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We’re The Millers: Interview With Director Rawson Marshall Thurber

Published June 24, 2014 by gossipzoo

Were The Millers

New Line Cinema’s latest comedy We’re the Millers is released in UK cinemas this week. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber – who also wrote and directed fan-favorite Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story – the film follows a faux-family who are attempting to smuggle drugs into America.

We got the chance to chat to Thurber recently about the improvisation on set, changes to the script, and whether or not any sequels are in the works.

The script for We’re The Millers has been hanging around for a bit, what attracted you to the project and what changes happened from the initial script?

“The original script was written by Bob Fisher and Steve Faber, and they were the writers of Wedding Crashers, and I think they sold it right after Wedding Crashers so I think it’s existed for almost a decade in Hollywood, which by Hollywood standards is very old.

“I didn’t get it until Sean Anders and John Morris sent me a draft and that was about two years ago, so that’s when I first started and I thought that script was really funny. I thought it was a clever take on an old idea, and I think I laughed out loud four times when I was reading it and that never happens, because most of the scripts you get are terrible or unfunny or both.

“I thought it had a great attitude and shocking hilarity so I liked it. New Line asked me if I wanted to direct it and I said “Yeah, I’d like to” and I re-wrote it.

“Most of the funny stuff was already in there, I worked on the plotting and structure a little bit, worked on the Kenny character and his romance, and then I added the striptease scene.”

Was there a lot of improvisation on set?

“There was plenty of improv. The best part about my job is I get to hire actors whom I admire to help me tell a story, and that’s what I got to do on this one.

“I got to get Thomas Lennon and Nick Offerman and Katheryn Hahn and Ken Marino and Ed Helms and Scott Adsit, not to mention everybody else.

“So I hired actors who have an improvisational background. There are two things, a lot of people say; ‘How much was written, how much was improv?’

“We had a lot of improv in the movie, I would say almost 10% which is a lot, but there’s a difference between improvisation and alternate lines. At the end of the movie we have some outtakes and we have what we call Lineoramas, so there’s a bunch of different lines, and those are written.

“You write out a bunch of different punch-lines for the same set-up because anybody who knows anything about comedy will tell you that he doesn’t know anything about comedy, that is to say that you can be pretty sure that what you think is funny is going to work but you don’t know until you put it up in front of a real audience of strangers.

“There’s no way to know. The worst thing that can happen is you get twelve takes of the same punch-line and you put it up in front of an audience and you get crickets, and you’re sunk because you don’t have something else.

“To me it never made sense to just have one punch-line when you could have five or six and pick the best one. There are alternate lines and jokes for sure, and those were mostly scripted, and then there is improvisation which some of the improvs are some of my favourite jokes in the movie.”

Did you adapt the characters once the cast came on-board?

“The script was in a constant state of being re-written. There’s an old saying that no work of art is ever finished, only abandoned. I’m not calling We’re The Millers a work of art but in the loosest definition, you never stop working on these things. So we were writing jokes in editorial that you put in loop-wise, and some of them are big laughs.

“The process never stops until they take it away from you, you just keep trying to make it better and better and better and better, faster, faster, funnier, funnier. Care more, care more. But in terms of the actual writing toward an actor or actress, not really.

“When Jen signed on she had some thoughts about what she liked about the character and what she thought was maybe undercooked a little bit. We worked towards making the character a lot more fuller and interesting, but it wasn’t anything crazy. It was all above board and all pretty standard.”

Usually Jason Sudeikis is the comic side-character, here he is taking the lead, with added drama. Did you know he could pull that side off or did you just want the funniest man in the world leading your film?

“I’ve been a fan of Jason’s work and I didn’t know him personally but I always thought that he was the funniest guy in any sketch or any movie he was in, and I thought he’d be perfect in this. I saw him in this movie, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, it’s called A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy by Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory.

“Unseen, almost, which I can’t believe, and he was so charming in that and I knew it, from that part, that he could be a leading man, and should be a leading man.

“I was really excited to give him the opportunity to do that in a big studio movie, so I wasn’t worried about him pulling off the role by any stretch, and you want somebody as funny and as talented as Jason but I didn’t know, honestly, how good he was.

“He is so funny but he is such a talented actor. He can do anything, some people say he’s going to be the next Will Ferrell, but he could be the next Tom Hanks if that’s what he wants to do, that’s how gifted he is. That was, I have to say, surprising, but pleasantly so.”

