I was lucky enough to be able to participate in a group interview with 3 of the main cast members from the film Horrible Bosses 2: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis. The film is, of course, a sequel to the 2011 comedy Horrible Bosses which also starred Jennifer Anniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and Colin Ferell. This sequel adds Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Keegan Michael Key, and Jonathan Banks among others. Horrible Bosses 2 opens in wide release in Canada and the US Wednesday November 26th.
Just as a side note this interview has been edited down for legibility purposes and Jason Sudeikis only appears halfway through the interview.
Have you had any experience with horrible bosses?
Jason Bateman: I started acting so young. I never really had an – traditional bosses but I’ve certainly worked for some prickly directors you know movie stars, producers, studio heads but no real horrible story that I can think of but I’m – my knees are bent. I’m waiting for a real son of a bitch to come my way. I’m prepped.
Charlie Day: Yes. We have – now we have two movies.
Have you been horrible bosses?
Charlie Day: No, I don’t think so. I think we’re pretty fair guys. Pretty nice guys. You know we’ve have to employ some people here and there but no one’s filed any complaints yet that I know about.
Jason Bateman: I bossed my two year old into the car pretty quickly this morning.
Charlie Day: There you go.
Jason Bateman: I think she would probably tell you that – I’m a real a-hole but we were late for school God damn it.
Charlie Day: You got to get there.
Horrible Bosses 2 was a domestic financial success, does this warrant a sequel?
Jason Bateman: Well, yes it’s – you get asked to do sequels for – yes, you’re exactly right. When it makes enough money to warrant it. And it did really well overseas (Foreign gross was 92 million) which is not terribly common for a comedy. So Warner Brothers wanted to do another one, and we were certainly open to it because we had such a good time doing the first one.
And what we didn’t want to do is make a film that was not at least as good as the first film, and we worked really, really hard to attempt to do that. And hopefully you’ll like it as much and hopefully more.
Charlie Day: Yes, there’s the financial side of it, right? Where if the movie studio doesn’t make enough money on the first one well they’re not going to spend money to make a second one because it’s a business, and then that’s they’re business. That’s not ours.
Then there’s the creative side of it where – you’re right does it make sense to do a second story? And Jason and Jason and myself had a lot of lengthy conversations about what the second story could be and we weren’t going to do a movie if we couldn’t find a story that, for us, made sense. So, the business side of course, that’s part of it. And then creatively I think we got it to a place where it made sense for us to want to do it.
Did anything funny happen behind the scenes like pranks?
Jason Bateman: I don’t know if there were any pranks. I mean it was – there was a lot of goofing around and making each other laugh, on-camera, and off-camera. We were all chuckled out.
So we didn’t have to try to keep it light which is you know sometimes you’ll get practical jokes when there’s a necessity to kind of lighten a mood on set but you know we were just –we were actually trying to simmer things down and be serious to get some work done sometimes.
Charlie Day: Yes. Not a lot of whoopee cushions on that set you know what I mean. We want to make sure everyone gets home to their kids but you know we had fun making it.
How do you expect fans to react to the second one? What should they expect?
Charlie Day: I’m hopeful that they’re really going to like it. Because – I expect people to be skeptical and I hope that they’re pleasantly surprised.
Jason Bateman: Yes, I’m pretty fair about being objective and you know I really enjoyed the first just as a viewer and I watched this one with that same perspective and I genuinely liked it even more than the first. So I’m actually feeling kind of bullish. If people see it the way I see it they’re going to be very happy with this one. So, I’m feeling good.
Will this be as humorous as or more humorous than the second one?
Jason Bateman: It’s – every bit as funny.
Charlie Day: Yes. Yes.
Jason Bateman: And yes, the pace and the action and the way it looks and all that stuff. The plot’s twists and all that stuff – it’s a lot more than it needs to be, I think.
What was it like revisiting your characters? What changed?
Jason Bateman: Well.
Charlie Day: As actors, it was really fun for the three of us to get back together again because we enjoy each other’s company and we had this great time in the first one. As characters, it’s a terrible thing for the three of these people to get back together again because they keep getting themselves into some serious trouble here.
Were things easier the second time around or was it harder to due expectations?
Jason Sudeikis: Certainly felt the pressure amongst ourselves and then on behalf of you know fans and – of the movie but you know that – the pressure gets released the second you know you start working and the harder you work the lucky you get and yes we just have a good time making each other laugh and you know trying to have the thing makes sense.
Jason Bateman: Yes you know. It would be really – it would be pressure-packed if we were doing the same material, like I don’t think we can do that first film.
