To tie-in with the release of the first trailer for Keeping Up With The Joneses yesterday, ComingSoon.net and JoBlo.com have posted their set visit reports. In them, Isla and her castmates talk more about their characters and comedy in cinema. Read the Isla-specific parts below, and click the source links for the full articles:
Set Visit: Keeping Up with the Joneses featuring Isla Fisher and Gal Gadot
“Hurry up and wait” is an idiom you’ll often find applied to film sets. With dozens of people on a film set working together towards a common goal, each department has its own amount of preparation to take care of before anyone even stands in front of the camera. It’s the nature of the business, and in regards to KEEPING UP WITH JONESES, this worked to my advantage. I’m in the break room that, while cold, is also basically four bare, white walls. You’d think it was the cargo bay of the Tantive IV or something. Thankfully the stunt crew is hanging out in close proximity and going over some of the choreography of the upcoming fight. I’ll tell ya, it’s fascinating to watch these people improv their way through a fight like comedians do through a conversation.
Before long, the on-set contact leads me back out to the Hotel Suite set to check out more of what’s being shot. We decide to take the scenic route this time around which allows me a kick-ass view of the massive city backdrop that’s hanging outside of the hotel room windows. Make no mistake, when you’re standing there on-set, a well-lit backdrop makes all the difference in comparison to a green screen.
I return to the dining room of the Odyssey suite set to find trays of earplugs being passed around. A Scrubs-esque fantasy ensues where Jon Hamm and I go to a progressive rock concert and out for a bite to eat afterwards (he lets me have a bite from his meal – what a gentleman). In reality, I’m getting the next best thing; he’s going to shoot a gun! Okay, so it’s not a real gun (of course), but the idea of Jon “Archer” Hamm dispatching goons with firearms is too exciting a prospect. I love me some Mad Men, but to finally see him fight with bullets instead of brains is total catharsis. Immediately my mind pencils in KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES as the “unofficial” series finale to Mad Men. I take a seat next to the table, having a great view of the monitors and the Hamm himself. As Gadot waits around for her earplugs, a restless Jon Hamm reaches over and playfully pokes her in the ear with his pinky. What did I say? The man’s funny! I’d like to think there’s one crew member who deals with Hamm’s antics day-in and day-out and is just thinking, “I’m real sick of your shit, Hamm!” No, that’s impossible.
The scene I watch is a continuation from the one before. After Gadot’s character throws the knife, she immediately kicks the henchman standing behind her. Holy hell, she can kick! Hamm grabs hold of the henchman next to him, disarming him of his rifle and handing it to Gadot. He then takes aim at the henchmen at his 6 and opens fire. Seriously, Hamm fans are going to want to see this guy handle more action after they witness how good he looks in this movie. Watching both him and Gadot standing side-by-side, dispatching bad guys, feels too right. They are seriously some prime badass specimens. As great as it was to witness some of the action of JONESES, it paled in comparison to the charm of two ladies I interviewed next.
Isla Fisher is probably the one you remember most from WEDDING CRASHERS, and rightfully so. That was her breakout role and despite being confused with Amy Adams on occasion, there’s no denying the infectious personality this woman carries with her. Having her sit across from me in a dress that deliberately draws any (wo)man’s eye to her massive cleavage was a reality I didn’t expect to meet when I woke up that morning. Things only got better from there as Fisher began to talk a little bit about the film and her body of work.
On her character:
“She is actually the girl next door. She’s the mom that we know. She wears the mom jeans, she does the school run…she has a carpool existence and I think that’s what makes her relatable – identifiable – is just the fact she’s every woman. She’s a classic clown character in the sense she’s overconfident, and Ive made her a little ditzy in order to mine the comedy and also to explain why she’s married to Zach’s character, Jeff, who’s also has a simplistic attitude to life. In order for that marriage to be believable, I’ve given her a little bit of a silly walk and a little bit of a sillier voice and yet she can say some stupid things when it’s good for comedy, but she’s also very smart. She’s the first one to crack [the Joneses] are not who they say they are. It’s her exploration into their life that uncovers the whole plot, really.”
“There’s something very funny with juxtaposing banal BBQ chat with high-end, glossy action. In this case, the genetic gods, Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot, both being absolutely beautiful and incredibly well-dressed and cool – against Zach and I’s characters – it’s instantly funny.”
Working with director Greg Moottola:
“I’m a massive fan of the director. I LOVE him. I’ve seen everything Greg Mottola has done. His original movie right through ADVENTURELAND and PAUL. GM is just a phenomenal comedy director – he reminds me of a Blake Edwards – he could do drama if he wanted to. SUPERBAD is one of the funniest comedies that’s ever been made. And I now, having worked with him and seeing his process, I totally see how he brings that out of everyone. In Greg’s case he’s just very collaborative, and I have a theory that all the best directors are.”
Regarding women in comedy:
“I think that if you can get a role like I have in got in this movie where I’m not just eye rolling when the guy gets to say a joke and I’m not just a girlfriend or a “wife”, even though I am the wife, I have my own comedy bits that I get to do. I get to do physical comedy, I get to do slapstick, I do deadpan…I do a bunch of different shit in this movie that’s really cool.
Everyone’s commented on women’s roles in movies recently so I feel like it’s an unoriginal topic to add my two cents to, for what they’re worth, but I definitely think that every woman I know loves comedy and wants to go and see comedy. People like Kristen Wiig, and Silver Silverman, and Amy Poehler and all these wonderful, hilarious women. Amy Schumer. I mean, brilliant. She’s just such a formidable force. It’s an exciting time!”
