In 1999, Office Space opened in theatres and writer/director Mike Judge (pictured left) had no idea at that time what a huge hit his movie would become. Studios and others told him it was a disappointment and that his comedy wasn’t understood by audiences. He had written another screenplay he wanted to work on next titled Extract, a story about how a factory owner has a great life until a series of things start to go awry and he doesn’t know how to handle the negative turn of events that have happened. However, Judge was convinced his humor didn’t catch on and he was persuaded to work on a big budget film instead, so he shelved the idea of his latest project.
“‘Office Space’ didn’t do well theatrically and the wisdom of Hollywood and my representatives at the time were like, ‘Okay Mike’s got some talent, but he just needs to do a commercial movie so the only one anyone ever got excited about was ‘Idiocracy,’ which is kind of ironic because at the test screening for ‘Idiocracy’ they’re all saying, ‘Yeah it was pretty funny, but we were all expecting something like ‘Office Space,'” Judge told us candidly.
But a few years later, he came back to his script for Extract and asked producing partner John Altschuler to check it out.
“[Judge] was wrapping up ‘Idiocracy,’ which was not a pleasant experience and he says, ‘Can you read something that I wrote?’ ‘Ok, when did you have time to write anything?’ He said, ‘I wrote it seven years ago.’ When I started to read it, I was like this is classic Mike Judge. This is stuff he should be doing that nobody else does,” Altschuler told us. “What we’ve found is that we’re not getting any studios involved in this and we raised the money independently so that we could make a Mike Judge movie the way that a Mike Judge movie should be made. It’s been great. “‘Office Space’ is such a great story. Everyone thought it was such a failure, but it just kept going and going and now it’s a cultural phenomenon.”
The movie has been shooting in Commerce, California and ComingSoon.net visited the set and talked to stars Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons and Mila Kunis.
“‘Office Space’ is all about nothing getting made. Then he thought it’d be really interesting to do a movie about things concretely being made. He had this vision of a factory Mike Judge is all about how weird the real world is,” Altschuler added.
And weird and crazy things definitely go on in the lives of the characters in this movie. The film is set in the Midwest and centers on Joel (Bateman), who lives a seemingly perfect life. He has a great wife (Kristen Wig) and he runs a successful food coloring extract company that he built from the ground up. However, his luck starts to change and his life soon falls apart.
“It’s a story about a guy who is the classic sort of protagonist and then he tries to be proactive with something and of course that blows up in his face. It’s a victim sort of comedy as opposed to the protagonist who’s initiating a lot of the comedy. A lot of the comedy sort of happens to the character. It’s a lot like ‘Arrested Development,'” Bateman told us.
One of the first things that goes wrong is that there’s an accident in the factory and one of the workers, played by Clifton Collins Jr., has his testicle cut off as a result. Of course we had to ask how that happened.
“They’re very vulnerable,” J.K. Simmons joked.
“They’re just sort of hanging there,” Bateman said.
“You do have to wear hairnets, but no metallic cups,” Simmons added.
The worker only wanted his medical bills to be paid, but when Cindy, a beautiful young seductress (Kunis) reads about the incident in the paper, that all changes. She’s out for the potential amount of money he can get from what happened, so she gets a job at the company and manipulates her way into his life. He, of course, immediately falls for her and she convinces him to hire a lawyer to sue the factory. The owner was trying to sell his business, but now it looks like nobody wants to buy the factory because of what’s happening.
“I got the idea about the character for Cindy when I was in a music store once and a beautiful girl comes in. I couldn’t get anyone’s attention, but the whole place was kind of falling apart and the same thing happened in a camera store once. They kind of live by a different set if rules. I had that idea about that type of girl who is kind of a sociopath, but really good looking,” Judge laughed.
While on set, Kunis wore a tight low cut plaid top and tight jeans which she joked about when we spoke to her.
“My boobs have been popping out. This bra is incredibly uncomfortable. I’m not used to it. I’m pretty natural and don’t really need to wear bras in real life. People’s eyes seem to go down a lot more often now.”
She wears the revealing outfits to attract the factory worker she’s after to con, but he doesn’t get very far with her.
“It’s a very easy seduction. It only takes one scene. She doesn’t even kiss him. It’s really sad,” she laughs.
To make things even worse for Joel, he also begins to fall for Cindy, but he doesn’t want to cheat on his wife. So while wasted one night, his best friend (Ben Affleck), knowing the situation, asks if he’d cheat on his wife if he knew she cheated on him first. Bateman’s character drunkenly admits he would so his friend suggests hiring a gigolo to entice his wife and see if she falls for it. The next morning he realizes what he’s done and wants to call it off, but it’s too late. He gets a call letting him know the job was successful and his wife went for it. She not only slept with him once, but she hooked up with the gigolo 15 times. His wife apparently feels bad she had an affair, but she doesn’t know her husband actually knows she wasn’t faithful let alone hired someone to have sex with her.
It’s unclear whether or not Bateman and Kunis end up together in the movie, but we’re rooting for it and hope something good happens to this poor guy.
In between our interviews with Judge and the cast, we watched a scene being shot which took place at the Chameleon Beverage factory where water bottles are produced, but in the movie it’s Reynold’s Extract and vanilla extract is the product being manufactured. The factory is a real working factory with real employees, which the cast and crew really liked because it adds an authentic ambience.
Judged laughed and told us, “This is the most boring scene in the movie. It’s just exposition,” and Bateman also joked about the scene. “Today’s not great. I’m also holding a lot of water today. We have some funnier stuff, but we can’t show you that because then you wouldn’t be able to leave.”
Bateman is in his office and his business partner, played by Simmons, walks in.
“Do you think it would be possible to replace her with a robot?” Bateman asks referring to an annoying chatty factory employee.
“Sure, yeah but we may not need to. You’re not going to believe this. Remember that guy from General Mills, Michael J. Netherten, who called a while back talking like he might want to buy us out?” Simmons excitedly says.
“Yep, I thought you said he wasn’t serious and that he was just sniffing around,” Bateman replied.
“Well, he’s serious now. He just made us an offer. I mean a real offer,” Simmons said.
“Are you kidding me?” Bateman asked.
“Must be some sort of a strategic move because this is over market value I think,” Simmons stated.
Bateman then gets up from his desk, opens the blinds to look down on the factory workers and says, “Wow Brian, I can unload this stuff and retire maybe.”
“I mean you know there’s a lot of details to work out, but yeah this could be great! So he says he’ll call back next week. What should I tell him?”
“You tell him hell yes!,” Bateman said
“Simmons then looks out over the factory employees as he’s leaving the office and says, “Adios dinkas.”
As of now there isn’t a release date, but Bateman said it’s not a summer film, “because they’re aren’t enough shorts [in the movie],” so he’s hoping for a spring release.