The latest comedic collaboration pokes fun at the film industry.
He's created some of the funniest films ever, like This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and Best in Show. And now Christopher Guest is re-teaming with Eugene Levy to bring you his latest, For Your Consideration.
Somewhat a little different than his past mockumentaries, Chris and Eugene took a stab at a community he knows very well - the film business. They decided to create a movie inside a movie; but in order to do that, they called up some of their very familiar friends like Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, and Harry Shearer (just to name a few).
In For Your Consideration, Eugene plays a sleazy agent, while Christopher takes on directing Home For Purim. Of course, they've both experienced those sides of the industry before, but they didn't want to go too over the top with it in this. "Well this is toned down," says Chris. "There are things that have happened to both of us in our lives and in show business that are so much more bizarre, so much worse on some levels that if we showed those things no one would believe them, or think they were funny. I've had things happen, it's extraordinary; so what's in the movie is a balancing act between trying to find something funny but accurate as well."
Eugene added, "We kind of rounded the edges here; if you're trying to portray a more kind of accurate slant on the business, then you're dealing with times of nastiness that sometimes aren't necessarily funny and we're trying to keep our characters kind of on the funny side."
Because For Your Consideration is a slight departure from what we're used to, Chris and Eugene wrote a little more dialogue than they've done in the past. "Yeah, that's 14 pages; 14 out of 120 pages," Chris joked.
But that's really all the cast is used to anyway, and they like it. For Chris, it's all about not knowing what the final cut is going to look like and adlibbing the majority of the film. "I've worked on this for 2 years; it's a long haul and you look at a movie when you finish it and at some point, you have to say, 'Ok, that's kind of it.' I'd say for the most part, I like the film, but I always feel even after finishing a movie that it's a work in progress that you don't get to finish because you change as a person and you look back on a film and you think about what would have happened if it was different. But in general, I would say that the main feeling would be satisfied, and especially with the end of the movie, I would say because we were very much committed to showing the bad side of this and the serious side really, unfortunately, the tragedy of what happens to Catherine's character. There are funny things in the movie, I hope, that people will like that but then I think we really both felt at the end that we didn't want to pull punches because this is tragic, I guess at the end."
What really stands out in most of their films is everyone's hair. Eugene talked about getting the perfect hairdo for Morley, the agent. "We are kind of comic character actors so all of that stuff is important - I'll speak for myself. For me, I like these little crutches, I like a crossed eye, kind of a wig; you need the hair to kind of get into it even to discover the character, because I don't honestly know who the guy is until I see him and then voice comes and mannerisms come. But this was a great little wig, speaking of hair."
Eugene also got a shot of Chris before stepping on set, "I saw Polaroids in stages as he was developing his character. He'd send us these pictures on the email and I realized where the bar was being set."
Choosing the parts for the returning cast of For Your Consideration was very fun for the two of them. Because they have most of the returning cast, they already know the face and the style of each other; and that helps shape who everyone will be playing. "Because I'm directing these movies, I tend to be alone in these movies it occurred to me recently which I'd never thought about consciously while I was doing them," says Chris. "But I think part of that is I'm so concentrated on directing during the day that I'm just this solitary figure. It was true in the Best In Show. When we have a concept for the story, we then write the parts for the actors; they're not generic parts, they're very much written for Fred, Jane, and whoever. Catherine being the central figure in this movie, we always knew it was going to be Catherine that was going to be the person who was going to take us from the beginning of this until the end, we always knew that.
And Eugene says it's been like that since their first collaboration, Waiting for Guffman. "The idea came with Corky, the character Chris wanted to do fortunately, and then Best In Show; you create these characters that just seem right for certain people. You know when it's right for you and I think Chris, you had a good idea in Best In Show, the kind of character that you wanted as we were going through the bloodhound. Maybe it was the association with the bloodhound. And in A Mighty Wind, we knew what we were doing and certainly Chris did because they had done the Folksmen; that was part of that thing. And we needed an amalgam of different folk groups like the New Christy Minstrels so we had the big group and then we wanted an Ian and Sylvia duo and I think we kind of pegged me and Catherine for that."
It's definitely all planned out - to a point. You can laugh with the cast of For Your Consideration when it opens in limited theaters November 17th; it opens wide November 22nd.
Stay tuned for more interviews from the cast of For Your Consideration coming soon!