In trying to come up with a movie in which actor Paul Rudd – with whom he had worked 10 years ago on “The Chateau” – could star, writer/director Jesse Peretz was introduced to the brother of one of his best friends who had been a medical marijuana farmer gotten arrested for “going above and beyond what was legal.”
“We ended up having dinner and I spent 2 hours alone with him,” Peretz says. “He was the sweetest guy with no irony or judgment. He was just sort of a victim of his total faith in humanity. I came out of the dinner thinking that I had totally cracked what Paul Rudd’s character was going to be. From that night on, the whole mechanics of the movie fell really rapidly into place.”
In “Our Idiot Brother,” Rudd plays a well-meaning but dimwitted slacker who – having found himself in a situation similar to that of Peretz’s friend’s brother – is released from jail only to wreak havoc with his three sisters’ carefully structured lives. The filmmaker cherished the opportunity to finally collaborate with Rudd again.
“Paul is a dream actor for a director to work with because it is so important to him while playing comedy to come in completely focused on finding the emotional truth,” Peretz explains. “That is the most important quality that I want in an actor – especially when you are pushing things that sometimes could have the possibility of testing credibility.”
Of course the fact that Rudd is considered a hot commodity at the moment and is a magnet for other actors is an added benefit. Peretz credits the actor with the blessings he received with respect to the rest of “Our Idiot Brother’s” cast, which includes Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Coogan, T.J. Miller and Adam Scott.
“I would say that the cast was pretty psyched about the script,” Peretz adds. “That said, we always played around once we had gotten a scene shot. There was definitely a good amount of improvisation but we always started with the script. I got everybody’s input on the script in our prep phase and we were always reworking the next day’s scenes.”
In the end, Peretz is proud of the final product. He has already begun work on his next project but is unable to share any specific details about it just yet. However, he notes that he has an actor or two in mind that would really make the project pop. If one thing is for sure, though, it is that the filmmaker would love to work with Rudd for a third time.
“We were sort of led to this story in a way by a desire to live in a world that is a little less cynical than it is,” says Peretz of “Our Idiot Brother.” “What is interesting is that i feel like oftentimes you shape stories without really knowing why you are puttng this foot in front of this foot. Then you step back and realize, ‘Oh, this is where it is coming from.’”
“Our Idiot Brother” (R – 96 minutes) is now available on Blu-ray and DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley.