Christopher Guest brings back together his usual cast of players for the award-show skewering comedy, For Your Consideration. Written by Guest and Eugene Levy, For Your Consideration follows the cast of an atrociously sappy indie film called Home for Purim as they react to Internet rumors and entertainment show speculation that members of their happy little troupe may be up for Academy Awards for their performances.
Guest co-wrote and directed For Your Consideration and plays the role of Home for Purim's director. Eugene Levy tackles the role of a Hollywood agent whose client is caught up in the Oscar buzz.
Matching Actors with Characters: When we have the concept of the story then we write the parts for the actors, explained Guest. They're not generic parts. They're very much written for Fred [Willard], Jane [Lynch], and Catherine [OHara] is the central figure in this movie. We always ([knew] that Catherine was going to be from the beginning.
How the Collaborative Process Works: Guest said, I generally come with the idea for the film. I call Eugene and we collaborate on this. The cast, they're not writing the movie - other than speaking the dialogue. They're not inventing their characters. They have their characters laid out. They are speaking their own [ideas] obviously in scenes. But if someone were to come to me having given this outline and say, Can I be?..., the answer would be, No.
They have a tremendous amount of freedom in the way they look, their dialect. Jennifer Coolidge, when we were making A Mighty Wind came to me literally 10 minutes before shooting her scene, said to me, Which voice is funnier? This or this? And I said, The first one is funnier. Ten minutes later we were shooting. It was such a bizarre, funny voice that Larry Miller couldn't even do the take. He had to leave the room. Every time she did that voice that sounds like some country that you don't know where. It's probably not on Earth. They (the actors) have a huge amount of freedom.
The Satisfaction of Writing Versus Performing: Levy said, Personally, I don't mind performing. I did a lot of writing when I was younger, working on a TV show. It was fun. I enjoy writing with Chris on these movies. It's about the only writing I do anymore. The idea of sitting down I lose patience too quickly. But it's fun. We have fun. We have laughs while we're doing it. It's a great kind of process. It's different. When you're on the set, it's a different kind of response.
The Editing Process and Snipping Funny Scenes: Guest says that its not as painful a process as youd imagine it would be. It isn't, because you have to be ruthless right from the beginning and say, This is the story we are serving. There always is going to be funny things which right away you know you can't get to them, it takes too long. Those scenes are generally on the DVD. If you lingered on that, you'd kill yourself. There are funny moments in a scene that just doesn't work and so you learn to [cut them].
Working with Fred Willard: I was in a play with Fred in 1969 in New York City, said Guest. I had never been in a play. That's not true. I was in college. One of the actors was leaving and it was the first audition I had done and Fred was in it. So I met Fred and Paul Bennett doing that play. Fred was then in Spinal Tap. Fred came from Second City as a legendary, bizarre person. He also is from a different place.
Asked if Willards a force of nature, Guest responded, That's Fred. You need to build it around Fred or your not going to get a take. Fred has his Fred energy, which is not like anyone else's in the world. It's insane. He was so charismatic to watch and so funny, and he looked like a salesman. He was so straight-looking. His comedy was coming out as if he was the funniest straight man I've ever seen, but he wasn't a straight man. That's kind of what he's been doing all these years I've worked with him. And with scripted situations too, which is not exactly the same thing because he doesn't get a chance to show you the gift that he's got. These vehicles allow him to do that. You've just got to clear a path for him. And it's fun watching those people, ducking and weaving.
Will We Ever See Jamie Lee Curtis in One of Guests Films? Dont look for that to happen anytime soon. When I married Jamie 22 years ago, we kind of agreed, we said, Let's have our private lives and personal lives separate from our work. I think it has worked well. We have a separate life from our work. One of the reasons is that she doesn't improvise. I like that we have our regular lives.
How About a Sequel to Spinal Tap? I don't know. We were offered this gig this year. It's a huge thing to gear up to do these two-hour shows. It takes a lot of energy. Michael McKean is doing a play in London. Harry [Shearer] is selling his book around the country. It's really hard to get together. I wouldn't say no for sure. I think we're going to go out next year and play some music, but not as those people - as us.