“Horrible Bosses 2,” the hilarious follow-up to the 2011 hit comedy, shows what happens when three guys ditch their day jobs to go into business for themselves and things don’t go as planned. When Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) launch their new shower product, the would-be entrepreneurs are set up by an unscrupulous businessman (Christoph Waltz) who tries to put them out of business. To regain control of their company, the guys take matters into their own hands and kidnap his conniving son (Chris Pine) for ransom. Opening November 26th, the sequel directed by Sean Anders also stars Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey.
At the film’s recent press day, Aniston, Bateman, Day, Sudeikis and Waltz talked about reuniting for the sequel, the inclusive development process, their input into the script, introducing new adversaries who stand between the guys and their dreams of success, how they prepared by watching the first film again, Aniston’s hilarious scene with Bateman at the Sex Addiction Group Meeting, their worst horrible boss experience, how they got Waltz to laugh, why he hates improvisation, what Pine, Spacey and Foxx brought to their roles, and their thoughts on the possibility of a third film.
Here’s what they had to say:
QUESTION: How does it feel to be in a sequel, Jennifer?
JENNIFER ANISTON: It feels wonderful to be in a sequel, especially a really good one.
JASON BATEMAN: I agree
ANISTON: Yes, I’m very happy to be in this sequel.
JASON SUDEIKIS: Is this a sequel?
BATEMAN: There was one before this, the first one.
CHARLIE DAY: Are you familiar with the source material?
Q: Can you talk about your chemistry? How much of it just came naturally and how hard did you have to work at it?
SUDEIKIS: Well, you have to work on something to make it pretty great.
DAY: Sudeikis and I have worked together two or three times, right? Before the first film?
SUDEIKIS: No, just once.
ANISTON: What are your other memories, Charlie? (Laughter)
SUDEIKIS: Yeah, what are they?
DAY: I have lots of wonderful memories of you and I growing up together. (to Bateman) We weren’t sure about you, but it turns out you’re a pretty funny guy.
BATEMAN: Thanks, man. The first time we worked together was on the table reading of the first film and these guys were shooting in Pittsburgh?
BATEMAN: Close. And they were on an iChat type of thing. We knew right then, even on a FaceTime iChat-type device, it was working.
ANISTON: That’s really cute.
Q: Jennifer and Jason, when you did the hilarious scene together at the Sex Addict Group Meeting, did you adlib at all or was it all scripted?
BATEMAN: She wrote both parts. Both mine and hers.
ANISTON: I did. It was scripted. The structure of it was there, and then we’d throw little bits in as we were doing the volley back and forth of what my demands were for his description of what it was that he was admitting in the group. It took on different little variations from take to take.
Q: Are there some outtakes we’ll see?
ANISTON: Oh there’s so much. When we saw this cut, it was a fun surprise to see, “Oh, they chose that line.” They were endless.
BATEMAN: But in the outtakes, you says, “Oh, I don’t say that.” I don’t remember what that was.
ANISTON: I don’t remember what the line was. I don’t remember either. Imagine how bad it must have been if I said, “I can’t say it.” It either was so bad or I just really didn’t understand it. It was probably one of the two.
Q: What’s the worst, more horrible experience you’ve ever had with a boss?
BATEMAN: I’ve been really lucky. (to Sudeikis) That Lorne Michaels can sure wreck a life. (Laughter)
SUDEIKIS: I know it did for me. I was just trying to have a nice existence in Kansas City doing improv comedy, and then this Canadian son of a gun says, “C’mere and be on the TV show.” No, I haven’t really had too many. Any bad boss I had probably was because I was a bad employee, which is something that Charlie and I have both realized when we’ve been asked that question.
DAY: The more I get asked that, the more I think about those experiences, the more I realize how justified those people were in their horribleness.
Q: Christoph, what about you? A bad boss? A horrible boss?
CHRISTOPH WALTZ: I have a problem with authority so every boss is a bad boss.
BATEMAN: It’s true.
SUDEIKIS: You’ll feel it as the moderator as we go on.
Q: Jennifer, how did you get yourself worked up to play this again? When we see your character leading the Sex Addiction Group, is she really there just to pick up more people? Is that a ruse? What was her motivation?
ANISTON: I think the intention was to maybe seek help, but what she ultimately found out was that this is just a new… I mean, this is just like chum for her. She just found a way to…
BATEMAN: I’ve been called worse.
ANISTON: Haven’t you? But what a wonderful sort of easy… I mean, I’m sure maybe she’d lost all of her patients. She’d done all of them. So maybe this was just another wonderful, innocent way to find more prey.
BATEMAN: She’s pretty smart.
Q: How did you get through some of the raunchy language you had to say?
