Photos by Gordon West
The new comedy Wanderlust (now playing) had an advance screening last week as part of our Film Comment Selects festival. Audiences were treated to not just an early look at what will surely be counted as one of 2012's funniest films, but also a star-studded and joke-filled Q&A! On stage were director and co-writer David Wain, co-writer and actor Ken Marino, along with stars Paul Rudd, Kerri Kenney, and Alan Alda.
The event was sold out, so unless you have a ticket and a time machine, you'll want to check out the video from the Q&A below. While much of the discussion revolved around the process of making the new film, which is unlike anything they had done before, the group also reviewed their history together. Wain, Marino, and Kenney are veterans of comedy troupe The State and have been performing together for over twenty years. Along the way they teamed up with Rudd for a variety of projects, including Wet Hot American Summer (2001), The Ten (2007), and cult Starz show Party Down (2009). Though Alan Alda was a newcomer to their group—he worked with Rudd on 1998's The Object of My Affection—he seemed to fit in perfectly. The others actors were a bit star-struck at first, with Kenney expressing her initial struggle to improvise with the Alan Alda. Luckily, he had no clue who they were and was able to do scenes without problems. And there were a lot of scenes…
David Wain, the self-proclaimed Stanley Kubrick of movies, used a series of “alts” to piece together Wanderlust. Though he and Marino worked hard on their script, they often did the same basic scene over and over in very different, or alternate, ways. Alda joked that the process, while entertaining, tended to invalidate all the previous work they had done. In the end, though, Wain and Marino used the takes they liked best to fit the narrative of the film. The rest didn't just wind up on the cutting room floor, however. Wain revealed that fans will be able to see an alternate, “bizarro” cut of the film on DVD. Using almost entirely different footage from the theatrical release, this cut will attest to just how contradictory these “alts” were.
In between a healthy smattering of crude jokes, the director got a bit philosophical and discussed how his background with The State made the idea of a film about a commune more appealing. But this is David Wain. Even when being serious, he's hilarious. The cast clearly got a kick out of each other and the moderater, Film Society Associate Program Director Scott Foundas, definitely had a great time. See what was so funny in the video below, check out Wanderlust in theaters now, and don't miss the final days of Film Comment Selects here at the Film Society of Lincoln Center!