After the quick interview with Rainn, it seemed that anything I got beyond that on this set visit, interview-wise, might very well be gravy. It was around two or so in the morning, and the crew was frantically committed to setting up a long, complicated shot to be done in front of a green-screen on the main set. So I resigned myself to going back to the main set and watching the set-up. After a while, however, the unit publicist came to find me again, to tell me that the film's producer, Tom McNulty, was interested in doing an interview. Myself and the IGN reporter were quickly rounded up and taken to a tiny office adjacent to the set, and Tom followed. After speaking with Tom for half an hour, the door burst open and Christina Applegate unexpectedly walked in, ready to be interviewed. She was clearly tired from the insane schedule the film was following -- even I was tired, and I had only been exposed to it for one night -- so Christina, if you're reading this, thanks for taking the time.
How about these night shoots?
CA: The first week, by the end of the week, we had started normal days and then it just ... by the end of the week it had gotten so late, and because we're shooting six days weeks they haven't been able to get us turned back around. So it just keeps getting later and later. Probably in about a week it will be back around
When was the last time this happened to you?
CA: Never. In fact, I've never even heard of this happening, to be honest with you. It's not something that happens a lot.
So your character is the mom of one of the garage-band kids -- does she have any other connection to rock n' roll? A former groupie, maybe?
CA: No, well, Kim was actually the lead singer of a punk band when she was 17 years old, and that's when she got pregnant with Curtis, who is the lead singer in the band, ADD. So she's kind of a groovy chick.
Do you get to use any of your musical chops in this film?
CA: No, I get to play in a rock band, which is the new, better version -- I get to play guitar. I'm quite good at that, because I have guitar gear at home, so I came into this with guitar experience under my belt. I used to be really into karaoke revolution, but now it's all about Guitar Hero. Now they're gonna give us the rock band thing, which is cool, because it's a full band. With drums and a singer and bass.
Were you a fan of 80s hair bands?
CA: No, everyone thought I was, because I played one on TV. I played a groupie kind. But I developed her after seeing the scene, what was happening in the scene and how ridiculous these girls were, so that's sort of where Kelly Bundy came from, me poking fun of the whole hair band thing. But I was never into the music. I couldn't stand it. I knew these people -- that was kind of the scene, you know, out in the clubs and stuff. Those people were around, and they were all very nice people, but I couldn't stand the music.
And you still feel that way.
CA: Yeah, I'm not a metal kind of ... not into the hair bands at all. The only hair band I like is Led Zeppelin. But they're not really a hair band.
Everyone's been talking about how fast the movie came together -- was your involvement sealed up in like, a day?
CA: No, because it was hard to figure out whether or not I could even do it, because of the scheduling. So it took a minute to kind of get me involved. But once I did say yes, then I was on a plane.
Have you developed a preference for movies, TV or stage?
CA: I think I left my heart on the stage, as nerdy as that sounds. I really love doing that kind of work. But you can't really make a living doing that. But I love making movies too. So it's hard to say. The stage is really such a thrill, there's just nothing like it.
What you're doing now must be really physically demanding.
CA: These hours are, I think, literally killing me. But what's so great about it is that everyone has such a wonderful demeanor and because everyone is living it and feeling it, no one can really complain or have a bad attitude about it. Everyone's really happy and we get along really well.
In your opinion, what are the elements of great comedy?
CA: Reality, truth. I think there's comedy that's just based in the laugh and I think that that, to me, fails, but I think that when something is based in truth, which is the way it should be done, then that's when it really works. I think that's why Rainn Wilson is so talented. That's why you kind of love him, because he's an actor first and a funny person second.
Do you get a lot of laugh lines in this movie? Sometimes the females kind of take a back seat.
CA: [laughs] Yeah, unfortunately I don't -- the guys are all a little bit crazier, but I get my stuff in there. I'll throw my stuff in when I can. There's a lot of improv that happens once we get the scene, as written, then we mess with it. So I try to get some zingers in there.
How do you think your comedy style has changed over the years?
CA: Well, I had never done comedy before Married, so that was a whole learning process. As far as my comfort zone, I wasn't comfortable with it for a long time. Now I'm very comfortable. The timing is something that I think can be learned over years. You can really hone that craft. But now, I think, with the experiences I've had, the improv is what is really exciting to me. I'm not very good at it, but I think I'm getting better at it.
Rainn is big on improv, right?
CA: Yeah, he's great. He's really, really funny and so is Jason Sedakis. It's amazing to me that they can come up with this shit, especially at 5 in the morning. So I really enjoy at least trying, or like, opening my brain up to that kind of way of doing things or approaching things.
Do you keep yourself open to other genres, besides comedy, like maybe a horror or thriller?
CA: You know, I'd love to do something like that. It would have to be smart, though. As far as doing a horror or action, it would have to have something really interesting about it. I don't know if I could do something that takes itself so completely seriously, as far as that genre is concerned, because I'm not a big huge fan of those kinds of movies, but if it had some kind of psychological element to it, I would be really down with that. I'd love doing something like that.
Are you in talks for anything at the moment?
CA: Oh man, I'm gonna be so busy until March of next year. The show is gonna be taking up all of my time, so I can't. When you do a show, you kind of get taken out of getting to do that. When the show got picked up, I got offered like three awesome movies that all happened in September, so you kind of sacrifice one thing for the other. But hopefully, if the writer's strike doesn't happen, then I'll be working on something after March. Hopefully. My show is like, I'm in every single scene in it.
So have you shot all of your major stuff in this movie already?
CA: I'm leaving today.
Oh, that's right, they told me.
CA: I have a long scene tonight, today. But the bulk of my work is done.
Are you gonna do some kind of goodbye thing before you go?
CA: Yeah, it's called the tail lights ... [laughs] ... I wanna try to get some sleep before I have to go to the airport.
What's the hardest work goodbye you've ever had to do?
CA: Saying goodbye to my Sweet Charity company. That was devastating.
You broke your foot, right?
CA: Yeah. We were very, very close. Those twenty-five people were very close and we had gone through so much, and the foot breaking and the closing of the show and the opening of the show. You get very tight with people when you live through disasters together. So that was really like, awful. That was awful, but I talk to them all the time and I go see them in New York, so it's fine.
What kind of advice do you have to give to aspiring actresses?
CA: I think the best advice I can give, because I don't know how you get an agent. I don't know how any of that works. It just sort of happened for me. But you have to study acting. You can't just go and do it. There's a lot of people who can, and their careers are going to be really short and sweet, but I think that studying and studying and studying is a huge thing -- studying everything. And don't poo-poo on comedy. You know, everyone thinks that it doesn't make you an actor if you're doing comedy -- let me tell you something, wasn't it Laurence Olivier who said dying is easy but comedy is hard? You have to study everything, take classes, do accents, do things outside of what you even think you're going to be successful at, because that will make you a better actor. And try to do a play. Doing plays makes you stronger, makes you trust yourself more.