MILA KUNIS on 'FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL' Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
June 27, 2007 (Introduction updated April 2008)
In the self-described "romantic disaster comedy" Forgetting Sarah Marshall, struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) finds himself in a world of emotional torment after getting dumped by his actress girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). Constantly reminded of her, Peter decides to escape to Hawaii for a much-needed vacation, only to find that Sarah and her new boyfriend, rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), are staying at the same hotel. The entire getaway becomes a string of awkward encounters, but Peter finds solace with a girl named Rachel (Mila Kunis), an employee of the hotel with whom he seems to click.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall continues a series of beloved hit comedies produced by Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson that includes The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad. Jason Segel of TV's How I Met Your Mother and Apatow's short-lived Freaks and Geeks serves double duty as star and screenwriter of the film, which features cameos by several Apatow regulars like Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, and Bill Hader.
While the movie was shot mostly on location in Hawaii, some of it was filmed in Los Angeles, with the City of Angels masquerading as a tropical paradise. Last year, we had the opportunity to visit one of the LA sets, where Jason Segel and Mila Kunis were shooting a day's worth of bar scenes. The duo filmed a few relationship-centered moments, and Jason did some entertaining singing (his character has the odd aspiration of putting together a Dracula musical). In between takes, director Nicholas Stoller showed us clips from the hilarious Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime, the fake forensics drama in which the character of Sarah Marshall stars. Pop culture fans will get a kick out of the various TV and film references to be found in this movie.
During a short break, we also had the opportunity to speak to stars Jason Segel and Mila Kunis. In this interview, Mila talks about working on the project and shooting in Hawaii--from having a mishap with a jet ski to falling in love with island life to discovering that she has a dirty, dirty mouth. (Okay, that sounded a bit more lascivious than how it actually went down. But isn't that standard entertainment journalism?)
MEDIA: Your character Rachel really doesn't like people doting on her. Do you personally think doting is a big turn-off?
MILA: Oh, I think it's absolutely disgusting. Yeah, I do think it's a turn-off because people have to be independent, you know what I mean? You have to be your own person, so I do think that is a turn-off.
Although it can be hard to resist wanting to do something nice for a girl...
Yeah, but being a gentleman and being chivalrous is not the same as doting. I'm still like [sighs] if my boyfriend opens the door. I'm like, "That's so cute!" But I don't need everything done for me. Like don't get me wrong--if I come home and I'm tired and there's dinner on the table, that's okay. But like if I'm thirsty, I don't need people [scrambling to serve me]. Like I have feet, I have legs--thank God they're all working--I can get things for myself.
Do you think Rachel is the type who chronically dates bad guys and is trying to change?
She dated one bad guy, and then I don't think she's looking for anything. She lives in Hawaii, she broke up with her boyfriend, she stayed in Hawaii, and then she meets Jason's character. And I don't think either one of them are looking for love in any type of matter, and I think they just accidentally bond over the same thing, where they both didn't know who they were during their relationships. And I think that it's a very funny relationship that these two have because it's like over a five day week, so it's like their love is sparked really fast. I guess I wouldn't say she's looking for the right love--I just don't think she's looking for anything.
Jason said he got to fight a boar and hang off a cliff, so apparently there's some action to go with the comedy...
Did you get involved in any of that action?
This is a loaded question because I don't, but I did accidentally. [laughs] No, I don't technically have to do anything physical in this movie other than tread water. And we're in this ocean, and to get to this water, I had to take a jet ski. And when I got off the jet ski, the jet ski and I collided, and I ripped my neck off. [gestures to her neck] Like this whole part is all make-up. And that's about as exciting as that story got. But none of this is for the movie! This is just my own stupidity getting to set. While Jason is hanging off the cliff, I'm like treading water. That's about as dramatic as that got.
Ripped your neck off? Are you all right?
Oh, yeah! Totally. I didn't know I did anything. Like I got out of the water and they're like, "What is on your neck?!" And it's like blood. But it healed really well. I'll tell you: Neosporin, A-okay!
In one scene, Rachel is accused of having an angry face. Have you gotten that comment yourself, or are you just making exaggerated faces for the movie?
