." They have so much credibility because of their amazing dramatic work, that I knew they'd bring a perfect seriousness to the comedy. I was also like, "Yeah, there's no chance that they'd ever do this." But Charlie Wessler and Peter Farelly worked their weird voodoo magic, and a few days or months or years later Charlie Wessler told me Naomi Watts had read and liked the script and was going to call me in the next couple of days. There was no specific time.
So of course that Friday evening I was in Times Square showing my cousins from Wisconsin how we have Barnes and Nobles in New York too when my phone rang and it was Naomi Watts. And I was like, "Oh boy." So I talked to Naomi Watts about the script and tried to convince her that I was a person she'd like to work with while pushing my cousins through a mob of screaming Chinese and Italian tourists in the most crowded and loudest six blocks in the world. A couple of times Naomi very politely said, "I can't quite hear you," probably because I was getting run over by a bus. I might not have said any complete sentences for the entire conversation, but I don't know for sure because I've blacked out the whole interchange except I remember that a lady was trying to throw a piece of pretzel to some pigeons but hit me in the neck instead. Somehow, Naomi Watts agreed to do it, and she dragged in her husband as well.
The other thing I really wanted to make sure of was that you really felt this kid's pain, that you understood his parents weren't just playing wacky pranks on him, they were detonating his soul into a million particles of atomic mist. Enter Jeremy Allen White, who I was lucky to get to work with just before he moved to LA to join the cast of "Shameless". We saw a ton of different actors for the part, but there was just something about Jeremy Allen White's hollow stare and weird monotone that made me laugh through his whole audition. Also, he seemed like he had a lot of confidence, which was good because as an eighteen year old, he was going to have to make out with Naomi Watts.
Shooting was a blast and a heart attack, as always. The script has a lot of short scenes, so we could improv and goof around, which I think was fun for Naomi Watts and Liev Schriber because I'm guessing they didn't do much improv in King Kong or Wolverine, maybe? Anyway, a lot of fun things happened:
Naomi Watts, Live Schrieber and Jeremy Allen White were willing to try anything. This was especially true when we were shooting the "first kiss" scene. There are about eighty different versions of that scene, including one where Liev Schriber grabbed Jeremy Allen White's face and made out with him so hard that they fell off the bed. Jeremy Allen White didn't look surprised, which says something about him as a person but I'm not sure what.
Naomi Watts and Live Schreiber really like to dance. See those sweat stains on Live Schriber's shirt in the scene where they're throwing a crazy high school party and not inviting their son? Those are real. Also, Live Schreiber is extremely detail oriented. He asked for a few extra takes of the shot where he has to lower his face into that high school girl's boobs, because he wanted to make sure he got it exactly right.
There was an alternate ending for the script where Jeremy Allen White put on a weird helmet with a taxidermied crow attached to it and told the neighbours that it let him control birds. Or something like that. Yeah, we didn't use that one. But, as a result of that ending, I now have pictures of the entire cast wearing that helmet on my iPhone. If you buy me a drink, I will show them to you sometime.
It was August, and I sweat a lot, so I remember spending the whole two days feeling like someone had just dumped a cooler of lukewarm Gatorade over my head. When we finished the last shot, Naomi Watts came over and gave me a big hug. I remember thinking that for her it must have been like hugging a golden retriever who just got out of a pond of sweat. Anyway, Naomi Watts is a very nice lady.
The very talented Paul Zucker edited the short, and thanks to his skills, what's in the finished movie is very similar to the first cut, except that we tried all eighty different versions of the "first kiss" and we cut the weird bird helmet from the ending. I'll always be a little sad about that, but completely happy about every other minute I spent working on Movie 43. "Larry: Buddy, it ain't about how fancy it is going in. It's about how fancy it is coming out.
And Mexican food creates masterpieces. Plus, salad can put your bowels on lock down. A couple drinks is good, though. Makes you last longer."
"Jason: Makes me last monger? You want me to draw this out?"