Charlie Day: Yes.
Jason Bateman: I don’t think we’d be able to repeat the performance in that film again you know but now this is all new material so we haven’t seen it done before so basically, we kind of – we’ve got a nice pre-shot at it.
Do you like acting in comedies, in both film and TV or another genre? What’s the sitch?
Jason Sudeikis: Yes.
Charlie Day: Oh, yes. What’s the sitch?
Jason Bateman: What’s the sitch, bitch?
Jason Sudeikis: What we got? I mean it all feels the same. You’re lucky to get to do any of it much less all of it. It’s like, you know, no complaints over here.
Charlie Day: I’ve met a lot of actors that really strongly prefer one thing or the other. Most actors – and I’m assuming that you have some interest in that if you’re a student in Emerson, if not there’s a great program there – but, you know, you’re lucky to get to do it. So it’s fun to do any of it. And in terms of exploring other things, yes, I think you always want to try new things, too.
What was it like working with a new director, Sean Anders? How was it different?
Jason Sudeikis: It was great. Him and his writing partner, John Morris, are like two of the best like, you know, (whatever) – I mean scriptwriters, comic writers in, you know, Hollywood right now.
I think they did a great job with the re-writing of Horrible – We’re the Millers and, you know, so we – so it’s like having two other, you know, two more writers on, you know, on set with us. And then Sean brought, I mean you probably have a better grasp of what he brought like (film directing) and stuff. There’s a whole chunk in the middle where it almost looks like a guy starring Steven Soderbergh film with – that he had in his head. I mean even like the stuff of us starting the business, you know, all those visual elements to it that feel like a Fincher movie. It’s like something right out of Fight Club.
Charlie Day: Yes, he walks a really good line of not completely reinventing it, so that you don’t know what movie you’re wanting. And yet when it makes sense with the film to get a little mores stylized, he put a little more style into the second one and it fits the story. So I think he did a really good job that way.
Did your characters get to do anything different this time that they didn’t get to do before?
Jason Sudeikis: Being at every scene together.
Charlie Day: Yes.
Jason Sudeikis: Wasn’t – which is a crazy notion that I couldn’t have enjoyed more. But, you know, the first movie we spent the first 30 minutes each in our own little movie with our own horrible boss, and this one it’s just right off the bat we’re all three sitting next to each other on a couch. That’s my answer.
Jason Bateman: We also got to do a little bit of a green screen work. Which is – when they shoot something in front of a big green piece of fabric that lets them put a different background in later, so that was kind of an interesting part of kind of filmmaking process that we didn’t get to do on the first one. That’s more – usually relegated to, you know, the big effects movies. So that (was needs) to see that part of the process.
Charlie Day: And then we got to have a fourth…
Jason Bateman: Musketeer?
Charlie Day: Musketeer, great yes.
Jason Sudeikis: Amigo?
Charlie Day: Amigo? I don’t know.
Jason Sudeikis: … they had (four Beatles).
Charlie Day: They did have four. Right.
Jason Bateman: That fourth (Beatle) no one knew about.
Charlie Day: That fourth Beatle no one knew about. But it was with Chris Pine for much of the movie and he brought a lot to it and you know just – in terms of what we did differently…
Jason Bateman: Brought a lot of hotness.
Jason Sudeikis: That’s right.
Charlie Day: He brought the looks.
Jason Bateman: (And hotness)
What was it like working with Christoph Waltz, Keegan Michael Key, Chris Pine, Kevin spacey?
Jason Bateman: It’s pretty cool when you can kind of, you know, this is a big kind of silly commercial studio comedy and when you can class it up with some Oscar winners it becomes a really nice balanced cocktail, I think.
You know, everyone loves a properly mixed cocktail.
Jason Bateman: So it’s – it was really cool to work with all those different people. It was – everybody seems to really understand what we were making and it made for a good thing.
Jason Sudeikis: It’s really flattering when you – to make the first one and have it exist and then when you’re making the second one to have people say, “Oh yes, I want to be a part of that.”
And so it’s so great of you to mention Mike Keegan and you know someone like Jonathan Banks who is in one of my favorite movies of all time, Beverly Hills Cop. And so to be in movie with him is like awesome. I’ve known Keegan, you know, forever. There are a lot of second city people in this movie and I bet you love the fact that they want to, you know, come on board.
Charlie Day: Especially for a sequel where sometimes they’d lack – a sequel can lack the “prestige” of the first movie and, you know, to get actors of that caliber, and actresses joining the movie are great.