Kirsten Bell & Russell Brand Forgetting Sarah Marshal Interview

Kirsten Bell & Russell Brand Forgetting Sarah Marshal Interview

Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Oahu

Q: Are you jealous types?

Kristen Bell: I try to recognize any emotion and what the actual emotion underneath it is. I think that was sort of a lucky teaching by my parents/therapists. Jealousy, you could easily react or sort of take it internally and realize why you have that insecurity and work on getting over it, but it's a seriously dominating emotion. It's really blinding, I think, sometimes. That's why you really have to do your best to keep your insecurities in check.

Russell Brand: I get quite jealous, but one of the things I liked about playing this character, people keep saying I don't do any acting because the character is exactly the same as me, but it's not like in real life you go, "Hello, I'm Kristen Bell!" You are more or less the same as well, right, so why don't people say, "Kristen you are more or less the same." Everyone is more or less the same, it's only because I say things that are true. Jealousy, I was happy to play a character that was completely unaffected by jealousy, 'jealousy the emotion that consumes the flesh as it infects it', said Shakespeare. I read something by Wilde recently about the nature of negative emotions seeming somehow more profound and real than positive. That happiness seems so fleeting when it visits, and negative things like sadness seem realer, like there is nothing behind sadness. Sadness is objective and profound and actual where as happiness seems like something's masked. I hate to be made jealous. I hate to live outside myself and feel things I'm not in control of. So like that character of Aldous, someone who meets an ex-boyfriend, right, "hello." I really like that. I find that really appealing to be centered enough to be unaffected by jealousy because petty, it doesn't lead to anything. It's a completely unnecessary construct.

Q: Are you jealous of Jason's full frontal nude scene?

Russell Brand: Only because it was with her. That was the only thing that made me jealous. Often what I'd do is stand outside Kristen's bungalow naked at night. I said, "Jason does it." But they said, "That is in the film." So? We don't know that this isn't being filmed by perhaps a superior intelligence that regards us as ants. I said, "We can't prove that and you can't use that in court."

Q: What's the best thing about being promiscuous?

Russell Brand: The best thing about being promiscuous is you meet a lot of people very quickly and you have a lot of orgasms. The worst thing is a prevailing sense of nihilistic loss, or meaninglessness, so that everything is interchangeable and nothing is permanent. So promiscuity is beneficial in some respects because you recognize everyone is beautiful and it's good to have sexual encounters. Do you only want to have sex? What do you mean only? I'm bloody good at it! I'm better at sex than talking so that's one of the best things you could do with me. You wouldn't say it to Carl Lewis, "what, are we only going to do running?" It's the thing he's best at!

Q: How do you know you are so good at it?

Russell Brand: There is a distinction. Of course you can only be good at it if the person you are with you have a connection with. You can't independently be good at sex on your own. That's masturbation.

Q: You could be good at that too?

Russell Brand: I suppose so. The results speak for themselves. But of course sex is about chemistry and communication so you can't independently be good at it. You are quite right to make that observation. So I may not be, but it just seems that I've been very lucky.

Q: What about you and sex, Kristen, what's your take on it?

Russell Brand: I'm sure she is wonderful at sex, but just with one person who she loves, quite rightly!

Q: How did you come up with the sexual aerobics in the film?

Kristen Bell: We come up with those ourselves. We were shoved into a room about a week after knowing each other and were told to use our yoga expertise and we came up with 15 of the most awkward sexual positions possible.

Russell Brand: They did shove us as well. We didn't want to go in that room! All we had to entertain us was sexual positions. Luckily our chemistry was good so we came up with some very elaborate whilst troubling for the back.

Q: Was there anything they wouldn't let you do for the film?

Kristen Bell: There is one main purpose that you have to be fitting together. There is an A meets B kind of part and the pasties, which are stickers that cover the nipples during filming or in a strip club, I suppose.

Russell Brand: Everyone knows that.

Kristen Bell: Pasties can also be those little tassel things.

Russell Brand: That's a really unsexual word, isn't it? "Oh, look at my pasties!" Don't let the practicality inform the language. I'd call them tweezlers.

Kristen Bell: It was difficult because the positions had to meet in a certain section and a lot of body parts we couldn't show.

Q: How many takes did that take? Russell Brand: We were in there a hell of a long while. I insisted on 2 or 3 days be put aside on that. It might be embarrassing with all the camera people there, but it wasn't. Sometimes I'd say, "I'm not acting in this bit. This is just me touching your bottom. I'm just a man touching your bottom in a room. The fact that they are filming it is just a coincidence."

Q: What are your thoughts on Judd Apatow films and their universal appeal?

