Danny McBride

So who’s this “Danny McBride” guy you play?

McBride: Well we are playing… I’m playing myself, so I’m an international superstar playboy extraordinaire. Yeah, I guess we are all playing like heightened versions of ourselves, so yeah.

How do you prepare for something like that?

These guys did a really good job of just constructing these characters enough where you can kind of see the angles that they want you to explore. This movie doesn’t take a ton of preparation, I won’t lie. (Laughs)

They all have been working on this for a while developing the script. What was your first reaction when you read the script and you read what they wrote for you?

It’s insane. The script is absolutely nuts. It’s just another one of those movies where you get it and you’re just pleased that someone is willing to pay money for something so insane, you know? It’s unlike anything that I’ve seen before or worked on before.

How’s the dynamic now with Seth and Evan directing and really being the guys calling the shots in this movie?

They’ve transitioned into it just flawlessly, like it’s been super easy. All of these guys, from Jay to Franco to Craig, everyone has worked with these guys before and they know the routine and much improve is involved and so yeah, it’s just easy. You’re just in the scene and if you’re on a good run, Seth and Evan will encourage you to keep going or throw things your way if you’re going down the wrong path. It’s actually been very easy working with them as directors.

It seems like they set the table really well for you, in terms of knowing your strengths already.

Exactly. They know what you’re capable of and with that they know what they want to see from you that they haven’t seen form you before as well.

When you say “heightened” versions of yourselves, do you mean “more terrible?” It seems like you’re all not good people.

Some of us are good. You know, I don’t know… It’s like Jonah’s character for instance is very nice. He’s extremely nice and so they are variations on us and playing into the celebrity a little bit of each person. So they’re not necessarily terrible versions of us, but we are in very desperate situations and so sometimes the worst comes out of people.

We noticed when we watched the scene that you guys are adlibbing a lot and going off page, but when you have six of you going at once, is it really hard to get the adlibs in and get things in without…

You know, it’s one of those things where you really have to be really paying attention to what’s happening in a scene. You’ve got to be able to feel those rhythms of when someone is going for a run you’ve got to be able to step back and let them do it. It does become that game where it’s like you don’t want it to be like every single person is just trying to fill every blank space with a joke and I think all of these guys have been really good about that, like you can kind of sense when it’s somebody’s turn to do something.

How does the heightened version of you handle what’s going out?

My character has a lot of disbelief, but then it becomes a survival movie and so I would say that if this were like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD OR SOMETHING, like I’m the dude that’s definitely causing trouble and freaking out and wanting to make a lot of the wrong choices in the situation.

Obviously when you’re dealing with the end of the world things can get crazy and gory and stuff like that. Are you guys really going for that in terms of violence and the kinds of scares and things?

Yeah, it’s insanely violent. I’ve seen a lot of celebrities die very grisly deaths on this film, yeah.

Who has the grisliest death? Can you tell us? 

That, you know what… It’s a great question, because everyone definitely… A lot of people in this movie meet an end that I would not… I don’t think I would choose one over the other, from people having their faces ripped off to arms ripped off to terrible things being put inside of them. It’s just that, yeah.

Where does this movie start off? Is there a reason why you guys are all together?

This set that you’re on is supposed to be Franco’s house that he just built himself, he designed it himself and so this is set at his housewarming party.

So we can assume all of the other guests have died terrible deaths?

There was a little bit of a catastrophe and some people ran and some people weren’t so lucky and some people stayed in the house. I don’t want to ruin anything for you  guys.

So the people that are left behind are bad or good? People have different variations on what happens in the rapture.

It’s not clear what sort of apocalypse this is, you know. There are a lot of theories. Some say it might be the Chinese, some think it could be a series of well timed earthquakes and wild fires. Yeah, it’s not one hundred percent clear to us in the house what exact sort of apocalypse we are facing.

Do bath salts come up at all?

You know, just when we work the night shoots. When we work the night shoots the crew is on bath salts.

They destroy the crafts service table.

I understand this mainly takes place in the house. So when somebody goes outside, do we see that?