ANISTON: I find it extremely entertaining the way she speaks because I don’t really think to her she’s saying anything inappropriate. For her, it’s describing the ingredients to a wonderful soufflé, or what are we going to be doing this weekend.
SUDEIKIS: The scene where you’re watching the security footage with those two gals, just how candid you are and the looks on their faces, is so funny.
ANISTON: That was one of the most uncomfortable days, I have to tell you. Because you’re just talking about it like it was the funniest TV show you’ve ever seen.
BATEMAN: Not as uncomfortable as I was when I saw what ended up happening to my character, because those are all body doubles.
ANISTON: You were a body double.
BATEMAN: The first screening I saw was the first time I saw that my character ended up getting…getting…
SUDEIKIS: Getting buttfucked.
BATEMAN: Penetrated. Sodomized.
ANISTON: Charlie and I also had a wonderful surveillance camera moment that ended up not being in the movie.
BATEMAN: Do you remember that?
ANISTON: If you don’t remember that, I’m going to murder you, because I had to do it on top of you in a coma.
DAY: Oh yeah! Yes, yes, yes, yes. I’m a Method actor and so I was heavily under.
ANISTON: Right. That’s why you broke halfway through the take when I grabbed you.
SUDEIKIS: You were heavenly under.
DAY: Yes, heavenly under. That’s right.
Q: Jennifer, it must have been fun to return to this character. While you were doing other roles after the first one, did you periodically think about her? And knowing that you were going to be doing the sequel, what did you do to up the ante and take her one step further this time around?
ANISTON: Honestly, the writers called me just to say, “How far can we go with Dr. Julia?” I basically said, “Go as far as you can go as long as we’re not insulting or offending too many people.” I think it rose itself to the occasion. The dialogue was great, and the situation where you meet her in the SA group, I loved that. I think those scenes were all great. It just lent itself to great humor and situations. I was just psyched. Yes, I did think about her throughout all the films I’ve done since. She’s a hard one to let go of. I didn’t get enough of her. It was too quick. It was just like a little In-N-Out Burger.
Q: Were there any particular scenes that you guys thought were way, way beyond and you had problems getting through them?
SUDEIKIS: I don’t like to judge myself, but no, not at all.
BATEMAN: These guys are so stupid that really everything is on the table. They have just enough intelligence to create a justification in their own minds for doing it but all the lack of intelligence to actually execute it.
Q: I didn’t know whether to gasp or to just keep laughing.
DAY: Hopefully, you do both.
SUDEIKIS: Yeah. You gotta inhale.
BATEMAN: But not at the same time.
DAY: That’s right.
Q: Did you all get Christoph to laugh?
SUDEIKIS: Yes, we did.
BATEMAN: This man’s very funny.
SUDEIKIS: (to Christoph) Do you remember when it was?
WALTZ: No. I don’t.
SUDEIKIS: It was when you wrapped, when you were done. You let out one big laugh. It lasted about 7 minutes.
WALTZ: You had nothing to do with that.
SUDEIKIS: No, of course not. You wouldn’t even let me be on set for it.
DAY: It was a maniacal laugh, but it was a laugh.
SUDEIKIS: It was sinister. Who does this when they laugh?
WALTZ: It was pretty much the same dynamic as here. Jennifer did it, and they were talking about it, and I was shaking my head.
Q: It’s been a few years since you did the first film. Did you go back and watch the film again to pick up the beats and the tropes and carry on with the same moods of the characters?
SUDEIKIS: We did.
ANISTON: I actually did. Yeah.
SUDEIKIS: In pre-production when we were going through the script in rehearsals with Sean (director Sean Anders) and John (screenwriter John Morris), we watched them in my trailer that day. That’s one of the things of doing a sequel is that one element of sequelitis is the Rashomon effect of how things were, how things came to be. When you actually sit there watching the movie that we’re basing the second one on, you’re like, “Oh that’s right. Oh, okay.” It was really fun. I know for me it got me fired up to do it again.
Q: Jennifer, can you talk a little bit about why you like to do comedy versus drama?
ANISTON: Well, I love doing both. I think one accesses one part of my brain and the other accesses another. Anytime I approach any character, comedy or drama, it’s grounded in reality coming from the truth. There’s comedy in drama. There’s drama in comedy. I don’t find them too exclusive of one another.
Q: For Jason, Charlie and Jason, I wonder if you guys could talk about bringing Chris Pine into your particular chemistry because the scenes really worked great with him. Whether he was on your side or against you, it always kind of popped. Given that you had already established your rapport, can you tell me what was it like getting Chris in there?
