24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Paul Rudd

Judd Apatow on Jim Carrey, the 'Knocked Up' sequel and loving 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'

March 2, 2011 |  9:00 am

Nearly a decade before he became Hollywood’s go-to producer and director for comedies such as “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” Judd Apatow cut his teeth as a producer on the dark Jim Carrey vehicle “The Cable Guy,” which is out on Blu-ray this week with 20 minutes of deleted scenes restored. Apatow talked with 24 Frames writer Rebecca Keegan about Carrey's sinister turn, why he's revisiting “Knocked Up” and what his kids learn from reality TV.

  Apatow

"The Cable Guy" took a drubbing from critics when it came out, but it’s gotten a cult status over the years. Were you surprised by the reaction to it at the time?

I thought people would be so excited to see Jim break new ground. I thought the critical response would be really positive and encouraging. It was an odd time, and the movie was stranger and darker and weirder than anyone expected. Some people were thrown that it wasn’t something they were used to. One of the issues has always been, when you see the movie for the first time, you actually think Jim Carrey is going to kill somebody. The second time you get all the jokes, and you’re no longer too nervous to laugh.

Didn’t you meet your wife on the "Cable Guy" set?

 I met Leslie [Mann] for the first time at her audition. On the Blu-ray, we have the audition. It’s actually the first time we ever spoke, but I am speaking in the character of the Cable Guy because I’m reading with her. You can feel her lack of interest. I don’t think she walked out of that room feeling what I felt.

 

You're writing a “Knocked Up” spinoff based on Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd's characters from that film. Why are you revisiting them?

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Sundance 2011: Paul Rudd worried 'My Idiot Brother' was over-hyped (VIDEO)

January 23, 2011 | 10:03 pm

Heading into Saturday night, everyone at Sundance seemed to be buzzing about "My Idiot Brother," the Paul Rudd comedy bought by the Weinstein Co. (more on that sale here). Hundreds of festival-goers were turned away from the Eccles Theater because the screening got so crowded.  

Suffice it to say, there was a lot of hype. Maybe too much, worried Rudd, whom we caught up with on the red carpet a few minutes before the premiere.

"I only saw this [movie] once kind of by myself about a week ago, and it's a little nerve-racking, because I know people have been talking about it and there's a hype around it but nobody's seen it, he said. "So I just hope it — I just want people to like it and not just be totally let down because it's been hyped up."

In the film, Rudd plays a lovable loser — part-stoner, part, well, idiot. His sisters (played by Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer and Elizabeth Banks) are alternately fed up with his antics and inspired by his honest approach to life.

The three actresses seemed less concerned about the film's sales prospects than their male co-star.

"That's not my business. I'm just an actor," Deschanel, who was celebrating her 10-year Sundance anniversary, said somewhat curtly.

Mortimer was more candid, admitting that the prospect of sitting in the Eccles Theater terrified her.

"It's really scary, actually," she said. "It's really the first time anyone has seen the film outside of the people that have made it, and you're just so aware of that as you're watching it and just hoping that it goes down well."

Of more concern to her, however? Her on-screen appearance.

"I'll probably be paying attention to my double chins and weird hair and weird teeth and sort of getting into a panic about stupid things like that," she laughed. "That tends to be the thing you focus on the first time you watch a movie."

To watch our interviews with Mortimer, Banks and Deschanel, click beyond the jump.

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Sundance 2011: 'My Idiot Brother' wants to be something smarter

January 23, 2011 | 11:51 am

Bro
In its more than two decades of providing the filmgoing public with some pretty great movies, the Sundance Film Festival has mastered a genre that few festivals, let alone filmmakers, ever pull off: the quintessential American dramatic comedy. Whether it was the wry suburban ennui of "Little Miss Sunshine" or the heartfelt despair of "(500) Days of Summer," to take two recent examples, Sundance has deftly straddled the comedy-drama divide.

That was the tradition Jesse Peretz was seeking to follow, and further, with "My Idiot Brother," which going into the festival was perhaps the most buzzed-about movie in a weekend packed with high-profile screenings. The expectations, which may or may not have been fulfilled, derived in part from the film's seriocomic ambitions, and in part from its significant star power. (As some film insiders noted, the movie also had a notable pedigree -- it was financed by the people who funded "Little Miss Sunshine" and produced by the man who gave us "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." Sunshine, sunshine everywhere. The movie, though, has not yet found a distributor.)

"Brother" explores the ultra-honest and childlike (but not quite slacker) life of a granola-eating underachiever named Ned (Paul Rudd), who values honesty so much it tends to get him into trouble. The irked victims of his naivete are usually his three sisters (played, in a kind of Shakespearean triangle, by Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel).

When we interviewed them at a dinner following the movie's premiere, the actors who took on Peretz's genre-dancing challenge said they were aware of what they were attempting.

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Preview review: Carell and Rudd sit down to 'Dinner for Schmucks'

April 7, 2010 |  6:23 pm

SchmucksFive or six years after they propelled films like "Anchorman" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" to box-office success, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell are teaming up again in July's "Dinner for Schmucks," for which a trailer was released this week.

A remake of the French comedy "Le dîner de Cons" (a hilarious movie we happened to watch in French class?), the film is about a group of colleagues who host a monthly dinner during which they compete to see who can bring the biggest idiot to the meal.

In the film, Rudd plays Tim, a man seeking a promotion who learns that to secure a job bump, he will have to attend said ethically dubiousdinner. When he literally runs into Barry (Carell) -- a dork with a bad haircut who likes to drink Silk-brand milk straight out of the carton while watching animal programs on TV -- he thinks he's got his man. That is, until his friend finds out about the plan, and, not surprisingly, disapproves. There's also another schmuck, played by Zach Galifanakis, who apparently reads minds and sports a creepy beard.

It's nearly impossible not to laugh when Carell is playing zany, awkward characters (think "Virgin"). Rudd also seems to be reprising a role he knows well: the well-meaning straight man  (think "I Love You Man"). The two character types do seem a bit tired at this point, and we want to dismiss the film as more of the same easy fodder -- but the trailer still leaves us hopeful. Maybe it's Carell's full-on commitment to playing a weirdo or the wild card that is Galifanakis,  but based on the trailer, we're buying a ticket.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Paul Rudd and Steve Carell star in "Dinner for Schmucks." Credit: DreamWorks.


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