"Larry: You don't want to be Mr. Two Squeeze, Thank-you please!" The Proposition
Directed by: Steve Carr
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, JB Smoove
As told by director Steve Carr:
I come from the world of music videos and hip hop videos, but I had become known for doing family films - "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," "Dr. Doolittle 2," "Daddy Daycare." Hollywood can be a ghetto - if you do family films, that's what you get offered.
So when Charlie Wessler and Peter Farelly pitched me this story, I jumped at the chance. It validated everything that I felt was funny as a 14 year old adolescent. It was the opportunity to do exactly what I wanted - plus Peter Farrelly and his brother, Bobby Farrelly, are personal heroes of mine. So I agreed to do it.
Chris Pratt and Anna Faris were already on the film by the time I came onboard, which was wonderful. They were both such great sports - I don't know that it could have been better. I'd produced another film in which Anna starred, "Mama's Boy." She really knows how to play the naïve, angelic girl. And I think because of Chris Pratt and Anna Faris's real-life relationship, there really is a kind of loving pulse that you can feel.
Their ability to play it straight, plus that warm vibe from their real relationship, is what makes this comedy work. My feeling is, everyday life is absurd enough, and if you're in a heightened situation and the actors play it real, it just makes it hilarious. Who would ever expect that conversation would come up at a picnic? They played it like it was a romance.
When I first got the script, I realised it didn't quite fit the three-act structure that even a short film should have. Like I said, I come from music videos, so I already had the perfect skill set for telling a whole comedy in seven minutes - this was right up my alley! And what's great is, with a short film like this, you can cut right to the chase: you don't have to waste time telling how they got to the barbeque - they're just at the barbeque. It was very freeing.
I knew I wanted to make the conversation with Chris Pratt and his friends the centerpiece, and J.B. Smoove and Chris Pratt were just ridiculous - hilarious. That's my favourite part of the film. It's really almost all improvised. J.B. went on for, like, 15 minutes, and Chris Pratt was able to keep up with all his riffing. All that stuff, like, telling him to add some guacamole and salsa to give it "colour" on the back end - that was all J.B. And we were all literally cracking up behind the camera. I ruined three or four takes because I was laughing so much! He must have done 20 different versions, all hysterical.
Of course, it's the third act that seals the deal. And, again, with Chris Pratt, there's this incredible mixture of this real warmth and affection for Anna he has - he really wants to do what she wants, and you can feel it. But when push comes to shove, he can't take waiting anymore - he's just, "Ahhh, I gotta shit!!"
Those sounds you hear, by the way - all the "bad plumbing" gurgling and farts - that is literally me just channeling my 14 year old inner self. I was lucky to have a good editor, who I've worked with before, Craig Herring, and we worked together to really enhance and heighten his reaction with the sound effects and cutting in between takes. But, at one point, we had so many farts and gurgling sounds that everyone told me I had to take it down a notch.
That scene where they're in bed - when the big moment comes, in the third act - Chris Pratt and Anna Faris really chimed in and helped choreograph it. We were getting, "Why don't I come in and I'll just stand over her?" and "Well, what if he is ready, but I say no?" It was like a ballet.
We had to build this powerful "poop cannon" for when the car - that was my idea - hits him and the poop ends up all over the car. We had to come up with this projectile unit, and we filled it with mud and dirt and whatever else we could get in there. Funny enough, I came back to that same location wanting to shoot something else sometime later, and they wouldn't let us. They said, "Well, the last people who shot here used this thing to make everyone think it was poop, and we had to hire special street cleaners to get it off the street!"
The whole thing was a blast. When will I ever get the opportunity to channel my 14 year old self and spend someone else's money doing it? I really had a good time on set, and if that was all I got out of it, it was plenty satisfying. Even though it was a shitty experience. "Neil: How's your acid reflux?"
"Veronica: How's your HPV?"
"Neil: It's your HPV, Veronica, I'm just carrying it." Veronica/CVS
Directed by: Griffin Dunne
Cast: Emma Stone, Kieran Culkin
As told by director Griffin Dunne:
My oldest and closest friend, producer Charles Wessler, had the brilliantly retro idea to make an anthology of short comedic movies exclusively for theatrical release. He understood that as our attention spans get shorter, the need for another classic like "Kentucky Fried Movie" only grows stronger. Also, having underestimated Charlie Wesller's taste in material by turning down the part of Harry in "Dumb and Dumber (in fairness, so did Sinbad) I was willing to direct whatever filth he asked me to.