DAY: Well I think there was a concern bringing anyone into it since we had a chemistry that we knew we could rely on. So you hope that you didn’t get someone who was either unfunny or trying to be funny too much. I always thought Chris was extremely funny as Captain Kirk in those movies. He delivers the action, but he also has great comedic timing, so I really wasn’t worried about him. And then, he’s such a great actor that working with Christoph or Jenn or any other character that comes into the scene, if they’re a great actor, they’re only making the scene better.
SUDEIKIS: He came a lot from the dramatic point of view, like what he would feel if his dad did this. He wasn’t trying to hit the joke. He was just trying to hit the reality of it because the funny is already sort of in there or we hope by us doing our thing and reacting to him and being in over our heads. So he stayed on his thing. He didn’t try to do what we did. He did his own thing, which was both charming to the characters and also really effective as far as the scenes were concerned. He’s a smart guy.
BATEMAN: And then you just hope he’s a good guy, because having a nice vibe on the set when it’s a comedy is so important. You hope there’s not any dickheads. He’s a really good guy.
DAY: And because he’s a peer, when we were able to really make him break, it was satisfying just because you know that’s sort of our target audience in a sense. He’s sort of our comedy barometer there.
Q: What about those blue eyes?
BATEMAN: Yeah, they’re distracting.
DAY: Those eyes are actually contact lenses. He has black eyes like a shark.
Q: The shower product that you guys were trying to launch…
BATEMAN: You’re interested? It’s fake. For now.
Q: Do you guys ever watch any of those infomercials and the wacky people who are shilling those products? Have any of them cracked you up the way we laughed at you guys when you were doing the local news segment?
SUDEIKIS: I used to watch them all the time.
BATEMAN: We just don’t stay up that late anymore.
SUDEIKIS: I love them. I’m susceptible to them. Harry Lorayne’s memory course, I got my dad to buy me that. I memorized the Bill of Rights in a night.
BATEMAN: All the coins I bought, commemorative coins
SUDEIKIS: Commemorative plate after commemorative plate.
DAY: It’s the YouTube clips that I’ve been exposed to, like the guy chopping the sword and it going into his chest.
SUDEIKIS: The bloopers.
DAY: Yeah, the bloopers. I’m in it for the bloopers.
SUDEIKIS: My favorite thing to do now is to watch the Home Shopping Network or QVC late at night when they’re trying to sell you a pair of earrings, and they have a little timer on there, and you hear a dude who has to riff about it for seven minutes. It’s fun to watch at 3:00 am because that’s not their A-team. So you’re really getting to see a guy struggle trying to sell, “It’s onyx and women really love onyx.” He has no idea what he’s talking about.
DAY: It’s like he’s getting the bad leads. “I got to sell this? A plastic jewel?”
SUDEIKIS: Yeah, exactly.
Q: Had any of you worked with Christoph before?
SUDEIKIS: I had at SNL, alongside. He was on my home turf.
Q: Christoph, what was it like to work with some of the biggest names in comedy?
BATEMAN: And us three?
DAY: How ‘bout us?
WALTZ: It was… It was… I don’t know, I just did what it said in the script and that might have been a mistake. At first, I thought they were doing that same thing, doing what was in the script.
SUDEIKIS: Rookie mistake, Waltz.
WALTZ: I really didn’t get it. I found myself somewhere in a dark corner. So I just resigned to staying in the dark corner and watching them. They do something that I detest. They improvise. I hate improvisation.
ANISTON: Uh oh! You do?
WALTZ: Yeah, I do. I really do from the bottom of my heart.
SUDEIKIS: Wait a minute. What heart?
BATEMAN: It can be frightening.
WALTZ: So there was absolutely no chance of bridging that gap, and that was okay.
BATEMAN: It worked. Whatever it was, it worked.
Q: But he must be good enough that you didn’t know he hated what he was having to do, which was to improvise?
WALTZ: No, I didn’t say I hated working with them. It was just that I hated improvisation.
ANISTON: He was not a fan of the improv.
Q: So there was a lot of improv on this one?
ANISTON: Well, with these three, I would imagine yes.
SUDEIKIS: We mix things up here and there. We keep it lose, but I would say that you did improvise though.
DAY: You’d come to set with that rubber chicken and those chattering teeth and we would say, “No, Christoph, that’s not the type of comedy we’re trying to do.” And then, you stuck to the dialogue and you were…
WALTZ: I thought about that for a long time. There was a little improvisation.
SUDEIKIS: That was great. That’s true. You had the motivation behind it. I get you.
Q: In the first film, we saw Jamie Foxx play this character that I don’t think we’ve seen him play before and he was so good at it, and he reprised it for this one. What was your guys’ rapport with him and did you know he had that coming in?
SUDEIKIS: That’s “In Living Color.” That’s one of the funniest dudes around. He’s so good at everything else that we’ve forgotten that.