Kristen Bell: I think that though everyone on the surface can identify with reinventing the R-rated comedy because for a while studios were only green lighting things that were PG-13, and rightfully so because they sell more tickets. There was a period in the 80s, I think, where you always saw the signature boob shot and this and that. Besides just doing that I think there is a sense of reality you get and a sense of well-rounded characters. And often times in romantic comedies you are told who you are supposed to root for and who is the villain. Those lines are blurred here a little. Sarah Marshall is probably the villain, even in the end, but I think there is going to be a fair amount of people who don't go away hating her and actually sympathize with her, that you actually get a chance to explain yourself. I think a really good example would be the relationship between Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in Knocked Up. Their relationship problems when they were fighting, I really felt torn because I believed both of them. It's like that Mamet example from Oleanna in that 'no matter who you believe you are wrong'. And I think that's the way with life. You can't just agree with Peter that Sarah is the devil, and you can't just agree with Sarah that she needs better than Peter. It's how relationships happen where it's about meeting each other's needs and no one is really right or wrong.

Russell Brand: So Judd Apatow's comedies are more nuanced and less simplistic.

Kristen Bell: Yeah, and they are less broad, I think. Even though the comedy is broad the relationship between the characters and the depth with which you can see them is just more real. People can identify more with them. They are more approachable characters.

Russell Brand: I agree with Kristen. I think it's about sensitivity. I think the comedies that immediately proceeded it, I think any true art form has to not directly resemble its immediate antecedents, and I think that with the comedies of Judd Apatow the characters are more sensitively drawn, like Farrelly Brothers comedies, which are brilliant, they are very male and gross out. Where as like I think there is a cross gender appeal for Judd Apatow because they are good female characters that are well drawn. Both female characters in this film, while brilliantly played, I think they were good parts in the first place. I think that's a distinction from what I remember of the comedies that came before Judd Apatow stuff. Like that bit out of Knocked Up where she's dealing with the bouncer at that club, that's a really good comic bit for a woman. And like me and her have an argument in bed and she does sarcastic impressions of me, which, I'll be honest, piss me off. People say I'm close to that character so actually she is ridiculing me in that bit. I was silently thinking that, and that helped me do some good actoring. So in a way it paid off hugely. So that's how I think they are different. They are more sensitive and nuanced. They are not so basic and formulaic and button pushing. I think his ideology in the face of comedy is a little more sophisticated than anything that's preceded it.

Q: Is it true that you read the dictionary in your spare time?

Russell Brand: I don't have spare time but if I did have... because you're going to die, so this is spare time I'll squander that but still the spectre of death looms.

Q: But as a hobby?

Russell Brand: I do like it - not now but when I was younger I had very complicated things I needed to express and I wanted to take advantage of language.

Q: How was surfing for you?

Russell Brand: I was so frightened of it. It just seems like an unnatural thing to do. Who invented it? You look at the ocean and think, right, "Let's stand on that. Jesus only did it once." Jesus wasn't constantly walking on water. It's not throughout the Bible and then Christ did it again just to show off. He did it as a one-off. So walking on water in anyway trying to defy aquatic law to me is bizarre and macabre. I don't know how they came up with surfing. If it were down to me it never would have been invented because it's hard. And also the bloke that taught it to us was so thoroughly masculine, he was an ex-Marine and a water polo player, gorgeous! You know sometimes even if you are heterosexual a man could be so attractive you say, "Oh, fuck it." It was a bit like that. I felt a bit girly. "Oh, look at him! Such a beefcake!" So surfing is an anathema to me and doing it was just ridiculous. By the time I stood on that surfboard and got all the way to the beach it just seemed ridiculous. It was like seeing a cow smoke a pipe.

Q: Is there someone in your past you'd like to forget?

Russell Brand: Me.

Kristen Bell: Russell.

Q: Do you always retain part of a person?

Kristen Bell: I think you have to. You are denying and becoming numb if you are not wanting to retain even a bit of someone you met, even on a friendship level, on a general level. Everyone you come in contact with has something good to offer you, I think. If you do not necessarily believe that then that's a little bit more of your own problem.

Q: How would your perfect mate be like?

Russell Brand: Naturally Kristen would be the perfect woman for me. And the perfect guy, that's still me.

Kristen Bell: I think I tend to be, someone who is funny, laughing is important. I love someone who is kind. That's probably the number one because if you are rude to the waiter it's not just that. If you think I might just kick your ass it's very unnecessary.

Q: What about British humor, is there something that doesn't translate to American audiences?

Russell Brand: You just have to be aware of your references. "I'm a chimney sweep, look at my penny farthing, did you see the East Enders?"That won't work because it's too parochial, but I think sense of humor, as is indicated by the term, is something that is innate and humane so if you have a good sense of humor I think it will translate as Chaplin proved.

Q: Did you ever want to be a rock star?

