In “Hall Pass,” the new comedy from the Farrelly Brothers, Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are best friends who have a lot in common, including the fact that they have each been married for many years. But when the two men begin to show signs of restlessness at home, their wives (Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate) decide it’s time to take drastic action and grant them a “hall pass” — one week of freedom to do whatever they want…no questions asked. At first, it sounds like a dream come true, but it isn’t long before Rick and Fred discover that their expectations of the single life-and themselves-are completely, and hilariously, out of sync with reality.
MoviesOnline sat down with Owen, Jason and Jenna to talk about their new movie. They told us what it was like to work in a Farrelly Brothers movie, how they dealt with some of the raunchier scenes, why CGI was used to enhance the performance of the smaller members of the cast, and where you should go if you get a hall pass. Jason also reminisced about some of his more memorable SNL roles on the late night comedy show.
Q: Did you use CGI on any of the penises?
JF: See, I’d say you used CGI. The little guy. He would want me to say that, right? That guy would want everyone to know that that was [fake]. The little one. Let’s say that. We’ll give it to them.
JS: But the little one was an inch bigger than his real dick, which is a fun fact.
Q: Jason, how did you get here after being on SNL last night?
JS: Airplane. United. That’s as specific as I will get. I left at 8 something in the morning east coast time. Then they come straight to Los Angeles luckily and I slept most of the way, then came here. Then didn’t sleep and had coffee. Thank you for noticing.
Q: Were you surprised this movie ends up being pro-relationship considering your character is the inciter?
JS: Easy. Easy. Was I surprised? No, I read the script. Before then, no. As I was reading it, I would say not necessarily surprised. I was hoping that that’s the lesson that would be potentially learned because I do believe in the idea of love and marriage and monogamy.
OW: Valentine’s Day.
JS: Valentine’s Day around the corner, literally. But I was happy that it happened and I like that the question will probably be bandied about. I feel like just the commercial alone probably causes some sofa discussion or pillow talk between couples of just like “Would you do that? Would you ever? Honey, what would you do if I gave you that?” And I think it could go either way, guys or gals, like the movie allows itself to do. I like that it posed that question because I think marriage is in an interesting place with a high divorce rate and people talking about the sanctity of gay marriage and all this rampant cheating going on with Tiger Woods and the internet and Chris Lees of the worlds, the senator, whatever that guy does for a living. I like that it poses that question and it doesn’t necessarily answer it. It only answers it for the characters involved.
Q: Do you think it’s a chick flick?
OW: Yeah, you would often say that to me, that we’re making Mystic Pizza here. It beats the Traveling Sisterhood, Ya Ya.
Q: If you take away the H and P it’s All Ass.
OW: Like if you played it backwards, there is that secret message. It’s not been exposed and decoded.
Q: Do you have to explain to the audience what a hall pass or fake chow is?
OW: I think hall pass people know. Fake chow I hadn’t heard before.
Q: Do you prefer movies with ensembles?
OW: It’s not necessarily like a plan. I think that maybe from growing up with brothers and those kind of buddy comedies I kind of relate to those, a lot of the humor in that. Maybe it’s just what I’ve responded to.
Q: Was there anything you read in the script that worried you?
OW: I think it more was, I’ve kind of known you guys for a little bit but obviously had never worked together, so I always felt comfortable we were kind of on the same wavelength, sense of humor wise. So I didn’t have that fear like oh, these guys are going to be thinking something’s funny that I don’t think is funny. I didn’t really have that kind of fear that sometimes you have like geez, is this guy going to be on the same page with you. But then it always is kind of everybody has a different way of working.
JS: I think I only heard a couple days before we shot the scene in the bathroom with the gal with the stomach trouble that it was just passing gas and then they did a polish, a little find and replace, remove “fart” and put “shit sprayed on a bathroom wall.” Spoilers. That was a surprise to me and I don’t think it was done for my benefit, but it was a shock. It wasn’t there when I initially had the script read to me.
JF: Well, my character didn’t have to do anything too crazy so there was nothing that took me by surprise. In general, when you’re a little kid and you daydream about what moviemaking must be like, what you’re daydreaming about is a Farrelly Brothers movie. Their set is so fun and so easy. It made me feel like how I’d always wanted to feel on a movie set so it was just a total pleasure and luckily I didn’t have to do anything too insane. So I think I got just the absolute best kind of experience.
OW: There were more wrap parties on this movie than normal movies.
JF: It’s like a weekly wrap party.
JS: On set gambling. More games were invented. You guys could have your own Olympics with the shit you guys do, with the birthday contest.
JF: There’s a dice game also with the giant dice that you found. Remember that giant dice game?
JS: And it would be ridiculous stuff. There was the scene we shot outside, there was a basketball court. We had a basketball. No, we’re not going to use the basketball. We’re going to use a football to try to throw a football into the basketball hoop. What the hell is going on here?
OW: You’re good at free throws.
Q: Owen, after becoming a father, did you have any moment where you realized you’ve grown up?
OW: Yeah, I think that definitely my character kind of has that, when towards the end of the movie he’s looking at the wedding picture and says to Richard Jenkins, realizes how special that was and what a good thing he has. Then Richard Jenkins remembers something else from the photo but yeah, I guess that is kind of a little bit of the arc of my character, that he realizes what he has.
Q: And yourself?
OW: And myself? I think so. This is my first child so that’s a pretty amazing thing.