Fortunately, he and partners John Penotti and Pete Farrelly, sent along a charming little ditty called "Veronica" about star crossed lovers who must say farewell for the last time. My two deeply gifted actors, Keiren Caulkin and Emma Stone, committed with their hearts and souls to play the young couple. During rehearsals we watched the ending of "Casablanca" so as to set the bar for the kind of emotions their scene required. Though Humphrey Bogart never actually accused Ms. Bergman of "blowing a hobo for magic beans", nor did Ms. Bergman ask Bogie if he still "liked fingers in his butthole", I think you will agree that the depth of feeling Emma Stone and Kieran Caulkin brought to their roles match those iconic actors note for note. Seriously, how did Emma Stone make a single tear fall down her cheek take after take while saying such outrageous lines? If a party of deaf people had visited the set that night (and couldn't read lips) they would have thought we were making "Splendor in the Grass". That's my favourite kind of comedy and they are my favourite kind of actors. This parody eavesdrops on superheroes at a speed dating party: (Supergirl smiles as she hears Batman tell Robin what to say on his speed date round with her)
"Robin: What? Oh no, you can hear him."
"Supergirl: Yeah I can hear him. I can also see Batman underneath the table."
"Robin: Because of the x-ray vision, of course."
"Supergirl: No, I can just see him. It's a café table. It's really obvious."
(Supergirl walks away annoyed)
"Robin: I'm so sorry about your family dying!" Robin's Big Speed Date
Directed by: James Duffy
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Justin Long, Leslie Bibb, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Bobby Cannavale, John Hodgman
As told by Director James Duffy:
"Robin's Big Speed Date" got its start in 2004 when I convinced Sam Rockwell to be in a movie for three hours. I had gone to college with Justin Long, who had befriended Sam on the set of Galaxy Quest. Justin Duffy somehow convinced him this would be fun. Sam Rockwell agreed to do three hours. I brainstormed ideas with Will Carlough, another college friend and an aspiring writer, when his comic book obsession allowed. We had three days to try and figure out what kind of movie we could possibly make with Sam Rockwell in three hours. I had an idea about a date gone wrong and Will Carlough took it home and the next day we had a script about Batman cock-blocking Robin on a disaster date. The movie, "Robin's Big Date," ended up being a mild internet sensation, pre-YouTube, if you can believe that such a time even existed.
Several years later, Charlie Wessler and John Penotti approached us with an even harder to believe scenario. They had seen "Robin's Big Date" and wanted us to make a sequel for their upcoming Movie 43. We said yes immediately. When it came time to shoot the sequel for Movie 43, Sam Rockwell couldn't do it, because he was off shooting Cowboys and Aliens. Jason Sudeikis filled in, which in my mind, gave it a nice parity with the 90's Batman films, having a new Batman for each new sequel.
Justin Long , who really is responsible for all of this happening, went to work recruiting actor friends who would be willing to spend two days in tights. Will Carlough and I worked on the script trying to limit the number of dick jokes requested. An over the top ballroom dance studio in Chinatown was discovered by a genius location scout, the script was finalised and we were ready to go.
We had one read through the day before the shoot and I realised quickly that everyone was game and everyone was ready to help out as they could. There's something about putting people in tights that seems to make everything a little more relaxed.
The shoot was on. It was hot in that dance studio and everyone was drinking a lot of water. This meant a lot of complicated bathroom visits. Bobby Cannavale gave the funniest read of Superman that I could possibly imagine. He turned the character into a selfish thug, which if you think about it, is probably how most super powered aliens would probably end up. Almost everyone were in costumes that took a good fifteen minutes to get in and out of. It was a whole ordeal and required two costume designers to help each actor. Bobby Cannavale didn't want to go through the trouble and actually took a pair of scissors and cut a pee hole into the blue tights under the red underpants.
