Going by what we saw on set, Adam McKay’s secret weapons for The Other Guys may very well be the duo of Damon Wayans Jr. and Rob Riggle, the former one of the younger members of the Wayans comedy family, the latter a veteran of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and briefly on “Saturday Night Live” who had one of the most memorable scenes in last year’s The Hangover.
It was clear that they took over the scene once they walked in, and the two of them would get more and more “friendly” towards each other as it went along to the point where Riggle was very close to making out with Wayans by the third or fourth take. Who knows how important their characters really are to the overall movie, but they certainly were the heroes of the day when we were on set.
Q: So when did the romance start between your characters?
Damon Wayans Jr.: This scene!
Rob Riggle: It started way before production. Actually, this scene is when it really comes to light.
Wayans: He really let me know how he felt.
Riggle: Well you can’t make fun of my partner.
Wayans: I know, but there’s like defense, and then after they left you were like…
Riggle: Motherly protection?
Wayans: Even mothers don’t go that far.
Riggle: You’re right. What mother would do that? Not mine.
Q: Adam spoke earlier about how he encourages improv and takes ideas from everybody. Is there a point where you hit the wall? When do you guys get burnt out? How do you keep it fresh?
Riggle: Honestly, I could do bits all day long.
Wayans: It’s all we do.
Riggle Honestly, you could beat me, torture me, just don’t bore me. That’s how we wind up doing bits all day long, just to entertain ourselves.
Wayans: Even when the camera’s off, we’re trying to make each other laugh all the time.
Riggle: So yeah, I guess we could do it all day. If I was on a road trip and I had been doing it for about 24 hours, I might say “Hey, let’s talk about Afghanistan” or something. “Let’s get real for a minute.” Everyone would last for exactly one minute and then someone would make a joke out of it and we’d be right back to what we were doing before.
Q: Do your characters appear a lot in the movie? Do they show up every time these guys mess up?
Wayans: Every time they mess up we show up, or we’re the cause of them messing up.
Riggle: We are the rival detectives in the precinct.
Wayans: We want to do anything to demean them. Anything to make it easier for us to succeed.
Riggle: Once the top cops disappear in the movie, then there’s a power vacuum. They’re trying to get it, and we’re trying to get it. So it’s a healthy competition.
Q: So they’re the bad cops, and you’re the ones who come along and are actually worse? Or are you all on the same level?
Riggle: Well, we’re all detectives, and Michael Keaton plays our captain in our precinct. Basically, you had Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson were the top cops, and as they disappear, there’s a void, so now it’s a competition. We think we should be the next top cops, and they think they should be the next top cops.
Q: Are you equally as incompetent?
Wayans: No, no, we’re totally…
Riggle: I think, yeah…
Wayans: We’re way more competent. We solve crimes. We solve cases.
Q: We didn’t get that impression from what we saw.
Riggle: I think this whole precinct could use a little more training.
Wayans: The entire precinct.
Q: Did we hear right? Did you say someone farted up your nose?
Riggle: Yeah, that wasn’t in the script. That’s why I was staggering out there, going I–uh–I-uh. It hit me like a slap in the face. I did, I walked into a fart cloud.
Q: Who was the perpetrator?
Riggle: I can’t say.
Wayans: That was…
Riggle: I refuse to say.
Wayans: Someone doing their own ad-libbing.
Riggle: We’ll blame it on an extra. That’s not fair, and it’s not right, but that’s what we’re going to do.
Q: Is Adam telling you anything between takes about getting back to the story? It seems like you’re getting bigger and bigger.
Riggle: Not always. He’s very good – sometimes, I mean, sometimes for sure. But for a large part of the time he’s like, “I loved it, do it again!”
Wayans: “Say whatever you want.”
Riggle: “Try this, try that.”
Wayans: That’s his thing.
Riggle: We would come in, and we might have an idea, we might want to try something.
Wayans: We’ll do two takes, and he’ll come in and go, “F around.” Alright!
Q: Obviously you’re shooting out of sequence, but the love affair between you guys, will that thread continue?
Riggle: No, I don’t think so. Because this is the last scene we’re shooting.
Wayans: We’re done after this.
Riggle: This is it. And this is early in the movie. Not early in the movie…
Wayans: No, this is kind of toward the end.
