Actor and co-star Charlie Day on their dark comedy sequel
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to do a job you hate, you’ll relate to the Horrible Bosses brand of workplace humour, which sees three witless friends – Dale (Charlie Day), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Nick (Jason Bateman) – try to kill their bosses. The sequel, directed by Sean Anders (Hot Tub Time Machine), sees the trio start their own business and get involved in yet another misguided plan. We quiz two of the film’s stars.
What was your involvement in the process of figuring out what the sequel to Horrible Bosses might be, and what were your main goals in shaping the project? Jason Bateman: I think it really just came from a place of not wanting to be disrespectful to the audience and just kind of take a freebie. When you’re dealing with a sequel, almost by definition you’re drafting off of the first one. And there’s an assumption [with making a sequel] that if the people saw the first one, they’re going to want to see a second, so let’s just make sure that the lights are on for an hour and a half and everyone will get paid. We don’t think we’ve got an Oscar film here, that was never the intention. We just wanted to just be honest with ourselves – does this make us laugh as much as we wanted to? Does the plot hold our interest as long as we’d like it to? Often it just takes an extra bit of work and sometimes that’s five minutes on set and sometimes it’s five weeks in the development process.
How did you feel when you saw the finished product. Was it what you hoped it would be? JB: For me, it was even more. I think Sean Anders and John Morris [who co-wrote the screenplay] did a great job in post-production as well as the studio. It was much like they did in the first film where they kind of built a movie around the stuff that we did on the day. There’s the music, the editing and the graphics, and all of that stuff kind of builds an aesthetic, a tone and an energy that is consistent with, supports, or juxtaposes what we do during shooting.
You have a fourth cohort in this movie – Chris Pine. What was it like having him join? Charlie Day: He fit right in. He has the right sort of working attitude and he’s an extremely likeable person, both on screen and off, but he was also very prepared and just came in and did his thing, so it just clicked wonderfully. I don’t think it could have gone better.
What about your returning castmates, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx? Were they game? CD: I think people not only enjoyed shooting the first movie, but enjoyed what it was, the final product. We’re just really happy to give them a chance to do it again. But I really got to work with Jamie this time. I think we only had two or three scenes with him in the first one. There were more in this one and I really just got to know him better. He has always been one of my favourite actors, but now he’s also one of my favourite human beings.
JB: He’s this enigma. He’s just so charismatic without being a ham. I mean, he’s just perfect. I’m just crazy about him.
Sean Anders said that one of the booth scenes just went on for 15 minutes because it was so funny. CD: People always ask us about riffing. Sometimes you can’t riff a ton because something is blocked in such a way that if you go crazy in one area, then we have to come around and cover it and shoot it the other direction. That scene was just two guys sitting across from you.
What was it like working with Jennifer Aniston? CD: I got the most to do with her in the first one, but in this one you [Jason Bateman] got the most to do with her. I’m a bit jealous.
JB: I was happy because we’re really close friends and we didn’t get a chance to do anything in the first one.
What is it about those three characters that just clicked? Why do they work so well together in such a dysfunctional yet funny, but weird way? CD: It’s kind of like three dumb guys. You’ve got id, ego and a balance in the middle, where you’ve got the cool, collected guy, the shaky, nervous guy and the guy holding them together and getting them together. But they’re also just three idiots and it’s just fun to watch dumb people do dumb things. That’s Comedy 101.
How were Sean and John as collaborators and what kind of energy do they bring to the set? CD: I think they did a wonderful job, but then they also really proved an ability to balance all sorts of opinions and not egos but just personalities. There were even occasions where we tried things in multiple ways and decided in the editing room which was going to be the winner. That’s a good way to do a big studio movie that you have to do fast and just to be open-minded [about]. If they were our bosses, they were good bosses. They were great. Horrible Bosses 2 is out in cinemas now, across the GCC.