Justin Long and Jason Sudeikis set the tone in their opening scene. Pushing each other and one-upping each other with line after line of genius improv. It couldn't be funnier. The options were limitless. These two could do this all day. Charlie Wessler approached me calmly and let me know that no, in fact, they could not do this all day and that we were way behind. We made it through the first scene and then the first day and the second. I can't thank everyone enough for shepherding me through this my first non-three hour directorial adventure.
Will Carlough's funny recollections from the shoot:
When I arrived on set the first day, I saw Uma Thurman getting her makeup done. I had met the rest of the cast in the read-throughs, but she hadn't been there for those, so this was the first time I had seen her. There's a scene in Adaptation where Charlie Kaufman is on the set of Being John Malcovich, trying to just say hello to the stars, and is summarily ignored. Charlie Kaufman displayed more bravery than me, because he had the courage to try. I never introduced myself to Uma Thurman, despite the fact that she was there to say words that I had written.
There was originally a part for Two-Face, Aquaman, and Batgirl.
"Robin's Big Speed Date" is the first time that Justin Long and John Hodgman have appeared on screen together since their Mac commercials.
Our AD's first job ever was Superman in 1978. He retired after our film. "Donald: See that blind kid over there? I dare you to blow out his candles before he has a chance to."
(Emily blows out the boy's candles and one second later, the boy blows out his candles). Truth or Dare
Directed by: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi
As told by Director Peter Farrelly:
"Truth or Dare" is another blind date, with these two people, played by Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant (from "The Office"), who've been through dating service dates for a long time and have had no luck with them. They start having the usual small talk, and quickly Halle Berry says, "This is bullshit. Let's play truth or dare," to help break the ice. But the thing quickly sends them down a slippery slope, and they start pushing each other into places they couldn't have imagined going.
It's funny, we actually gave another script to Halle back in 2010, and she came back and said it was funny, but wanted to do something that was even crazier! We had first given her a script for one called "Clooney," which was originally written for George Clooney - he ended up being pretty anxious not to do it. It all about how he couldn't pick up on girls at a bar.
We thought that was pretty outrageous, and we sent it to Halle Berry, not quite sure if she'd do it, you know, she's an Oscar winner and all that, that she might be offended. Not only was she not offended, she came back and said, "I know you guys are going to really push it - this is too wimpy. Let's go for it!" And we went, "Okay, well, we have another one." And we decided to get her into "Truth or Dare."
I'm a huge fan of Stephen Merchant - I think, for my money, he's one of the top five funniest men on the planet. He kills me. Anything he does, just walking down the street, I'm laughing. And to put him with Halle Berry, who's never done anything remotely like this, and to see those two mix it up, was just a joy, as a director, to watch. They're so different in so many ways, and yet they're both extremely talented actors. They can push each other in directions that were just amazing to watch.
And it was great having Snooki in there. She was a good sport, making fun of herself. She knows where her bread's buttered, and she's not afraid to make fun of herself, because that's how she's made her living, and she gets that. That's what's fun about it. And, luckily for us, when she's reading "Moby Dick" to Stephen Merchant, she was going by memory.
The truth-or-dare gags really came from the writer, a guy named Greg Pritikin. He did several drafts, and we'd say, "No, no, push this further, push that further, try this." There weren't enough at some points, but we kept going back to him and saying, "Come up with more." And each one went up a notch from the previous one. It's not that they're necessarily funny, it's that they're so unexpected and offensive, and that they would go that far.
I particularly liked the thing with the blind kid having the birthday party in the restaurant, with the waiters singing one of those obnoxious "Happy-happy-happy birthday!" songs. I was a waiter for years when I was in grad school, and I had to do those birthday songs. It was a nightmare. You're in the middle of work, and all of a sudden, you have to be humiliated. So we had to get that in there.
But Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant were up for all of it. I couldn't believe the glee with which Halle Berry embraced the role. There was no embarrassment. Anything we asked her to do, she would do. She was such a great sport, particularly with the big, fake boobs. And Stephen Merchant, doing the bad stripper dance - it was actually uncomfortable how far we pushed it. There's stuff that didn't make the cut because it was too much, because he was grabbing girls' butts and breasts. They were okay with it, but we realised, "Nah, that's too much," and we were figuring we'd just pull back in the editing room. But what I didn't want to do was get in the editing room and say, "You know what? We should have gone further." "Brian: You kidnapped an Irish midget?"