I have to preface this interview with Gal Gadot by telling you that this was nearly one year before BATMAN V SUPERMAN was released. I had no idea at the time if she’d make a great Wonder Woman, but I’ll be Zod-damned if I didn’t think she wasn’t deserving of all the success she’s found in cinema and then some! At the end of the hot and hard-working day, Gadot took the time to shake every hand of the press and even went the extra mile to ask for our names. I’ll never forget when she finally turned to me and took my hand and I said, “Hi, I’m Sean.” Maybe I said, “I love you.” It all happened so fast. Right off the bat, I can tell you that this woman is charming, funny and absolutely game to talk about whatever (as long as Warner Bros. is cool with it). Her fun and optimistic attitude is something I hope permeates through this interview, as it was my biggest takeaway of the actress.
Regarding her co-workers and if they taught her anything:
“No. They’re really selfish. Assholes, totally. Yeah. What can you do? [Jon Hamm’s] ugly. He’s not talented, whatsoever. He doesn’t have the experience. We’re still working on it! *laughs* No, Jon is great. He’s hilarious. Isla and I think he should have his own talk show because that’s how funny he is. He’s fast, he’s intelligent, he knows everything…so smart and he’s the funniest guy *looks behind her* I don’t want him to hear that I said that. No, he’s great. He’s a gentleman. He’s the best partner. Everyone is great. I have a girl crush on Isla. I love her and Zack and they’re hilarious. Really, it sounds too good to be true but everyone is just fantastic.”
Set Visit: Keeping Up with the Joneses with Zach Galifianakis and Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm – On working with the cast:
When I saw the group they were assembling for this movie, it was definitely one of things that I sparked to. Value added, so to speak. Greg has been remarkably effective at bringing that kind of humanity to all of his films. Even within whatever genre he happens to be working in.
Keeping Up With The Joneses Trailer and Set Visit!
I’m standing in the penthouse suite of one of the fanciest hotels I’ve ever been in, except I’m not there at all. It might look like a penthouse, but I’m actually on the set of a film and that set has been constructed in a closed-down Baskin-Robbins factory, which is at the far end of an overgrown street in Atlanta, Georgia. Movie magic at its finest.
Things being not what they look like is a recurring theme here on the set of Keeping Up With The Joneses, a film that sees Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher playing a suburbanite couple who gain some new neighbors, played by Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot, who actually turn out to be secret agents.
Think of it as Mr. & Mrs. Smith but with a pair of nosy neighbors that get caught in the middle of the action, and they are definitely caught. This isn’t a leisure visit to the penthouse of a hotel, thugs carrying guns are standing all around, ready to fire, and these four are right in the middle of it.
“They’re normal suburbanites, just getting through the day and then this kind of storm blows into their neighborhood and they have to deal with it,” Galifianakis says. “When that happens you see them acting out of character a bit.”
Zach’s character in the film, in addition to being silly, works for a security company, which is what draws the attention of Jon Hamm’s character. The two of them have a report for working together having done one of the first episodes of Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns, which was one of the reasons they continued to pursue work together.
“He’s a comedy guy, he’s really funny,” Zach says of Hamm. “A lot of leading type guys like that, they don’t have humor and they think they do…He’s funny like a comedian is funny, not like an actor is funny.”
Another cast member on set that day was none other than comedian Patton Oswalt. Hamm offered a little history lesson about his relationship with Zach and Patton and then doubled down on how Galifianakis’ style inspired him.
“Those are two of the guys that when I came to LA in 1995 I would go see at Largo,” Hamm said. “That’s really what formed my post-collegiate comedy brain… When I did ‘Between Two Ferns,’ it was very early on in the ‘Mad Men’ thing and I don’t think people either A. Knew who I was, B. Cared, or C. Thought that the guy from ‘Mad Men’ would be funny, and I had a blast… It was fun, and I’ve done enough stuff with these guys at UCB to be comfortable enough to play with them.”
In the scene, Zach and Jon’s characters bicker at each other. Zack, of course, is more concerned with the fact that Jon lied to him than that his life is in danger at that very moment. On the other side stands Isla Fisher and Gal Gadot, the two women in this scenario who bring the twists to the film’s story.
Isla calls her own character an “every woman” who lives in a “carpool existence” and is the one that actually figures out their new neighbors aren’t what they seem like.
“There’s something very funny about juxtaposing banal barbeque chat with high-end glossy action,” Fisher tells us. “And in this case the genetic gods Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot, both being absolutely beautiful and well dressed and cool, against Zach and I’s characters is instantly funny.”
Gal reveals to us that her character’s relationship with Jon isn’t a cover for them as spies. They’re actually a couple that are both spies who work together. She also goes on to say her character loves what she does while Jon Hamm is quite reluctant to be in his position.
“I think she loves being a spy,” Gadot says. “And I think that’s the problem they have in their relationship. She’s so much into this world and he’s not. He doesn’t like the lies, he doesn’t like playing an act or making pretend and she’s all about the adrenaline and the mission, she loves it. She’s a real spy.”
Gadot went on to tell us, in a very non-chalant fashion, that after working on Fast and Furious and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that she didn’t actually need any extra training for this one.
“There’s something different about working on a comedy set, it’s all about who is going to make us laugh harder,” Gadot says of the differences in big blockbusters and this movie. “I literally pee’d on myself… not literally. It’s hilarious and such a wonderful experience.”
Directed by Greg Mottola, the film will debut in theaters on October 21.