Ed Helms, 'Jeff, Who Lives At Home,' Star, On How Yoda Can Fix The Economy
Ed Helms may not have seen the movie "Signs," or really buy into the metaphysical journey his onscreen brother takes in "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," but "The Office" star does have some very cogent thoughts on how one little green guy could solve all our problems. Seizing on a brief bit of dialogue in his new slacker comedy, Helms riffed on "What Would Yoda Do?" as a way to fix our economy. Turns out, all we need to do is call George Lucas.
"Signs" is sort of the backbone for "Jeff." Have you ever seen it?
No. (Shakes head). I mean, I understood Jeff's point of view, the metaphysical goal and his hopes and dreams for the world
What's your viewpoint on whether the universe is giving you signs on a daily basis?
I am not a believer in signs. If some crazy sign were to happen to me, I would certainly be open minded. I've yet to be convinced is anything other than just abject chaos.
Do you have a brother?
I do. I have an older brother and a sister who's the oldest.
I'm guessing your relationships are nothing like this movie.
Any family has a certain amount of dysfunction, misunderstanding, frustration. But I'm very lucky to have siblings that appreciate the value of family and we're pretty tight. We still have our hiccups, but it's pretty great. I think that the family in this movie has some really tough struggles and they've let their relationships get a little warped. The nice thing is that it's not too far gone. They're able to make these relationships whole through the events of this crazy day. There's a redemption there.
You and Jason do your own stunts here. Was that crazy?
I love that this is like a thing in this movie that "Jason Segel and Ed Helms did their own stunts." Because you'll watch the movie and you'll be like, "So where were the stunts?" But yes, we did do our own stunts. I'm damn proud of it. I am a badass.
What did John C. Reilly tell you about the Duplass Brothers?
He said, "Watch out, man, those guys are crazy!" No, he was very proud of "Cyrus" and had glowing things to say about these guys. I already loved their other movies. After I read the script, and loved it, I immediately watched "Baghead" and "Puffy Chair." And then "Cyrus." I thought they were all awesome. There's something really special and a little bit dark going on in all of them. It felt like cool territory to jump into, especially with Jason Segel. It was just such a privilege to work with him. I new that even if I spun out, on some of this dramatic stuff, at least he would be there to help me. He's just a force of nature.
How is he a force of nature?
He's so natural and effortless and such a great, great actor. Also, thankfully, a fun dude. We had a great time in New Orleans.
Do you see yourself doing more drama?
I'm not seeking it out. The whole reason I do what I do is because of "Animal House," and "Vacation" and "Ghostbusters" and "Fletch" and "Trading Places." That's why I got into movies. That's still what I love and still what I will chase as an actor and a writer. But I'm open minded. Any story that comes my way that's compelling, that's exciting, that has exciting people that I want to work with... that was the case with this project. It just came together in a really cool, fun way and I'm insanely proud of it. I'm a comedy guy. (Link to: Helms dismisses the rumors that he's taking over "Vacation" franchise.)
So what's next on "The Office?"
I don't know. I'm excited to find out.
Where you surprised to hear that James Spader is leaving?
Well, James told me before you heard. But I don't know. It felt like he'd had a wonderful season and we'd had a really great time. I love James. And this has been a time of flux for the show. There's sort of a lot going on. I'm not surprised by much these days.
I have to ask, since it's an important question that gets raised in this movie: How would Yoda be in a business meeting?
If Yoda were in a business meeting, it would have this ripple effect. He would explain how The Force could solve all of our economic problems and we would not be in this terrible recession.
I think we need that!
I know. Here's the best part. We can have that. All we need to do is get George Lucas to write a scene in which Yoda is in a business meeting and that's the same thing. Then we can just use that scene and it would fix the whole economy. Here's what we have to do: Someone ... what's his name, Ben Bernanke, needs to call George Lucas, and just say, "George, what would Yoda do about the economy?" And all George has to do is write that scene and get that response in Yoda's voice and we'd have a solution to everything. I think we should all be calling on George Lucas a lot more in a a "What would Yoda do?" context.
I love it. This is my new favorite political movement.
(When asked the same question, Segel answered, "Oh, Yoda would slaughter. Everyone would just be so confused. They'd sign on the dotted line. He'd lull them into acquiescence." Would it solve the recession? "That's probably true. He's a pretty wise dude.")