Paul Rudd stars in I Love You, Man, directed and co-written by John Hamburg, as Peter Klaven, a real estate agent who overhears his fianée, Zooey (Rashida Jones), telling her girlfriend that he has no friends, he desperately sets out to find a male friend who’d be willing to be his best man at their wedding. Robbie (Andy Samberg), Peter’s gay younger brother, tries, unsuccessfully, to help him to find straight men willing to go out on platonic outings. Even the personal ads don’t help much. Jason Segel plays Sydney Fife, a friendly guy whom Peter meets at an open house and musters the courage to chill with, whether it’s at a restaurant, boardwalk, concert or his bachelor pad. Jon Favreau briefly shows up as Barry, the husband of Denise (Jaime Pressly), Zooey’s best friend. Jane Curtain and J.K. Simmons play Peter’s mother, Joyce, and father, Oz, who invite everyone to a dinner celebration at a Chinese restaurant, where Sydney makes a hilariously embarrassing speech. Peter’s new friendship with Sydney affects everything in his life from his relationship with Zooey to the way he behaves at work. Paul Rudd has previously starred in Role Models, Knocked Up, The Ten, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wet Hot American Summer, The Object of My Affection and Clueless. Jason Segel starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up and in the TV shows "Freaks and Geeks", "Undeclared" and "How I Met Your Mother." It was a real pleasure and privilege to interview Paul Rudd and Jason Segel together.
Paramount Pictures releases I Love You, Man nationwide on March 20th, 2009.
NYC MOVIE GURU: At what point in your life did you know that comedy was meant for you?
JS: I’ve been 6’4” since I was 12. Kids would stand around me in a circle and one would jump on my back and the rest would chant, “Ride the oaf! Ride the oaf!” Those are moments in your life when you either go two ways. You either become a real jerk or you become funny. My choice was [to be] funny.
PR: I moved around a lot when I was kid and I wanted to make friends. My parents are both British and I’m Jewish and I grew up in the Midwest, so you have to adapt. My dad was hilarious and my mom, too. I have a sister who was born 2 ½ years after me and I knew that I needed to do something to take all the attention. For anything traumatic in my life, I would deal with those traumas through humor. I was always drawn to comics and funny stuff. I liked watching comedies, comedians and things like that. I wasn’t tough or edgy in any kind of way, [though]. I wanted to play football, but my mother told me that my bones were growing.
JS: I got lucky in that I joined the basketball team when I was 15 years old because I was so tall. They’re, sort of, a built-in group of friends. In relating it back to I Love You, Man, if you don’t have that [built-in] “thing”, where are you going to make your friends? Paul’s character in the film is a fencer, which is, sort of, an individual sport.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Jason, how did you develop your comedic rapport with Paul Rudd?
JS: It started a little bit during Knocked Up, but we didn’t have very much screen time. We were on set together a lot, [though]. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it was an insulated environment. We were shooting at the same hotel. After shooting every day, we’d go hang out at the pool bar and we really started to get to know each other better then. That’s where we had a real chance to improvisation together a lot. We’re good foils for each other and very complimentary as actors. It’s sort of like a basketball team that has played together for five years.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you discover the band Rush? What appealed to you about them?
JS: I got to know Rush when I was on “Freaks and Geeks”. I’m a little too young to have known Rush in their prime, [though]. PR: Growing up, I was, sort of, into New Wave music. RUSH was the kind of band that guys in my school who scared me and could easily kick my ass would listen to. As I got older, I started to appreciate the musicianship and started to get into [Rush]. When I heard that they were going to be in this film, I was super excited and really nervous to meet them. When I met them and explained a scene to them, they would be so hypersensitive that they would enjoy themselves and feel that they we weren’t making fun of them. They are the perfect band for two guys to bond over and to alienate a woman.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How often did you laugh on the set?
JS: We certainly cracked each other up a lot. I actually also would crack up at how much Paul would crack up at the references that he think up.
PR: I found that, on this movie, more than anything, if I started to laugh, I just couldn’t stop.
JS: The one I remember the most is the “break-up” scene between Paul and I. It took Paul 45 minutes to do that scene without laughing.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think makes audiences like the character of Peter Kraven?
JS: Paul doesn’t like when I compliment him, but, honestly, I was really blown away by my performance. [laughs] I was blown away at what Paul did because, in the hands of a different actor, that performance could have been incredibly annoying or the lines could have seemed like he knew what he was about to say before he said it. It was important that those lines be improvised because that’s what brings the necessary awkwardness. Paul managed to make you empathize with [his character] as opposed to being annoyed by him.
PR: Trying to overcompensate or being insecure is something that everyone can relate to.