"Pete: No! I caught you a leprechaun!"
"Brian: Moron, there's no such thing as leprechauns."
"Pete: dude, watch this." (untapes his mouth)
"Leprechaun: You two f*cks are f*cking dead. You're deader than dead. You're dead like disco. You're deader than a deadman's
" (Pete tickles his nose. The leprechaun sneezes fairy dust.) Happy Birthday
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Cast: Gerard Butler, Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott
As told by producer John Penotti:
As I recall it, (Charlie) Wessler screamed to me to his imaginary assistant ..."Get (Brett) Ratner on the phone! He's the only guy who's able to do this!" And so it was to be. Brett Ratner immediately dove in, honing the script, and then hand picking his cast. Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville perfectly fit as on- screen roommates - being that off screen they have long been great friends. Each of them fully immersed themselves in the twisted tale. Most fun was to decide who would be the brave soul willing to be shrunk into a tiny leprechaun. Gerard Butler casually agreed, "Sure, sounds like fun. But I'll need an accent coach. I'm a Scotsman and this little fucker has an Irish accent." This was our longest and most complicated shoot. The body of the little leprechaun you see in the chair during the entire film is a little person actor named Gabriel Pimentel. (Stunt work was done by another expert little person named Martin Klebba). He was amazing and frankly very small. So Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott spent two days acting out their scenes with this guy. But on the last day of the shoot, Butler was brought in to sit in front of a green screen to act out and match every body movement that Gabriel had done in the two days earlier. Brett Ratner would tell Gerard Butler to move a little to your left and, "When you say the word 'balls' shake your head a little." Highly detailed work but necessary to be able to get the performance perfectly attuned. Peter Farrelly, Charlie Wessler and John Penotti are extremely grateful for all the actors' contribution, and even more for Brett Ratner 's tireless pursuit of excellence. "Robert: Sir, the iBabe is
"Boss: A high fidelity music player that offers pristine sound quality and an almost unlimited storage capacity. It's goddamn cutting edge."
"Arlene: Right. It also looks and feels exactly like a naked woman. Teenage boys are physically attracted to naked women. You see where I'm going with this? (sighs) At the very least, we need to put a warning sticker on the box."
"Boss: A warning sticker? Well that's rich. Other MP3 players don't have warnings to not have sex with them. It's just common sense. A bag of potato chips doesn't have a warning that says 'Please don't fuck these potato chips.' In all my years in this business
(his voice trails off. He shakes his head)." iBabe
Directed by: Steve Brill
Cast: Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Jack McBrayer, Aasif Mandvi
A statement from Director Steve Brill:
I'm a lot like Peter Farrelly and Charlie Wessler- I loved "Kentucky Fried Movie" when I was a kid. I remember seeing it playing at drive-in theater and trying to sneak over from where my family was watching some other movie to see it. I was a young adolescent - 15 years old - and, to me, it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. There was nudity, and it was aggressive comedy. I just thought it was like seeing something secret and special. It sort of put me on the path to wanting to do comedy, in a lot of ways.
I loved the unstructured narrative - having the funniest shorts you could have, and then having some weird, funny way to tie it all together, which is what we ended up doing with Movie 43.
I've known the Farrelly's since way back - I've known Peter Farrelly forever, and I used to play hockey with Bobby Farrelly. I'd always wanted to work with Pete, and I remember going down and meeting them on the set of There's Something About Mary. I remember being impressed by how they had their own sense of comedy, and they stuck to it. It was really fresh and unapologetic, and also sweet.
So I trusted them, when Peter Farrelly and Charlie Wessler, someone I've also known for a long time, tracked me down and pitched me the idea of doing one of these insane shorts. We met over at Carrie Fisher's house, and they pitched me some crazy ideas, which I thought were impossible to do - and then I realised they had already shot some of them. I had looked at some of the scripts and told them, "We could never do that," and they went, "Oh, no, no - we already shot those. We want you to pitch