Opening October 4th, Stuart Zicherman’s hilarious comedy A.C.O.D. centers on Carter (Adam Scott), a seemingly well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce with a successful career. When his younger brother (Clark Duke) announces he’s getting married, Carter suddenly finds himself revisiting the chaos of his parents’ ugly divorce. Trying to reunite his bitterly divorced parents (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) and their new spouses (Amy Poehler and Ken Howard) for the wedding proves more than he bargained for, so he turns to his wacky therapist (Jane Lynch) for advice.
At a wildly irreverent roundtable interview, Scott and Duke talked about what drew them to the roles, their reaction when they first read the script, why having a well written script made their jobs easier, how their real-life friendship helped them develop a genuine brotherly rapport on screen, what it was like having Poehler play their bitchy stepmother, being deputized on set by SAG President Ken Howard, and brandishing a sidearm and SAG card to get into strip clubs while shooting in Atlanta. They also discussed what they’re working on next including Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (which they revealed will hit theaters March 2014), a new season of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Hit the jump to read the interview.
ADAM SCOTT: It was really fun because usually we’re just making googly eyes at each other on the show, on Parks and Recreation. So it was fun to just hate each other’s guts. I remember when I asked her to do it, I just said, “Would you like to come play my stepmother? Don’t worry, we’re the same age.” Because we are the same age in real life. Luckily, she said, “Yeah.” I was really excited that she even considered doing it. But yeah, it was a blast. It’s just always fun working with Amy in whatever capacity. Sometimes I even do yard work for her and it’s fun.
How scripted were your performances with Amy because sometimes she can just go totally off?
SCOTT: The movie is pretty much all scripted. There’s not much improvisation at all in the movie. It was a strong script. There’s no need for it. And there wasn’t much time to mess around just because we had to shoot the whole thing so quickly.
When you’re playing characters like this, how do you keep them grounded in reality?
CLARK DUKE: Well, the script is pretty grounded. I mean, like Adam said, it goes along with you don’t have to improv a lot if the script is good. A good script makes our job a lot easier.
SCOTT: Yeah. Like Clark said, the script is very grounded in reality. We could all relate to certain bits of it, and so it all starts with that. And the atmosphere and the tone that Stu (director Stu Zicherman) was setting with the movie was a very real, grounded one.
This comedy comes out of the dysfunction of a family, but you two have one of the tamer, more genuine relationships of brotherly love. How did you go about establishing the chemistry and working together?
DUKE: Well it probably helped that we knew each other beforehand and were friends before the movie, so we didn’t have as much of an acclimation period, I guess. I have a brother. I only have one sibling, a younger brother, so I tapped into that. As to how to play it, I probably related more to Adam’s character [when I was] reading it. When you have a cast this good, nothing’s too hard.
SCOTT: Yeah. We never even talked about it. We just did it. We just shot the scenes. But Clark and I get along in regular life so that just carries over into the movie.
And obviously you bring him along to help do Amy’s yard work?
SCOTT: Yes, we all work full time for Amy.
DUKE: She’s a taskmaster.
SCOTT: At her mansion.
DUKE: Her manse.
Does she have a lot of animal-shaped topiary?
DUKE: If we knew how to do that, she would.
SCOTT: Clark and I are in charge of all of her wigs.
DUKE: (laughs) And merkins.
SCOTT: Uh huh.
SCOTT: I just read it and immediately wanted to do it back I guess it’s now a couple of years ago. I thought it was really funny. It reminded me of Flirting with Disaster which is one of my favorite movies. I saw it as really smart, really funny, and I was already a fan of Ben Karlin and Stu. So, I didn’t even hesitate. I just tried to get the job immediately. At that point, there was no other cast signed onto it, so it was a steady stream of these wonderful surprises of amazing people that they were getting to fill out the rest of the roles.
