Cast: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson
Director: Shawn Levy
Running Time: 119 minutes
Synopsis: In the comedy The Internship, Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation's most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.
Billy and Nick discover that the secret to success is in the search. A search engine, that is, called Google – a place where dreams become reality.
To gain access to this world, Billy and Nick draw upon their crackerjack salesmanship skills to reinvent themselves as interns (or, in Google-speak, Nooglers). Surrounded by whiz kids half their age the two masters of persuasion use their life experiences and swagger to lead their team of interns to greatness.
As they bridge the generational divide in their comical quest to go from Noogler to Googler (or full-time Google employee), Billy, Nick and their young teammates discover that victory is found in the life lesson, sometimes winning is not about finishing first, and that they always possessed Googliness – the desire to keep searching …
Release Date: June 13th, 2013
Googlers, Nooglers and Googliness
The Internship is a hilarious tale about two guys at the peak of their powers of salesmanship, who dare to dream against all odds. They turn sales into an art form, and must now work that magic in a high-tech universe.
In this new world order, Billy and Nick learn that if you want a place at the table, then you have to work harder, reinvent yourself, and develop new skills at the speed of fiber optics transmissions. Ignoring the naysayers and following their gut, Billy and Nick turn Google on its head by bringing their game to this centre of the digital universe. 'It's a chance for Billy and Nick, who wake up and say, -We did everything the way we were supposed to, but got the short end of the stick,'" explains writer, producer and star Vince Vaughn. 'And now they're going to take a chance, follow a dream and be a part of something that is exciting and fun, and not just a means to paying the bills."
'I think the comedy in this movie comes out of relatable situations," Vince Vaughn adds. 'There's authenticity to Billy and Nick's journey, in that they initially go through some tough things, which is happening to a lot of people."
Director and producer Shawn Levy echoes Vince Vaughn's observations on the relatability of the film's premise. 'I think this movie is astonishingly relevant," states Shawn Levy. 'There is a generation that feels it must reinvent itself. So how do you do that in order to write a next chapter?"
One way of reinventing yourself is to pursue non-traditional career paths. Job seekers and employers are increasingly embracing 'returnships" – return-to-work programs and internships for older professionals. So, in some ways, Billy and Nick are part of a 'Returnship." They are refreshing – and reapplying"their skill sets and learning new technologies, to rocket themselves back into the workplace in a big, big way.
The Internship is an uplifting story with humour and idealism. 'The optimism that comes from the film's message is that maybe there's something each generation can learn from the other. It's a huge part of why the film is not just funny, but also timely, aspirational and hopeful," says Vince Vaughn.
Vince Vaughn's Billy McMahon is high-energy, razor-sharp, and verbally-dexterous. When he loses the only vocation he has ever known, Billy searches the online job listings and inadvertently discovers the solution to his career conundrum – Google. 'Billy gets an idea, that Google's a place where there are a lot of possibilities; it feels like a phenomenal place to work, where there are nap pods, Ping-Pong, volleyball courts and lots of places to eat – for free," states Vince Vaughn.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Billy 'takes a swing for something that's far reaching or far out, but also seems like an exciting place to work," says Vince Vaughn. 'Billy and Nick wonder, why not take a chance at the best place to work that is filled with the most opportunities?"
Billy and Nick choose wisely. In January 2013, Fortune magazine declared Google the best place to work, for the third time since 2007. Google has maintained a longstanding reputation as a cool, fun and magical place to work. Its employees love the company's culture, mission statement and perks. 'For Billy and Nick, going to Google is like entering into the chocolate factory or traveling to Oz," Vaughn says.
The Internship lifts the curtain on Google's innovative wizardry, offering a rare glimpse into its dynamic, trailblazing and high-tech culture. 'When I visited Google, that's when the project got exciting," recalls Shawn Levy. 'It's a tech company but every day they commit themselves to trying to make the world a better place. There is a genuine altruism to its culture that is inspiring, and I wanted to depict that."
'Also, it's a unique workplace," Shawn Levy continues. 'There aren't offices. There are nap pods, massage rooms, and meetings whose participants are biking around town. It's so committedly unconventional that it is like the Emerald City. A big part of the movie was pulling back the curtain and giving audiences a V.I.P. pass to this unconventional work place."
