Paul Rudd On 'Schmucks' Role Paul Rudd stars in the upcoming film Dinner for Schmucks. He talks to Mary Louise Kelly about the role.
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Paul Rudd On 'Schmucks' Role

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Paul Rudd On 'Schmucks' Role

Paul Rudd On 'Schmucks' Role

Paul Rudd On 'Schmucks' Role

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Paul Rudd stars in the upcoming film Dinner for Schmucks. He talks to Mary Louise Kelly about the role.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

Unidentified Man #3: Fendy people collect people.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS")

PAUL RUDD: Unidentified Man #1: Each of us of us finds a remarkable person and invites them to dinner at Fender's. We call it the Dinner for Winners.

LOUISE KELLY: Now, it turns out that Dinner for Winners label is a bit misleading. As the character played by Paul Rudd discovers when he sees an actual photo of one of the guests.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS")

RUDD: Unidentified Man #1: You got it.

RUDD: Unidentified Man #1: Mm-hmm.

RUDD: That's messed up.

LOUISE KELLY: That's Paul Rudd and we've brought him in to talk about the movie. Paul Rudd, how are you?

RUDD: I'm great, thanks.

LOUISE KELLY: Let me ask you about your character, who kind of buys-in and ends up finding an idiot of really quite epic proportions to bring to this dinner. Tell us about him.

RUDD: Yeah, that said-idiot is Steve Carell, who plays Barry Speck. And I accidentally hit him with my car. He runs out into the street to pick up a dead mouse because he...

LOUISE KELLY: A dead mouse.

RUDD: Yes. He does taxidermy on mice and he creates these dioramas, recreates some kind of famous paintings with them.

LOUISE KELLY: Mousterpieces.

RUDD: Mousterpieces, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUDD: Yeah. I hit him as I'm trying to get out of the dinner. I'm on my phone. I'm a little morally opposed to it. But I'm trying to get out of the dinner and then I feel as if this was divine intervention. It actually sounds and seems mean-spirited, I think, on the outside if you hear a little bit about this movie or, you know, have seen a trailer or something. But it's really not. It's kind of, it's somewhat feel-good. But there are some...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUDD: There are some kinds of jerky motivations by my character's decisions.

LOUISE KELLY: And you mentioned your co-star here is Steve Carell. Y'all have done a couple of movies together...

RUDD: That's right.

LOUISE KELLY: I mean, when you get that kind of group together, is there a moment where you all just - I don't know - get the giggles?

RUDD: Oh, for sure. I'm the worst of all of them, too.

LOUISE KELLY: Really?

RUDD: I mean, I really, I can't control myself. I used to think I could but I can't.

LOUISE KELLY: Was there a particular scene in this movie where that happened?

RUDD: Oh, God. There were a few. There was one scene where we were - I was taking part in this business lunch and Steve crashes the lunch. David Walliams plays a potential client and he says dramatically, in reference to me trying to propose to my supposed girlfriend, something along the lines of: Go offer yourself in love, or something like that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUDD: And, Steve - Steve looked - I just looked at Steve and Steve said: (unintelligible) and he didn't say anything. He just said it with such dramatic intention and just a bunch of nonsense - whispery nonsense - that I lost it.

LOUISE KELLY: Yeah.

RUDD: I couldn't control myself.

LOUISE KELLY: That would be the kind of thing that would be hard to script.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUDD: Yeah. And then I apologize and think, oh, God - I mean, did I just ruin the take? You can't use it. 'Cause the pressure of not laughing is great. You know, you don't want to - if somebody does something funny, you don't want to make it unusable.

LOUISE KELLY: Now, this was loosely based on a French movie, "Le Dîner De Cons."

RUDD: Mm-hmm.

LOUISE KELLY: Did you watch the French version?

RUDD: But now I have the DVD and when all is said and done I'm going to watch it probably next week. I'll sit by myself in a very dark room and watch it.

LOUISE KELLY: Paul Rudd, I was surprised to learn - while I prepared for this - how much theater you've done. You trained at Oxford. You've done a lot of Shakespeare. Is that something you would like to get back to, like to do more of?

RUDD: Yeah. I love doing plays and I love classical theater. You know, I'd always wanted to just be a working actor and kind of do movies and plays and things that I found interesting. And I love comedy. And I haven't had the burning desire to go back to the stage and do a Shakespeare play. But I imagine I will for sure.

LOUISE KELLY: Well, you're at a point in your career where I assume you can pick and choose the roles you want. Does it feel freeing? Does it feel terrifying or what?

RUDD: But I always thought it was interesting when I would hear actors say - sometimes in interviews - you know, they'd say, like, now, you - why did you choose to play this? And I would sit and think, maybe it was because they got offered the part.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUDD: Maybe they didn't really...

LOUISE KELLY: And 'cause actors have bills, too.

RUDD: And maybe they didn't really have as much choice as you're talking about. I find that's certainly been the case with me and continues to be, thankfully. I mean, and I know it will probably change. You know, I'm in a place now where I actually am getting offers to do things and that's a really exciting place to be. You know, to not have to take just every job that comes your way. You know, but that could very well change next week.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

LOUISE KELLY: Well, it's great to talk to you.

RUDD: You, too. Thank you.

LOUISE KELLY: From NPR News, this MORNING EDITION.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And, Mary Louise, thank you for being a part of our show these last few weeks.

LOUISE KELLY: It has been my great pleasure, Renee. Thanks.

MONTAGNE: You know, Don. Hello.

DON GONYEA: Hi. Oh, I'm sorry.

MONTAGNE: I let them know you're here.

GONYEA: I'm here. I'm here.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GONYEA: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: I'm Renee Montagne.

LOUISE KELLY: And I'm Mary Louise Kelly. Have a great weekend.

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