The crowd that filled the Bryant Park Grill following New Line’s Aug. 1 Ziegfeld screening of “We’re the Millers” seemed happily surprised with this original summer entry about a family of four trying to smuggle 1,500 kilos of Mexican pot across the border in an RV.
Think Chevy Chase’s “Vacation” series with 21st-century wit and raunch.
“The trickiest part handling Jennifer and Jason as they riff along was not laughing over the takes,” said helmer Rawson Marshall Thurber. “They’re friends in real life and that led to their chemistry onscreen. It’s the pixie dust — it’s either there or it isn’t.”
The duo certainly never paused:
Q: Do you see this as a series?
Sudeikis: Gosh, I have no idea.
Aniston: I think that’s an interesting idea.
Q: After “Bounty Hunter” and “Horrible Bosses” is this third time the charm?
Aniston: Oh we’ve got one more after this. (“Horrible Bosses 2”)
Sudeikis: They say the second, third and fourth are the charm. You know the third is the charm because of the editors — they cut out the second and fourth.
Aniston: Oh? It was?
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Sudeikis: It was the original statement.
Aniston: Okay, good.
Sudeikis: and “Horrible Bosses” did well and “Horrible Bosses 2” will do too. Knock on wicker. (no wood nearby)
Q: When you first read this was it an immediate jump to say ‘yes’ or were you worried?
Aniston: I always worry.
Sudeikis: A little bit.
Aniston: You have to worry.
Sudeikis: Yeah, I think worry is healthy.
Aniston: Yeah it is. Otherwise you’re too confident and then … (she exits with fiancé Justin Theroux before finishing her thought).
For Sudeikis, “Millers” arrives as the ideal segue, exiting from a decade on “SNL” to a film career. Was it all planned?
“No! Not planned at all,”Sudeikis said. “I mean I knew what decisions I was making and when they were occurring but I didn’t think this all up … 20 years ago. You must realize it’s mostly luck. I’m very fortunate. You just try to do something that makes people laugh and I’ve been trying to do that for 35 years now.”
The discovery in “Millers” is Will Poulter, 20, who scores as the virginal wide-eyed “son” who’s taught kissing by Aniston’s stripper and Emma Roberts’ streetwise “sister”.
Thurber credits his casting directors Lisa Beach and Sarah Katzman with bringing Poulter aboard. “My only image of Will was of a 10-year-old in ‘Son of Rambo’ and then he comes in, he’s 19 and six-feet-three and this man (or man-child). He didn’t look anything like the character as I imagined it and as soon as he left the room I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing it.”
“I want to say it’s sheer skill and ability that got me the part but I think I looked like such a dork — that’s what it was,” said Poulter, who is British and has been doing this professionally since he was 11.
His flawless accent was easy, “I always did American accents because it was in every movie and TV show I used to watch. It was a lot of fun to do.”
As for the outrageous scene where a tarantula bite swells his entire scrotum, “That was bizarre and it was a crazy scene to shoot. I was just glad that nothing that was mine was onscreen, it was all prosthetics.”