Time to get up tight and sarcastic with two of the co-stars of director Peter Billingsley’s comedy, Couples Retreat. Out of the four couples in the film, Kristen Bell and Jason Bateman are the stress filled business couple who convince their friends to go on a trip to Bora Bora to save their relationships.
I don’t know if I would consider this an interview as much as a Kristen Bell and Jason Bateman comedy sketch with all the sarcasm you could possibly shove into one conversation. Both Bell and Bateman seemed to sit down in character, ready to tackle any questions we had with a quick comeback and a power-point projector.
Check it out below…
So how is When in Rome coming along?
Kristen Bell: I just wrapped. So I’ve been working. It’s in our contracts. In all contracts at Disney now, it is. The director and producers, it’s in everyone’s contracts, you can’t talk about it online. Because what I think happened on ‘Pirates [of the Caribbean]’ or something, someone said, ‘Oh, we’re shooting at Santa Monica Pier with Johnny Depp,’ and then like a thousand people showed up. We can’t talk specifics. Someone smells great, first of all.
Jason Bateman: Thank you! [Laughs] Miss me from yesterday.
Bell: No. Of course, I did.
Bateman: Separation anxiety.
Bell: Yes, I would have had the sweats.
Bateman: So, guys, we would like to talk to you about ‘Couples Retreat.’ [Laughs] Tell me what your favorite part of Bora Bora was.
Bell: That was Jason’s favorite part.
Bateman: Oh wait, there are some.
Did he really make you inspect his penis?
Bateman: No, I elected to inspect his penis.
Bell: I was the only one that didn’t look. Why? Because I have respect. Okay? [Laughs]
If you would have respected him, you would have looked.
Bell: No. You know what? My side of the street is clean. I didn’t want to get involved with that. He chose not to wear a…
Bateman: It was tremendous. [Laughs]
Why did you ask to see his penis?
Bateman: Just pure curiosity.
Was your curiosity satisfied after?
Bateman: Ah, what does the word manhole cover mean to you? [Laughs] I mean, we’re talking here, aren’t we?
He almost showed us.
Bateman: Did he show it to you? He’s proud. And he should be. [Laughs]
Bell: Well, you would know.
Bateman: Oh yeah. So is Kali Hawk. She was a little surprised. [Laughs] So, let’s start to work around the table.
You worked with the Director Peter Billingsley a long time ago?
Bateman: Peter and I did a very special episode ‘Little House on the Prairie’ together. He guest-starred as young Gideon, who had a stuttering problem. I befriended young Gideon and, in a moment of weakness, made fun of his stutter to a group of friends of mine. He overheard this. His feelings were hurt. I had to run and chase him. I had to put out the fire and say sorry. And just good lessons.
Bell: Lesson learned by everyone at ‘Little House’ I think.
Anyone nervous at all working with the sharks even though they’re not…?
Bell: Real? [Laughs]
Bateman: Those are computer generated, the ones in the movie.
Bell: We did go scuba diving with the sharks though. Lemon sharks and black tipped reef…finned reefed…black…
Bateman: Boy, a full day of saying it, and you still can’t do it. [Laughs]
Bell: I was saying yellow sharks for a while, and then Jason, who didn’t take me aside, said in front of an entire group of people that they were actually lemon sharks, and I was just remembering the word yellow. But there were lemon sharks and black tipped reef sharks.
Bell: Hey! But they were very nice. They’re not mean sharks.
Bateman: But the ones you saw in that scene were fake. Those were computer generated. Yeah, that’s good, huh? It was very well done.
Bell: This is a big budget film, guys.
Bateman: This is no indie, bro. But the ones we actually scuba dived with on our down time, were twice or three times that size, right?
Bateman: At least the yellow ones. [Laughs] What I did there was a call back on her…
Bell: My stupidity.
Bateman: Lemon shark.
You thought they were going to be yellow?
Bell: No, I just kept remembering that I thought they were called yellow sharks because they’re called lemon sharks. So for some reason, I associated that. I said, ‘We swam with the yellow sharks.’ And he let me say…
Bell: Jason, wake up. [Laughs] I talked about it a few times before Jason corrected me. So that’s good.
Why were you making pudding in Bora Bora, which is what we were told?
Bell: First of all, who told you that?
Our sources tell us…
Bell: Well, I like food.
Bateman: She’s a snack pack. [Laughs]
Bell: I do. I like snacks especially. I was concerned about the food in Bora Bora, and so I packed a lot of snacks. I rationed them out, and I in particular enjoy butterscotch pudding. So I knew that all I needed was water and a mini fridge, both of which I had in Bora Bora, in my contract. [Laughs] And I made little dishes of pudding, and we had them for dessert.
So you’re nothing like your character then?
Bateman: No, everyone was like the mercantile. They all would go by and ask her for little treats and stuff. You were a big hit.
Bell: I brought granola bars. I also brought games.
Do you ever give them to the people you like?
Bell: Of course. Yeah, if you’re really nice to me.
Bateman: She’s cute.
Bell: Thank you. Thanks Jas. You can have some pudding. [Laughs] I brought games. I brought Trivial Pursuit. I brought Scrabble. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the diamond addition, but it is a fold-able, hardcover briefcase version of Scrabble, and it literally folds up onto itself. There’s a handle; you fold it out, and that’s the board. It’s extremely convenient.
Bateman: It always raised a flare with the security guys at the airport though. [Laughs] What’s in the case?
Were you guys getting stir crazy by the end?