Q: When did you realize? When you saw your baby’s face?
OW: Well, they’re all kind of beautiful moments but I don’t know that it made me think oh now everything is completely different.
Q: Is there any real life merit to a hall pass?
JF: It’s a horrible idea. Are you kidding? It’s a wonderful premise for a film. It’s a horrible practical idea in your life. Don’t do it.
OW: All the guys are kind of just [nodding]. Yeah, yeah, I agree.
JF: I got that one.
JS: But it doesn’t have to be a week. It could be like four hours. It could be two days.
Q: Besides Applebee’s and Chili’s, where would you recommend someone go on a hall pass?
OW: Olive Garden.
JF: Go to Bed Bath & Beyond. For real, there’s a ton of women there. Bed Bath & Beyond, Target. Go where women go. We’re all there. Cosmetics counter. The MAC counter at the mall.
OW: You like that. You’re like, “Yeah, that is good.”
JF: Whole Foods. The slutty women are at Whole Foods.
JS: At the olive bar.
JF: The progressive liberal ladies.
OW: Trader Joe’s.
JS: Bring deodorant though, huh?
Q: What about to pick up dudes?
OW: Golf course.
JS: Yeah, golf course. Strip clubs.
Q: Owen, we always see you as a party animal but in this movie you’re different. Did you enjoy it?
OW: I did. I think that one of the things that you guys had in mind when you talked about me playing the character was having a real look for the guy. I remember my older brother who’s actually in the movie coming to Atlanta where we filmed and just seeing me in my wardrobe and he just went, “You look so bad.” Just putting on the clothes made you feel like God, I’ve got no game. When you’ve got pleated jeans and kind of orthopedic type shoes, you don’t feel very sexy.
Q: How much improvisation went into shooting?
OW: I think there’s always [some]. Everybody was really comfortable trying to come up with stuff but it seemed like when I read the script I just thought it was really funny. It’s nice when you’re working on something that you don’t feel like you’re having to change and try to come up with something. For this, we always had a good base and then from there you could kind of [improv].
Q: Where did the blow job improv come from?
JS: This guy was blowing me right before the scene. A real place, it came from a real place. You improvise what you know.
Q: If you could, who would be your hall pass?
OW: Who would be your hall pass or what would be a location where you’d want to have [a hall pass]?
Q: What person?
JS: 1967 Raquel Welch? Can I use it that extensively? Can I use a time machine? Who am I kidding? I would take 1997 Raquel Welch. Who am I kidding? I’d take 2007. Not today though. Not now. Disrespectful. I’d take Helen Mirren now.
Q: Owen, you’re more of a place guy?
OW: Yeah, I think more of where you would go.
JS: Like on her body?
JF: I’m a newlywed. I don’t want a hall pass right now. I got nothing. I’m sorry. It’s true.
JS: I’d use mine with Lee then.
JF: That would be not uncomfortable at all. That would be great.
JS: That’s her husband.
Q: Was the coffee shop girl always Australian?
OW: No, she wasn’t.
Q: Jason, was there a point on SNL where you decided to start doing movies and how are you choosing your projects?
JS: The decision came once people asked if I wanted to be in them, truth be told. Then the decision usually comes from being really fortunate to work with a lot of great people at SNL, continuing that streak of luck hopefully and work with more fun people, this table being one of them. Then Horrible Bosses, a lot of awesome fun people I knew before working with them and working with them just became that much easier.
Q: What do you get to play in Horrible Bosses?
JS: I play a wonderful employee of one of the horrible bosses, one of the murderous employees. Yeah, specifically? His name’s Kurt. I’m an employee of Colin Farrell and I want to kill him.
Q: Had Maggie already given up on the marriage, like she fakes sleep to avoid intimacy?
JF: Oh, I don’t think she’d given up on the marriage. She was just out of ideas. She’s got three kids, she’s super tired. I mean, I don’t know if any of you have three kids. I’m tired now and I don’t have three kids so I can only imagine how tired Maggie is. I certainly don’t think that the problems in their marriage were one sided and I think that that’s what she realizes in the movie, is that she needed to regain her own personal identity. That’s really what she gets out of the hall pass. You see her really transform into maybe a little bit more of the woman that she was when they met. She gets sort of prettier and more vibrant and happier and gets some sun and some sleep and it’s transformative for her.
Q: Jason, how exhausting is a What Up With That sketch?
JS: Pretty exhausting. That’s the most cardio I do.
Q: Do you have to do it twice a night?
JS: Yeah, a couple times and in rehearsal but I usually mark it in rehearsal. Even in dress rehearsal I’ll sometimes take a little bit easy. I’ll go about 85% and save something but I have a tendency to switch it up a little bit as the night goes.
Q: In general are you happier to be in the background of something like that than doing a full on character?
JS: I think it depends. That one’s a joy to do because we’re all in it together. It’s pretty fun to do out there and we know people really, really love it. You can’t help but share that enthusiasm.
Q: How many times do you think you’ve gotten to say “Live from New York it’s Saturday night?”
JS: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I said it last night. Maybe 20. No idea, maybe more. I got to say it a bunch as George Bush. I’ve done it a handful of times as Biden. I don’t know, that’s a good question. I should look that up.
Q: I wonder if someone keeps count.
JS: Someone definitely keeps count. Online, I’m sure of it.
“Hall Pass” opens in theaters on February 25th.