He also had to roll with it while Nick Offerman, as a square road-tripper encountered along the way, spontaneously inserted his finger in Sudeikis’ ear during an awkward, sexually charged scene. Not missing a beat, Sudeikis began massaging Offerman’s privates.
“Jason comes at comedy like a boxer,” Offerman said. “He’s always dancing around, sometimes throwing jabs, sometimes throwing hooks.”
Aniston’s comedy, meanwhile, is far more low-key – to some critics, even generic. But those who worked on this movie said she brings her own skill to balance Sudeikis’ comedic rat-a-tat.
“There’s something incredibly difficult about taking a written line and making it seem like the most natural thing in the world,” Thurber said. “I don’t know if Jen gets enough credit for that.”
On-set skills were perhaps especially necessary on this movie. The “We’re the Millers” script was one of those Hollywood projects that sat on the shelf for nearly a decade with a revolving door of actors and directors unable to get it off the ground at Warner Bros.’ New Line. Enter Sudeikis and Aniston, who had worked together on “Bosses” and the lightly seen action comedy “The Bounty Hunter,” and whose big-screen stock was rising.
Still, the many iterations took their toll. Though the movie has a number of laugh-out-loud set pieces, Aniston acknowledges they were “plugging up holes” right through production – not least because it isn’t easy to capture the right tone in a movie about a pot dealer pretending to be a suburban husband to smuggle drugs.
“There was a lot of up-to-the-last-minute stuff, and then the clock ran out and we had to start shooting,” Aniston said.
“So we did it on the set,” Sudeikis added. On the first day of production, a surprise sandstorm blew in and caused a shutdown.
“It was like, ‘There’s a flag on the field,'” Sudeikis said. “It allowed us to huddle up and say, ‘OK, how are we going to do this?'”
Sudeikis, deadpan and a little shy in person, says he’s found the process of promoting the movie while his “SNL” news has broken tricky, calling the experience “like attending my own funeral.”
Still, despite the challenges – plenty of “SNL” veterans don’t go on to flourishing film careers, after all – he hopes this role marks the beginning of a new chapter. It’s a hope endorsed by his collaborators.
“Jason has this ability on-screen to be really charming but just a little bit of a jerk, like Bill Murray at the height of his power,” Thurber said.
That good-guy veneer allows him to play a corrupting influence – a man who, as he has in recent film roles, goads people to kill their boss (”Horrible Bosses”), cheat on their wife (”Hall Pass”) and commit major drug felonies.
It’s the kind of edgy part he likes. But Sudeikis, recently engaged to actress Olivia Wilde, also may not mind something a little less odious next time out.
“It would be nice to play someone who’s using his charm for a little more good in the world, maybe a pet detective, like Ace Ventura,” he said. “Or maybe Fletch. Investigative journalist. Who can argue with that?”
©2013 Los Angeles Times
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KeyWords:: BC-MOVIE-MILLERS:LA BC MOVIE MILLERS LA AMX-2013-08-05T14:00:00-04:00