Riggle: Yeah, you’re right. So I don’t think so. It might have always been there, and it just got exposed. Like a huge iceberg, and we just see the tip of it and then it dips back into the water again. I think that’s what’s going on here.
Wayans: I agree. It’s kind of one-sided, though, because I had no idea.
Riggle: That’s the beauty of it. That’s the beauty of improv, we just see what we came up with.
Wayans: And you’re just caressing my face. And my mustache. Why’d you do that to my mustache?
Riggle: I’ve been dying to touch your mustache. (to the journalists) That was in character.
Wayans: Like you’re rubbing it, and then you did like two fingers…
Riggle: I was dragging your face. I was trying to make goofy faces. I was molding your face.
Wayans: Man, that was amazing.
Q: Do your characters get into any of the action scenes? Car chases or shootouts or anything?
Riggle:We definitely do a driving scene. (to Wayans) Remember, we did the driving thing? So we do some driving. We show up at some crime scenes after the fact. There’s a fight sequence. So there is some stunt, action stuff.
Wayans: Violence. There’s violence involved. I kinda like it.
Riggle: Yeah, there’s some moments.
Q: So it’s more than just taking a punch from Will Ferrell?
Wayans: Actually, yeah, and it’s well-deserved too. We’re not the nicest guys.
Riggle: How much of the movie can I talk about? Well, they were talking about the stunts and stuff, and Mark Wahlberg and I have a fight scene.
Wayans: Instigated by yours truly.
Q: Is it after the scene we’re watching?
Q: But your face stays out of it.
Wayans: My face stays out of it, yeah. No one touches my face.
Riggle: I just like, silly… When you’re on the police force or in the military, you call each other by rank or by your last name. No one ever uses you first name. So to sit there and gush on him and call him Rick, it’s just a whole new level of intimacy.
Wayans: It’s like “Whoa.”
Riggle: Yeah, just really inappropriate.
Wayans: Really. Even the cops in the background, you can kinda see them go, “What?”
Riggle: “Who’s Rick?”
Wayans: “I didn’t even know who Rick was.”
Q: How would you rate Will’s right hook? It looks a little soft.
Wayans: It’s soft, yeah. It is. But I kinda just gave him that. I guess inner guilt led me to like… It was for the camera. He hits like a bitch.
Q: Has the rest of the movie been like this where every scene has some improv? Or are there some really serious scenes, too?
Riggle: No, there’s moments that require different levels of gravitas, but they’re very few and far between. It’s a comedy. It’s an Adam McKay movie. There’s going to be a lot of improvising.
Wayans: A lot of funny.
Riggle: Yeah, a lot of funny, a lot of improvising.
Wayans: You know usually in action movies, it’s just like action with a little bit of comedy, or comedy with no action. He just put both of those worlds together in this movie, perfectly I think. Because it’s like nonstop, balls to the wall funny, plus crazy “Bourne Identity” action. [in macho voice] It’s sick!
Q: Did either of you guys know Adam beforehand?
Riggle: I’ve worked with Adam on three movies now. I had a small part in “Talladega.” He produced “The Goods” and then I was in “Step Brothers” with him. So this is the fourth time I’ve worked with him.
Wayans: My first, but it’s been fun. It’s like one of the best experiences I’ve had, really funny people.
Q: How do he and Will compare to the style of your massive family of comedians?
Wayans: I don’t know how to compare. I don’t know. It’s just a totally different way of doing stuff. Improv-ing, I’m used to going, “Say what’s on the script.” Then I got here and it was like, “Oh, this is what I do with my friends all the time.”
Riggle: He’s a natural improviser.
Wayans: We shoot movies. They make million-dollar pictures by just riffing. It’s great.
Q: You look at something like “Dance Flick” and you see looseness in it, so you’d think there’d be improvisation.
Wayans: I got to improv. At the end of the day, they pick what they want to pick. A lot of it was still the script.
Riggle: That’s the thing, this movie is going to have so many people in it, so many great actors and great comedians, and it’s going to have so much funny in it that I don’t know how they’re going to cut it down. I think it needs an intermission.
Wayans: It does.
Riggle: I think it needs to be a three-hour movie with an intermission.
Wayans: I agree.