Once bitten by this enticing climate, one cannot help but want to become a Googler. 'When we were shooting at Google, I think most of us were ready to quit our movie business jobs to go work there, and by the way, a movie business job is pretty awesome," notes Shawn Levy. 'But at Google, everything they do is based on the desire to foster creativity and collaboration, which are the values we should all be living our lives with."
Under Google's guidance, Shawn Levy and Vince Vaughn captured the essence of the company's unique entrepreneurial spirit. 'I thought interns, as a rule, get coffee or run errands," describes Vaughn. 'But at Google, interns were actually put to work right away."
From the beginning, Google embraced the production. 'I visited Google the first time with [co-star] Owen Wilson," recalls Vince Vaughn. 'Google liked the concept of the movie."
'We would send photographs of Google to [the film's principal location in] Georgia, where we replicated the building interiors," adds Shawn Levy. 'So, every single thing that's written on every single blackboard [in the film] is legitimate and approved by Google. They knew the movie is a summer comedy that's audacious, fun and occasionally irreverent. Google also wanted it to be aspirational and to have a good heart. And that's the only kind of movie I know how to make. So, we went in with a lot of mutual trust and it's been a great partnership."
During the project's early stages, Vince Vaughn approached his 'Wedding Crashers" co-star and friend, Owen Wilson, to play Nick – the yin to Billy's yang. Nick is a master of the art of gentle persuasion, whereas Billy is a maestro of rapid-fire, slick pitches. Together, they make an unbeatable team.
'The first person I went to was Owen Wilson," Vince Vaughn says. 'I thought it would be fun to collaborate again."
Owen Wilson's nuanced sense of humour coupled with his all-around likability made him the ideal choice to play Nick. 'Owen Wilson's very funny and makes me laugh, and he's a terrific actor," says Vince Vaughn. 'He's genuine and has a real vulnerability and honesty."
Wilson couldn't resist the opportunity to reunite with Vince Vaughn on another big comedic vehicle, and he appreciated the film's premise of two salesmen reinventing themselves at an internet and technology behemoth. 'We were always looking for something that would be fun to work on, and then Vince Vaughn had this idea for The Internship," says Owen Wilson.
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson drew from their personal experiences of being behind the technological times. 'This was not a difficult role to prepare for. I don't know that much about computers, only in the past few years, I discovered how to work the internet," says Owen Wilson. 'And Vince had to be one of the last people in the world to get a cell phone, so he might be even further behind than me. We're both trying to catch up with the digital world."
Confronted with that world's lightning-fast pace, Billy and Nick must somehow excel at Google. 'When Billy has the idea that we should go work at Google, Nick says, -How are we going to compete with these 20-year-old computer whizzes?'" says Owen Wilson. 'Billy replies, -There is more to it than that. Even at Google, you have got to be able to sell things and connect with people and that is our strong suit, and entrée into this world.'"
'There is a culture clash that happens," Vince Vaughn elaborates. 'You got salty salesmen who might have a high emotional IQ, and who have been through a lot, but are clueless when it comes to engineering and computer coding. Then you have a bunch of kids who've grown up in a digital age, but who have yet to develop their -old-school' social skills."
Billy, Nick and their intern teammates come to realise that their perceived differences are assets necessary to reach their goals. 'Ultimately, we complement each other," says Vince Vaughn. 'The kids are immersed in this technology, which has led them to these coveted internships but has also stunted them from connecting to people in a human way. And connecting that way is what Billy and Nick do best."
Instead of using their masterful salesmanship for personal gain, Billy and Nick use it as a way to unify the team, and more importantly, as a means to thrive at Google. 'What our characters bring is that ability, as salesmen, to connect with people," says Owen Wilson. 'And, do it in a genuine way."
As underdogs in the competition, the team faces an uphill climb, but nothing that a little guts, grit and Googliness can't handle. 'Googliness is a willingness to take chances, roll the dice, think outside the box, and be open to inspiration," says Wilson. 'It's a quality that everyone aspires to."
'Googliness is a real word used by Googlers to define an essential trait of working there and of the kind of people that work there," elaborates Shawn Levy. 'It means ethical goodness, innovative thinking, diligence and pluck."
For Billy, Nick and their fellow interns, what began as a collision between two different worlds, ends with unity and cooperation in pursuit of a dream come true, and in their transition from being Nooglers to Googlers, they discover their Googliness.
