Magnet Releasing . Nature Calls may center around a bunch of young kids becoming Boy Scouts, but that doesn’t stop the adult stars from swearing like crazy around them. It’s an irreverant comedy and the perfect counterbalance to Wes Anderson’s own scout movie this year, Moonrise Kingdom. We sat down with stars Patton Oswalt, Rob Riggle, and writer/director Todd Rohal to chat about the film, pranking on set, politics, and why TV is so much better than movies right now.
. Rob, you have a very “in your face” style of comedy in this movie. Did you ever break character and crack up at any point because you took things too far? Or Patton, did you ever break during your scenes together? .
Patton: I cracked up at all your shit. (Riggle laughs.) Especially at the end. I just recently watched the movie, I noticed that even though we’re both standing together, there are weird cuts to just Rob talking because I was just laughing so hard at these fucking retarded things you’re saying to these wives and moms! So it was great. There was a lot of that – cracking up. .
Rob: Well, if you’re having fun, there’s going to be moments where you’ve gotta laugh. Are you kidding me? Patton and Patrice [O'Neal], and Johnny [Knoxville]…there are a lot of funny – .
Patton: Oh, another scene I really like is when Johnny is having his angina attack and you’re trying to get the go signal to beat the crap out of me, but you’re not sure whether you should help him. There’s this weird, again, USELESS, back and forth, like you’re supposed to be helping him. It’s just like, this is the best. A man’s dying, and you’re like, “Just give me the go-ahead. Please!” .
Rob: I need the greenlight. I need to be told what to do! .
Magnet Releasing . So I’m wondering: how did you guys originally meet? And then Todd, how did you get involved with them for this particular project? .
Todd: Yeah, when did you guys first meet? .
Patton: I think we met just doing a lot of comedy, didn’t we? .
Rob: Yeah. We met around the UCB [Upright Citizen's Brigade] community, or doing standup around town in New York. .
Patton: Yeah. A lot of friends in common. I used to love him on “The Daily Show” and “SNL.” You were in that great group of the brilliant people that “SNL” didn’t know what to do with. Sarah Silverman, David Koechner. All your stuff. .
Rob: I’ve been watching Patton for years, too. I’ve been a big fan of Patton for a long, long time. And we ran in similar circles. .
Todd: For me, I was just a fan. Who do I trust to be in this? Who is a dream to work with? That’s the fun part of putting a movie together, is when you get to sit down and be like, “this would be fucking amazing.” And you try to tailor as much as you can for them. Rob and I went out and had nachos, and Patton and I had a bowl of fruit and we decided to do it. .
Patton: That’s right, we did! We had a bowl of fruit. .
Rob: You guys did the healthy option. I think we did beer and nachos. .
Patton: I had just come off a month of doing “The Heart, She Holler” [on Cartoon Network] and it was all out in Brooklyn and it was the worst diet choices I’ve ever made. I was doing that feeble attempt of, “See? I’m having a bowl of fruit, universe. So maybe…can I be thin again?” (laughs) . I know Johnny Knoxville and the “Jackass” guys are constantly pranking each other on their sets. Did you guys live in fear of him coming after you? Was there a lot of pranking going on in between takes? .
Patton: He was weirdly subdued. .
Rob: He was. I saw him do a couple of nut slaps to our crew. .
Todd: To our DP [director of photography]. If you provoked him… .
Rob: I think if you put out a vibe that you were game for a little horseplay, then prepare yourself. But if you didn’t engage in any kind of horseplay, then he gave you a wide berth. I remember, I didn’t engage, and he let me pretty much off the hook. Except he took pictures of me every time I fell asleep. .
Patton: Me too! Oh my God, I would pass out on a chair, and he even said, he goes, “Patton, you sleep ugly.” It looked like someone had made a candle of me and then left it on the dashboard of a car. That’s literally what it looked like. (Todd and Rob crack up.) It was so disgusting. .
Rob: He took so many pictures of you, he could make a coffee table book. .
