Plucky 'Broncos': Jared and Jerusha Hess on Gentlemen Broncos
October 30, 2009 - 11:02am
There's one scene, just after the snake poops all over Mike White, and Jennifer Coolidge says something about getting some "paper towel." Not "paper towels" with an "s" on the end. It was such a small thing...
Jared: That was her. She's weird. She just said, [launches into perfect Jennifer Coolidge voice] "I'm going to go get some paper towel." And I kept telling her, "Jennifer, no, no, no. It's paper towels." And she's like, "I got it. I got it. Let me get you some paper towel." It was weird.
And another moment like that was in the scene where Jemaine [Clement] is doing the Q&A thing. I was like, "Jemaine, here you're going to say 'Isn't that why we do what we do, dagnabbit.'" 'Cause "dagnabbit" was a word that my dad would to say all the time, like "Dagnabbit, honey, these boys need to clean up the kitchen!" Or whatever. I told Jemaine to say that, but in the moment, he was like "Isn't that why we do what we do, dagnammit." He changed the "nabbit" to "nammit." And he didn't mean to. He just said it because he'd never heard it before. But it's "dagnabbit." That's the Texas way of doing it.
And here you are, doing a perfect Jennifer Coolidge and a perfect "Ronald Chevalier." Can you do that a lot?
Jerusha: That's how he directs.
Jared: I feel bad because... I'm not a 'real' director but that's how I do it. I do a lot of line readings. I remember when Sam Rockwell first showed up he talked to Mike Angarano and he was like "What's Jared like to work with?" And Mike was, "He'll tell you how it sounds and he'll act it out for you." And that weirds out a lot of actors and they don't like it. But when we were done, Sam said, "Jared you're the only guy I like to have that done by." Which made me feel good. And Jemaine was really cool. Everybody was really cool about it. Because for us when we're writing, I have to know how it sounds before we put it down on paper.
That Chevalier voice is really impressive.
Jared: He wanted to play it American, but I was like, "It would be cool to hear you doing Michael York from Logan's Run."
Jemaine is so talented. He's great. Very humble guy, too. Holy cow. When people are working on a TV show, you kind of rule out casting anybody. But he was available. He was writing the second season of Flight of the Conchords, but he came and we had him for two weeks or something. When he got the script, he called and said, "I love it. I'll do whatever you want. Do you have someone to play Bronco?" Knowing he'd be Chevalier, we beefed him up. Initially, the workshop scene was going to be a character that you only saw once in the film, and we thought it would be great to have Jemaine do that scene as well.
Jerusha: Jared and Jemaine kind of had a bromance going on on set. They looked like the same person; they could speak the same voice. They were just the same. Everybody would be wanting to get close to Jemaine and hear him talk and be near his presence. And Jemaine and Jared would be huddled off together, whispering quietly, discussing ideas. And then all of a sudden you'd hear this awful laugh that was so funny. [She imitates Jemaine's laugh.]
Jared: [also imitates Jemaine's laugh]. It's like a machine gun. A machine gun and a hyena.
Jerusha: And then they would confer again. It was very secretive.
I wanted to ask about the science fiction element. Science fiction novels have a whole different fan club, and then there are people who like cheap science fiction movies and then there are fans of The Matrix. What kind of fans are you, or are you fans?
Jared: I'm a fan of both. As a kid, I wanted to be a special effects guy. My favorite movies were the George Lucas stuff. I wanted to work for Industrial Light and Magic. I nerded out. A lot of my first, early movies were trying to do matte paintings. Put multiple moons on a piece of plexiglass and film as my brothers ran around underneath with laser guns or whatever. But things changed. Because I only got about as far as the Lonnie Donaho movie special effects, the Yeast Lords version.
So when you got to shoot special effects for this movie...
Jared: It was awesome. It was a very indulgent fantasy that was coming to life for me.
You did them very 1950s style.
Jared: We tried to do as much in camera, and it's a comedy and we wanted to enjoy the science fiction bits on a comedic level. So instead of doing a lot of CG stuff, it was more animatronics and miniature models.
I like that stuff better.
Jared: I do too. It's got more character.
Jerusha, were you a sci-fi fan?
Jerusha: I liked the movies. I never read any books. I come from more of the "Let's poke fun at it" perspective, so Jared doesn't get too serious with it.
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