You know, a large portion of it takes place here, which is one of the things I really dug about it. I liked the idea that it was kind of like one of those old NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, where most of the survival is about the dynamic between the people who are stuck in the situation trying to figure out what’s going on and it sort of paints this horrible picture outside, but we do go outside in it, so yeah you definitely see what’s happened to Los Angeles for sure.

Is there a bit of claustrophobic cabin fever inspired fun?

For sure. You have a bunch of people in there that are supposed to be friends and as time wears on, those bonds quickly break and it just becomes every man for himself.

In terms of playing heightened versions of yourselves, who would you say is the furthest from the real version of themselves? And have they been having fun doing that, playing that far against them?

God, Jay, who do you think is the furthest from themselves? Jay is. Jay is the furthest from himself.

Jay: What?

McBride: You’re the furthest from yourself in this, right?

Jay: That’s my answer.

McBride: Yeah, it’s hard to tell. Everybody is definitely portrayed in a way that is a little more grotesque than they normally are. Seth oddly enough doesn’t really have any negative attributes in this movie. (Laughs) He comes off as courageous, bold… I don’t know.

How’d that happen? 

I’m not sure.

How have Seth and Evan been dividing the directing? Is it very obvious or is… Seth is obviously always on set.

Yeah, it’s kind of just hand in hand, like Seth will be in the seen and he will yell stuff and some times Evan is behind the monitors and he can see things that we maybe can’t see in the midst of the scene. So yeah, we get direction from both of them fairly even.

You have a good track record… you’re saying how you can’t really see how anyone would put up a lot of money for this, but you’ve done a lot of that kind of stuff.

Those are the kind of movies I like. (Laughs)

What’s the secret to getting up there and being insane?

You have to prep the movie very fast and just get them spending money before they know what they are doing. (Laughs)

What is it about the apocalypse that yields such comedic gold?

I just think it’s not a scenario that you usually associate with comedy and so I think it’s kind of ripe. I mean a lot of these situations that our characters are up against are things you would see if this was like 2012 or one of those disaster films, but it’s just a bunch of idiots dealing with it and so it just has… There’s a lot of new ground for comedy there.

Now in terms of them writing this, they had to hope they were getting everybody or did they come to you ahead of time and say, “You are doing this. This is what we want to do. Are you in, so we can put you in it?”

I had heard about this a few years ago they talked about it and then finally they just said they had finished the script last year and they sent it to me and I thought it was great and then they were fishing around for when was a window of time when everybody would be available and this kind of was the time period when everybody was going to… somehow the continents shifted and everyone could take off for these three months just to come here and have fun.

With film schedules and TV schedules and all sorts of stuff?

Yeah, but it’s been cool. I mean it’s been definitely a good time in New Orleans and it’s been fun to work with all of these guys again for sure. It’s been awesome.

Have you guys been able to enjoy the city?

Yes, big time. This is a great city to shoot in. We’ve loved it down here.

Was there any part of it that was LA for any of the establishing stuff?

I don’t know if they’re getting like plate shots of LA, but I’ve seen the stuff that’s supposed to take place in Los Angeles of what they have done here and they rebuilt like Melrose Ave. and I mean it looks awesome. It looks like Los Angeles. It’s great and they’ve done a really good job.

Can the six of you actually walk down Bourbon St? Or is it just chaos?

It depends on what time of the night it is. I was telling these guys like I went down to Bourbon St. when I first got here and was just like cruising around and I had gotten pretty deep in and I felt like I was in THE WALKIGN DEAD where it’s like one drunk guy who sensed I was there and then another and it was like “Fucking keep moving….” (Laughs)

Four of you were in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, so have the four of you actually been in the same room, other than the junket, together since then?

I’m trying to think of when we have all been in the same room together. Independently we have all been together, but yeah this is union hasn’t happened… I think my wedding was the last time all four of us were together, yeah, in a swimming pool filled with piss.

Since you are playing yourself, I would assume that you take more ownership over the character than usual. When you were reading the script, was there anything where you’re like “I wouldn’t do this.”

No, it’s just funny when you read it and you read the fate of your character, you kind of invest a little more, like “Really? This is what happens of me? This is what these guys think of me?” Then you realize everybody gets shit on. (Laughs) Cool. Thank you guys. It was good to see you guys.

Next Page: The unabridged transcript of our conversation with Jonah Hill.

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