ALYSON HANNIGAN on 'DATE MOVIE' Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
February 3, 2006
Written and directed by two of the Scary Movie scribes, Date Movie irreverently lampoons the romantic comedy genre in its story of a young woman (Alyson Hannigan) whose dream marriage to her soulmate (Adam Campbell) is threatened by a wicked ex-girlfriend (Sophie Monk) and a disapproving father (Eddie Griffin). Over the course of the whirlwind romance, slews of movies are spoofed, including Bridget Jones's Diary, Meet the Parents, Hitch, Wedding Crashers, Napoleon Dynamite, The Wedding Planner, The Lord of the Rings, Kill Bill, My Best Friend's Wedding, and King Kong.
In this interview, Alyson Hannigan talks about the making of the movie, including sweating it out in a fat suit, enduring embarrassing moments, and beating up the homeless. She also talks briefly about what direction she thinks the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise should take.
MEDIA: Can I start by saying you're awesome on How I Met Your Mother?
ALYSON: Oh, thank you. That's always nice to hear. Thank you very much. That's a good way to start, rather than, "You suck."
Are you a fan of the Scary Movie franchise?
Yeah, definitely. My favorite, obviously, is the...Well, not "obviously," because you don't know me. I retract that! My favorite is the original. And I didn't see them when they were in theaters. I was in England doing a play and I couldn't get to sleep one night, and it was on. And oh my gosh, it was just so funny. And I missed the boat by not seeing it when it was in theaters. But I just was struck by how talented everybody involved was. I thought they did such a great job. So yeah, I was definitely a fan when I met [Date Movie creators Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer]. They were so sweet and so nice, and I love the idea of spoofing romantic comedies. And I had never done a spoof before, so it was a little intimidating. But you just go into it as if you're doing a romantic comedy, and the more serious you take it, the better it turns out. I hope.
How did you get involved with the movie?
I sort of came onboard before there was a script, and it was just an idea, and the guys were going to try to get the project greenlit by doing a trailer--or what would be the trailer to the movie. And so we did a day of shooting of what the tone of the movie would be. It was unique. I had never done anything like that, and it was sort of unconventional. And it was just fun. It was nice to work with them, and they were awesome, and it was really funny. And then they tested that trailer with audiences, I guess, and figured out that they wanted to make the movie.
What did you do in this demo trailer? Was anything carried over into the actual movie?
The trailer was essentially just me walking down the street looking all sad and depressed, and then I look up and I see my true love. And then it's us sort of running together in slow motion. And my arms go out and I knock over this poor little old lady, and just like gags while the slow motion is happening. The boobs joke was there, because they cut from the guy to me, and then I have these enormous boobs that are jiggling. So that was similar. And they had the narration going on, "From the producers of Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, and the guys who brought you Scary Movie..." [laughs] It was fun.
At the start of the movie, your character is overweight. What was it like in the fat suit, and how long did it take to get into all that makeup?
Two hours of makeup just for the face and the arms, and then the actual suit part...Probably a good half an hour of trying to wiggle your way in. And I think the final count was ten days of it--two of which, for the dance sequence, were probably the worst days of my life, because it was that horrible heat wave we had over the summer, and it was in the high 90s. And the suit is quite warm anyway. [laughs] I'm just drenched with sweat by the end of the day. It's incredible. I mean, not to sound totally gross, but any water I drank, I sweated it all out. It was insanely hot. And the first couple days of the movie, we did the restaurant scenes first, so I started out the movie that way. Which was really nice, because I could get a sense of how the character was before [her transformation]. But people on set the third day, when I came out just as me, were like, "Oh hi, nice to meet you." [laughs] I'm like, "[I'm] the same person!" I mean, the makeup was phenomenal. It looked so realistic. It was just amazing.
We heard you had an embarrassing encounter with Hugh Grant, who is parodied in the movie...
