The Babymakers, starring Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn, will be opening in limited (11 theater) release this weekend. The film is about a man who is unable to get his wife pregnant and decides to rob a sperm bank with his buddies.
Cinedelphia sat down with director/star Jay Chandrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan to talk about some of their favorite comedies, the status of Super Troopers 2 and Arrested Development, and whether Pat’s or Geno’s is the better place to get a Philadelphia cheesesteak.
CINEDELPHIA: I’ve actually been a fan of your work ever since seeing Super Troopers in the 6th grade.
KEVIN HEFFERNAN: That makes us sound old.
C: The first thing I noticed about the movie was that the rest of the Broken Lizard group wasn’t there.
JAY CHANDRASEKHAR: Well it’s not a Broken Lizard movie, it’s just something Kevin and I found and developed. The movie itself is really about the couple itself and since the Broken Lizard group is five males, it doesn’t really fit that model.
C: I also noticed that this one wasn’t written by either of you and I was wondering how you got involved with this script?
KH: I did a movie called Strange Wilderness a couple of years ago with a friend of mine named Pete Gaulke who co-wrote it gave me the script since he thought it would fit our sense of humor. So Jay and I read it and thought it was great because at the center it had these two people having a baby, but it also had all the heist stuff which we loved. So we set it up, and at some point Jay got the opportunity to get funding for a film and wanted to make this one and that’s how we got it made.
C: I’m a fan of Paul Schneider, especially after seeing The Assassination of Jesse James and I’m not used to seeing him in a comedic role. How did he get involved with the project?
KH: He’s fantastic! We got lucky in our movie to work with serious actors who want to do comedies. When they come to your movie with a guy who’s a leading man type and has a lot of credibility within the independent filmmaking world it’s kinda cool to bring in a guy in like that who can also be very funny and give that credibility into your movie.
C: I was also wondering how Olivia Munn got involved?
JC: Well Olivia ended up interviewing us for Attack of the Show and we became friends after that. She’s got this brilliant comic timing, so it was almost like hanging out with a sixth female lizard. So we put her in The Slammin’ Salmon and she’s also in a movie coming out in January called Freeloaders and it seems like the right thing for her because she fits our tone so well.
C: When you got the script did you know immediately which characters you both wanted to play?
JC: No, in fact the character I played was an Eastern European but because Sacha Baron Cohen had nailed it with Borat we decided we couldn’t do that again. But we don’t actually focus on casting until everything is really in shape so that we focus on every single part as opposed to a single character.
C: But did you expect to be playing a character from the beginning?
JC: No, in fact I wasn’t going to be in the movie until we switched it from Eastern European. The character felt funny if he was foreign and eventually we decided to go with Indian.
C: And what about you Kevin?
KH: I was sure I’d play some character, but it wasn’t determined who that would be. It was more that we liked the writing and realized it could appeal to women and men equally. But then when it started to get into developing, I saw a part.
C: Jay, as a director do you find it difficult to juggle acting as well?
JC: Yes, I’d say directing and acting are two perfectly good jobs but what I do is have Kevin watch my performance and he will take notes and I’ll also give a range from super subtle, to medium, to huge, and when I get into the editing room I’ll pick whatever works best for the moment.
C: Is there a lot of improvisation?
JC: No, not a great deal. We write about 20 drafts of the script and then we shoot that script and we’ll improvise only in the joke slots. We don’t do the usual two camera set up and start making stuff up, it just hasn’t been our style.
C: When you were filming was there any scene that stood out as a personal favorite?
KH: I liked the scene where the guys are all sitting in the car smoking pot since I liked the stakeout scenario of it all. We’d never done a heist movie before so it was really fun to be wearing ski masks and black clothes.
C: What are some of the influences for your style of comedy, especially with this film in particular?
JC: A Fish Called Wanda and the Pythons, but the film that influenced The Babymakers is Flirting with Disaster because it had a lot of romance, it had a lot of wild stuff, it had real actors and that was sort of the goal for this movie.
C: Any directors in particular besides David O. Russell?
JC: John Landis, I’m a huge fan of his because his movies look like real movies and are all super well developed scripts.
C: Something both those directors do is bounce between comedy and drama, is that something you’d be interested in doing?
JC: I suppose if the right thing came along I would, but I’m not actively out there pursuing it. I’m a believer of the “give the audience what they want” philosophy of showbusiness and they seem to want comedies from me and I seem to like them.
C: I know a lot of people want to hear about Super Troopers 2. Can you say anything about that movie?
JC: As soon as we figure out the legal problem we’re having with Fox that we’re trying to resolve. Once it’s resolved we can talk about the second one. We decided to write an outline but we have to write the script.
C: Kevin would you consider directing again now that you’ve done it once with Slammin’ Salmon? What was it like directing for the first time with that movie?
KH: I had a great time and it was fun. It wasn’t like I was thrown to the wolves because we worked with the same crew we usually work with. It was a very comfortable experience for me. But yeah, if the option arose I would certainly take it.
C: Jay you’ve directed several episodes of Arrested Development, do you have any involvement or comment on the new season and movie that are coming up?
JC: I talked to Ron Howard who said they’re definitely doing it, and my friend is now writing on the show. She said they’re writing episodes, and I have a feeling they’ll be shooting soon since they’ve hired a writing staff. As of now I have not been involved, but if they asked I would be happy to be.
C: Since we are a Philadelphia based website do you have any funny or interesting stories about the city?
KH: We just did a show there and we had some very drunk audiences.
JC: I remember at 5 in the morning standing at the corner of Pat’s and Geno’s and we were drunkenly running back and forth trying both and drunkenly arguing which one was better.
C: And which one was the decided winner?
JC: Pat’s. If you’re old enough I would recommend going there extremely drunk and arguing with your friends.
C: Thank you for talking to me, but before I go I would like to ask one last question: What’s a ZJ?
JC: If you have to ask you can’t afford it.
KH: I’ve heard a couple fans make some stuff up, such as if you fall asleep while jerking off; that’s a ZJ. If you have two girls, one black and one white, each locking their hands together it’s like a ZebraJ.
The Babymakers opens this Friday in limited release.