So, yes, 2015 was the Year of Paul Rudd. Not only did he make his Marvel debut in Ant-Man – a movie littered with production drama that nevertheless turned into a success – his beloved Kansas City Royals won the World Series for the first time in 30 years and his beloved Kansas City Chiefs won 11 games in a row and won their first playoff game in 22 years. (The only thing missing was some sort of clue in Back to the Future Part II that foretold that 2015 was the year of Paul Rudd.)
Directed by former Late Show with David Letterman producer Rob Burnett — making an interesting shift from television producer to indie film director — The Fundamentals of Caring is about a divorced man (Rudd) who finds solace in caring for young man with muscular dystrophy (Craig Roberts). This leads to a road trip to visit “the largest pit in America” (which, ironically, does kind of sound like something Letterman would have done on his show). The film premiered this week at Sundance.
Ahead, a slaphappy Rudd and Burnett (it’s been a long week) talk about their new film, Rudd does his best not to answer any questions about Ant-Man (Marvel spies are always looming somewhere), and Burnett shares his favorite Letterman memory and gives us his best guess if we’ll ever see Dave do another show. But, honestly, after over a week at Sundance, I just really loved listening to Rudd and Burnett argue about grammar. For whatever reason, it was just the funniest thing and exactly what I needed.
When Rob Burnett calls, is your first instinct to say, “I’m honored, but I’m not looking to do a late night talk show…”
Rudd: I mean, I was immediately excited about having a conversation with Rob about whatever it was he wanted to talk to me about and read whatever it is he wanted me to read. Because I knew what great work he did with Letterman on the show and also I knew his other work. I knew the show Ed.
Speaking of Ed, I have a friend and we still reference the ten-dollar bet jokes.
Burnett: Ah, thank you.
Rudd: But, most importantly, I knew from everything that Rob was somebody whose comedic sensibilities I admired from afar.
You assembled a great cast including Paul. How important was that for making this work? I guess that question applies to every movie.
Burnett: I think there’s no truer sentiment that could be said about this movie. Every movie relies on cast, no question about it. But this movie, in particular, really relies on the people in it.