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Tag Archives: Nicholas Stoller
Confronting the press like a well-timed comedy double-act — which, in many ways, they are — director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow spoke with MSN Movies (among other reporters) about their new film, “The Five-Year Engagement,” which depicts the loves and challenges of Jason Segel’s Tom and Emily Blunt’s Violet, a couple madly in love but still confronted by very real problems. Director Stoller spent most of last year celebrating the success of “The Muppets,” which he co-wrote with Segel; Apatow, of course, has done more to define comedy on film in the past 10 years than perhaps any other director or producer.
The films made under your name, Mr. Apatow, they’re like these really well-marbled steaks — the fat is the flavor and there’s really no clear place to cut. How hard is it when you’ve got all these talented people, working on this very smart script, given room to play, to make the final assembly cut? How much of that is you in some advisory role going, “No, you have to make it tinier” or “No, no. Leave that in …”?
Apatow: That sounds really good. I want a steak now. I’m always going, “Keep it longer.” I’m the worst person for that. I try to just save a fresh clear head for whoever I’m working with, so hopefully its helpful that there’s someone who doesn’t have to sit in the editing room twelve hours a day and who’s blinded by the massive footage and options that they have. So that when Nick is happy with a cut, and I see it at the previews, I’ve just been at the tanning salon all day, fresh as a daisy.
Stoller: He’s very tan when he comes to the first take.
With a list of successful collaborations with Jason Segel under his belt as a writer , including “Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ and “Get Him to the Greek,” it was inevitable that Nicholas Stoller would have a hand in writing “”The Muppets”; less inevitable was the idea that the movie would work. And yet work it does; we talked with Stoller in L.A. about flapjacks, felt, fur and fan service.
It’s got to be weird, because at some point you’re sitting around having a big old stack of flapjacks with Jason Segel, going ‘Hey, you know It’d be great to do a Muppet movie that did this…’ The next thing you know you’re having flapjacks with the people who actually own the property. At what point did it go from crazy fantasy to ‘I have to knock out a hundred some-odd pages?’
Stoller: I really want some flapjacks now. That sounds really good. Do you have any flapjacks? Jason called me. He had a meeting at Disney — this is around when ‘Sarah Marshall’ was coming out — and he said that Disney asked him if there were any properties he was interested in, and he said ‘What are you guys doing with the Muppets?’ and they said, ‘We don’t know.’ So right after that he called me and said, ‘Do you want to write a Muppet movie?’ and I said, ‘Of course that sounds amazing.’ So we very quickly kind of pitched out what we thought the movie should be, and we had a meeting with Disney a few weeks later, and set up our script and started writing our script for them. It ended up taking a while for the movie to get made and all that, but that initial kind of burst of great energy was really quick.
I also think that in some parallel universe that Jason Segel said either ‘The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes’ or ‘Unidentified Flying Oddball.’
Stoller (laughing): Or ‘The Cat from Outer Space’ …
How do you knock the dust off the Muppets? How do you take them off the shelf and actually play with them again?