Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy’s new movie, For Your Consideration, really goes after the movie publicity process (especially on TV interviewers). Naturally, I led off by pointing out how they’d launched a pre-emptive strike against the media, and in the process, me. Guest laughed. That was a good sign. While Levy tends to do movie press more often, this was Guest’s first time through the media mill in quite some time. Seeing the two of them in a Ritz-Carlton room was daunting. But not that daunting.
So onto the regular questioning, then, shall we? First off, the production notes note that this film had more of a script than previous films by Guest and Levy (see Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind). Was that by design?
Guest: “What is different is that this is done in a non-documentary format. This is done as a narrative so it goes from scene to scene. And that was a deliberate choice that we made.”
Having the same main cast or troupe return again, does that make the improv any easier or more comfortable?
Levy: “Well, it’s, I think it’s about, we really look forward to seeing each other every three years and working on a project. Together. In terms of actually doing it, this kind of work is fun, and doing it with these people is fun. The comfort factor, I think, has been pretty much the same since the first film. It’s not easier to work with these people. It always was kind of easy. Because they’re good at what they do. But it really is a joy to work in this kind of way, in this improvisational style with these people, so the whole experience is comfortable. But it always has been.
Guest: “For this kind of work. And other people aren’t really doing this that much, but I think for this kind of work, you can do this or you can’t. You can’t go to a night school and learn how to improvise. It just doesn’t happen. They have thousands of courses in this and teachers teach it, but to be honest, you know, it’s possible to get more proficient at it, but you can tell in 10 seconds if someone can improvise.”
I guess I meant, in playing off each other. Does it get easier, then, to interact with people within the troupe from working together so much over the years?
Guest: “No, it’s the same. If you have five of these people come into a room, you just turn on the switch and it happens. You can just do it. You can do it 24 hours a day. You could just do it until you dropped, basically. Its just, it would be like getting musicians in a room that can play, that can play well, you can sit down and you can play together, you can just do it. It doesn’t change really. You’re playing a different character, but you can do it.”
Both of you won Emmys early in your careers. Going through that experience, does it make it easier to deal with press speculation or bloggers now?