When reading this interview, please know that about 60 percent of what Ike Barinholtz says, his tongue is planted firmly in his cheek. For example, I do not believe Barinholtz truly thinks he’s the real star of Sisters, not Amy Poehler and Tina Fey – even though he says the opposite and seems upset that his name is not at the top of the poster.
In Sisters, Barinholtz plays James, the love interest of Amy Poehler’s Maura. The movie gives Barinholtz his largest role in a studio film (but probably not quite large enough to warrant his name being at the top of the poster, despite his protests). Ahead, Barinholtz discusses Sisters — as well as Trading Places, Soul Man, and Suicide Squad. (Of those four movies, he’s only in Sisters and Suicide Squad. I really have no clue why we talked about Soul Man.)
You’re the male lead in Sisters. Before seeing it, I didn’t realize how big your role was…
I look at it as my movie, and Tina and Amy have fun little small parts in it. But, some people tell me, “no.”
I spoke to Amy last week, I don’t think she agrees with that.
Well, respectfully, she’s wrong. I’m friends with her, but she’s wrong with this one. I look at this as a James POV story. It’s a classic James POV story. And the movie really deals with his weight loss and the loss of his parents – and the external story coming in is about these two kind of crazy women that he meets. But I think at the end of the day, most people who see the film will agree that it’s about me.
Why don’t they move your name up higher on the poster?
You know, that’s the agent’s job.
That’s the agent’s thing. I don’t have a good answer for that, but I think it’s bullshit. I’ll put it this way: We had the premiere the other night, and I was very embarrassed to sit there next to my wife and have my wife go, “You said this was your movie.” But, hey, that’s Hollywood.
You’ll get ‘em next time.
Maybe. You hope. Maybe not, though.
Maybe they’ll put your name at the top of the Neighbors 2 poster?
Well, Neighbors 2, there’s no doubt that’s my movie.
When I read the script, it was really focusing on Rogen and Rose Byrne and Zac…
And we’ve had that.
Yeah. And I said to my agent, “I’m out.” And I said if they want to refocus the script and make it more about Jimmy Blevins, I’m in. And he said, “Yeah, they’ll do it.” And I looked at the script again and I didn’t notice any big changes, but I can tell I think I’ll be happy watching myself.
When I spoke to Amy Poehler, I caught her off-guard when I asked if a scene where the “Paging Mr. Herman” line from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is in the movie because James Brolin plays Amy’s father.
Oh my God! Dude, I just thought it was an “I’m in the moment” bit.
Well, apparently that’s what that was.
One of the partygoers is Amazing Larry.
I’m going to believe you.
No, I’m kidding. That would be too much.
Why would I doubt that? Maybe the whole movie is an homage?
For some reason, I’m not sure Amazing Larry is still around. He was pretty old in 1985.
According to Wikipedia, Lou Cutell is still alive. He’s 85.
Oh, good! Oh, good for him.
That makes me happy.
Me, too. That makes me happy.
Sisters reminds me of an ’80s movie. In that the whole movie is just a big party.
Yeah, I love Sixteen Candles and I sense some of that in there. It’s not ‘80s, but there’s some Superbad in there.
And some Bachelor Party.
Bachelor Party is in there for sure. Adrian Zmed is in the movie.
I’m going to believe you again. And there’s some The Money Pit.
The Money Pit! Yeah. It definitely does have an ‘80s feel.
I mean this as a compliment.
No, my God, those are the movies I grew up on. I’ve seen Trading Places 500 times. To me, the ’80s was a mishmash of really astute, funny smart comedies. Like Trading Places and I think Sixteen Candles is truly great. And then ones that were completely conceived and written and produced on cocaine, like Soul Man.
I did not expect to hear the title Soul Man today.
There was a version of Sisters like Soul Man, but at the last minute, we were like, “It doesn’t make sense and it’s really, really offensive, especially in 2015.” So, cooler heads prevailed.
Did anyone call C. Thomas Howell to ask how that all worked out back then? Like, “Did this turn out okay?” And he’s like, “No.”
I mean, that movie. It’s about a rich, white man who pretends to be black to steal a Harvard scholarship from a black woman. That’s hardcore.