Bateman: I was surprisingly not. I’m very much not into leaving my house, and I couldn’t believe how comfortable I was there at the end. Maybe I’d sort of gone over the fail-safe point. Or maybe it was just the fact that we were staying at the nicest place in the world.
Bell: In the world.
Bateman: It really was just embarrassingly luxurious for us.
Peter was talking about how these were couples that Jon [Favreau] and Vince [Vaughn] had seen. Do you guys have friends like this or couples you know?
Bell: I don’t know a couple that’s this annoying. I do have a lot of friends that are very type A. That are very much more efficient and punctual and feel like they have it together. Not like us.
Bateman: I think these are prototypes of these four sort of typical problems that you see in a bunch of other couples. Obviously for a comedy, they’re heightened and exaggerated just a little bit. If you dropped the levels on those, you’d have a drama. Heighten them, and then there’s…
Bell: That’s deep.
Bateman: Guy’s, I’m teaching a class on comedy downstairs. [Laughs] If it bends it’s funny, if it breaks…
We were told you had to coax the men into taking their clothes off? That Vince and john were a little self-conscious?
Bateman: I don’t think anyone’s ever asked Jon twice to take his shirt off. [Laughs] Vince is as much of a ham as I am. I think he’s knows there’s nothing funny about a six-pack, so his shirt came right off. I’m a safe distance away from a six-pack, so mine came right off. And the fact that we were all pasty white, that was one of the first scenes we shot there, so we were all pretty white. That helped.
You didn’t want to get too tan for it?
Bateman: Right. We were there maybe three days beforehand, and there was a conversation about watch what you do with your free time on the island before we shoot that scene. Like don’t get a sunburn because in the script that’s like the first thing they do when they land on the island. So you can’t look like you’ve been there.
Bell: We’re from Chicago, so we’re not supposed to have a lot of sun.
Bateman: From the dead of winter. So no, I didn’t do any coaxing. I may have given a suggestive eye as they were taking it off, but they just misinterpreted that. [Laughs]
What was it like doing the action yoga scenes? Was that at all awkward during rehearsals, or do you do yoga? Kristen, I noticed that you seemed really flexible. Also CGI, right?
Bell: That was also CGI. I am very flexible. I do yoga. Not by any means on a regular basis, but I do rely on some of the stretches to wake me up after a long night of working or in the morning if I’m tired, because the hours on set are sometimes long. The yoga scene was kind of created by who could bend what way, and what would be the funniest. A lot of times in couples yoga or partners yoga there are a lot of very intimate positions, and I think that’s where most of the comedy came from. But I, for one, very much enjoyed watching Jason getting tea-bagged. I had been dreaming about it for quite some time, and I got to see it live.
Bateman: You should have seen my view. Yeah, the elastic on this man’s Speedo was in a bit of failure. The seal was not optimum there against his thigh. I think that it would have triggered a different rating had you shot my point of view. I had plenty to work with, let’s say that, for my reaction. It was not a highlight for me. I was not living my dream, as it were, at that moment.
Speaking about rating, I don’t know if the goal was always to have it be pg-13, but did you ever do any R-rated takes, or anything that was a little more off the cuff when you guys were improvising?
Bateman: Yeah, there was tons of R-rated stuff that we shot, and that I thought was hilarious. People smarter than me decide what the rating’s going to be on a film and all the things that go into that. I don’t know what the reasons are behind that, but I would hope that some of it survives for a DVD. But again, I don’t know how that works either. If you sell a PG-13 DVD, can you have R-rated content on the bonus chapters? I don’t know.
How did you like working with Jean Reno?
Bateman: He’s a class act. It’s nice to work with him.
Bell: He is the professional.
Bateman: Yeah, and he did a very nice thing for all of us. What was the name of the film he shot there?
Bell: The Big Blue.
Bateman: The Big Blue, he shot there way back when at the very same location, and he has stayed in contact all these years with the guy who was the diving instructor for that film. He had him organize a dive for all of us, and he paid for it and took us all out on a boat, and that was when we scuba dived with the sharks, so that was a really classy, cool thing for him to do.
Jason, is there any update on Hancock 2?
Bateman: I only know what I’ve read. No one has contacted me, or anybody that represents me, to ask if we’re interested or if we would. I know nothing about it. So, it’s surprising to me that Variety and Hollywood Reporter would write that story, because they’re usually pretty well vetted before they report something, and that was completely false. I haven’t heard anything about it. The whole thing about me being on board could not be further from the truth. I would love to be a part of the film, but I have not heard anything about it.
What about ‘Arrested Development’? What’s going on with that?
Bateman: Nothing new. Just that it’s still being written, and my guess is that it’ll be shot sometime next year. I have a feeling Mitch is probably about halfway done writing it, so we’ll probably shoot it the middle of next year, and then however long things take to get cut and marketed. Maybe the first part of 2011 at the theatres? That’s just a guess.
What are you guys working on now? Do you have anything you’re about to shoot or anything upcoming?
Bell: I wrapped a movie Monday called You Again for Disney. It’s about a girl who was a geek in high school, moves away from her small town, grows up to come back home and find that her brother is engaged to the mean girl from her high school, and it’s about trying to destroy that union with any and all possible set pieces involved. But I do get to play my high school self, which was pretty fun. There was a lot of prosthetics. There were pussy pimples put on my face, there were glasses, braces and it was really fun. It was a great cast. That’ll be out next September.
Bateman: So suck on that.
And now we end our comedy session with Bell and Bateman. See them in full force in Couples Retreat in theaters October 9th. Check out our interview with Vince Vaughn and Malin Ackerman now.