Akiva Schaffer Talks THE WATCH, HOT ROD, If Digital Shorts Will Continue on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and THE LONELY ISLAND

     July 25, 2012


Opening this weekend is director Akiva Schaffer’s (Hot Rod) sci-fi comedy The Watch (previously titled Neighborhood Watch).  The film stars Vince Vaughn,Jonah HillBen Stiller and Richard Ayoadeas a group of neighbors who form a local neighborhood watch group and end up stumbling onto an alien plot to destroy the world.  The film also stars Billy Crudup, Will Forte, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Nicholas Braun.  For more on the film, here’s the latest trailer, a red band trailer, an outtake reel, and all our previous coverage.

The other day I got to sit down with Schaffer for an extended interview.  As a fan of Hot Rod, his digital shorts on SNL, and The Lonely Island, it was one of those interviews that I was really looking forward to.   Thankfully, Schaffer was willing to talk about anything, and during our wide ranging conversation we talked about how The Watch came together, directing such a great cast, deleted scenes, and what will be on the eventual Blu-ray.  In addition, I asked why the Hot Rod Blu-ray is out of print, if the digital shorts will continue now that Andy Samberg has left SNL, and whether The Lonely Island will ever tour or do any sort of concert.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

the-watch-movie-posterAs usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you.  But for all you Lonely Island fans, I’ve transcribed what he said about their future plans and it’s below the video.  Again, The Watch opens this weekend.

Akiva Schaffer Time Index:

  • 0:25  – Director Akiva Schaffer talks about the challenge of getting Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade to sign on to The Watch.  He promotes the script as the catalyst that brought them all together.
  • 2:00 – Corralling Stiller, Vaughn, Hill and Ayoade was a challenge for Schaffer, who says they’re as chatty as a group of teenage girls.
  • 2:55 – Schaffer comments on which scene required the most takes.  As he shot The Watch on digital, he ended up with 45 minutes of footage for a four-sentence scene.
  • 4:20 – The first cut of The Watch was two hours and fifty-five minutes, but was never intended to be seen outside of Schaffer and his editor.
  • 5:10 – Schaffer talks about the deleted scenes, extended scenes and gag reel that will appear on the eventual DVD/Blu-ray.
  • 5:50 – Schaffer’s film Hot Rod hasn’t been released on Blu-ray and the director comments on that.
  • 7:05 – Schaffer talks about a cameo in The Watch that features himself and his The Lonely Island cohorts.
  • 7:45 – Regarding a tour for The Lonely Island, Schaffer talks about past logistical problems and the reason even one-off shows would be difficult to pull off.
  • 10:25 – Schaffer comments on Samberg leaving Saturday Night Live and whether or not there is still room for digital shorts on the show.
  • 11:20 – Schaffer further talks about making a new album for The Lonely Island and a possible feature adaptation.

Akiva-SchafferCollider: I asked Andy (Samberg) and I’ll ask you, what’s it going to take for a concert?  What’s going on?

Akiva Schaffer:  I don’t know.  We’ve always wanted to and we never…it’s always one of our faults.  For the last 14 months, it’s been my fault because I’ve been working on this movie.  I wasn’t at SNL, I wasn’t around to do anything else, I was just doing this movie.  And then before that it was Jorm’s (Taccone) fault, because he was gone on MacGruber for a year.  And then every time we’d get a little window where we could tour, it’s usually been so long since our last record, we go, “Well, we would need a new record to tour anyway.”

I’m going to respectfully disagree.  I think even if you guys did a special at Radio City or some crazy thing, it would be a mad house.

Schaffer:  Well that would be fun.  We’ve talked about trying to do one big special and then the real reason we can’t do one-off shows like, we’ll get offered, say Coachella or something, and we go, “Oh, well we are free that weekend.  That’d be fun.”  But we don’t have a show.  Most bands have been doing a show and they have a whole worked out thing and then if they get offered something like Radio City or Coachella, they go, “Oh yeah, we’ll do our show there.” And they do rehearsals, you really try to make it a nice show so that people aren’t disappointed, whereas because we’ve never done a show, we don’t have a built in show to do.  I don’t know exactly how we’d play the music or the details; is it a DJ? Is it a live band? Is it just singing along to the record?

The-Lonely-IslandI have a very strong interest and I’m speaking for the fans, I’m talking to you like, “You’ve got to make this happen!” as a fan.  When I put on Twitter that I was talking to you, there were a lot of people wondering, “Will there be a show? Can I see them?” Or at least maybe a TV special and HBO puts it on.

Schaffer:  Right, right.  Well, we’d love to.  But even those HBO specials, when it’s a comedian, they go tour it for a while, get it right and then they go, “Alright, now it’s time for the HBO version of it.”  As opposed to, with us, if it was just for that, literally our first concert ever would be the one that you would see on TV.  We just want to make sure it’s good, I guess is my point.  So every time it’s a one-off thing, we’re like, “We can’t just show up and do it.”  Really, we would need a couple weeks before that to make sure it’s good and then do it.  So, it’s more just a matter of finding that time, as opposed to the other things, but we’d want to.

The-Lonely-IslandMy last question for you, do you think there’s a chance, obviously a new record, but what about making a feature film of you guys together?  Have you guys even opened that talk?

Schaffer:  Yeah, there’s nothing I’d like more than to make a new album with the guys and make some sort of movie with the guys.  It’s just a matter of if one of us ruins it again the way that we keep doing, but we’ve taken very even turns: Andy disappeared to go make the Sandler movie (That’s My Boy), I disappeared to make this, Jorm disappeared to make that.  It’s a very balanced version of one of us screwing it up for the group; we all take our turns doing it.  And we all make it a priority in between each one to get back together.  But I feel like we’re on the cusp right now of another back together moment. 

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