Together for a press conference in LA in support of the 20th Century Fox film, Carell, Fey, and director Levy explained what drew them to the project.
Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Director Shawn Levy Date Night Press ConferenceFor Steve and Tina, we know NBC is having a little bit of trouble these days. Do they get any bulk rate for loaning you out to 20th Century Fox?
Tina Fey: "I first will say thank God NBC is having trouble or my show would not be on the air."
Steve Carell: "Neither of our shows would be on the air if NBC wasn’t in trouble."
Tina Fey: I think we are certainly happy that Fox wants to advertise the movie on NBC. That’s good for them."
Steve Carell: "Yeah. They are making something off the ad campaign."
Can you talk about the ad-libbing?
Steve Carell: "It was 65 ad-libs, and you can probably pick them out. We would always do the script as written because it was very strong and the script didn’t need to be changed in order to… But then once we had it, and Shawn can speak to this, once we had it to our satisfaction, then we would open it up and play around. So, it’s hard to determine what necessarily was ad-libbed and what wasn’t."
Shawn Levy: "I will just give you a little more. Part of why we didn’t improvise from scratch every day is that we spent close to a year with the script. Steve and Tina would give their input and I would go back and we would work the script more. So by the time we shot, we had a script that we had all lived with for close to a year. Then, yes, once we did some takes, but I would bet that if this room called out their favorite 10 jokes, I wager at least five of them were something that somebody came up with on the shooting day."
Steve and Tina, since you're both married, do you actually do date nights and have you ever had weird experiences on those nights?
Tina Fey: "We definitely try. We don't have it as formally. I mean, maybe once a month my husband and I get out and it is a massive effort to get a baby-sitter. And if we get more than 10 blocks from our house, it’s a miracle and I am exhausted. So, I definitely related to the idea of like, 'Okay, oh good, it's our date night.’ That made sense to me. But Steve’s had tons of weird stuff happen."
Steve Carell: "Lots. We are always happy when we get invited to an award show, because that is it. That’s our excuse to get dressed up and go out somewhere, and even on those nights, we are generally back by about 10. And, as most people with kids know, you pay for it. If you really go out late and whoop it up, the kids are up at 5:30 the next day, so are you. So, that kind of determines how crazy our date nights get. Generally our best date nights are very, very simple. And we spend a good deal of them talking about our children anyway. So there is no escape."
Were you looking for something to do together? How did this come about?
Steve Carell: "Well, we were both offered or our interest was weighed initially, and we spoke on the phone and kind of sussed each other out in terms of what we each of us was thinking. And Tina said the funniest thing. She said, 'Wouldn’t it be fun to just be hanging off a car bobbing through New York City?’ And I am like, ‘Yeah. I am in. That sounds great.’"
Tina Fey: "And, for me, I really wanted to do something with Steve. The idea that it was a married couple, who are grown people, appealed to me because I felt like yeah, cause that’s what we are in real life and at a certain point, you can't be making a movie about your GD wedding. It gets to a point where you're getting up there and I just felt like this is a movie, that if my husband and I got out, we would actually want to go see this movie…this topic."
This movie feels like one of those films from the 1980s where it seems like no matter what you did for a living, drug dealers and crooked cops would end up coming after you. What influenced you making this movie?
Shawn Levy: "Well, when I was developing the movie and even making the movie I wasn’t thinking really about the influences. When I watched the movie, they occurred to me. All I wanted to do was to make a funny movie that could also be honest about some aspects of grown-up life. And to make a movie that was, hopefully, super funny but more than just funny and kind of more relatable than your standard comedy. But when I watch it. certainly, when people invoke the 48 Hours and the Beverly Hills Cop and the Midnight Run kind of character-based action comedies, where yes, there is a weird preponderance of dirty cops and drug dealers, then yes, I will say that maybe there's a borrowed page from that book."