O: You mentioned that you're working on a movie now. Is that 3001?
MJ: Yeah, although I'm not going to call it that. It's set more like 400 years in the future. There have been so many movies about people being frozen and waking up in the future. This is mine. Apparently, a bunch of Futurama nerds are pissed off, because that's the year in which that show is set. You know, neither of us invented guys getting frozen and waking up in the future. But I didn't mean to set it in 3001 anyway—that was just a placeholder title.
O: What's the movie's current status?
"I was watching a lot of Beavis And Butt-Head recently, and I'm sitting there thinking, 'This is pretty funny.' I'm probably not going to do anything that funny ever again. I mean, the stuff that's good, the third of it that's really good, I'm proud of that."
MJ: We started shooting right in the beginning of May, in Austin. The basic premise is that most science fiction shows the future as being more civilized or more intelligent, and that's just not the way we're headed. Like, if someone made a movie in the late '50s about the year 2004, it probably wouldn't have had The Maury Povich Show, and gangs, and whatever. So this starts out as a documentary about how the people who are reproducing the fastest are guys who are too lazy to put on a rubber, and lots of highly educated people are waiting until they're 40 to have a kid, and then having one or none. It's kind of a sleeper movie about how, 400 or 500 years from now, a guy who's your average dumbass today is the smartest person in the world.
O: Did you learn anything from doing Office Space that's going to affect how you work on this movie?
MJ: I should have learned not to write so many characters, because this one has 65 characters, and that makes the casting process really tough. I learned a lot on Office Space, though some of the things are hard to describe. You can get a feel for watching someone read during auditions and knowing how they're going to act in front of the camera. Mostly, it's just production-design stuff. It sounds corny, but I feel like I'm learning stuff all the time.
O: Given infinite money and no restrictions, what would you be working on right now?
MJ: It's interesting. I don't have infinite money, but after Office Space came out, even though it didn't do very well, by not doing anything all these years since, I think there are a lot of things I could do. I could probably make just about any comedy under $20 million that I wanted to, the way my career is. I just haven't written them. It's not like there's a whole lot of stuff that I want to do that they're not letting me do, but making a movie is such a lot of work that I didn't want to do it again unless things were right. It's been five years since Office Space came out, so I've been able to go to my kids' ball games and violin recitals and all that stuff. It's been nice to not have to work long hours.