As cliché as it sounds, I have grown up on the work of filmmaker/animator Mike Judge. From his controversial MTV animated series Beavis and Butt-head and the successful Fox animated series King of the Hill to wonderful film classics Office Space and Idiocracy, if I hear the words Mike Judge on any film or TV project, needless to say, I'm on board. So, naturally, I was on board as well when I was invited to head down to Venice, California to Joe's Restaurant (don't let the name fool you - this place is high-class all the way) for dinner and a chat with Judge for his new film Extract, which will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 22.
Despite all of his success, Judge still seems surprised about the fervent fandom associated with his work. When one of the reporters mentioned that they saw someone dressed as President Camacho at Comic-Con, Judge seemed genuinely surprised.
"Oh yeah? Somebody dressed as President Camacho?" Judge inquired. "That's really cool. Wow. I've never heard of that."
He also talked about the casting process, in general, that, "it's the most painful part of the whole process because it's like going on an awkward date, every five minutes for 8 hours." He also talked about how that related to Extract and, although he doesn't normally think of actors when he's writing, this time he did.
"When I did the rewrite on Extract, because I had written it a long time ago, I was actually thinking about Jason Bateman," Judge said. "I gave it to him and he wanted to do it."
He also talked about how David Koechner's annoying neighbor character, Nathan, was loosely based on a real neighbor he once had.
"There was actually a woman and it was in a gated community," Judge explained. "She would just park herself (on the window of your car) and she would give you a choice, I probably shouldn't say this, but she would go on for 40 or 50 minutes or you would have to be really rude to her. Beyond that, the physical thing is you have to move the car at some point because her elbows were not leaving."
When it comes to the new DVD, Judge revealed he liked that he got to show the extra scenes featuring Ben Affleck.
"I actually like the extra longer scenes with Ben," Judge said. "Those were ones where, I'm a big believer of leaving them wanting more when you can and I was really into what he was doing there."
One of the great parts of this movie is that, amongst all these big stars, the one who probably steals the most scenes is the young newcomer Dustin Milligan, who plays the amateur gigolo Brad, and Judge told us he was almost not even in the film at all.
At dinner with Director Mike Judge"Oh my God, we almost didn't get him, too," Judge said. "There was a problem with his E-6. He's Canadian and he was only supposed to be here for 90210 and it was down to the wire. It was just like, 'Please, please let us get him.' That's something that I thought would be very easy to find when we were casting. It was actually one of the things that inspired it. When we were cating That was one of the things that surprised me, in the casting. When we were casting Office Space, there were all these Dawson's Creek wannabes, running their hands through their hair with that blank gaze, ridiculously good looking. You realize pretty quickly that you kind of have to get the joke. I think the best people that play stupid are really smart. Dustin is a really smart guy and a good actor. He just had the right combination. He hardly did any improv except for a few physical things here and there. He did a thing where he'd check out his bicep, little things that weren't in the script."
Judge also said that, every now and then, he does think about new ideas for Beavis and Butt-head.
"Yeah, definitely, things will come along," Judge said. "I had a thing where there was a rat that came into my kitchen. They pooped everywhere, ripped open bread, and I just wanted to kill this rat. I bought one of those Victory, old-school rat traps, and I just started thinking that Beavis and Butt-head versus a rat would be really good. Like they'd set the trap, but forget and go, 'Oh, cheese.'"
He also talked about a few future ideas he had for films, one of which being a project that he'd want Chris Elliot to star in.
"He moves to India to do a Bollywood movie and he ends up working tech support," Judge said, which drew some big laughs from that description alone to the assembled press corps.
The question also came up about a movie based on King of the Hill, but Judge doesn't think that will ever happen.
"I don't know if it lends itself to a movie the way The Simpsons does," Judge said. "I guess whatever the reason that is, would be the same reason they never made a Bob Newhart Show movie. The Simpsons was more cinematic to begin with anyway, just in the way they went crazy about the animation. King of the Hill is more inspired by classic television."
Mike Judge's hilarious new film Extract will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 22.