Land Ho! is one of the more amusing and thoughtful films to release during the 2014 summer movie season. It stars Earl Lynn Nelson and Paul Eenhoorn as a pair of ex-brother-in-laws who were once close friends but ended up drifting apart through various circumstances. They find themselves dealing with aging and loneliness as their wives have long since left them, and in an effort to reclaim their youth, they decide to take a vacation together to Iceland. What looks like your typical odd couple road movie becomes an engrossing study of two people facing down their personal adversaries and regrets while taking in the amazing sights that Iceland has to offer.
It was truly a lot of fun talking with Earl Lynn and Paul when they were at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for the Land Ho! press day in Los Angeles, California last week. Like his character in the movie, Earl Lynn is a surgeon in real life and has a great love for partying and good living. Paul, on the other hand, didn’t seem as reserved as the character he plays, and has been an actor ever since he was a teenager.
Together, they discussed how they got involved in this project, how much improvisation they ended up doing, some stories from the set and much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
My understanding Earl is that you were the inspiration for this movie. Apparently the filmmakers, Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, looked at you and said, “What if we put Earl in Iceland?”
Earl Lynn Nelson: Well, Martha is my cousin. Her mother and I are first cousins. She called me up and asked me if I had a chance would I go to Iceland. I said “hell yeah.”
How did you get involved in the movie Paul?
Paul Eenhoorn: Aaron and Martha saw This Is Martin Booner, which is Chad Hartigan’s film, and they just went, “A-ha! Earl Lynn and Paul!” And that was it basically. So they wrote 10 or 12 pages and we shot that in Kentucky, and then they wrote the rest for us and the rest of the 90 pages were written with us in mind.
So the Kentucky sequence was the only part of this movie that was shot in America, and everything else was shot in Iceland?
Earl Lynn Nelson: The vacuum cleaner and us chopping up the onions.
Paul Eenhoorn: You were lucky because there was another three minutes of the vacuum scene. [laughs] It went on way too long.
There are a number of moments that appear very spontaneous and improvised. How much freedom did the filmmakers give you when it came to scenes where they let you improvise?
Paul Eenhoorn: I’m thinking they did let us improvise.
Earl Lynn Nelson: They turned us loose.
Paul Eenhoorn: But in the end, you’re looking at 75% script. I think they kept about 15%, which was the improv lines. I could tell you the ones they are.
Earl Lynn Nelson: We can see them, but a lot of people can’t see them. Some of the funniest lines are not scripted.
Paul Eenhoorn: From an actor’s point of view, if you are watching something and you see improv, you know it. Because of your experience, you just bloody know that wasn’t written. But it’s 50% script and 25% rough script…
Earl Lynn Nelson: And then 25% turned loose. [laughs]