Bad Words is a subversive comedy (not for the politically correct demographic), about a ruthless, dysfunctional 40 year-old man, Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) who finds a loophole in the rules of the Golden Quill National Spelling Bee and goes up against overly ambitious 8th graders in a bid to hijack the competition. His emotionally challenged brain validates his reasons for such unruly behavior.
The original screenplay, which is R Rated for it’s constant profanity, is penned by Andrew Dodge and made the coveted The Black List in 2011. We visited the set of Bad Words to speak with co-star Ben Falcone (Bridesmaids, The Heat and husband of Melissa McCarthy) about working with Jason Bateman on his directorial debut.
SR: Has your spelling improved since shooting this movie?
Ben Falcone: (Laughs) Yes, I’m learning some long crazy words, that’s for sure! They are goofily hard.
SR: What’s Jason like as a director?
Ben Falcone: Bossy, arrogant! (Jokes) No, he’s just like he is when you’re talking to him. He’s very smart and very direct and very calm. I have a feeling that he’s going to do a bunch more of it. Just watching him I think he’s very good at it.
SR: Does it make it easier for you as he’s an actor’s director?
Ben Falcone: Yes, because he gets the shorthand. If a director has never acted they’re trying to explain to you – sometimes he’s able to tell me really quickly what he wants me to do. So the speed is faster even though the message might be the same.
SR: Are you being a bit of a film geek in between takes while sitting next to Philip Baker Hall?
Ben Falcone: A little, I’ve been asking him more about his life. He’s such an interesting guy. This is only day three with him, so I’m thinking like day four, I’m really going to ask him some deep questions. First day, it’s about establishing I’m a cool guy; we like each other personally and now I’m going to ask all the geeked out questions I’ve wanted to ask since day one.
SR: How have things changed for you since the success of Bridesmaids?
Ben Falcone: When I have my moustache, yes. And when I don’t I’m a lot more incognito. It’s funny because when I’m with my wife, Melissa McCarthy, when we walk around, people definitely recognize her and then when I don’t have a moustache, they look at me and squint.
SR: What is Jason like in terms of takes?
Ben Falcone: When it’s someone else it’s very few but when it’s him it’s very many! (Jokes) No, it seems like he’s getting what he’s after fairly quickly. So with all the scenes I’ve been doing, it’s fairly quick, three or four. He moves forward pretty quickly.
SR: Do you have any more plans of collaborating on a film with Melissa?
Ben Falcone: Yes. We are making a movie called 'Tammy,' which we wrote and it will star her and I would direct as well. It’s a comedy, which we’re both producing and starring in. It’s about a woman whose life falls apart and she takes a road trip with her grandmother. We’ve had the script for a few years now but due to Melissa’s schedule, we had to push it back.
SR: Is Melissa playing Tammy?
Ben Falcone: Yes, and I’ll be the grandma. (Jokes)
SR: Is this the first screenplay you’ve written together?
Ben Falcone: Yes, but we’ve written comedy sketches together. We met at Groundlings and we always had a sketch together in the show. We’ve written together for a long time now.
SR: Has the writing process changed since her success?
Ben Falcone: Yes, in the fact that we have less time! She’s always super busy so half the time I’m fielding calls while following her around with the laptop…. “So we’re in the interior house, what’s a funny thing they are eating?” Luckily for us, we talk a lot about this stuff while we’re in the car because we’re nerds and that’s what we do. But then we get indoors ready to type stuff up and we hear “mommy, daddy”…so you can’t.
Bad Words hits theaters on March 14, 2014.