The Change-Up, the spin on the body-switching comedy starring Jason Bateman as an uptight family man and Ryan Reynolds as his raucous bachelor best friend. After a night of drinking in which they each admit that they kind of envy the other's life, the two friends switch bodies, and of course all kinds of madness ensues from there. Leslie Mann, who was also on the set the day we visited, plays Bateman's wife, while Olivia Wilde also steps in as a comely coworker he could never make a move on regularly, but when trapped in the body of his best friend… ‘The Change-Up’ hits Philippines cinemas on September 28, 2011.Check out what Ryan Reynolds had to say about the film below.
Can you tell us a little bit about the story and Mitch and Dave‘s dynamic?
They go out and have a beer, they both really see how green the grass is on the other side of the fence. They both look at each others lives and covet them, in some way, more Dave with Mitch. Dave is a guy married with kids, he’s just work, work, work. He’s been busy straight out of High School. I think he sees Mitch’s life as a perpetual vacation, something he really desires. It’s a life filled with women and free time, indulgence, it’s something he really wants. So these guys get together, they probably drink a little bit too much and come up with the worst wish ever. It’s just said as a joke, none of these guys want to switch bodies – but I think that’s the beauty of it, it’s all in the execution, it’s done in such an interesting way that you really see how polarizing these two guys are. You really see how damaging it would be if one was in the others life for even a short period of time.
What was your reaction to reading the script? It must have been refreshing to read a comedy like this?
Exactly. It was just fun to see this kind of premise, which is usually a PG-13 premise, executed in such a hard way, with such an edge, it was really no holds barred. It was probably the first script in a long time that I cried laughing, I remember reading it in my hotel room in New Orleans, I literally was crying with laughter (laughs). I just couldn’t believe the set-pieces, how thought out the characters were. You typically just swing for the fences and each character is just a broad stereotype, but with this they’re not, they’re pretty nuanced guys. That to me was really appealing – and I know it was to Jason Bateman as well.
What was it like for you playing both characters?
We’re not doing impressions of each other, we’re kind of capturing the essence of each other more than anything. But they’re both characters, both versions of these guys, Mitch and Dave, both are characters that Jason Bateman and I have in our wheelhouse, and we’ve played similar characters before – aspects of it. I was pretty comfortable in playing the kind of lothario loud-mouth, and I was also comfortable in playing the neurotic, up-tight guy who’s very reactive – someone the world is happening too, as opposed to someone who’s being a proactive engineer of it.
Going into it Jason Bateman and I made a point of not doing an impression of one another because once you start doing that, that’s what people are going to look for. You want to really just create a character, it’s him just filtered through this body. So it’s gonna sound different, it’s gonna look different and it’s gonna feel a bit different, but the essence it there, that’s what matters.
How was working along Jason Bateman in a film like this?
Working with Jason is amazing, the hardest thing about it is to keep a straight face. His kind of take on this character really got to my funny bone in a lot of ways – I know I ruined a lot of takes laughing (laughs). He’s an inventive guy, he drops these one-liners that crack me up. Having a team mate like that is something I’ve never experienced, somebody who’s that skilled at comedy, it’s a pretty rare occurrence. When you get something like that you’ve really gotta run with it. It was a treat everyday seeing Jason work.
The voyeuristic quality of the body-swap is a lot of fun…
Yeah, one of the great flavours of the film is that these characters are hearing about people talk about them in ways they should never be privy to. You have Mitch’s Dad, who he thinks is Dave and is actually Mitch, telling this guy exactly how he feels about his son. In the same way we have Jamie, who’s played by Leslie Mann, telling who she thinks is Mitch, about her marital problems with Dave, it’s Dave who’s hearing all this. There’s something really great about that voyeuristic quality that we all wish we could hear what people really think of us. That stuff I love, that to me is kind of the wish fulfilment part of the movie, the magic part of the movie. reminiscent of ’Big,’ or something like that. It makes us feel like we’re in a place and time that should never actually happen but somehow it’s actually happening.
“The Change-Up” is released and distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment. Corp.