Interview: Peter Farrelly gets Oscar winners to cut loose in the raunchy ‘Movie 43’
Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, and Halle Berry had a blast making this wild gross-out comedy
Writer/director Peter Farrelly is not exactly known for his subtle humor. He and his brother Bobby are responsible for a string of envelope-pushing comedies such as “Dumb and Dumber,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Shallow Hall,” and “The Three Stooges.” Teaming up with producer Charles Wessler, Peter now brings us what is possibly his most twisted film to date. “Movie 43” is an outrageous ensemble comedy starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood. This series of interconnected sketches are helmed by a diverse group of directors and feature actors such as Emma Stone, Live Schreiber, Terrence Howard, Naomi Watts, Seann William Scott, Elizabeth Banks, and Jason Sudeikis—all of them doing and saying things that will shock audiences, their mothers, and their publicists. Farrelly directs two of the segments himself. “The Catch” features Kate Winslet on a blind date with Hugh Jackman who seems like the perfect man in every way—except for one teensy little flaw that you’ll have to see to believe. Farrelly's second segment follows another blind date, this time between Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant, which goes completely off the rails when a friendly game of “Truth of Dare” goes to unexpected places. That wacked-out short includes what will surely be the first and last time “Jersey Shore's” Snooki gets to be in the same room as Halle Berry! I talked to Farrelly about this wild ride that was years in the making.
MSN Movies: How much convincing did you have to do to get this amazing cast together for this movie?
Peter Farrelly: Far less than you’d expect! Our producer Charlie Wessler knows all these guys and he personally called them up and said, ‘Hey listen, we’re doing this movie, it’s a hard ‘R’—you’re never going to be able to do something like this again in your career!” And a lot of them read the script and said, “Yeah, let’s do it!” I have to say I was a little surprised, especially because the budget for the film was six million bucks so everyone got scale, there was really no money to go around! But what we did do was bend over backwards to accommodate their schedules. We waited a full year for one actor who wasn’t available, we went to where they were, we made it really easy for them. We shot the movie in little bursts over three and a half years!
You couldn’t ask for more amazing actors in your two pieces, but were there some people you approached who told you to take a hike?
Oh yeah! Plenty of people said, “I’m not doing this shit, no way!” George Clooney told us to fuck off!
Both of your segments focus on blind dates gone bad. Is that a subject near and dear to your heart?
You know, I’m not sure I ever even had a blind date! Well, there was this one time when my sister fixed me up with a woman I didn’t know, that’s the closest I came. I found out later that she had told this poor woman that I looked exactly like Tom Selleck—I’ll never forget the look of disappointment on her face! I do tend to gravitate toward relationship stories in my movies but it was a coincidence that both my pieces here are about blind dates.
Can you even anticipate the kind of reaction you’ll get with a film like this? I’m guessing that the audience response may differ greatly from the critical response! Do you worry or care about things like that?
I wish I could say that I don’t care but I do. With all of my films if I get one bad review and a bunch of good reviews the bad one is the only one that will stay with me, which really sucks! But this film is going to get about a 4 on the Rotten Tomatoes meter, I promise you! It is SO fucked up, SO different, SO weird that the critics are not going to know what to do with it. They’re just going to be flipped out and be like, “AAAARGH!” But the high school kids, the college kids, the twentysomethings, thirtysomethings, and fortysomethings who are still doing weed—they’re going to LOVE the movie!
I would think that the chance to see these huge stars in such unlikely situations would be enough to get people to the theater!
That’s what we’re hoping for but I guarantee you we’ll get shitty reviews. Look, we know this is not High Art, it's just a big laugh-fest that pushes boundaries all over the place. And, you know, it was amazing to see how happy those actors were to do this. People like Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, and Hugh Jackman never get to do this kind of stuff in their regular careers and they were pushing ME to go further. They were totally committed and had a ball. It was just a great experience. The only bad thing was that they didn’t get paid shit!
I was trying to think if there’s any film around that includes more Oscar winners!
Oh, I never thought of that! I should call the studio and check that out. Can you imagine if THIS is the move with the most Oscar winners in history?
Relativity Media's “Movie 43” opens on Friday, January 25th. Peter Farrelly is currently developing a sequel to “Dumb and Dumber” that will again star Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.