Russell Brand: I think what was appealing about the rock and roll revolution of the 60s is it sort of hinted at social change. It sort of came in tandem with Woodstock and coming off the back of the Beat movement. It had a kind of intelligence to it. I think it's something it was unable to deliver because consumerism as it does so expertly takes it back into the fold and sell it back to the very people that created it. I think that can be achieved well through comedy, change.

Kristen Bell: He sings in the film and it's pleasant. It's very enjoyable. I loved it. You can also dance pretty well. That I'll be honest about. In the scene they had cut most of your dance moves. I thought, well, I might pull out of this film even though we've already shot it.

Russell Brand: Yeah, we've been lied to. Where is that dancing?

Q: How did you fit in this group of Apatow regulars as a newcomer?

Kristen Bell: I was extremely intimidated starting because there was so much improvisation and most of the auditions were improvised and initially when they cast me I thought, "Oh no, I've made a terrible mistake and I don't know how I fooled them." I let all those insecurities bubble up because it's a secret dream of mine, but nothing I'd ever felt ballsy enough to conquer, being your own stand-up comedian, which is kind of what improvisation is, but I think the only good way to have a good improvised group of people is if you are supportive of each other and they absolutely are. Everyone is really encouraging and it was nice to be able to have Jason, the writer, so close, and if I were ever stumped they would be able to throw ideas out. And I really felt supported.

Q: Are Americans puritanical about sex?

Russell Brand: No. I found them to be very, very confident and comfortable and willing. I think that puritanical idea, I think when people in Europe see something they are just learning about may be quite prejudicial. I spent time in, I made a documentary about Kerouac and drove across America for that so I spent time in Kansas, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, right through the States, and people are not idiots. They are all right. I talked to some hillbillies; proper slack jaw gap-toothed hillbillies and they spoke about Noam Chomsky. As Chomsky says honestly, it happened. And the Federal Reserve, the dollar is being propped up, it's the same as when Salvador Dali would sign a check, they wouldn't cash the check because it had Dali's signature on it so the dollar is built on a false premise. We are in for economic meltdown. China is rising. Fucking hell, shouldn't you be having sex with your cousin?

Q: What are your favorite movies on DVD?

Russell Brand: The Elephant Man and Life of Brian by Monty Python.

Q: Which female celebrity you'd like to meet?

Russell Brand: Serena Williams, I'd like to meet her again. I met her once and I don't think I made a very good account of myself. I tried to touch her legs. They looked wonderful. I wondered if she'd notice. She looked delightful.

Q: What's next for you?

Kristen Bell: Next week I'm going to New York and then Rome for 12 weeks to shoot a romantic comedy called When In Rome with a lot of really lovely comedians. Josh Duhamel is playing the romantic interest and they cast Anjelica Huston and Jon Heder and Will Arnett, a really good group.

Q: Which stand-up comedians are your favorites?

Russell Brand: Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce.

Q: Would you like to be a father one day?

Russell Brand: Yeah, that would be amazing. I'd love that, I think. But I think you can't do that if you are selfish, can you? Because then I'm not the most important person in the world anymore. I just can't imagine that yet.

Q: Wouldn't you want to pass on your talents?
Russell Brand: I don't know if it works like that, but I definitely want children. I want them. Loads of them.

Q: Would you want the wife too?

Russell Brand: Well, I could have a harem situation like you do in certain tribes on our planet. Monogamy isn't necessary. I don't know if it's even a good idea.

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Kristen Bell Forgetting Sarah Marshall Interview -
Russell Brand Forgetting Sarah Marshall Interview -

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd
Director: Nick Stoller
Rated: MA15+
Genre: Comedies

From the producers of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up comes a comic look at one guy's arduous quest to grow up and get over the heartbreak of being dumped -- if he can only make himself start Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother, Knocked Up) has spent six years idolizing his girlfriend, television star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars). He's the guy left holding her purse in paparazzi photos and accidentally omitted from acceptance award speeches. But his world is rocked when she dumps him and Peter finds himself alone. After an unsuccessful bout of womanizing and an on-the-job nervous breakdown, he sees that not having Sarah may just ruin his life.

To clear his head, Peter takes an impulsive trip to Oahu, where he is confronted by his worst nightmare: his ex and her tragically hip new British-rocker boyfriend, Aldous (Russell Brand), are sharing his hotel. But as he torments himself with the reality of Sarah's new life, he finds relief in a flirtation with Rachel (Mila Kunis), a beautiful resort employee whose laid-back approach tempts him to rejoin the world. He also finds relief in several hundred embarrassing, fruity cocktails. For anyone who has ever had their heart ripped out and cut into a billion pieces comes a hilarious, heartfelt look at relationships -- featuring Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader and Jack McBrayer. Part romantic comedy, part disaster film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the world's first romantic disaster comedy.

o Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes
o Gag reel and much more

"Screamingly funny" - Zoo
"Brilliantly, outrageously, painfully funny" - James King, Radio 1