Yeah. It was so humiliating, and of course, it happens to me. Well, Hugh Grant was doing American Dreamz right next to our stage. It was the same lot. And I've always thought he's very charming and cute. And so of course, when I'm walking to and from set, I'm like, [excitedly] "Where's Hugh Grant? Where's Hugh Grant?" The two times I saw him...One, I was in the big suit, like right after they had hosed me down, so I was just a mess. And the other time, I was normal, but I had just gotten this huge prosthetic zit on my chin. And I think that was the first time I met him. And I was just like, "Oh, God. Of course I have to have a two inch zit on my chin."
What did he say to you?
He was like, "What are they doing to you?" [laughs] He was really polite and sweet. And I told him we might be spoofing him.
Speaking of the zit, what exactly was that stuff they had you lick off the mirror after it pops?
[laughs] It was tapioca pudding.
Of all the movie parodies shot, which was your favorite to do?
Oh, that's such a tough question. I don't know. I really have such a warm spot in my heart for the singing around the table. I guess that's My Best Friend's Wedding. But that was like the third day of filming, and it was the first day that everybody was there, and it was just so much fun. And to watch [Jennifer Coolidge and Fred Willard]...They were just hysterical. So I really love that.
Were any of the parodies last minute additions? The Lord of the Rings? King Kong?
The King Kong they definitely threw in once the trailer was released on the internet for King Kong. Because they hadn't seen the movie, so they watched the trailer. And that was like the last day of shooting. I think the studio was happy enough to give them extra money, because I think that's the most expensive thing in the movie. [laughs] But no, The Lord of the Rings was always there. Major things didn't come in and change or anything. We might try something on a different take, but I think it stayed pretty much to the script. We didn't have big changes throughout or anything.
Do you personally like romantic movies?
Oh yes. And I'm slightly scared that I've completely sabotaged any chances of ever being in a real romantic movie, but that's all right. [laughs] This was fun to do. But yeah, I'm such a sucker for romance.
Were you doubled for all of your character's dance sequences?
I did do some of the dance stuff. But all the good stuff is a dance double, and she saved my life, because like I said...those heat waves. And that was the second day, and I think I probably would have just collapsed. But she was amazing. All the closeup stuff, all the stuff that doesn't look that good is me. [laughs] But all the fancy long shots, like her in the middle of the street doing all that...She was phenomenal...And my stunt double as well. I want to give her props because she was put through the ringer on this movie.
What about the bumfight scene? Having done fight choreography on Buffy, did you say, "That's right up my alley!" when they asked you to rain blows upon the homeless?
[laughs] Oh, no! That one, I was like, "Really? Do you think? You sure about this? Because it just seems so horrible." But you know, it was very interesting to do a fight and be so happy about it. [laughs] Because I'm so used to doing the like "No, don't bite me!" fight. So to do the happy "Woo-hoo! Oh, this is lovely and romantic!" was definitely a change. But really, what was going on in that scene was my shoes were flying off like every single take. We had to tape them to the bottoms of my soles. It was just masking tape and duct tape and every kind of tape you can imagine. But I would do a kick, and my shoe would be in the tree. [laughs] So I don't recommend wearing those cute little Marc Jacobs shoes if you ever get into a street fight, because they don't stay on.
You and Tony Cox have a pretty outrageous kiss in this movie. Surely it will be recognized by the MTV Movie Awards for Best Kiss, yes?
I hope so! I did all my own stunts there. The chicken wing? All me! [laughs] I'm really hoping that Tony and I at least get a nomination. Come on, MTV! Come on! It's got to do something, right?
So do you think we'll ever see more of your Buffy character Willow?
You know, every once in a while, something will surface where it's like, "Well, now they're talking about doing this." And I just have no idea. I would never say never, but it seems like it's probably not. But I don't know. I think what they should do is start with the Spike movie and see what happens. But [Buffy creator Joss Whedon] is busy. He's got to do his Wonder Woman!
They're talking about doing a movie on the character of Spike?
Yeah, they've been talking about that since the show wrapped, I think. But I think that's the logical first step.
Are you still close to Joss?
Yeah. [My husband] and I are godparents to his son. And we see him all the time.
Any chance he'll put you in Wonder Woman?
I told him I wanted to be the invisible jet. [laughs] I've given him plenty of ideas, but no, I just want to go watch him shoot. We keep giving him all the cheesy ideas for Wonder Woman.