CS Interview: Paul Scheer on unique role in superhero twist Archenemy
In time for the film’s digital and select theatrical release, ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with The League alum Paul Scheer to discuss his against-type role in Adam Egypt Mortimer’s latest project, the gritty superhero thriller Archenemy led by Joe Manganiello (Justice League). You can check out the interview below and click here to digitally order Archenemy!
ComingSoon.net: What really drew you to the project in the first place?
Paul Scheer: I was a big fan of Adam, the director Adam Egypt Mortimer, I was at South by Southwest last year and went to the midnight screening of Daniel Isn’t Real, or I think it was two years ago, and I was just completely blown away. It was so cool, it was weird and yet fun and it reminded me of Fight Club meets Drop Dead Fred that I was just like, “I love this guy.” I think, to me, I get really excited by independent filmmakers who take chances and do things that feel a little bit out of the box. But he reached out to me and said, “Hey, I have something in my new movie, would you want to do it,” I was like, “100 percent,” I didn’t even have to know what it was because I like being in the background of just wanting to support people who I think are talented, because that’s what I’ve come up with, people have done that with me, so I was like, “Yes, let’s go, let’s do it.” Then when I read it, I was like, “Oh man, this is a lot of fun,” and to his credit, it’s not something I get asked to do a lot, so it was fun to do.
CS: I was going to say, we’ve seen you play rambunctious characters before, but what was it like getting into headspace of Krieg?
PS: It was really fun, the last couple of years I’ve tried to make a concerted effort of just always trying to change up the stuff that I do. After doing seven years of The League and playing a certain character for a while, you always want to make sure you’re doing something different, it’s the reason why I created NTSF in the middle of The League just so I can get that taste out of your mouth and try different stuff. For me, when I saw this, obviously it’s a smaller part, so you really make a big, bold choice and we really got to talk about it on so many levels because when you come in for a one-day shoot, you gotta get the tone, you gotta make all of these choices, there’s no real learning curve, you just have to kind of jump in. So that was a lot of fun and this character to me reminds me a bit of what Gary Oldman did in True Romance. I love that kind of stuff, I had gotten in shape for Black Monday season two because that character has moved to Miami and is sort of a low-rent drug dealer, I just looked better becauseI kind of had to because I was in short shorts and no shirt. This kind of came on the tail of that and he was like, “We’re going to shoot before Christmas” and Black Monday had just ended, so I was like, “Great, I can go into Christmastime and eat what I want and drink what I want and do whatever I want.” Then he reached out to me and was like, “Actually, we’re going to push it to the New Year,” I was like, “Oh no, I’ve got to keep doing this stuff” [laughs] and it felt like I had to run a marathon for Black Monday and had to continue doing it for a month and a half to stay a little bit more in shape to stay comfortable in those red speedo shorts.
CS: Yeah that look is really quite the sight, did that come from you or was that Adam?
PS: That was Adam, when I read the script my one bit of hesitation was simply that, I was like oh boy. What I realized, too, is sometimes the uncomfortable things that you would first say no to or first bristle at are the things that are performance. I didn’t want, necessarily, to do what I had to do with Black Monday with the short shorts and shirtless, you’re revealing a lot, but then because you’re revealing a lot I think it opens you up in certain ways. When you work with people as collaborative as Adam and that entire cast and crew, it made me feel really at home, just there I am. Everything is there for you to see and obviously the one thing you never get is how cold it is on these sets, they’re always freezing, so to be in nothing makes it even worse.
CS: Would you say just being in that costume was the biggest challenge for this role?
PS: For me, I think what was challenging was trying to find this level of what this character was. You have to believe that on some level that he’s dangerous, but he’s not dangerous because he’s a silent killer. Basically, I had to do this five-minute monologue, you know, and be all over the place, so I think to me it was sustaining this kind of connection and playing those different levels. I think getting into the character, physically, is always super helpful, to see, like, we decided on the tattoo togethers, the outfit, if I’m wearing these cowboy boots and the red speedo, it’s giving me a level of information. Then it’s like, “Okay, if that’s true, what else is true?” What the set designers did that was so amazing was that they gave me a set which was basically like, “Touch everything and use anything.” Adam is so collaborative that we did everything he wrote and then we got to add so many flourishes in because the set design was so real.
CS: What was it like seeing the film in its Beyond Fest world premiere at the Mission Tiki and the early positive reception that came from it?
PS: It was awesome, first of all, that was my first drive-in movie premiere, which was amazing, you didn’t have to get dressed up, or at least I didn’t get dressed up [chuckles]. It reminds me of a drive-in movie, this movie is so different and weird and in a time where we’re so used to the DCEU and the MCU, they’re very glossy, big movies, what I love about this is the way that Adam had this very big idea and was able to tell it on a budget level that you can’t tell a story like that on this budget. He went and got very creative, I remember when I was reading the script, like, “How the hell are you going to do this opening, are you shooting on green screen” like I didn’t know. I was like, “If you’re going to do this on green screen, it’s going to look weird,” but the way they used the animation and mixed and matched, I think it really made their characters pop. He did a lot of work with the way the film looks and everything, so it was really fun to see that reception and it felt like the perfect place for it to premiere.
Written and directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Daniel Isn’t Real) from a story by Mortimer and Lucas Passmore (No Good Heroes), the film stars Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Skylan Brooks (Empire), Zolee Griggs (W-Tang: An American Saga), Paul Scheer (Black Monday), Amy Seimetz (Pet Semetary) and Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
In Archenemy, Max Fist (Manganiello) claims to be a hero from another dimension who fell through time and space to Earth, where he has no powers. No one believes his stories except for a local teen named Hamster. Together, they take to the streets to wipe out the local drug syndicate and its vicious crime boss known as The Manager.
Archenemy was produced by SpectreVision’s Daniel Noah, Lisa Whalen, and Elijah Wood along with Kim Sherman, Mortimer, Joe, and Nick Manganiello.
Archenemy is out now in theaters, On Demand, and Digital.