Craig Robinson

So what happens [after you go outside], do you get your head ripped off?

Craig Robinson: Haha. You’ll have to see.

It’s kind of bullshit, you have to go out there but you also don’t get in on the jokes. They get to do all the jokes at your expense.

I know, right? It’s been kind of… it’s so much improv going on, so it’s kind of jump in where you can kind-of-thing.

Obviously a lot of that isn’t on the page, so when you look at the script for a scene like that… Does it says Craig draws the short stick and he goes outside–

Says Craig draws the short stick, the burn match, and that’s really all it is. So it says, he gives the rules and then you are supposed to hear me go, “No!” So that was it and then all that other stuff was added on.

We know you are playing yourself in the movie, is that your own wardrobe?

Actually yes, this is my catch phrase in my comedy act. The way this came about, I had a similar t-shirt on at one of the parties that these guys throw, this was a few years back and they remembered it, and they wanted us all to be as close to our actual selves as possible. Literally, some days I have worn these actual jeans to set and then switched into them, into these actual jeans. It’s the most comfortable I’ve probably been [on-set].

[About the towel]

They had these made, but this is also something that, I usually always carry a towel with me because I sweat a lot, I just like to have a towel, like Linus or somebody. One time my manager gave me a birthday gift, some monogrammed towels, and they said different things on them, but one of them was Mr. Robinson, and I happened to have it with me on the day that I went for a fitting and they were like, ‘Oh we love this, yes make that happen.’

When did you first find out that they were making this movie and that they wanted you in it, and when did you first read the script?

Oh it was… everyone said I was the first one to say, I’m in. I read it way back, like yeah, let’s do this. I don’t know if this had been done with people just, everybody’s using their real names and stuff like that, so I thought it was ambitious and exciting.

Where might this version in the movie vary from the real version of you under these circumstances?

I don’t think I am as whiny. I cry a lot in this movie, for the silly factor, but I don’t think I am that cry babyish. I think I’d be more like, “Yeah, bring it mother fucker.”

Do you prepare for something like that, I mean to play yourself.

No, you just be yourself and see what happens. But it’s still a collaboration, it’s still a character, it’s just a version… It’s definitely a lot of throwing out lines and seeing what works.

Out of the guys, who is the most like themselves, who’s the version the most from how you know them.

Probably Danny is more like himself. I don’t know. I mean everybody is silly and funny and sarcastic so if I were to answer that I would probably say Danny’s most like himself and Jonah is probably as far away from himself.

That’s funny because Danny said that he was playing a really nice guy, so I don’t know.

Yeah exactly, well Jonah is trying to appease everybody kind-of-thing.

Do you guys get to hang out a lot off set, have you gotten to enjoy New Orleans?

We definitely done some hanging, seen some suns come up, like… One night we went to the House of Blues, we went at 2:30 and just hung out and then everyone sharpened themselves up… We had some dinners, went on a swamp tour. You know, New Orleans, you got to get your rhythm, this town will exhaust you, but it’s been fun every night.

So what exactly is going on outside?

What do you mean, oh in the movie? There is… it’s chaos.

Is it like [an attack or something] or people fighting in the streets and stuff?

Well I don’t get to see what happens outside, except for the one scene, and it’s just this earthquake or something takes place and it’s just…

So it’s more like pandemonium from the people.

There’s definitely some pandemonium involved.

It looks like there’s fires buring outside the house.

Oh yeah yeah, I think there is some fire out there as well.

So how does this amount of improv, you have done improv with other stuff before, but this seems like the entire scene is just made up on the spot. Is this more improv than you have done or is it par for course?

Um, I did a movie where it was I think even more improv, but this is probably just as much though, so yeah I’m getting used to it.

Do you guys do any physical effects during the initial as-things-go-down, as the party gets disrupted and stuff like that, are there like big physical gags, sets coming apart, it, destroyed, stuff like that?

Oh yeah there are definitely some gigantic physical gags.

So when you are doing that sort of thing, is there still improv in the middle of that, or is because it’s so technical do you not.

Yes.  Improv is always encouraged, and they’ll get it, no matter what, these guys are directing their asses off. They get everything, and whatever comes out of their brains, is getting [caught on film].

I thought it was interesting that scene as we have been watching it, it seems to get more fine and focused and more giving sense, like Seth’s giving lines, is that generally how it’s been going?

That is exactly how it has been going. Everybody gets to jump in where they fit in.

Is there ever a scene where you are filming with something that is actually scripted?

Well we have it scripted, but it always runs off like that, like always. There is never a just do that, do what is on the page and go. It’s always more.

How was working out with Seth Rogen [as a director]?

It’s cool, it’s like hanging out with your buddy, just trying out ideas. Except they have a budget and you got trailers. It’s awesome.

Four of you did Pineapple Express, has this been a very different experience doing this four years after Pineapple Express?

Pineapple was different just cause it was David Gordon Green directing. I remember, I wasn’t as familiar with the crew as I am now, so it wasn’t as much… I remember a scene where Seth and Franco were my prisoners and then I would go back and forth and I got to see a little bit of how they were working with each other because they had actually been working together since they were kids, so I got to see how they bond and work and were kind of in each other’s brain. It was kind of cool, so that was my kind of witnessing it and of course now I am a part of it.

I see that you call each other by first names, but James Franco, you call him Franco?


Do you have any explanation as to why you call him Franco?

Yeah, it just sticks with me, Franco. I tend to do that sometimes, call people by last names.

Jonah or Jay mentioned that they poke fun of you for things, do they poke fun at you about The Office at all, or what’s the main thing that they poke fun of you about?

Nothing is off limits… nothing is off limits. Everybody is getting skewered, kind of, in this movie so… But yeah we had some Office moments, in fact I poked fun of myself in a scene that comes after this when I go outside and I’m like what’s going on, “It’s me, Daryl from The Office.” That happened.

Next Page: The unabridged transcript of our conversation with Jay Baruchel.

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