To bring this comical comeback story to life, Vince Vaughn knew from the start that Shawn Levy was the ideal choice to direct. 'Shawn Levy has a connection to hope, a human optimism that is an important element of the film," Vince Vaughn notes. 'He's really elevated the movie and has been a great partner."
Shawn Levy couldn't resist the opportunity to participate in the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson on-screen reunion. 'When I saw -Wedding Crashers,' I witnessed this banter and chemistry that came from two guys who are very different in their rhythms," recalls Shawn Levy. 'There's the laconic, cool of Owen Wilson and the machine gun patter of Vince Vaughn; the alchemy of when they come together is truly special."
Magic also happened in the casting of the other key roles. The filmmakers selected actors who would reflect the generational divide, embody the Google personae, and possess a comedic constitution that complements Vince Vaughn's and Owen Wilson's improvisational dexterity. 'The Internship is also about these two generations melding and the culture of Google. We wanted a supporting cast that adds strength to the duo at the center," says Vince Vaughn.
A name given to Google's interns combining the words 'new" and 'Google."
Up and coming young star Dylan O'Brien portrays Stuart, a Noogler who is too cool for school. 'Stuart is the cynical one," says Dylan O'Brien, who recently landed the central role in 20th Century Fox's thriller The Maze Runner. 'He doesn't want anything to do with the life around him."
As it turns out, Stuart is not impervious to the positive influences of Billy and Nick, and he, too, surrenders to their transformational vibe. 'At the beginning, he is very much only involved in his technology," says Dylan O'Brien. 'Bill and Nick teach Stuart to live amongst the world and everyone around him."
One Noogler with a keen disinterest in Billy and Nick (apart from his quest to humiliate them) is Graham. Everyone loves a juicy antagonist, and Graham is as opportunistic, if not downright mean, as they get. 'He is the kid in class who is the know-it-all," says Owen Wilson. 'Graham lords it over everybody, so Billy and Nick and their teammates really want to beat Graham. But it is hard because he always is beating us."
Graham fans the flames of dissension amongst the ranks towards Billy and Nick. 'Graham is the evil intern who is trying to sabotage their plans," says Max Minghella, who portrays Graham. 'He wants to win and he loves to win."
Shawn Levy required an actor with sinister gravitas that could fully capture Graham's loathsomeness. 'There's a high bar when it comes to casting the antagonist in a Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy," explains the director. 'Bradley Cooper did it in -The Wedding Crashers,' and I needed someone who would be equally vile, funny and memorable."
Holding her own against Graham, as well as her own teammates, Neha Patel, played by Tiya Sircar, is a closeted nice girl with a deceptive naughty streak. 'Neha Patel tends to say things that make people raise their eyebrows," explains Tiya Sircar. 'She has a very colourful imagination."
'Neha Patel gives people the impression that she is a sex freak," adds Tiya Sircar. 'She says some pretty crazy things, but it's all talk. Neha Patel is actually a good, studious girl."
Like her counterparts, Neha Patel, is displeased when the team is saddled with the technologically inept salesmen. 'The younger members of the team feel like they are working with two dead weights," she points out.
Another teammate of Nick and Billy's is Yo-Yo Santos, played by Tobit Raphael in his film debut. Yo-Yo is an anxiety-riddled perfectionist and a dutiful son. 'He has a very oppressive Asian mother who wants him to succeed and wants him to have that perfect job," says Tobit Raphael. 'And he takes out a lot of it on himself."
Through Yo-Yo's relationship with Billy and Nick, he conquers his inner demons to emerge as a confident young man. 'Billy and Nick get Yo-Yo to believe in himself," says Tobit Raphael. 'They really bring that fire out in him."
A moniker reserved for the seasoned, permanent employees at Google.
Rose Byrne plays Dana Sims, a career-focused, high-achieving Google executive. 'Dana is a professional woman who has sacrificed a lot of her life for work, as opposed to relationships or family," says Rose Byrne. 'Representing the voice of women, many of whom deal with the issues of balancing work and a personal life, was interesting to me."
When Nick, arrives on Google's campus, Dana becomes the object of his affections. Nick, the consummate charmer, is hard pressed to sweep Dana off of her feet. 'Nick is very forward and flirty with Dana but she's got his number," explains Rose Byrne. 'She does not want him to win the internship."