To be fair to Mark Watson, I can’t believe I know the character’s name…
Wow, good for you.
A friend in high school had a similar name, and we made fun of him for this. Anyway, Mark Watson thought the scholarship would be unclaimed.
That is true.
Then Rae Dawn Chong explains if it’s unclaimed, it then opens up to a larger area. So, at least he didn’t know he was taking it away from someone else.
That is very true. But the filmmakers did, though.
Now that’s true. We should blame them, not the character.
I’m not mad at C. Thomas Howell.
Arye Gross plays his friend. He was on Ellen DeGeneres’ show for awhile…
He’s in the film Minority Report.
Oh, yeah, he gets captured at the beginning.
Yes, yes. Hey, we are real fucking losers.
At least you’re in movies.
[Laughs.] But you write about them. You know what? We are winners because we know a lot of stuff.
When you’re in movies, it’s cool to know this stuff. It’s not cool at all that I remember stuff about Soul Man.
It’s going to come in handy one day, I promise.
At what age did you finally understand the last act of Trading Places and the futures market?
Mike, I’m not going to lie to you, I still don’t know.
I had to look it up.
No, my parents explained it so I kind of had an understanding of it. The other night, we were watching The Big Short and I was like, “What is going on?” At the end, he was like, “It’s like Trading Places.”
What I didn’t understand is that when they sell the concentrated orange juice, they didn’t own it yet. So, they had to buy it for the lower price to fulfill their orders.
The thing I didn’t understand is how you find a British butler in Philadelphia.
Do they not have British butlers in Philadelphia?
That’s a New York thing. I think in Philly, you get people from outer Pennsylvania to be your butler.
The movie makes Philadelphia look great.
Yeah, in those montages, they didn’t include any scenes of Eagles fans throwing batteries at Giants fans.
Are there any other movies you want to talk about?
Yeah, what else?
You’re in Suicide Squad. That’s real, right?
[Laughs.] Yeah, that’s real. I mean, I shot it. I don’t know how much I’ll be in it. I know Will Smith will be in it a lot.
And Jared Leto. We know that.
Jared Leto is for sure in it. It’s a huge movie. I think DC and Warner Bros. are really trying to make big, big moves.
That movie is everywhere and it comes out in August.
It’s getting more buzz than Batman v Superman! Like, what’s bigger than Batman fighting Superman? Because it really is such a fan favorite — people love the world. Just wait, like two months before it comes out, Will Smith is going to come to your door to tell you about the film.
Someone from the cast will.
Joel Kinnaman will knock on your door as Col. Rick Flag and say, “Hey, Suicide Squad is awesome.” And it is.
It will probably be you.
It’s probably going to be me.
Are you comic relief in this?
Ahhhhhh, I can’t get into too much. I got into a little trouble talking about too many details.
So, I should just look those details up?
Well, I’ll say this: There’s a lot of information out there and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. I have to give them credit, they did such a good job of maintaining secrecy. You turned your script back in at the end of the day, NDAs, they did all that. They did such a good job, I’ll read speculation that’s out there and it’s like, “Oh, it’s interesting people think that.” They were very set on maintaining secrecy. But, you know how it works, once screenings start trickling in, people start blogging about it and putting stuff out there.
And then there’s Star Wars. There haven’t been a lot of leaks because no one sees it until Monday night.
J.J. Abrams hasn’t even seen it. He’s going to go to the premiere and say, “Oh, wow, I had no idea.” It’s funny, watching the cast have to sell the movie — it’s so funny. It’s like, “Okay, Daisy Ridley, tell us what it’s like growing up in England.” You know what I mean? How many questions about Attack the Block can you ask John Boyega?
I’m going to call you on that one, I could ask a lot. That movie is great.
Actually, that’s one of my favorite movies. That’s a really good one.
Sisters comes out against Star Wars.
Yeah, but, hashtag, you can see them both.
People should see Star Wars and the movie with your name at the top of the poster.
Hey, if I have to go to every poster and change it myself, by god I will. I’ll do it.
I bet if you walked into a theater and said, “Hey, it’s me,” they’d let you.
Yeah, maybe a weird theater. But, I’m just going to do it anyway. I play by my own rules.
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.