The world’s most dangerous disgruntled employees — now with more miserable employers to make them that way — are back, with revenge plots that may be even more misguided than the first time around.
Horrible Bosses 2 reunites Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day as Nick, Kurt and Dale, the fed-up but still-not-quite-bright-enough-to-succeed-on-their-own trio who, after once again getting screwed over by their corporate masters plot a new revenge scheme that they’re destined to discover is anything but foolproof.
Joining in the fun in the new film, this time directed by Sean Anders (We’re the Millers), are returning player Jennifer Aniston and new hire Christoph Waltz who joined the three leads at a press event for the film to sound off on finding fresh angles as they returned to familiar ground.
On attempting to craft a sequel to equal — or surpass — the first film:
Charlie Day: For this second movie, we really thought long and hard about how to do it. It was a very inclusive process where we had a lot of conversations about it, and we didn’t just kind of go out on a limb and say, “All right — now we’re in Acapulco!” We put some serious thought into it. I think if we’re going to even consider doing a third one, we’d have to do the same process. There are so many bad sequels made, and we just really didn’t want to be a part of that. And I sincerely believe that we didn’t do that.
Jason Bateman: [Screenwriters] Sean Anders and John Morris deserve all the credit in the world for delivering this film. However, they were very inclusive in the whole process of developing this script and making it what it is. And we knew that that was a privilege, and so we took full opportunity, full advantage of that opportunity. We spent a lot of time working on the script and kind of making sure that this was something that was at least as good as the first one — and hopefully better, because we were proud of the first one. We sat on the phone for a long time and talked about “Should we?” And I’m glad that we did because for my money, this is a lot better than the first one, and I loved the first one.
Jason Sudeikis: In pre-production when we were going through the script and rehearsals with Sean and John, we watched [the original] in my trailer that day. Because that’s one element of sequelitis, is how things were, how things came to be. And when you actually sit there and watched the movie that we’re basing the second one on, you’re like, “Oh, that’s right. Oh okay.” It was really funny. I know for me, it got me fired up to do it again.
Jennifer Aniston: The writers called just to say, “How far can we go with Dr. Julia?” I basically said, “Go as far as you can go. As long as it’s in the realm of we’re not insulting or offending too many people.” And I think it rose itself to the occasion. The dialogue was great, and the situation, where you meet her in the [Sex Addiction] group. It just lent itself to great humor and situations, and I was just psyched. I did think about her, throughout all the films I’ve done since. She’s a hard one to let go of. I didn’t get enough of her. Too quick — it was just like a little In-N-Out Burger and then she was done… I find it extremely entertaining the way she speaks, because I don’t really think to her she’s saying anything inappropriate. For her, it’s describing the ingredients to a wonderful soufflé, or “What are we going to be doing this weekend?”
On incorporating improvisation into the process:
Christoph Waltz: I just did what it said in the script and that might have been a mistake. I don’t know. At first I thought they were doing that same thing, doing what was in the script.
Sudeikis: Rookie mistake, Waltz!
Waltz: I found myself somewhere in a dark corner, so I just resigned to staying in the dark corner and watching them. They do something that I detest: they improvise. I hate improvisation. Really, from the bottom of my heart.
Sudeikis: We mix things up here and there. We keep it loose. I would say that you did improvise, though.
Day: I mean, every sentence. You would come to the set with that rubber chicken and those chattering teeth and we would say, “No, Christoph, that’s not the type of comedy we’re trying to do.”
On mixing franchise newcomer Chris Pine into their established comedy mix:
Day: I think there was a concern bringing anyone into it, since we had a chemistry that we knew we could rely on. So you hope that you didn’t get someone who was either unfunny, or trying to be funny too much. But I always thought Chris was extremely funny as Captain Kirk in those movies. He delivers the action, but he also has great comedic timing. So I really wasn’t worried about it.
Sudeikis: He came a lot from the dramatic point of view. Like,”What would you feel if your dad did this?” He wasn’t trying to hit the joke — he was just trying to hit the reality of it. Because the funny’s already sort of in there, we hope, by us doing our thing and reacting to him and being in over our heads. Yeah, he stayed on a thing and didn’t try to do what we did. He did his own thing, which was both charming to the characters and also really effective as far as the scenes were concerned.
Day: And because he’s a peer when we were able to really make him break, it was satisfying because you know that’s sort of our target audience, in a sense. He’s sort of our comedy barometer.
On building throwaway moments like a “Fuck, Marry, Kill” conversation into a kernel of comedy gold by riffing through variations:
Sudeikis: The bulk of any sort of improvisation aside from us matching the rapport of one another is usually at the beginning of a scene or the butt of a scene. So that just really came out of two guys sitting in a car, wasting time while their buddy went inside to go buy walkie talkies and rubber gloves or whatnot. We probably did that probably seven times because it was like a crane shot, I think that they had to like follow Charlie into the car or wherever the case was. The one that kind of tickles me the most is probably [the take] using our friends from The Hangover.
Bateman: I did just drive by that location this morning dropping my kids off at school, literally, and I get a little smile. It’s a lot of fun doing these movies.
Sudeikis: “This is where daddy played ‘Fuck, Mary, Kill’ with the guy who played Joe Biden.”
On their own encounters with horrible bosses:
Waltz: I have a problem with authority, so every boss is a bad boss.
Day: The more I think about those experiences, the more I realize how justified those people were in their horribleness.
‘Horrible Bosses 2’ is in theaters now.
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