A Googler of a different stripe is Lyle Spaulding, the overworked, hipster team leader and champion of this band of longshots, comprised of Billy, Nick, and Nooglers Neha Stuart, and Yo-Yo. 'Lyle is a Google employee who is charged with the task of bringing that ragtag bunch together as a group of intern all-stars," says Josh Brener, who plays Lyle. 'He is working on a dozen projects at any given moment, because he cannot say no to anyone."
With Lyle's help, Billy and Nick expand their knowledge and skills. 'Nick, Billy and Lyle have something of a symbiotic relationship," explains Josh Brener. Billy and Nick reciprocate by encouraging Lyle to stay true to himself. 'They help Lyle come into his own and be confident and comfortable in his own skin, to not feel like he has to try so hard to fit in and be liked," explains Josh Brener. 'He learns he can stand up for himself and be his own man."
Behind Billy and Nick – and all Nooglers and Googlers – stands an all-knowing oracle called Headphones, played by Josh Gad. 'Headphones is like a mentor who prefers to remain silent, and hides behind his headphones, but when he does speak, there's a lot of value to his words," says Josh Gad. 'We find out he is the guy behind the curtain, so to speak."
The character of Headphones was inspired by Shawn Levy's real life encounter with some of Google's Engineering gods. 'When -The Eng', as they're called, move through Google, it's like Moses parting the Red Sea," says Levy. 'But they're in Birkenstocks, high black socks and headphones. They're coding away and just killing it on their keyboards."
About The Production
It required a certain amount of Googliness on the part of Levy and production designer Tom Meyer to reimagine a world where innovation intersects with fun and purpose. 'We scouted Google a number of times. It's quirky, idyllic, strange, and very specific," says Shawn Levy. 'But, it was clear to us that there's no way the production could shoot at Google for an entire month and a half, because they're an ongoing business. So we needed to find a way to replicate Google in Atlanta, which I initially thought would be impossible."
'Then Tom Meyer stumbled on Georgia Tech, which has an architecturally progressive, whimsical style," Shawn Levy continues. 'It gave us a beautiful shell, with an aesthetic that was similar enough to Google that our furniture and design elements from Google – including [signature Google accoutrements] like the slide, the SpaceShip One replica, and assorted and plentiful pillows and cushions, completed the transformation."
'I think the result is pretty seamless. You can't tell what we shot at Google and what we shot at Georgia Tech."
But infrastructure alone does not a Google campus make. 'When you go to Google, the most important thing that you take away from it is its non-traditional aspect and out of the box thinking," says Tom Meyer. 'Google reps said to me when I was trying to recreate it, -Do it, but keep the spirit of what Google is about.'"
'For each one of the sets we did a photo-real illustration, or a model, or both, then sent it off to Google, and had conversations back and forth," adds Tom Meyer. 'I tried to capture that feeling that you take away when you're an employee or visitor there. There's a huge sense of playfulness. And the idea of a healthy body and mind is central to Google."
Tom Meyer says it was imperative that the transformation of Georgia Tech to 'Google" yield an authentically immersive experience that reflected Google's mystique. 'What we tried to do is take the raw space of the building, which is a beautiful blank slate and then give it that Google ID – the colour, furniture and objects, like the two thousand pound SpaceShip One replica that hangs from the five story atrium ceiling, and a two hundred and seventy degree circle slide, two and a half stories tall," says Tom Meyer. 'Those are the things that give Google its unique and playful feel."
'This isn't Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn being interns at Corporate Office Number 5. This is Google; this is Oz," adds Tom Meyer. 'So, the film starts off in the first act at a normal, almost retro-office environment, which we call Kansas [as in the 'Wizard of Oz" setting], our black and white atmosphere. And then, when you go to Google, you hit those primary colors, the clean glass, white walls, and wacky, crazy objects, which provided a real sense of a pop and wonder.'"
Ultimately, The Internship's Googliness is that it's not just about life at Google. 'It's about every one of us who'd like to believe that another shot is possible, that another kind of chapter in the story of you is possible," says Shawn Levy. 'I don't know anyone who doesn't relate to that; whether you're 16, 22, or 40, we all want to believe that we can change our lives – that it's never too late. And so, the movie is really about possibility."
In other words, we must dare to search.
Billy and Nick remind us that the best is yet to come, and that old dogs are capable of learning new tricks. With guts, grit and Googliness, everyone has a chance. So, dream big, dream again, dream some more. Because the world loves second acts.
Release Date: June 13th, 2013