DUKE: The same. I just read the script. You get sent scripts all the time and about 95 percent of them are unreadable and terrible. So when you get a really good one, it stands out. I mean, that’s just the truth. Most of them are just god awful.
DUKE: And yes, so to get a good one, I think the only person involved was you at that point, and I went to the table read and just tried to actively go, “I want to do the movie.” So I did!
Ken Howard even handed you a check for $10,000 in the movie. (Howard is the National President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG))
DUKE: (laughs) He did.
It would have been nice if it was real.
DUKE: (to Adam) Did you vote for Ken?
SCOTT: Of course.
DUKE: Okay. I was just checking.
SCOTT: He was elected.
SCOTT: Yeah, he did, like a week or two ago.
How is having the actual union boss on set with you?
SCOTT: Super scary.
DUKE: No riff raff on set. No grace periods for lunch.
DUKE: Just ended right on time every day.
SCOTT: That’s right. He carries a pistol.
DUKE: (laughs) Yeah. He’s a licensed deputy and a SAG actor.
SCOTT: He deputized Clark and I during the movie and we each got a firearm.
DUKE: And immediately abused it.
DUKE: I would waive mine at cars.
SCOTT: Clark would take off all his clothes and run around.
DUKE: We were in Atlanta so I’d go to a lot of strip clubs with the gun, and I’d pull out my SAG card, and they were like, “Oh…just got to put up with it.”
SCOTT: A sidearm and a SAG card.
What’d they say? “You can’t bring that in here! Oh, you’re SAG.”?
SCOTT: Yup. “Oh yeah, no problem.”
DUKE: “Sorry, sir.”
DUKE: Hmmm. Well, we don’t have the authority to deputize anyone.
DUKE: It’s all at Ken’s discretion.
DUKE: You’ll have to take it up with Ken.
How was it working with Jane who’s playing what’s become a recurring role for her as a therapist or form of therapist?
DUKE: Has she played a therapist before?
DUKE: In Role Models, I guess. Was she a therapist in that?
Kind of, and then on Two and a Half Men she played Charlie Sheen’s therapist off and on for a few seasons.
SCOTT: Oh really.
You would think that’d be a reason why she’d never want to play a therapist again, but she seems to have embraced it.
SCOTT: That’s funny.
She just played one in Touchy Feely, Lynn Shelton’s latest movie.
SCOTT: That’s interesting. Wait. I saw that. She wasn’t in that. Touchy Feely? Jane was in Touchy Feely?
Oh, no! Afternoon Delight. I’m sorry.
SCOTT: Right. She was great in Afternoon Delight, for sure. Hilarious.
Clark, where’d you go after you got thrown out of the garage?
DUKE: In the movie? I don’t know. Maybe I go back. It’s open ended. (laughs) Oh no, I guess I got an apartment or something.
The end of the movie is perfect because we didn’t know who was getting married.
DUKE: Yeah, exactly. I think it’s me though.
Was it filmed so that you actually knew who was getting married?
DUKE: No. We didn’t shoot that. It wasn’t like a choice later. We didn’t know.
Do you think that Stu and Ben (co-writer Ben Karlin) know and they just won’t tell you?
DUKE: I don’t know. (to Adam) Did they ever say anything to you about who’s getting married at the end?
SCOTT: No, I don’t think they know.
Even the ones that are getting married don’t know?
SCOTT: (laughs) Exactly. We didn’t know when we were shooting it.
DUKE: Nope. They never have told me.
What do you have coming up next?
DUKE: Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
SCOTT: We’re both in Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Parks and Rec starts tonight. And then, I’m in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that comes out on Christmas. And then, I think Hot Tub comes out in the spring.
DUKE: In March.
With The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, had you seen the original before coming into this one?
SCOTT: Yeah. I saw it years ago and loved it. This is very, very different from the original, for sure. I mean, the story itself, the Thurber story is so short that any movie that’s made of it is going to have to wildly extrapolate from what it was. It’s a really good movie.