DAY: I was a fan of Jamie’s through comedy first and then obviously his dramatic work is great. On the first movie, he was kind of in and out. It was fun for us, but we were like, “Man that guy was cool.” And he came and he went. On the second movie, he’s around for a lot more of it. I personally just had a great experience working with him. I like him as much as a performer as I do as a human being. He’s so cool.
BATEMAN: He’s the greatest guy in the world.
SUDEIKIS: Great stories and fun to make laugh. You don’t make him laugh as much as you’ll hear if something’s funny, like when Charlie and Jason get on a riff for something and he’ll just go, “Hilarious, hilarious.”
DAY: He’ll kind of tilt his head.
BATEMAN: But yeah, he makes it real.
Q: We cannot forget Kevin Spacey.
SUDEIKIS: He won’t let you.
Q: He was in prison. Did you ever have any contact with him? Were you actually there talking to him?
SUDEIKIS: Oh yeah, that was a movie set. That was only one half of it.
DAY: He’s doing fine.
SUDEIKIS: It was a building inside a building. I don’t want to spoil it. But yeah, he’s great.
DAY: It’s great working with Kevin or Christoph or any of these actors who don’t have to make up different words to make them good, who can actually say their lines. It’s interesting.
SUDEIKIS: I don’t think there’s two better people to dress you down than Christoph and Kevin.
WALTZ: It’s not the people who make you say whatever. It’s the people who want to say what they have to say in the script and making the choice. That’s the difference.
SUDEIKIS: That’s right. There’s a small difference there.
DAY: That’s true. It’s the characters that have intention.
Q: For Jason and Jason, how many “Fuck, Marry, Kill” scenarios did you guys come up with and was there a particular favorite or a thought-provoking one that came out of that?
SUDEIKIS: The bulk of any sort of improvisation outside of us matching the rapport of one another is usually at the beginning of a scene or the button of a scene, so that really came out of two guys sitting in a car wasting time while their buddy went inside to go buy walkie-talkies and rubber gloves.
BATEMAN: He forgot the rubber gloves.
SUDEIKIS: Yeah, he did. Plotpoint. Major plotpoint.
BATEMAN: And probably seven times because it was a crane shot I think that they had to follow Charlie into the car or whatever the case was. He’s got that trick leg so…
SUDEIKIS: So it takes a little bit longer. Yeah. The one that kind of tickles me the most is probably using our friends from “The Hangover” because it’s a little meta. Was there anything thought provoking? Not at all. And if we bumped into something like that in this film, I apologize. We had no idea.
BATEMAN: I did just drove by that location this morning dropping off my kids at school.
SUDEIKIS: Where we shot that?
BATEMAN: Yeah. And I got a little smile. It’s a lot of fun doing these movies.
SUDEIKIS: This is where Daddy played Fuck, Marry, Kill. He got to play Joe Biden.
Q: Sequels are notoriously tough to do really well. And you’ve got a big hurdle when the first one is really good to make a sequel. Did you guys and Jennifer have any input into what was going to go on with the second one? And Jennifer and Jason, aren’t you also doing “We’re the Millers” the sequel, I understand?
ANISTON: Are we?
SUDEIKIS: I didn’t know that.
Q: Isn’t that true?
BATEMAN: I know I’m doing it.
SUDEIKIS: Oh, it’s Bateman and Jennifer Garner. They’re relaunching it like “Spiderman.”
BATEMAN: Me and Kudrow are moving cocaine across the United States. Buckle up! Sean Anders and John Morris deserve all the credit in the world for delivering this film. However, they were very inclusive in the whole process of developing this script and making it what it is. We knew that that was a privilege. And so, we took full advantage of that opportunity. We spent a lot of time working on the script and making sure it was something that was at least as good as the first one, and hopefully better, because we were proud of the first one. We sat on the phone for a long time and talked about “Should we?” I’m glad that we did. For my money, this is a lot better than the first one and I loved the first one.
ANISTON: I agree.
Q: If there is a third one, what would you want your characters to do? Where could you see them going next? Christoph, I’m sorry.
BATEMAN: Spoiler alert!
WALTZ: I would like to stay dead.
SUDEIKIS: Don’t print that.
DAY: Don’t print that.
SUDEIKIS: That’s a spoiler. Don’t ruin it.
DAY: A significant offer could come your way. You might regret that. For this second movie, we really thought long and hard about how to do it. It was a very inclusive process where we had a lot of conversations about it, and we didn’t just go out on a whim and say, “Oh alright, now we’re in Acapulco.” We put some serious thought into it. If we were going to even consider doing a third one, we’d have to do the same process. There are so many bad sequels made and we just really didn’t want to be a part of that. I sincerely believe that we didn’t do that. Hopefully, if we’re going to do a third one, it’s a movie worth watching.