Without a Paddle: MovieWeb recently got a chance to get some insight on the from the cast of the upcoming comedy, Without a Paddle, in theaters on August 18th. The film stars Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, Dax Shepard, Ethan Suplee, Abraham Benrubi, Rachel Blanchard and Burt Reynolds.
The story of three friends (Green, Lillard, Shepard) from the big city of Philadelphia who go canoeing together out in the woods and mountains of Washington State after the death of a friend, Billy.
Billy was obsessed with going there to search for the unaccounted-for $194,200 out of the $200,000 that famed airliner highjacker D.B. Cooper parachuted with quite possibly to his death in 1971 $5,800 of his marked ransom loot was found in 1980.
Canoeing down the Columbia River, the trio soon finds that their canoeing experience goes wrong..., horribly wrong, as the river turns dangerous, and they have an encounter with a crazy mountain man (Burt Reynolds).
SETH GREEN ON THE FILM
How was New Zealand for you?
Well, I represented. Let's just say that. They nicknamed me "the robot" on the set because we would go out late and have a good time, but I have a great work ethic. I never slack in that department.
How much of the movie is coming from you improvising?
It was non-stop improv. We spent about a week-and-a-half rehearsing. We work-shopped the script really intensely and all the dialogue scenes got rewritten in rehearsal. Then we would get on the set and we would do it by the book, and then we all were just kind of left to fly and great things would happen. There's alternate takes of every single scene that are as funny, if not funnier than what we did.
How funny or awkward was it shooting the cave scene, where you had to cuddle with Dax Shepard and Matthew Lillard?
We knew it was going to be silly, but we had no idea that it was going to be as funny as it was. That was the scene that I read and thought, "I hope this plays. I hope this is funny." But that's the concession with working with Matt and Dax. It went without saying that we were going to find what there was to find in all of these scenes. It was the most thrilling creative environment I've ever worked in. I loved making this movie. It was the most fun I've ever had making a movie just because we were having such a good time. So the cave – we already spent like two months together, I was already deeply in love with both of these guys. I already knew we were having a blast.
What was it like working with Burt Reynolds?
I love Burt...I hadn't seen any of his earlier work except for Deliverance and Striptease and Boogie Nights, especially. So I knew him, but I knew him more from his infamy than for anything legitimate. And I'll tell you, man, that guy is one of the most impressive guys I've met, and I've met some really cool people. He was a gracious, kind and a competent actor. There's a reason that he was like the box office king for like ten years running. He is super cool, really, really sweet and amazingly humble and self-reflective. I just found him to be so interesting. He would never give us advice, as much as he would relate to us a story of a mistake he made, with the same kind of "That's life, that's what you do and you try and pick yourself up from it," and I was just so impressed by him and I hug him every time I see him.
What's your next career move?
I'm very specific about what I choose and I feel like I've got a good record here. All I'm trying to do is make good stuff... I'm not interested in becoming a bigger star. I'm not interested in being the wealthiest guy in the world. I'm doing fine. I love acting and I want to do it for the rest of my life, so that's where I see myself in ten years is still working.
What's the most surprising reaction you've ever had from a fan?
Every once in a while, like I was in Atlanta this week. We're promoting the movie and there were a bunch of people at a movie theater waiting to meet us and this one girl started crying and that just puts me into nurturing mode. I just grabbed her hand and I'm like, "Hey, it's totally okay. Come here." And we took a picture together.
Do you feel like your life's different because of the fame?
No, I ride the subway, it's cool. I do my thing.
MATTHEW LILLARD ON THE FILM
Did you get into much trouble in New Zealand with Seth and Dax there?
No. My wife and my daughter were there so that was pretty much all the buffer I needed to get into trouble. But I'm sure they can tell you they found plenty of Action Jackson in the wonderful city of windy Wellington.
So was the cave scene cuddling with Dax and Seth a lot improv?
I think that was probably one of the funniest things I've ever done on-screen.
Is it hard to play a character not too far from the guy you really are, you're a family man?
This guy is a transition for me from teen movies... I'm thirty-four years old for god's sake! I'm ready to take on more responsibility in my acting world. You know, it's not an easy thing to do to transition from being a teen kid to, you know, a leading man, a young leading man.
So what does it take for you to be a young leading man?
You know, Without A Paddle for me is the first chance in my life I've got to be the leading man. I get the girl. I'm the serious kind of straight guy.
You've got drama, you've got compassion for your friends, love of your life, you're figuring things out. This is deeper and more complex role...
I get to be a man.
DAX SHEPARD ON THE FILM
Was there a good chemistry between the three of you to do that kind of stuff?
It could not have been better. Luckily all three of us have been trained in improv and all know the basic rules of it... We're all listening and adding to what they were saying. So having all three of us know the rules was great and the weird chemistry that existed between the three of us right off the bat was about as good as you can hope for three strangers to have.
Was the script tailored to you guys at all?
It just worked out to be a great kind of coincidence that I got to play a guy who rides Harleys and has tattoos because that's who I am. Seth obviously has the biggest leap of character. He's actually a very brave and unphobic human being. Lillard and I were pretty spot-on. Lillard is the most responsible of the three of us in real life...
You have a background in improv. Did you get a chance to use that in this movie?
Yeah, absolutely. Steve Brill, our director who's worked with Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller, is really familiar with working with improvy actors and guys who come up with stuff on the day. He created an environment that was conducive to improv... We generally do it as scripted a couple of times, get it and then he'd turn us loose on most days, unless we were in a hurry.
Would you say you've been ready for an acting career for a while?
Yeah, it's been nine years in the making. I've been acting since I got to L.A. nine years ago. Punk'd was just another acting job, and that was the one that got enough exposure where Paramount was willing to roll the dice and put me in as a lead.
Do you find it's harder to maintain a certain anonymity after Punk'd?
Yeah, it happened. I went from completely anonymous to like, by the third week that Punk'd had aired it had such a huge following... The exposure of being on a show like that on MTV is amazing.
Have you been in a situation where an actor's afraid that he's being Punk'd?
I've been in a lot of awfully weird situations.
Did you just have one?
Yeah, someone hit me on my Harley and I literally was sliding down Lincoln Boulevard, stood up bloody and this girl goes "Oh, you're Dax from Punk'd. Is this a Punk?" I'll be happy when the movie comes out. People will try to Without A Paddle me.