Jennifer Aniston has a history with her Wanderlust co-star Paul Rudd that began with The Object of My Affection and continued with the actor’s role on that little show of Aniston’s called Friends. It is also a reunion for Rudd and director David Wain. The actor has appeared in every single one of the director’s movies including Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten.
In Wanderlust, Aniston and Rudd decide to shake things up. The pair play a couple who feel that life has run its course into the predictable. They head out on the road in search of adventure and find themselves at a commune called Elysium. Things truly get weird, but in the most hilarious of ways.
Rudd and Aniston sat down to talk about the art of comedy, the magic of their new film and their director Wain, as well as what it was like for the duo to reunite once again.
Movie Fanatic: How did it feel for you two to get back together on screen?
Jennifer Aniston: It felt like no time had passed. We were so happy. It was heaven! We’ve also seen each other, throughout the years, so it was just that excitement of, “Oh, this is going to be so fun and comfortable,” especially playing a married couple and having that ease and familiarity. It was just fun.
Paul Rudd: We knew that there were certain things that we wouldn’t have to try to create, just because we have the benefit of knowing each other for as long as we have. There was also something really cool about really feeling the time. The first movie that we ever really worked together on was The Object of My Affection, and Alan Alda was in that as well. Now, the three of us are hanging out, years later, and playing very different parts. Being able to be nostalgic was really cool.
Movie Fanatic: Paul, do you feel there’s a certain amount of pressure for you to always be funny on screen?
Paul Rudd: There’s pressure, every single time, of not sucking. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I’m screwed [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: Your director is notorious for letting the camera roll if the comedy improv is cruising. Were there any scenes in particular you were shocked he kept the camera rolling?
Paul Rudd: Just about every single one in the movie, I’d say. I’m not a fan of just doing the scene, cutting, setting up again, and doing the scene again. It’s nice when you can keep going and find a rhythm and groove. Something can happen, particularly if you’re improvising. So, it’s great when you have a director that wants to work like that. For me, I like it.
Jennifer Aniston: David would do it, just for his own laugh. You’d hear him laughing. We would just be going on and on and on, and then finally he’d yell, “Cut!,” while he was laughing, and we knew we were just giving David a kick. That’s where you find the magic. The fun stuff comes when someone is not so strict on sticking to the script. You’re allowed the spontaneity, and great moments can happen.
Movie Fanatic: Jennifer, this is your first time working with David. How did you find the experience?
Jennifer Aniston: I was welcomed in with open arms, and I had just the time of my life.
Movie Fanatic: Paul, what keeps you coming back to working with David?
Paul Rudd: I’m a huge David Wain fan. He’s one of my best friends now, but he just makes me laugh continually, much to the annoyance of his wife. She’s like, “Don’t encourage him,” when we have dinner, and stuff. I just think he’s got a very specific sensibility that is unlike anybody I’ve ever met. I happen to think that he’s a really talented filmmaker.
Movie Fanatic: We’ve featured you singing Two Princes by the Spin Doctors in a clip that has our readers laughing out loud. Were there any other songs discussed for that scene?
Paul Rudd: It was just so fun to sit around and think about what the song could be. I put more time into that than anything else. I do think it reveals a lot about the character, but it’s just super-fun when you go, “Oh, yeah, that would be a good one. It’s really funny to play.” The one that we almost did, and David and I spent hours laughing about, was the song Tough Enough, by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. But, who would learn that song on an acoustic guitar, and then try to play that? It was almost that, but I didn’t know how to beat the Spin Doctors.
Movie Fanatic: Your characters are a couple and are eager to break away from their perceived to be mundane lives. Have you ever shared that feeling?
Jennifer Aniston: Every day, yes. For me, going to Clarksville and shooting this movie was a version of that because there were no paparazzi and there were no secret, tricky little cell-phone pictures being taken. It was just this great community and these amazing people. I really realized how much I had walled myself in, not consciously so, but just with this protective armor that I have. It’s not for my friends or people in my family, but just being outside in the world, I’m always on guard. So, there was just this sigh of relief, after week one, that was like riding on a horse, out of the bubble. It was really special to get back in touch with that part of myself and that anonymity. I really made a conscious effort to remind myself, “Don’t wall up like that.” I think that you miss out on a lot of stuff when you’re so protected and isolated.
Movie Fanatic: In Wanderlust, you guys land in a commune called Elysium. How long do you think you would last in a place like that?
Paul Rudd: It depends on what version it is. There’s something great about the idea of working the land and living communally. That’s healthy. That’s good. But, the version in the movie would get old pretty fast.
Jennifer Aniston: I honestly don’t think I would [laughs]. Not one second.