I Love You, Man-An Interview with Paul Rudd and John Hamburg
How much of your own experiences are reflected in the film?
John Hamburg: Well there are some certain things in the movie that I would definitely say are not my own experiences, things that Sydney has in the man cave and other things. I think the idea of some awkwardness or some miscommunications or when you make a dude friend and you don’t know whether to give him a hug goodbye or shake his hand you know that kind of stuff certainly I go through on a daily basis it’s day
Paul Rudd: John’s wife does make a summer salad.
JH: She’s made a summer salad. We don’t watch Chuck a lot together but we’ve been known to do a summer salad.
Your original concept for the movie, Let’s Make Friends, came five years ago. The timing now is perfect with shows like Bromance. The whole concept of male bonding is very on the conscience. Had this had been done five years ago, would the climate been right or was this a perfect coincidence?
PR: I know that when we were filming the movie, none of us had ever even heard of the term “Bromance.” It seems to me it kind of came in the last few months. We shot this a while ago. I know that when I read it a year and a half ago, I remember thinking I can’t believe that this type of movie hasn’t been made already. It seemed to be a pretty straightforward story and one that is relatable whether it is recent or five years ago or whatever. I think everyone likes to classify something with the show Bromance. It’s a catchphrase that will drive everyone crazy in about two week before we move onto the next thing. It seems like its all come to fruition at this point. It seems like it to me anyway.
JH: It’s kind of a bizarre time. We didn’t plan it. The original idea was written way before anybody had heard “Bromance” or anything like that.
PR: Back when Brody Jenner was in short pants.
Besides the movie’s spin on typical male bonding, Andy Samberg’s character Robby goes against the stereotypical version of gay men. Was this a conscious creation?
JH: It was a conscious idea to take stereotypes and try to ignore them and just have people not be what you expect. Not be what you always see in movies or what is put on TV. Many people in the world are like Andy’s character, whatever their sexual orientation is. So the idea was that he just happens to be gay. It doesn’t define him in a certain way. It’s just who he is. He’s just a cool guy. Unlike Paul’s character, Andy’s character is just more comfortable in his own skin at the beginning of the movie
This is the third movie you have worked on with Jason Segel. How was this experience different?
PR: It was pretty great because we knew each other by this point. I met him during Knocked Up. We had a little to do together. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was just a few weeks and there wasn’t any thing scripted for the part I was playing. It was true playing off each other and getting to know each other. We were doing bits when weren’t shooting it and it was probably annoying to everyone else. I think it was nice in a way because when John cast both Jason and I this movie, I think we really felt as if we already we knew each other. I felt as if we were on the same page as to how we saw the film and our sensibilities. We had done so many stupid rifts as they were setting up lights during Sarah Marshall, it was just easier to seem like we were friends and we could do it in this one too. John said that one of the challenges in the beginning was when we were first getting to know each other. It didn’t seem as if we were familiar with one another even though we were already really good friends.
How much did you improv?
PR: You know bits here and there. The script, I thought, was fully realized and tight. An example would be when our characters are getting to know each other and we go out to have fish tacos and drink beer. We knew that we would be filming that all night but in the script we were just getting to know each other. So we knew that the conversation would be improvised. What you see in the movie, his Andre the Giant impression or just talking about hybrid animals, these are all kinds of things we were doing off the cuff.
Is that how some of the phrases like “Jobin” got into the movie?
JH: It was a combination. Some of the stuff was in the script and then some of it we came up with in rehearsal. Me, Paul and Jason would meet up in my office. I think that is how “Jobin” came.
PR: “Jobin” was in college. You’d say “Hey Jobin.” Another friend of mine would say “Shabe” which seemed just as arbitrary as “Dude.”
JH: Give Paul a little bit of film and a couple of minutes and he will come up with some of the stupidest phrases you’ve ever heard in your life and I mean that lovingly.
Do you find any similarities between Peter and some of the other characters you have played? For example, Josh in Clueless.
PR: I think that there was something about the character in Clueless that had a bit of optimism in that freshmen year of college where everything is new and you think you know more than you really do but you’re also open to lots of things. I think one of the things about this character, that was different than some of the other characters that I’ve played recently, I really like was a general optimism. The ability to speak how I feel and wear my emotions on my sleeve a little bit. And by the way, I think we have so many general ideas for “that’s a guy.” Guys like sport and they drink beer and they fart and girls dent understand them. Most of the guys I know, like my friends, do not fit into the macho mold. I think were somewhere in the middle. Clearly you can look at John and I right now and that’s obvious
JH: Two very handsome metrosexual men.
PR: John and I will sometimes say “Are you going to wear the gingham shirt because if you do, I’m going to go with a solid oxford.”
JH: It’s true. Often times, we’ll go to each other’s rooms and do a “getting dressed montage” like a Julia Roberts movie and try on different things.
PR: Sometimes I’ll take a picture on my computer in photobooth on my Mac and I’ll email it to John and ask if it’s a good outfit. We’ll iChat to look at each other’s pants.
In the movie Peter goes on a series of man-dates, what would you do on a perfect man-date?
PR: Here is an example where I would say I am somewhere in the middle. I would love to watch a series of football games on a Sunday but then I’ll still like to end the day with karaoke. I would like to eat a steak somewhere in the middle of it and a scotch. I don’t want it to be too hot but I’d like it to be a nice day, so if you want to walk around and maybe walk off the meal, you can. Maybe wakeup and have a good brunch, maybe a good breakfast. Say “Hey man meet me for an omelet.” This is a full day. If I’m going for a dream, I got to go for a full day. Omelets steaks, football and singing that’s my dream date.
How important was LA as character in the movie?
JH: LA way a very important element to me of the script because I wanted it to take place in a real city, not just anywhere USA.
PR: That just came out so wrong.
JH: Let me clarify, some movies take place in a made up city. So they’re just like “We live in Youngsville,” that is a real city. It could have been Chicago, Miami or Dallas. Just an actual place as opposed to a city we made up for the movie. Also LA is so spread out that is it hard to meet people like in a lot of cities in America. You get in your car. You go to work. You communicate with people over the Internet but not face to face. So I thought that would be a cool element of the story.
By Alison Sikes
Photos by Sharona Feder