Woody Harrelson, a Tough-Talking Gay Man in "Friends with Benefits" (Opens Sept 28)
Tommy Bollinger is an athletic, flamboyant art director at GQ Magazine played to profanely funny perfection by Woody Harrelson, in Columbia Pictures' racy, romantic comedy “Friends with Benefits” which also stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.
In the film, Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) think it's going to be easy to add the simple act of sex to their friendship, despite what Hollywood romantic comedies would have them believe. As two people weaned on the disappointing promises of rom-coms, Dylan and Jamie shouldn’t be entirely surprised when their bold move becomes a bawdy, sexy ride into uncharted territory, exposing much more of themselves than they ever thought they'd get to see. And they soon discover however that getting physical really does always lead to complications.
Serving as both court jester and sage for Dylan is his new co-worker Tommy. Says director Will Gluck, “Tommy’s a strange character to play and I don’t think Woody’s ever played it before. I don’t think anyone’s quite played this character. Only someone like Woody can pull it off.”
Harrelson says it took him a bit to devise an approach for such an outrageous character. “It took me a second to really get it,” Harrelson explains. “The thing that was interesting to me about Tommy is that he’s kind of a guy’s guy. Like one of these guys who talks about girls in a pretty graphic terminology, but as a gay man."
Laughing, Harrelson adds, "He says stuff that I can’t believe we shot."
There were plenty of laughs on set when Harrelson was working, enthuses Kunis. ”Woody cracks me up like no other," says the actress. "I cannot do a scene with him because I just start laughing. He looks at me and I just start laughing.” Timberlake had the same problem in a scene with Harrelson, trying to keep a straight face. “It’s a real challenge to just Buster Keaton the whole thing, when you’re sort of dying inside," he says.
Although world audiences first fell in love with Harrelson through the much revered sit-com “Cheers,” he has more recently been seen in, and has received much acclaim for, his work in dramatic roles, such as his recent Oscar®-nominated turn in “The Messenger.” Working on “Friends with Benefits” has rekindled his love for comedy. “It’s like coming to work in a playground, you know?” the actor says. “I haven’t felt quite that extreme since `Cheers' where everybody is always trying to come up with new things to make a scene funnier. Will is just a great director. He really has a sense of comedy that’s extraordinary and comes up with amazing ideas on the spur of the moment.”
Gluck gives full credit to Harrelson and the rest of the cast, though, when the spirit of creativity is in the air. “I try to do the script that was written, then after the first or second take I just keep yelling out different things to try,” he says. “A lot of that has to do with working with such good actors. They make it so easy because pretty much anything they say is going to be good and funny.”
Opening across the Philippines on Sept. 28, “Friends with Benefits” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.sonypictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.