I hope I'm making faces for the movie! I came home last night, because we did this [scene] yesterday, and I asked my boyfriend, "Do I naturally have an angry face?" [laughs] And he goes, "Yeah, sometimes!" I hope it's not true and I hope he's f*cking with me. [laughs] I don't know...It's very likely that I might.
So how did you come to be a part of this movie?
I don't have a clue. Someone f*cked up somewhere is what happened. [laughs] No, about nine months ago, I got a call to do a table read for the script. And it was like one of those table reads where a bunch of actors get together and you just hear the script out loud to see if it's going to be made, and if it is, by who--that type of deal. And it was for Judd, and I met with Judd and Shauna previously, and I've always wanted to work with them. So this came along and I was like, "Yeah, of course I'll do the table read." And then four months after that, they called me, and they're like, "Come in, we want to talk to you...The movie's getting made and we really want you to be a part of it." And I was like, "Hell yeah, score!" That's about it. So I really don't know why I'm here.
What were some of your favorite things about shooting in Hawaii?
Are you kidding me? Okay, first off...Where do I begin? It's Hawaii. I currently live in LA in the midst of West Hollywood, so my backyard is cars and dog poop and smog. My backyard in Hawaii was literally the ocean. So to wake up every morning and have a cup of coffee...And to get to set, I had to walk on the beach. Okay? Life could be so much worse! The people were great. I learned to surf. I was around an amazing crew, amazing cast. I have nothing negative to say about Hawaii. Like I want to move there so bad right now, you don't even understand. After being there for two months, I miss the beach. I've never been a big beach lover whatsoever. I've never been a surfer, [but now] I currently own a surfboard. I've driven a jet ski. Like I'm not very adventurous. I'm a huge klutz. I will fall, I will trip--like that's kind of what I do. So in this whole vacation, I opened up my mind. It was so great. I took hikes. It was so, so amazing.
Have you gotten pretty good at surfing?
Well, I don't want to brag...However, I can stand! That's about it. [laughs] That's my big move. I can stand, though. Let me just tell you...Do you surf?
No. I don't think I'd be coordinated enough to even do the stand...
See, my point! I didn't think I could, either. Yes, you can. Yes, you can! Because I have two left feet, and if I can stand, so can anybody. And then we went on the water kayaks, where you kind of ride waves. That was crazy fun! You flip...It's rad. And there's turtles everywhere. I don't even know where to begin about how it was. I want to go back to Hawaii! [laughs] I want to kind of transport everybody that I love in LA to Hawaii and live there--like my mom, my dad, my boyfriend, my dogs, my best friends. I'd like to open up a commune. It'd be great.
Do you currently have a favorite scene from the movie?
It was a scene [with] Jack McBrayer, who plays Kenny the Page on 30 Rock, who I think is one of the most brilliant comedians...He is so f*cking funny! [He and Maria Thayer] play like this young Mormon couple checking into the hotel, and I'm checking them in...So without giving too much away...They're Mormons, they're waiting to have sex. And she's really horny and he's confused and stuff, so she starts kind of hugging him sexually, and he's like, "Honey, what's gotten into you?" And she goes, "Well, not you." And then literally, I'd say for a good 12, 15 minutes, I could not stop laughing. That's my favorite scene only because I was in hysterics. Like you know when you laugh and you cry? That's where I was. I was in hysterical laughter...I'm like, "You gotta promote Jack McBrayer!" He is brilliant in this movie. Just absolutely brilliant. Just so funny.
During the shoot today, you had to stop and collect yourself after a fit of laughing. How do you compose yourself after you crack up and lose it?
I don't get thrown by like a curve ball of a new line, I get thrown by obscure random crap, [where] chances are, the actor will break himself. Like when things don't make sense when you say them, you're both going to laugh. You just close your eyes and you go for it! [laughs] Half the time I don't [compose myself]. I enjoy laughing, and I know I'm not supposed to, but I actually really like the feeling of laughter. So I excuse it on my character. I'm like, "My character would laugh." I don't know if they're buying it, though.
Has it been easy going into R-rated mode for this film?
Apparently, I curse a lot. I learned this in this production...I didn't know I had like a sailor's mouth. And I do!...I don't know why!...My dad's not going to be proud. A lady's not supposed to curse! I stopped being a lady.