Never stop never stopping in the new Popstar trailer and poster
In 2015, ComingSoon.net got a chance to visit the set of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, written by The Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone and directed by Schaffer and Taccone. The film is a mockumentary about singer/rapper Conner4Real (Samberg) who is dealing with what happens when your sophomore album doesn’t do so well. Universal Pictures has released a new Popstar trailer, poster and photos, which you can view in the player above and in the gallery below.
On the set, we observed a huge concert scene being filmed and chatted with the cast and crew. Taccone explained the relationship between the former band members. “The three of us, we’re in a band previously called Style Boyz, that we sort of built together. We’ve had a falling out, so Akiva’s character goes off to become a farmer and I stick with it, because I kind of become a little bit of the glue of the friendship, trying to keep everything together, or wanting to.”
Though he worked hard to keep from spoiling plot points, he explained this about the film; “It’s a tour documentary, so it’s not like there’s huge portions of it that like, I wouldn’t say a big percentage, like tone wise, necessarily, but we are doing a lot of songs, in the same way that like the Katy Perry thing… performance .. we’re getting a lot of songs. I’m guessing we made 11-12 of Conor’s songs, and maybe about five of Hunter the Hungry, who is this character, becomes a bit of his sort of competitive rival on tour, but they’re touring together. So, there’s a lot, and then there’s, there will be a ton of little things that we do throughout, like in the editing rooms, we’re always trying to sort of, as much stuff as we can, through the process of writing and then through the process of actually making the movie and we’re always adding ideas, like the three of us are always kind of piggy-backing on each other’s ideas and adding things as we go.” He said that Judd Apatow, who produced the movie, was incredibly helpful with the production. He was reportedly hands on at times and hands off at others, but he was definitely a presence, according to Taccone.
Schaffer said he used the Katy Perry and One Direction documentaries as inspiration, but said this film is, “…more driven by character and plot because the premise is that this was his band with me and Jorma that predates the movie. Then he becomes the Beyonce to the Destiny’s Child of the movie. Then he had this huge hit where he really made the leap like Timberlake did, and then this is his second record. He’s kind of overreached a little bit and he’s using way too many producers. Every song kind of sounds like it’s from – which is also driven by comedy because we wanted to build a touch on like, tracks of world music but also have hardcore hip hop, so the idea is that he’s kind of overreached a little bit.”
Schaffer’s character has left the music business, and has an interesting run in with some wolves. You read that correctly. He said, “He’s a farmer…he wants to be close to his girlfriend so he decides to propose. He’s had some public embarrassments. He’s also questioned his sexuality a little and he wanted to prove that, basically he does a big Kanye/Kim style wedding proposal. A televised wedding proposal. Her spirit animal is a wolf so he takes her to a field with wolves and a band and he has a musician that I won’t name playing a beautiful song for her and the press is there, but then the wolves don’t like the music. The music drives them mad, essentially.”
The scene we saw being filmed was one of Connor4Real’s shows, where his opening act, a rapper named Hunter (Chris Redd) is killing it and getting more attention than Connor himself. When the fans won’t let Hunter off the stage, Connor tries to play over it, forming a cacophonous battle of the bands, with backup dancers in the wrong costumes and fans screaming over the music.
Here’s how Schaffer describes it; “That’s [the concert] gonna be a train wreck. By design, but it’s not going to be like, super awesome to look at or anything. And it’s kind of like what you’re hearing now. It’s basically two songs colliding, because, story-wise, basically he, Andy’s character, puts a new opening act on the tour…and the opening act, as the movie kind of progresses, starts getting more popular than him at his own show. As that guy is getting more popular, he’s going a little longer every night, too, he notices. So, earlier today we shot the scene with him on the sidelines, with Sarah Silverman and Tim [Meadows] kind of ranting because he’s watching and he’s like a half hour over. Watching him just not get off the stage and continue his set and he goes–ultimately where this scene picks up his where he goes–his name’s Hunter, who’s on stage – “Yeah, Imma be up here all f****** night!” Andy goes, “F*** that, I’ll start my show.” So his show starts on top of his show.
Redd, who plays Hunter and is a performer himself, talked about working with Samberg. He said, “It’s been effortless, man. He’s so cool and so funny to watch. Just from the first day, I walked in and I was super nervous. I hadn’t worked with stars this big before in that capacity. So I walked into the rehearsals and we started talking about basketball for 15 minutes. It was real chill, like, cool – this is like a homie. He was in the SNL background, I studied a lot with Second City so our working styles were similar and it was easy to jump right into it. We vibed off each other and I learned a lot from this dude. Just how many times he has to go up there, he performs three times as much as I do. Just to see him keep going up there and be beaten up, going up and turning up – I definitely have to have energy, because I’ve been sitting here all day doing nothing! So it’s been great. It’s been so fun.” He said his character is both friends with and a rival to Connor. “I’m a big prankster, that’s my thing, and I love to prank in the movie so I’m doing a lot of pranks,” he said. “It’s a lot of me and Andy being buddy-buddy while we’re on tour and on the bus and hanging out, hitting on his publicist [Sarah Silverman] all the time. I’m just this wild dude that can’t be contained. There will be a lot of cutting to that… I don’t know how much they’re going to use. We’ll all see.” He joked about working with Silverman, saying, “I was super nervous going into it – Oh, she could roast the f*ck out of me! She was super cool about it. Just sat there and looked at me with the deadest face while I was saying the rudest sh*t, it was fun. I get to hit on Sarah Silverman for like an hour and a half, this is great! She’s so funny. Everything she says is constant comedy.”
SLN alum Tim Meadows plays Harry, the manager for Connor’s old band The Style Boyz and for Connor himself. He explained that Connor is having a bit of a breakdown now that the band is apart and he’s working on his solo career. He said, “A lot of things sort of come at him at once. So when he (Harry) should be in a position to help Conner the most, he’s not there…I don’t want to give away too much of the story…And even though I’m saying this stuff it’s very funny! You know, you’re talking about the emotion of the story and the emotional changes that the characters are going through. And what the character is and everything. And that’s sort of it.”
He talked about working with The Lonely Island guys. “These guys work really hard. This is one of the few movies – I don’t know if people mention this, but we sometimes shoot three different scenes. Like we were at this athletic club, the Hollywood Athletic Club, and some people were shooting scenes in the basement, some people were shooting scenes of the first floor, and some people were shooting scenes outside. These guys work really hard, and they’re really quick. I think that’s what really impressed me. It’s like ‘Oh yeah! They’re younger than me!’ They got a lot of energy. They don’t wanna stop. And I’m like ‘Yeah, I’m ready to go home after.’ I’m going to be like Sean Connery in ten years. ‘I want to get there by nine, I leave at five. Get my sh*t done then.’”