What made you feel that Jennifer would be good for the role, was her and Jason’s work together in Horrible Bosses a factor?

“No, I think it wasn’t a factor in ‘Let’s get Jen and Jason back together because people like Horrible Bosses,’ it wasn’t. I wish we were as calculated as that. If people knew how these things happen.

“We got Jason first and I was thrilled, and then I forget whose idea it was but someone said “What about Jen for the part?” and we all thought ‘S**t, that’s a good idea,’ but when you send your script to Jennifer Anniston you never really think she’s going to say yes.

“We sent it off to her, I actually thought ‘eh, it’s never going to happen’ and then the phone rings and they go ‘Hey, Jen read it, she really thinks it’s funny and wants to talk about it’ and we got lucky.”

Looking back at your career, you apprenticed under John August, those two years, how did they inform the rest of your career in understanding script and directing?

“I think it’s impossible to exaggerate how influential the two and a half years that I spent working for John August has been on my career. It’s the most luxurious and fantastic incubator you can imagine.

“He’s the nicest guy, he’s so talented, he paid me way more than I deserved for what I was doing, and I just got to learn. I read everything that he wrote, I learned what it meant to be a professional screenwriter in town, both on the page and in the room, and the guy that you hear on the podcast, on ScriptNotes, is actually who he is, he’s that nice.

“You wouldn’t want to meet anybody nicer, they’d be trying to sell you something. I stole so much craft and office supplies from John August, I wouldn’t be where I am without him, he’s a dear friend and mentor.

“I love ScriptNotes, it’s an invaluable resource not only for screenwriters in town but anybody who is interested in movies. Couldn’t be more important in my life.”

Working on a comedy like this, there must be a lot of outtakes, how much footage might be seen in the deleted scenes?

“I don’t know if we’ll have a different cut of the movie, I think the movie that we put in the theatres is the movie we intended to make and we’re proud of, I use the royal we of course, but there were a good handful of scenes that just didn’t make the film because of pacing.

“I think we have a lot of the alternate punch-lines and some of the improv that just couldn’t fit. There should be a healthy amount on the DVD for people to look forward to.”

There’s a balance of gross-out comedy and quite a tender aspect to the film, how difficult is it to strike that balance?

“I’m really happy to hear you say that, it was a big part of it. If you don’t have heart in your comedy then you just have a bunch of dick jokes strung together and who really cares? You can laugh yourself silly in the theatre but you won’t remember a lick of it by the time you get to your car.

“The movies that I loved, the comedies that I loved growing up, have heart to them. You just have to care a little bit, just enough, so for me that was the most important thing.

“Obviously number one is you want it to be funny, but a 1a is you have to make people care, and we tried really hard to do that. I think Will Poulter who plays Kenny, is the heart. He is the heart of the movie, and so at the end of the picture, spoiler alert, when he punches out the bad guy and kisses the girl and fireworks are going, if the audience doesn’t feel something there, we’re f*cked.

“Fortunately so far people do, there have been plenty of screenings where we get cheers at that point. As the filmmaker that’s what you want, at least that’s what I want.”

You’ve had two big hit comedies in the last decade now, and you’ve only made three films in that time. What’s going on? Why aren’t you the biggest thing around right now?

“Will you call my mother and please tell her that. Thank you, first of all, s**t. It’s just hard, let me back up.

“So there’s this big struggle that goes on behind the curtain, and it’s not easy to convince a studio to write a big mutli-milllion dollar cheque on a work of art, god that’s the second time, on a movie because it’s a gamble. There’s no formula for it, people try to make formulas but there just isn’t, so at some point someone’s got to pick up a pair of dice, blow on it and throw ’em, and it’s a hard thing to get.

“Even companies whose entire job it is to do that, it’s hard. No matter who you are. There’s a big struggle that goes on behind the curtain, I spent a year and a half working on something, re-writing something, casting it, getting close and then it goes away. And then you go over here “F*ck it, I’m going to do this one.” No.

“Finally you get all the pieces together, they say yes and then you step out from behind the curtain and everyone goes “Where the hell have you been?” I’m not sleeping, I’m working my ass off back here, sweating here in the shop. Even on this one, we started at the end of 2011 and now its 2013, so that’s another 2 years or so where I was actually making a movie.