Patton: Yeah, it was ridiculous. .
Magnet Releasing . Patton, I know that you just got cast in “Justified,” and Rob, I think you’re about to be on “New Girl”… .
Patton: Have you already shot the “New Girl” stuff? .
Rob: Yeah. .
Patton: No shit! Who do you play? .
Rob: I play Schmidt’s cousin, Big Schmidt, and it’s the Thanksgiving episode, so Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner are on. .
Patton: No kidding! .
Rob: It was the coolest thing to work with Rob Reiner because I’m a superfan. Who isn’t? .
Patton: I did a very early table read for Meet the Fockers, and originally Rob Reiner was going to play the Dustin Hoffman role, he was doing a placeholder for the table read. He was one of the best guys I’ve ever seen at a table read, just annihilated it. . I saw you at the [Director Jason Reitman's] Live Read at LACMA for The Princess Bride with Reiner, too. .
Patton: Yes! And he was amazing in that. I realized, he’s done TV all his life as an actor, so he knows how to show up and just deliver this shit. One of the funniest table reads I’ve ever seen. If I ever do any kind of movie where I need like a befuddled dad or grandfather, he is hired because he was perfect. . Speaking of TV, what kind of TV do you guys get into in your spare time? Do you have any time to watch TV these days? Anything you guys are fans of right now? .
Patton: I watch more TV than movies these days because TV is better than movies. .
Rob: I’ve gotta tell you, my time is limited. Everybody’s time is limited. But when I do have time to invest, I put all my chips recently into “Breaking Bad” and I’ve watched all five seasons. .
Patton: Oh, dude. You just watched it for the first time, then? .
Rob: I didn’t know TV could be that good. Bryan Cranston and the whole cast, I just…I celebrate them. (laughs) .
Patton: Yeah, I mean, you’re like, “Oh, I get to watch an epic 15 hour crime saga instead of going to a so-so two hour film.” You mentioned “Justified,” I’m just about to start watching “Homeland,” which everyone is - .
Rob: I’m about to do that, too! .
Patton: And then the British shows are coming over, like “Sherlock.” Do you watch “Sherlock”? . “Sherlock” is great.” .
Rob: (curiously) Unh-uh. .
Patton: Oh, dude. You would LOVE it. It’s Sherlock with a cell phone, and a web page. It’s him today, and it’s fucking brilliant. You’ll love it. .
Rob: I’ve gotta see this. Is this a Netflix thing? .
Patton: I think you can watch it on Netflix now. It was a BBC show that’s now over here. It’s so good. .
Todd: It’s funny, because independent film used to be the answer to when TV was the lowest…it was like, these movies are coming out because people want an alternative to it. About the time, I think, the end of independent film coincides when Little Miss Sunshine at Sundance became…it was tough for people to tell the difference. TV is now the outlet where a lot of independent film directors are in. It’s funny that it goes back and forth like that. .
Patton: Some of the best actors, and best directors, and best writers are are fighting…it’s not like, “Oh, maybe can we get this guy?” They’re in there pitching. They desperately want to be on FX or Showtime or HBO. .
Rob: Where they can roll. They can do it. .
Patton: They can make these giant visions. I honestly don’t know…look, if Paul Thomas Anderson wants to make these three hour movies, why don’t you go make an HBO show, dude? Really go crazy. I would watch that. It’s great. .
. OK, so politics, obviously, in the air right now. Are you guys getting into watching the debates or anything? Thoughts so far? .
Rob: Yep, I’ve been watching ‘em. .
Patton: As performers especially, whether or not you’re a Democrat or Republican, everyone understands – especially you and I understand – your whole career can change with one show. One perfect show. It happened with Chris Rock with his special. It just happened to Tig [Notaro]. You say one wrong thing, or one right thing, and you can make your whole career. We’re just trying to hopefully get TV shows and movies out of it. These guys are trying to run the free world, and oftentimes it hinges on saying one bad thing, and you’re done. .
