WGTC: Do you think that comedy and drama go hand in hand? Does coming from a comedic background help create a deeper dramatic depth?
Bobby Cannavale: I think so. Clearly there are comedies that are going for comedy all the time. Even in a movie like The Other Guys, or Step-Brothers, which is one of my favorites. I’ve pulled that movie apart, and you’re still dealing with a very real circumstance. Two guys living at home with their parents. They’re not commenting on the fact that they’re in their forties, that’s just the life they’ve known, and there’s a disruption in that life. I think that’s what makes for a comedic situation – a disruption in the regular routine of your life. The elevation of the stakes that the disruption prompts. That can create very comedic situations, and that’s what happens in Adult Beginners. Everyone is pushed out of their comfort zone a bit, whether it’s a new child on the way, a business gone to shit, or coping with the loss of a parent by selling a house. While they create very tense situations, they also create desperate situations that are very funny to watch when looking at them from the outside.
Nick Kroll: …ditto.
WGTC: You guys have a seriously funny cast on Adult Beginners – are there any good anecdotes that came from the set?
Nick Kroll: Well I think we can all agree I was the [George] Clooney of that set. [Laughs] I was really letting people have it.
Bobby Cannavale: We were really just shovelling snow the whole time.
Nick Kroll: Yeah, it was a lot of snow. We were stuck in a pool with a broken heater for all the pool scenes. No joke. We were indoors, but outside it was like five degrees and snowing. There was one little hose that had hot water, and we’d have to take turns spraying ourselves down with the warmth. It was brutal. But honestly, on a movie like this, with the timeframe we had to make it, there really wasn’t a lot of time to play. The scene with Joel McHale and me in the apartment, where he’s talking about the hooker, that was just Joel improvising and messing around. There were pockets of time where you could improvise and play, and times where you’re just banging through the day.
WGTC: After doing a more serious movie like Adult Beginners, are you inclined to take a goofier role on your next project?
Nick Kroll: For me personally, you just want to keep stretching and doing fun stuff. I don’t have a clear path of doing a drama then doing a comedy, it’s more about finding the right people to work with, and an intriguing character to play.
Bobby Cannavale: The only thing I’m conscious of is trying not to repeat something I’ve already done, just because it’s not fun for me. I just like to keep challenging myself, and stretch my legs as Nick said. I also don’t see that much of a difference between the two, as I said before. I shock a lot of people when I say this, but Boardwalk Empire – I don’t think my character was necessarily a dramatic character. He cracks me up. He’s pretty funny. Sure, it’s not really a comedy, but if you’re laughing, does that mean you’re now watching a comedy? Not necessarily.
Nick Kroll: Dramas can be funny sometimes.
WGTC: The dramedy effect.
Nick Kroll: There is is.
I’d like to thank Nick Kroll and Bobby Cannavale for taking time out of their South by Southwest schedule to chat with us. Be sure to catch Adult Beginners when it’s released on April 24th.