“That’s a very long-winded answer but the short version is I hope to make more movies more frequently, and hopefully you’ll see my next one sooner than three years from now.”

How do you get all the action, the sex, the comedy in the movie, and how important was the Flashdance scene, or having Emma Roberts talking about anal sex, for the film?

“Gosh, that’s such a dangerous question to answer. I’m glad you called it the Flashdance stripper scene because we were aiming for a Carls Jr. commercial or Flashdance, it’s the sweet spot. I wrote that in because I thought, I wanted, each character, each Miller, to have a moment to save the family.

“Emma has hers when she covers for the weed baby, Jason has his at the end, Will has his at the end also, and it seemed like the character of Rose, that’s her superpower. It seemed like a fun way to get the Millers out of trouble.

“In terms of the foul-mouthed nature, that was in the screenplay, so I just shot what was written, I thought it was really funny, and Emma delivers that kind of stuff very well. She’s really funny.

“And then the action side was some of the most fun for me, and I hope to do more of it. The next thing I want to do is some kind of comedy with action to it, a little bit more scope in size.

“Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon 2 are good examples of that, but so is Ghostbusters and Galaxy Quest so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a buddy cop movie, and I’ve got a few things I’m looking at right now, hoping to Jedi mind trick somebody to let me do one.”

I read in previous interviews that regarding Dodgeball’s sequel you’ve said that you feel like you’ve said all that you need to say in that film, do you feel the same with We’re The Millers?

“Like a sequel? Gosh, I just hope the first one works. But I do think that whenever you have characters that people care about there’s always an opportunity to continue the story.

“I think the track record on comedy sequels is not very good, and I will burn that bridge when we come to it. Right now I just hope the first one works.”

The post We’re The Millers: Interview With Director Rawson Marshall Thurber appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Oscars Red Carpet: Hear From George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Quvenzhane Wallis & More

Published July 6, 2013 by gossipzoo

Catherine Zeta-Jones, arrives for The Oscars

For the third year in a row, Starpulse was on the red carpet and talking to all of the celebs as they strolled by in their designer couture gowns. The pace was fast and furious as stars wizzed by to get into place for their performances and presenting duties. Sometimes it was difficult to get grab them, but even if we shouted a question or two, most of them graciously answered.

Our team this year grew to three people, with the addition of our production assistant, who tweeted and added photos to the Starpulse Instagram account throughout the day.

Some of the most gracious A-listers to stop by included Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and her hubby Michael Douglas, as well as George Clooney. In fact, it was Clooney who shared with us that he was ready for a cocktail before the ceremony even began.

Check out our videos of some of the stars who graced the red carpet at the 2013 Oscars:

Check out more photos of Kristyn Burtt and crew on the Red Carpet of the 2013 Oscars

Oscars Red Carpet

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Tara Strong Teases The ‘My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic’ Season Finale

Published May 11, 2013 by gossipzoo

Tara Strong

Today marks the season finale of The Hub’s My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and it’s literally a magical send-off! BFTV caught up with prolific voice actress Tara Strong, who voices the show’s main protagonist Twilight Sparkle, to preview the episode and discuss the epic My Little Pony fan base.

What makes today’s episode so great? “The ending’s pretty spectacular,” Tara explained. “[Twilight Sparkle] finally gets rewarded for her good deeds by this amazing growth and transformation.” It’s a plot development that was heralded by the special coronation concert that The Hub hosted last weekend, and celebrated by a My Little Pony marathon today, hosted by Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan.

She added that the series is something that can be enjoyed by more than just young women. “When you first hear My Little Pony, you think it’s for little girls, but it’s not for little girls,” she added. “It’s literally a show families can sit down and watch. There’s nothing that you can say, ‘I’m not going to let my kid watch that.'”

Voicing Twilight Sparkle is one of many lines on Tara’s amazing resume, which also includes the likes of Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, The Fairly OddParents, and The Hub’s own Pound Puppies and Dan Vs. “I’ve been incredibly blessed. the roles that I’ve booked are just so iconic, like Batgirl, Harley Quinn and The Powerpuff Girls,” she reflected. “The list really goes on and sometimes I have to pinch myself. The sequel to Little Mermaid [The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea] was my ultimate fangirl [moment]. When I was singing with Jodi Benson, I just burst into tears looking at her! I’m so lucky to have had this career.”

