SR: And the opposite of course is Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) who really is a total liar; in her smiles, and her gestures she is so fake and insincere. Not to make too much of it, but again, I think a big part of the appeal is that we, in our own everyday lives, just really long to tell the truth. Are we not sort of constantly lying a little bit, or at least holding things in? I mean, in that way, she does what we want to do.
“I think on some level there is a fantasy or wish fulfillment aspect of the character, for sure. It’s attractive. I mean she’s actually really attractive for somebody who’s…the character is herself attractive for someone who is behaving so horribly. Obviously a lot of that is the combination of things that Cameron brings.”
SR: How did the script evolve from when you came on board and then when you cast? Did you make adjustments with the casting in mind?
“It changed in small ways. There was a little bit of process that I had with the writers who were then present throughout the entire production and really a lot of post production. We worked really closely together and the movie is, as much as anything I’ve ever worked on, it just generated from a very clean and simple writer’s impulse, which was that the two guys (Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg) had this idea and they wrote it in a way that was really, really funny. As a spec script, you know, it was just something they came up with and decided to write. Over its life it has a little bit of process, including a little bit of process while we were shooting and stuff like that. It morphed in subtle ways but I think that the final movie is actually very, very close to what they originally came up with.”
SR: So not a lot of improv?
“A lot of improv in the process, and a lot of them and I playing with different jokes. There’s a lot of experimentation to it, and there is certainly a lot of improvisation, but like I said I think the final movie had jokes that weren’t scripted, it has moments, but the gist of what it is, is really very close to the original script. And a lot of the jokes are from the original script.”
SR: Did anything surprising come out of the improv?
“We have really great improvisational actors working on this movie, partly by design, because it gives you enormous depth of material. A lot of the Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) and Principal Snur (John Michael Higgins) material starts with what was there and then Mike Higgins and Lucy had a great improv chemistry and there’s a lot of it that was extended into larger ideas while we were doing it.”
Kasdan worked with director/producer Paul Feig (who makes a brief cameo in the car-wash sequence in Bad Teacher) on the television series Freaks and Geeks. Feig directed one of this summer’s comedy hits, Bridesmaids, which (among other things) sparked a public conversation about the availability of good roles for women in comedy. This film offers several meaty parts for the ladies to bite into like a nice juicy apple for teacher. When I asked Kasdan why there is such a spotlight on the ladies of comedy right now, he responded thusly:
“I think on some level it’s a coincidence that there are a couple of movies that you can look at right now and say, ‘these are the kind of female comedy characters that we haven’t seen a lot of.’ But I think that it’s a coincidence partly born out of the fact that we need a greater range of female comedy characters and it happens that there’s a few movies right now that are trying to do that.”
SR: Well cheers to that!
We appreciate the minds behind Freaks and Geeks continuing to stretch the boundaries of standard comedy fare.
Take a look and see if you can spot Paul Feig in the aforementioned car-wash sequence below (we’ll understand if you need to watch a few times).
For the remainder of Diaz’s breaking-with-type performance you can see Bad Teacher when it opens in theaters this Friday, June 24th, 2011.
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