Trevor Moore and Zach Cregger, creators of the hit sketch comedy show The Whitest Kids U Know, star in their first feature film, Miss March. After Eugene gets knocked into a coma after a nasty fall, he learns that his old girlfriend has become a Playboy playmate and he must travel across the country to rejoin with the love of his life. We had the opportunity to sit down with both Trevor and Zach to talk about the film...
Shakefire:Why weren’t Sam, Timmy, and Darren; the other members of The Whitest Kids U Know, included in the film?
Zach Cregger: We’re working on our Whitest Kids movie right now. We’re finishing the script and we want to make sure it’s seen as the first Whitest Kids movie. The guys were really cool, they were really supportive and chill about it.
SF:And they did the audition tape as well.
ZC: Yeah, so that’s just them willing to make fun of themselves.
Trevor Moore: They’re on tour with us now. They’re sitting in the hotel. We’re doing the screenings of the movie during the day and then at night we’re doing like a Whitest Kids show.
SF: What was it like working on the set with Hugh Hefner?
TM: It was cool. It was awesome that he did it. He didn’t have to do this movie. We shot the movie without him involved and then he came in after the fact. Originally we had Robert Wagner play Hugh Hefner. But then when we screened the film, it screened really well all the way though and then when Hugh Hefner came out and it wasn’t Hugh Hefner, there was a disconnect with the audience. The Girls Next Door show is really popular so kids are very aware of who Hugh Hefner is and they know what he looks like. So there’s a problem when we were screening the film cause people were upset that Hugh Hefner wasn’t in it. We had to go to Playboy after the fact, show them the movie, and be like, “will you be in this? What do you guys think?” and we lucked out. The reason we didn’t want to do the movie with them involved originally is because we weren’t sure how seriously they’re gonna take their own image because they’re a very iconic corporation. Their image is a big deal so we didn’t know if they were going to micro-manage the script at all or anything. We totally lucked out cause Hefner liked the movie, wanted to be in it, and didn’t have any notes on it. He was just completely cool with it. To go back to your question, I think it’s really cool that he did it. He didn’t have to do it or need to do this movie. He just kinda did it…
ZC: Out of the goodness of his heart.
TM: Yeah, definitely.
SF: Did you guys improv any during the movie or did you mostly just follow the script?
ZC: We just stuck to the script. We don’t really improvise a lot, not on the show or the movie. We’re pretty much sticklers for the script. It’s just as you write it you get it as funny as you think it could be on the page. On set, we don’t have a huge budget so we don’t really have time to improvise. Like the Apatow movies and stuff, I think they’re great and I think it’s awesome that they improvise most of that shit but they have the money to spend the whole day in one location to just fuck around and have fun. Then they have the time to go through all the stuff. We got to shoot like 7 pages a day on the movie and on the show we got to shoot sometimes 5 sketches a day. That’s crazy, that’s a lot. We have to get in and just move, move, move. We have to know exactly what we have to say.
TM: We used to do a lot of improvising before we got the tv show.
ZC: When we could spend the whole day on one sketch.
TM: Yeah, all those sketches that were done before; a lot of it was improvised and then you just go through and cut it. Once we got into a schedule and especially with a show that relatively low budget and a film relatively low budget, it’s just a luxury you don’t have any more.
SF: How was working on the show different than working on the film?
TM: Well it’s more things to think about. Sketches are easier because you just get in, get out; hit your jokes and then leave. You don’t have to work about character development or story structure. That’s the main difference.
SF: What is your favorite sketch on your show?
TM: They change. At different times I like different sketches. I think one that’s always in my top three is the Saturday sketch. We filmed it before we had a TV show and that was something that didn’t have much of a script to it. It was just kinda us playing around on a weekend and I just have fond memories of that sketch. Also there’s a sketch in season 3 called Epilepsy Test which I really like.
ZC: Yeah, it changes for me too. I like the Lincoln sketch. The sketch called Instant Karma Bigot that I like just because it took forever to get right. It was this one shot that was really complicated and I think we got it and it was fun. I don’t know. It changes.
SF: How do you guys come up with your ideas for your sketches?
TM: It varies. Sometimes your just driving around and you’ll come up with a sketch or just think of something and then you’ll bring it to a meeting and pitch it and hope everyone likes it. I think some of the best sketch ideas come from when people are just hanging out in bars. Different combinations of us will be at a bar hanging out and you start rifting on something and then pretty much when it’s done someone will be like, “ Oh, we should totally write that down, remember that.” I think a lot of the good sketches end up that way. When we’re in the crunch of the show and we have to do 100 sketches within a month and a half, cause we’re writing for the season, what we’ll do is sit in a room and everyone will brainstorm on a piece of paper and pitch out 5 or 6 ideas to the room and see what sticks. Out of all those ideas, maybe we’ll write up one or two of them a day.
SF: The show is rauncy and vulgar. How did you guys adapt that style of comedy to the film yet keep it different?
TM: I think it’s pretty much as raunchy as the show is. When FOX brought us the script, it was written for Zach and I. We weren’t crazy about doing a road trip sex comedy but FOX said we could rewrite it, completely from scratch. The only thing we needed to keep was that a guy goes into a coma and he wakes up and his girlfriend is a Playboy playmate. What ending up be interesting about it is that we could take a road trip sex genre movie and try to make it something that fans of the TV show would like or something we would like. So we tried to merge the style with the road trip sex comedy thing. I think it is darker than most of these road trip sex movies. There’s actually some real issue with the whole Eugene character. His dealing with not being able to accept past partners his girlfriend has had and his viewpoint on sex. Then the Tucker character is what happens to his girlfriend and that whole thing. There’s a lot of dark stuff in the movie. Hopefully it’s similar to the show in the sense that it’s treated with some sort of childlike innocence and you can go into these dark areas and as long as it’s not malicious, you can kinda get away with it more. I feel like that’s what we try to have. It’s not 100% style of the TV show but I think it’s a mixture of the TV show with a buddy comedy.
SF: With your move from Fuse to IFC, how has the increase in popularity affected you?
ZC: For me, I don’t really feel that much of a change, honestly I don’t. We live in New York and then we spent a year shooting the movie in LA. Those are kinda two different cities. I think the attitude, especially in New York, is that people don’t really approach other people that much unless you really know them. I’ve never really felt like a celebrity in New York at all. Only on this tour doing shows, and screenings, and meeting people do I feel like, “Wow, people watch the show. That’s really crazy.” And obviously when you’re doing a Q&A after a screening you kinda feel like, “oh wow, I’m in a movie.”
SF: What can you tell us about the current season and the Whitest Kids film you mentioned earlier?
ZC: Season 3 is airing now and probably airing though the summer. I think I can speak for the whole group when I say I think it’s our best season. I really like it and I think we’ve just come into it. Season 1 was written for the stage and we took are best stuff and put it in. Season 2 is the first season really written for the screen and I think were getting our sea legs there. I think with season 3 we figured out that we can do whatever we want with this. I’m really proud of it. As far as the Whitest Kids movie that we’re working on, we’re going to refrain from going into it too much. We haven’t shopped it around yet to the studios so we’re just going to keep it tight for the time being.
Be sure to check out Miss March when it comes out in theaters March 13th.