Press conferences can be many things – informative, entertaining, boring, long, short, disastrous, fluffy, bullshit, and sometimes even honest. Happily, sitting in on the junket for The Change-Up, I found this press conference to be three of my favorites: entertaining, brief, and honest.
With a movie like The Change-Up, you’re really going to come across any ground breaking information – after all, it’s just a comedy. Not to belittle comedies or anything, but it’s not a gigantic science fiction beast, a gigantic budgeted translation of a famed comic-book, nor is it a gigantic spectacle of shit blowing up.
If you’re looking for brilliant insight into the film-making process, you’re barking up the wrong tree. However, if you want to hear me talk about who the most attractive men in the room where, Leslie Mann’s breasts, and David Dobkin’s color pallete, well keep on readin’ on.
Did you know Olivia Wilde was in this movie? Of course you did, because you’ve seen the commercials, but heading into the movie, I was surprised to catch her in this, though I shouldn’t have been, since she’s in everything these days. Wilde herself seemed a little surprised to be in it as well, but was pleased to be appearing in two vastly different films within the same summer (The Change-Up, Cowboys & Aliens).
While ultimately pleased to join the cast, her initial decision didn’t come easily. With a busy slate of film ahead of her, she debated with those closest to her whether or not she should jump into this comedy. Urged on by her friends and colleagues, she went on to say it was the funniest script she had ever read and that she couldn’t “miss an opportunity for a script that [made her] laugh that much.”
Wilde describes the film as a movie about balance in your life and sees her character, Sabrina, as “balanced the whole time, really the model the guys unknowingly want to be,” in that she has a responsible and respectable job, but isn’t afraid to get wasted and tattooed. Speaking of tattoos – Wilde, while loving the script, worked with the team to come up with that activity for her character to come up with. Initially, and perhaps hilariously, Sabrina and Dave as Mitch were going to attend a rave where Mark Wahlberg would have cameoed.
Leslie Mann is a surprising woman in person – one of the few stars who is more attractive in person than they are on screen. Which is excellent, although if you’re hoping to see her breasts in the film, you’re only kind of in luck. While there are some breasts that editing would like you think are hers, she described them as “not a body doubles” but wouldn’t say much more, lending credence to the theory they’re a prosthesis, or perhaps computer generated.
But just talking about her boobies would be crude – except for the fact that Mann herself wasn’t shy when it came to talking about sexual things. For example, if she could body-swap with any person, she would choose Ryan Gosling’s girlfriend. Take that, Judd. Further, she confirmed what all women expected and wondered: Ryan Reynolds is a great kisser, though his beard is pretty sharp.
Much of the emotion in the film rests on Mann’s character to play it straight and wounded, so when it came time to trim the film she fought hard to keep a babysitter scene which features her now familiar routine of screeching upset wife on the verge of tears. While it’s something we’ve seen before and it’s played for laughs, it does provide a window into the wounded wife’s heart – alliteration for the win.
A mother herself, Mann’s thoughts on working with another family’s children could be summed up as: “Why would you let your kids be in this movie?” After all, they’re carried around, set on counters, and generally just put in harms way – well, sort of. I mean, a lot of people are there to protect the kids, but they’re still being exposed to diarrhea jokes and Ryan Reynolds’s abs.
Oh, and the answer to why you’d let your kids be in this movie? Money, silly.
It seems the most common question asked of comedic directors is “How much was ad-libbed?” The somewhat defensive answer is almost always “Less than you’d think” and that applies to The Change-Up. As he described it, the film appears ad-libbed, but it’s not. His filming process involved plenty of rehearsals to develop the scene and allow inspiration to occur, but not so many as to let the scene grow stale before filmed.
When asked about the R-Rating, diarrhea, and baby endangerment, Dobkin said they went as far as possible on set, knowing they could and would tone it back during editing. But that toning back was seemingly unnecessary, as when the film was screened for focus groups, there were very few complaints about the film, despite racist jokes, jokes about Downs-Syndrome in children, and again, diarrhea.
Jason Bateman & Ryan Reynolds
Listening to these two transferred very little knowledge, but mucho entertainmento. The comedic pair, long time friends, played off one another and fired off constant one-liners. In terms of honesty, Bateman said of The Change-Up that they’re “not trying to win any Oscars or teach any lessons.” Which is good, because they don’t come close to either. Well, maybe there is a lesson at the end, and I think it involves pissing.
In terms of growth as a person over the years, Reynolds seemed proud that he “eat[s] breakfast now, not ketchup” while Bateman informed the gathered press he can “swaddle like a mofo.”
After a few dozen more jokes, when pressed about any scenes that may have crossed the line, Reynolds offered the “lorno” scene – which is a light porno. A softcorno, if you will. He mentioned that was the scene being shot when his mother came to visit and he described as possibly going too far and that perhaps, if we’re lucky, there’ll be a dirtier peek on the DVD.
The Change-Up is in theaters now. See our review here.