Rodney Rothman and Nicholas Stoller make a powerful team on a film set. I’ve seen them in action together twice, and considering the first time around resulted in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” a film that owes as much of its success to its post-process as to the shoot itself, I think it’s a safe bet that “Get Him To The Greek” could well turn out to be one of the summer’s best comedies.
On the set of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” it was easy to forget that it was Stoller’s first time as a director and that he and Rothman were just developing their working language. Stoller had already created a solid reputation for himself as a screenwriter, and Rothman rose to prominence as the youngest head writer for “Late Night With David Letterman” ever before publishing his first novel. Both of them are still frighteningly young considering their accomplishments, and incredibly easy to speak with.
When I arrived on-set, they were in the middle of a scene involving Sean Combs and Jonah Hill, and I commented about how Russell Brand was the scene-stealing discovery on “Marshall,” while he was the star on this set, and now Combs was developing into the new scene-stealer.
Rothman just shook his head, laughing. “You have no idea.”
They talked about the process of getting to know him, and how Sean Combs the actor is not quite the same thing as P. Diddy the personality, and how hiring one brings you in orbit with the other. They told me about an early meeting they had with him where he insisted on going to a Russian bathhouse in New York that Combs likes because it’s nothing but old Russian people. “We went with James Earl Jones and Russell Simmons,” Stoller said, laughing. “He’s such a character. Once we hired him, we rewrote the film and put him in a lot more of it because he was so awesome.”
I asked about working with Russell Brand again on this character that Stoller and Rothman both so obviously loved during the making of “Marshall,” and they were enthused at the opportunity it presented. “He’s playing a much darker guy in this movie,” Rothman said. “Aldous is off the wagon and crazy again.” I asked them how they handle the continuity between the movies considering Jonah’s a totally different character this time, and they both just shrugged it off. “We have a joke that basically Aldous doesn”t remember any of the events of ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ anyway, including Sarah Marshall, the woman he dated for eight or nine months. So the fact that Jonah’s a whole-new character is really not an issue.”
They talked about how one of the most important elements of the new film for them is the relationship between Colm Meaney and Russell Brand, playing Aldous Snow and his estranged father. “The relationship between father and son is… difficult,” Rothman explained. “His father wasn”t around very much. His father think that he”s the talent and the wrong person became successful.”
For more on that answer and the promise of a Sean Combs exclusive interview still to come, continue checking back for our “Get Him To The Greek” set visit coverage this week here on HitFix.
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