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Ed Helms interview, part 2

A lot can happen in two minutes. Especially if you talk really fast. Plenty of time to slip in a gratuitous question about misogyny.

PK: Alright. So you went back in forth actually from "The Office" to...

EH: Yeah. Five days a week in Vegas and two days a week in "The Office." I worked like 45 days in a row.

PK: Since we only have two minutes, I'll give you three topics, Mike Tyson; tiger; and getting tasered in the nuts.

EH: I didn't get tasered in the nuts.

PK: I know, but the Bradley Cooper character did. By a school girl. Tasered in the nuts by a school girl. I mean, that seems wrong.

EH: OK. Well, so, Mike Tyson was amazing because no one quite knew what to expect, and then he showed up and he was like the funniest guy in the movie.

PK: Did you see "Black and White,"  the one he did with Downey?

EH: Uh, no.

PK: The Toback movie.

EH: I remember hearing about that, that he actually punched Downey in that. Have not seen that, but he was pretty amazing. A lot of times when non-actors show up on a movie set they're really self-conscious and they hold back, but as you can see in that Phil Collins moment he just dove in and sold it 100 percent. It turns out he was a huge fan of "Old School."  So as soon as he said that, it was clear he trusted Todd Phillips, and he, you know, I think he liked Zach, Bradley and I, because we're pretty easy-going guys, so. It was just a fun, crazy couple of days with him.

PK: Did he show you some punches?

EH: What's that?

PK: Did he show you some punches?

EH: No, but the best part is when he's doing the punch on Zach, Todd kept coming in and being like, "he needs to be more like this. Your fist needs to be up" or whatever, and Mike was just like, "You teachin' me how to box?" It was pretty good.

PK: But then he had some good directing tips I imagine, Tyson.

EH: Yeah, yeah, of course. He stepped in and gave Todd a lot of advice.

PK: Any tips on dealing with a tiger?

EH: Yeah: don't do it. Avoid it. Avoid tigers. Yeah, we spent way too much time with that tiger. The whole time in the back of your head is this little voice being like, "Get out! Leave! There's a tiger here! This is stupid! This is like profoundly stupid what you're doing right now."

PK: Nobody was hurt though.

EH: Thank god nobody was hurt, but, I mean, one look at that tiger and...

PK: It's a real tiger.

EH: It's a real tiger, we're really close, and for hours we're shooting with this thing. And I still feel like we sort of got away with something.

PK: They're very quick too, aren't they? The tigers.

EH: Oh yeah, yeah.

PK: And just, in terms of, I mean, did you have a big litter box for it?

EH: I never saw that tiger take a shit, so I don't know. That'd be pretty funny, though.

PK: There's a lot of like, really cruel, sadistic moments in this film that people laugh at. Do you think sadism is an essential part of comedy?

EH: Yeah, if it's not physical sadism it's mental or emotional. I think that people in some sort of pain is oftentimes the core of a comedic moment, whether it's big or small. I mean some of the greatest slapstick is just the most violent stuff you've ever seen. Even if you go back to Looney Tunes, like Wile.E Coyote and The Road Runner? That stuff is so insanely violent. But it's hysterical.

PK: "Three Stooges."

EH: "Three Stooges," of course. It's just abuse. And if you contextualize it properly it's hysterical.

PK: There's also the element of masochism in your character, especially when he puts up with Melissa. What's the story there? Did you make up a back story of how he got into her clutches?

EH: No, you know I didn't think about it too hard. I think Stu is a bit of an archetype in that respect, just a henpecked husband, and Rachel Harris portrayed the girlfriend so amazingly, as just this evil, power hungry, awful girlfriend. So it just made her a fun dynamic, because Stu is in total denial that anything's wrong.

PK: Do you think that the character, Melissa, as the most evil character in the movie, underscores a sort of misogynistic streak in the movie?

EH: Um, I don't know. I think it's not hard to find a lot of reason to be offended by this movie, and hopefully just all of it together, you can sort of see it in a silly context. But I guess you kind of have to hit some raw spots to go for some chuckles. I don't think that was anyone's intention, to create any kind of tone in that respect, but hopefully it...I don't know.

PK: You haven't seen a completed cut of it, or you've seen various cuts?

EH: I have, I mean, I know I've seen the last one. I just get it confused with earlier ones.

PK: Have you seen it with audiences?

EH: I've only seen the last few minutes with an actual audience.

PK: And do you think it appeals both to men and women or is it really kind of a guys' film?

EH: I'm getting like incredible feedback from both genders, and I hope it appeals to everyone. I think there's some moments in this movie where I think any responsible mom would check out -- for example when we leave the baby in the car -- but again, it's just one of those things. It's one thing in a long list of very stupid decisions by our main characters, and hopefully in the overall context it's something that we can laugh at. But yeah these are very stupid characters who make stupid decisions and pay a price for it.

PK: But they live to tell about it.

EH: But they live to tell about it, and I think that they learn some lessons in the process too.

PK: And they delete the pictures. "Hangover 2:" Is that going to be the back story? I read that that's almost in the works now.

EH: Yeah, I think that's being talked about, but it just depends on how this movie does, obviously. But, is there a story, is that what you're asking?

PK: Yeah.

EH: I have no idea. I don't know what we...I mean, I think we'd have to take it to outer space to heighten what we did.

PK: I thought there was a little, with the Heather Graham character, there was like a little, you were going to go back to have lunch with her or something.

EH: Yeah, but that's honestly...

PK: It's too mild.

EH: That's so boring, I mean that's sort of a nice, pleasant thing. That's like the romantic comedy spin-off. I think if it's going to follow in sort of the same tone as "Hangover" it has to just blow it out and get even more insane somehow.

PK: She is a prostitute, mind you.

EH: That's true, but she's ...quite a heart of gold, so.

PK: Re-enactors, Civil War re-enactors. You're working on that movie?

EH: Yeah, very excited, it's a big back-to-the-future comedy.

PK: And you're writing it.

EH: Yep, writing it this summer. Steve Carell's company is producing it.

PK: Looks like fun. Are you Confederate or Union?

EH: Uh, well, both... you know what, we'll let that story tell itself when it comes out.

PK: Have you done research?

EH: Yeah, I've been to a few reenactments, and it's such a fun culture, It's such a fun hobby. I grew up in the south so I have an affinity for Civil War nostalgia, so.

PK: Yeah, a lot of battle fields down there.

EH: A lot of battle fields down there.

PK: Well, I'm going to be dragged away from here if I don't stop, so I really appreciate your time.

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