Universal Pictures releases Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping nationwide on June 3rd, 2016.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Given that comedy is subjective, how challenging was it to decide what to cut during the editing process?
Jorma Taccone: It was very challenging. We have an hour-and-a-half of deleted and alternate scenes for the movie, so there was a ton of stuff that we loved, but had to leave on the cutting room floor because they didn’t feel as though they further developed the story.
Akiva Schaffer: Like with any comedy you play for an audience, you’ll sometimes be surprised at what they laugh at. We would include jokes in our material, and think they would just play for us. They’re the jokes that we think are funny amongst ourselves, and then are surprised when the audience also laughs. Then there are other jokes that we think the audience is going to go crazy for, and then sometimes they wouldn’t laugh. I don’t think that’s unique to this project; that’s true of any comedy. You only have your guess of what everyone’s going to like and then you just put it out there.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What important issues were you trying to explore in Pop Star?
Andy Samberg: What we wanted to play around with was how much social media, media and then how number of outlets that exist nowadays have changed that landscape from what is expected of an artist, and what they give up in their personal life and how real that is---the relationship between pop stars and their fans, how real it is, and how it affects their actual friendships and relationships in their lives.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What were some funny moments on the set?
Andy Samberg: There were a couple of times that people kinda lost there s**t and got the giggle. during the scene in which Tim Meadows’ character is telling Conner that they think he needs an opening act. We tried it a bunch of different ways, and at the end of the scene, Harry tells Conner, "I have one idea, but you are going to like it!" Conner asks, "Are or aren’t?," and Harry says, "Are."
Jorma Taccone: Everyone was spiraling out of control
Andy Samberg: Tim makes everyone giggle; he’s just a funny, sweet man. When we were shooting the scene where we were all standing on the side of the stage as we were watching Hunter the Hungry for the first time, I’d go, "What do you think, Harry? I don’t know about this guy." Tim just kept saying, "The kids love him! I think it’s a good call-the kids love him!" For some reason, him saying "The kids love him!" for the fifteenth time was funny.
Akiva Schaffer: Every time we went around the circle and got back to Tim, he’d say the same line,” just with a different tone. He never thought of a new line. He just said "The kids love him!" every time, and for some reason, that always got everybody.
Andy Samberg: It's fun and fascinating to go through that process every time for us. You put up a joke, and it bombs, and then we all turn to each other and go, "I guess not!" Or where a joke feels very throwaway and then the whole audience will fall out of their seats laughing, and we'll go "Nice!" I guess that one was way better than we thought!" We got the movie down to a length and flow that felt right to us.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you convince all the musicians to have a cameo in the film?
Andy Samberg: In all kinds of ways. Some them we'd call or email. We did it through reps. Some like Ringo Starr and Judd Apatow called us---we don't have Ringo Starr on speed dial! But we cast a really wide net, and had a huge list of people who would love to be a part of it. We were very fortunate---a lot of them said "Yes!"
NYC MOVIE GURU: What was the process like to decide what songs to include?
Andy Samberg: We were like real rappers, even though we’re fake rappers. We would get a ton of really awesome beats from different producers. We'll lock ourselves in the studio and listen to a ton of beats. Often times, the beat itself would spark an idea, and we would start writing to it. Other times, we would have an idea for a song, and then try to find a beat for it.Other times, we would have an idea for a song, and then search for a beat that matched it. Or we would have idea that we knew needed a certain beat, so we would straight up ask a producer to create a beat for us from scratch to match our idea.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Would you consider to make a documentary about a modern band or musician?
Andy Samberg: We would never spend the time to make an actual documentary---that's so long! If we were forced to make a documentary, it would be about Kanye.