Q: With five minutes of really serious Holocaust material to bring the mood down…
Riggle: Wow. That would be heavy.
Wayans: That would be so crazy.
Riggle: A lot of walk-out traffic.
Wayans: I would laugh. Do something so serious. What is going on?
Riggle: Don’t you remember like an infomercial about starving children somewhere?
Wayans: Instead of the infomercial with the healthy white guy telling everyone everything, it’s just the African, the sick one going “Please. I’m hungry as sh*t.” That would work so much better.
Riggle: It would.
Wayans: If the actual African talked.
Riggle: You couldn’t run it on television, because everyone would be like, “Oh God.”
Wayans: “It just talked to me.”
Riggle: “Quick, back to the game. I almost felt guilty for a minute.”
Q: Do you guys have any favorite buddy cop movies or comedies? There are so many.
Wayans: I like “Bad Boys 2.” I like that one scene where it was like the revolving shot that was awesome. I was a big fan of “Dragnet.” I used to watch Nick at Nite and be like, “Wow” at how Friday never moved his arms. It was crazy. I would always look to see. He never moved them when he walked.
Riggle: I don’t know. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” I like that relationship. Classic cop partners. I’m more on the TV genre. Starsky and Hutch. John and Ponch. The classics.
Q: What’s the most trying thing you’ve had to do on this film? What’s the one thing that hasn’t been fun?
Riggle: It would probably be stroking his face.
Wayans: Yeah, that didn’t really bother me too much.
Riggle: My toughest day was wrestling and fighting Mark Wahlberg all day. He’s a very strong man.
Wayans: He likes to show it. He likes to show that he’s strong.
Riggle: He beat the tar out of me all day. But actually it was a lot of fun, so I can’t complain too much. There hasn’t been a bad day. For me, personally, I’ve had a great time.
Wayans: Yeah, there hasn’t been a bad day for me either.
Riggle: It’s all been pretty good. Boring… if you guys want some dish, there’s no dish. We laugh and we love each other and it’s the best time ever!
Q: Did you have to do any training or anything, studying cops?
Wayans: I went out on Mulholland and shot my gun a couple of times, that was pretty cool.
Riggle: I had some friends on the NYPD, and I thought about doing a police ridealong. I talked a big game, and then it never happened.
Wayans: I thought about it too.
Riggle: I could still do it, but I don’t know what good it would do now.
Q: Do it for the DVD. When you’re doing improv, do you think about it time-wise, which jokes you can do that wouldn’t be too long-winded?
Riggle: You don’t want to think about it too much, because the beauty of improvising, the best real reactions and the best real emotions are when it’s just happening. If someone says something to you and you can come back, what that character would say, that’s usually what it is. You try not to pre-think it too much, you end up trying to write the other person’s lines as well as your own, and they never say what you want them to say, so it gets lost. And then it’s not really improvising, it’s writing. Yeah, improvising is all about being in the moment and listening and reacting in the appropriate, or inappropriate way.
Wayans: Sometimes with improv, you’ll come up with crap sometimes, and sometimes it’ll just be home runs. That’s when it’s fun.
Riggle: That’s why Adam’s so good, because he’s an improviser himself. He studied at Second City, Improv Olympics Chicago, and you know Will was Groundlings. They’re very comfortable with improv in the sense that they understand that, hey, you’re going to try things sometimes that don’t work. And they’re comfortable with that. They don’t get bummed out if you try something that doesn’t work. They’re like, “Okay, no problem, let’s try something else.” And it takes all the stress away from it, and it’s really nice. Because some people get really freaked out if something doesn’t work right away, and you try something that didn’t work, they might panic. But he doesn’t panic at all.
Q: Have you heard some of the stuff that Michael Keaton’s throwing out there? He’s got some amazing stuff.
Riggle: He was an incredibly talented stand-up comedian back in the day. He’s an incredibly talented improviser, and we all know his acting credits and skills. We actually laugh more with him off-camera than we do on, just standing in the hallway doing bits.
Wayans: He purposefully tripped over your foot. That was retarded.
Riggle: Yeah, just walking into the scene, he purposefully kicked my foot and did a big trip. He wouldn’t let Buck cue him, he made Damon cue him. Just screw-around bits like that. Which, of course, when you retell them aren’t that funny. But at the time…