Rob: One hiccup. .
Patton: Exactly! .
Rob: Or one burn. One cleverly worded burn, and (brushes hands together) that’s your contest. It’s almost like a heavyweight match. I hate when they compare – all these pundits compare it to a fight. Fight, fight, fight. A prize fight. Which always kind of bums me out because it cheapens it, all that stuff. But, to use that analogy, all it takes is one punch. .
Patton: Just from a human point of view. Look, both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have worked their ass off, not only to get where they are in life, but these are leaders. They are very involved, active people. To have all of that work, and your entire life, come down to you just saying one wrong thing – .
Rob: It’s not fair! .
Patton: It is insanely not fair, but it’s also so fucking human. It’s such a real human thing. You go talk to Dukakis, and Gore…Gore, who by the way, Gore has got to be even crazier. He actually won his debate against George Bush, but then his people they even said, “We got on a plane, we didn’t understand how the internet worked, and their side – Karl Rove – knew to get on the internet and say ‘Gore was a bully, he kept getting in his face,’ and we lost. Even though everyone said I did better, we lost.” It was the same thing as when Nixon didn’t understand quite how TV worked. Gore and his people, ironically enough, didn’t quite understand how the internet worked, which is really weird. Of all the people who knew how to work it. Karl was like, “We can get on this RIGHT NOW.” And they were like, “Well, we have to get on a plane, we’ll take care of this when we land.” .
Rob: “We’ll have a press release written up.” .
Patton: And when they landed, they were like, “It’s over. We’re screwed.” Now, they’ve got people just there, and they’re immediately blogging. .
Rob: I think some of this stuff is pre-written. So all they have to do is hit “Send” the second it’s over. .
Patton: Unless one of the guys can surprise them. Because the first debate, I thought was prewritten until Romney came and surprised everybody. Not only Romney, Obama surprised people! He just sort of showed up (slumps shoulders, looks down), “Yeah, I guess. Whatever.” It was like, “Do you want to be President or not?!” .
Rob: “Tell me you want this job!” .
Patton: And now, of course, “binders full of women” is everywhere. I even tweeted, “Buy a shitload of binders, and wake up our cameraman right now!” It was like everyone at Funny or Die and 5 Second Films was like, “Fuck! Shit! What can we do with this?” Everyone at “SNL” saying, “What do we do? We have to do it first!” It’s crazy! . All right, I have one more question for you guys. I’d like all three of you to finish this sentence for me: “If you’re ever lost in the woods…” .
Patton: In the ass! (everyone laughs) .
Rob: 12 inches! .
Patton: I’m sorry, what was the question? .
It’s more of a leading thing. “If you’re ever lost in the words…” .
Rob: Start a fire. .
Todd: Oh yeah. I would say “start a fire” too. Can I copy his? .
Patton: I’m actually kind of an outdoorsman, so I would tweet an SOS. (Rob cracks up) That’s the first thing you do, I don’t know if you know that. .
Rob: No, I didn’t. .
Patton: You use your location. .
Rob: That’s genius. .
Patton: Yeah. Hashtag: dehydration. (everyone laughs) Know your hashtags. I have a badge in hashtagging, by the way. . Nature Calls arrives in theaters on November 9th and is on VOD right now. Watch the Red Band trailer below. .
Synopsis: Oswalt stars as Scoutmaster Randy Stevens, whose dwindling, apathetic troop ditches a scout meeting in favor of a TV-themed slumber party hosted by Randy’s brother Kirk (Knoxville), his polar opposite and arch nemesis. When Randy rounds up the boys in the middle of the night, stealing them for an highly unauthorized/unorganized trip to the woods, all hell breaks loose as Kirk pursues with a pair of gun-toting employees (Riggle and O’Neal). Drinking, nudity, mishandled fireworks and tremendously inappropriate behavior around minors ensues, in the grand tradition of comedy classics like The Bad News Bears and Meatballs.