With hundreds of voices in her repertoire, that’s a tall order to keep straight, or avoid duplicating, but Tara explained how she keeps everything sorted. “I’m really conscientious about not doing the same voice on two different shows. I’m like ‘No, Timmy Turner lives with The Fairly OddParents.’ Even if you just tweak it a little, once you create a character, they sort of live in your brain [and] I don’t confuse them. I don’t mix them up. I know when I’m going somewhere, I become that character.”

Tara is one of the folks who is in the elite echelon of voiceover actors, including but not limited to the likes of Billy West (Futurama), Maurice LaMarche (Pinky and the Brain), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs), John DiMaggio (Futurama), Grey DeLisle (Young Justice) and Tom Kenny (SpongeBob Squarepants). Asked to name one of her favorite voice actors, she said, “I did my very first job with Cree Summer. We loved each other then, and we still do now. We’ve worked together on many shows and she’s just so gifted. I consider her a sister really.

“We all do know each other, and we all get along,” she added. “I’m amazed daily in the studio.”

1 of 2Next pagePhoto Credits: The Hub

A Few Minutes With… Ginger Gonzaga on FX’s ‘Legit’

Published March 1, 2013 by gossipzoo

Ginger Gonzaga

FX’s Legit is about to get a lot more interesting. Tonight marks the debut of Ginger Gonzaga as Jim’s (Jim Jefferies) frustrated girlfriend – and BFTV recently caught up with Ginger to get the scoop on this hilarious actress and writer.

“It’s just like a bad relationship from the beginning,” quipped Ginger, who appears in five episodes of Legit‘s first season, starting with her introduction in tonight’s “Anger.” The title of the episode should tell you everything you need to know about her character’s relationship with Jim.

Before she was fighting with foul-mouthed Australian comics, the actress had her lightbulb moment in a room full of college dudes. “When I got into college, I didn’t know for sure that I was funny, and then I lived with all guys. All of my male roommates wold steal all the jokes I had earlier in the day and use them to hit on girls,” she explained with a laugh.

Ginger got her professional start working with two institutions of comedy, The Groundlings and Second City. “My sophomore year I went to a Groundlings show. I auditioned for The Groundlings and I got in. I loved improv and that was kind of the first step,” she said.

Something else she loved was the FOX animated comedy Family Guy – which made it particularly sweet when she was cast as Gina in Seth MacFarlane’s box-office smash Ted. “I’m mostly in the unrated version,” she said. Making it more amusing was the fact that Ginger had actually sat in on several Family Guy table reads beforehand.

“When I first moved here [to Los Angeles], I met one of [Family Guy‘s] writers, and she used to let me come to the table reads,” she added. “But then when I got cast in the movie, I was probably one of the only actors that didn’t actually know Seth before!” Now, they’ve become friends, and Ginger voiced the character of Cindy in two Family Guy episodes, season eleven’s “Yug Ylimaf” and the upcoming “Chris Cross,” which airs on February 17.

MacFarlane isn’t the only person who makes Ginger laugh. “I love Sacha Baron Cohen, and I love Ricky Gervais,” she said. She also enjoys the wit of her on-screen boyfriend: “I love Jim Jefferies. Everything that Jim says, I share his opinion on almost everything.”

You can see a selection of Ginger’s comedy work on Funny or Die, and she also co-hosted Hulu’s The Morning After for a year and a half, selections from which you can check out here. On The Morning After, Ginger was known for the variety of characters she played, and that diversity is something she aspires to.

“I just want to be able to play every type of thing. I want to check every type of person that I could be off of my list. Not always be playing the same thing,” added Ginger, who is also a writer and has collaborated with the likes of David Koechner (Anchorman) and Owen Benjamin (Sullivan and Son). Who else would she like to work with next? “I’d love to work with Tim Burton, and Paul Thomas Anderson, and Sacha Baron Cohen,” she added.

Although she makes us laugh on-screen, Ginger’s personal taste in television runs toward thrillers like Showtime’s Homeland and AMC’s Breaking Bad. One thing hasn’t changed, though: “I still love Family Guy,” she added. But now she’s not just laughing at someone else’s jokes – she’s bringing more than a few laughs of her own.

Ginger’s first episode of Legit airs tonight at 10:30 PM ET/PT on FX. You can also follow her on Twitter (@GingerTheJester) and visit her official website (GingerGonzaga.com).

For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my official website and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Photo Credits: PR Photos

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