Tim Wagner (Paul Rudd) thought he just landed a prestigious promotion at the financial company he works for, however there’s one thing he has to do first before it’s official – invite someone to dinner so they can be made fun of.
In Paramount Pictures’ Dinner for Schmucks (View Full Photo Gallery), Steve Carell and Rudd co-star again together in the comedy that was inspired by the French film The Dinner Game. Once a month, Wagner’s boss Fender (Bruce Greenwood) hosts a dinner and everyone from the company must find a “schmuck” to bring. The executive who finds the biggest loser and invites them to the dinner is rewarded.
After Wagner finds out what he has to do to ensure success at his job, he is apprehensive about the situation, but goes along with it anyway. While driving thinking about what he’s going to do and how he’s going to tell his girlfriend who opposes the idea that he’s going to attend the dinner, he literally runs over the person who is about to change everything for him – Barry (Carell)
“I hit him with my car because he’s trying to save a mouse that’s dead already. It’s in the street but because he’s a taxidermist for mice and he kind of makes these dioramas. He’s an artist but with dead mice so as he starts talking about that and showing me some of his art work in the middle of the road, I think he qualifies,” Rudd told us.
ComingSoon.net visited Los Angeles set and we not only talked to the cast, but we watched one of the main scenes in the movie – the moment where the “schmucks” find out the real reason they were invited to the dinner.
Fender is the owner of the financial company who hosts the dinners at his mansion, which is modeled after Wayne Manor. Greenwood explains the concept of the dinners, “We tell them we’re having a ‘dinner for winners’ and they seem like an outstanding, unique person with incredible attributes that we’d like to share with the world. They think they are being feted and in a sense they are. We are just sort of laughing up their sleeves at them. But Paul’s reluctance to sign on to this mean-spirited thing is what kind of begins to undo the charade and it all goes bad.”
Caldwell (Ron Livingston) works closely with Fender and doesn’t feel guilty about inviting people to the dinners – in fact, he really enjoys it. When asked if his character felt bad about what he does he laughed and said “next question.”
Tim Wagner doesn’t understand why his bosses insist on having the dinners, but really wants to be successful in the company so he sells out and find his “schmuck.”
“I think the character that I’m playing isn’t necessarily a bad guy. I think he has a moral compass and at the same time wants to succeed in what he does. He wants to have a decent living, he loves his girlfriend, he wants to be able to provide for her. He’s like, well I don’t want to be with these guys, but I still want to work with them and so if I can go to this dinner and not be like this – I think it’s about having his cake and eating it too. I think my character is always looking for a way to get everything,” Rudd said.
Barry doesn’t have any friends and when he meets Tim, he assumes they’re great friends and wants to come to the party to hang out this person who he thinks is really cool until he finds out the truth.
“I think my character’s very trusting, and he invites me to a party. I don’t think my character necessarily reads him very well, or chooses not to read him. And he gets invited to a dinner party. It’s an enormous event for him. And he expresses an interest in my mice, which probably doesn’t happen all the time. I think that’s pretty natural, if you meet someone and they invite you somewhere or express interest in you, you feel like there’s an immediate connection and I just infuse myself into his life whether he wants me to or not. And I make it so bad or terrible,” Carell told us.
The Blind Swordsman (Chris O’Dowd) gets incredibly angry when he finds out he’s being made fun of and freaks out at the dinner.
“His honor has been compromised, and he has been referred to as an idiot and a fool, and so he is trying to seek revenge for his name being diminished, but it’s pretty indiscriminate, because obviously he can’t see anyone. And I have a goal, the scene we shot last night, I turn of the lights, or what I think I’m doing is turning off the lights, to make it a fair playing field, but I just turn off a single table light, and I think that I’m invisible. So during this whole scene, I think that they can’t see me,” O’Dowd explained.
Mueller (David Walliams) doesn’t think he’s been invited to the dinner to be made fun of, but he has. He ends up arguing with Fender about the situation and the Blind Swordsman accidentally cuts off his finger.
“It’s a quite difficult shot to do because you can see the sword and it’s not the right length – they’re gonna put it on in post and we’ve already done a shot of me looking at my finger flying off. It’s sometimes quite technical,” Walliams stated.
The “schmucks” are not happy because they figured out the real intentions of the event and a few of them get visibly upset. It’s chaos at the house. Mueller confronts Fender and he denies the accusations.
“This has become a fiscal,” Mueller said.
“No, this is fun,” Fender replied.
“You brought me here to make fun of me,” Mueller snapped back.
Meanwhile in the background, the Blind Swordsman is challenging the party to a duel because he’s so mad about learning why he was really there. During one of his flailing moments, he cuts off Mueller’s finger as he points at Fender. One of the other schmucks brought a vulture to the party and his pet swoops down and picks up the finger.
“Grab that bird,” Fender screams.
“I’m bleeding right now,” Mueller yelled back.
“I’ve got a great guy,” Fender said trying to comfort him. “It’s not that bad. You still have a knuckle. It will be a great story to tell your grandkids,” he continued.
“I don’t have any grandkids,” Mueller said adding pressure to his hand.
“Handicap parking is not such a bad thing.”
“Please get my finger back,” Mueller pleaded.
“You can ring his neck,” referring to the vulture.
“This is my wife’s favorite finger,” Mueller wined.
After we watched the scene a few times, we went outside and got to meet the vulture which was a little creepy. In the movie his name is Zulu, but his real name is Lorenzo. He mostly sits across from Carell in the film.
On the set, we got to interview Steve Carell and Paul Rudd together, as well as Bruce Greenwood and Ron Livingston paired. You can check out the interviews using the links below!