Ken Marino and Joe Lo Truglio are two members of one of the best sketch comedy groups of all time, The State. Their show ran on MTV back during the mid-to-late 90’s, and for anyone that grew up during that period, The State was a comedy force to be reckoned with. In the years since The State, Marino and Lo Truglio have gone on to bigger and better things: Marino created and starred in Starz’ dearly-departed service-industry comedy Party Down, while Lo Truglio has popped up in a number of great comedies– Superbad, and this month’s Paul, just to name a few. Collider.com’s Scott Wampler sat down with Marino and Lo Truglio in Austin, TX recently to chat about their upcoming projects, including a potential Party Down movie, their horror film, Burnt, and their next collaboration with director (and former State member) David Wain, Wanderlust. Read on for that interview after the jump, folks…
If you were born in the 80’s and raised in the 90’s, MTV’s The State was probably one of your preferred sketch-comedy shows (assuming you have good taste in sketch comedy, of course). Like HBO’s Mr. Show, The State was an absurdist-comedy showcase featuring a sprawling cast of comedians (and, in The State‘s case, one comedienne) who all went on to bigger and better things once their show wrapped up: Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant went on to write a few blockbuster comedy scripts in addition to creating (and starring in) Comedy Central’s Reno 911; Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter went on to star in Comedy Central’s Michael and Michael Have Issues; David Wain went on to be a successful director who’s got another film– the Paul Rudd/Jennifer Aniston-starring Wanderlust— opening later this year. The State also featured work from Ken Marino (the “I’m gonna dip my BALLS in it!” guy) and Joe Lo Truglio, both of which have found their own success post-MTV. Marino helped create and starred in Starz’ Party Down, and Lo Truglio has popped up in a number of comedy films that are probably sitting in your collection right now: Superbad, Pineapple Express, Role Models, and I Love You, Man.
The other day we sat down with Marino and Lo Truglio (as well as Marino’s lovely wife, Erica Oyama) just to see what they’ve been up to lately, what we can expect from them in the near future, and to find out what the hell’s going on with that persistently-rumored Party Down movie. The conversation itself is a little all-over-the-map, though, so on the off-chance that you just want the information without all the shenanigans, here’s the noteworthy moments:
* Marino and Lo Truglio’s horror script, Burnt, might be moving forward. The script concerns a “city girl” who’s “rescued” by a lonely giant, only to be attacked by a group of escaped convicts while laying low inside a cabin in the woods.
* Burnt isn’t a horror-comedy, but contains a few “winking” moments. It also isn’t a “pot movie”, though some of the characters do grow marijuana (a sin they’re later punished for).
* The next film Lo Truglio and Marino will have in theaters is David Wain’s Wanderlust, a comedy featuring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd. Lo Truglio plays a “nudist twine-maker”, while Marino plays Rudd’s “asshole brother”.
* Wanderlust will feature some amount of nudity, but right now, they’re not sure how much they’ll get away with.
* Ken Marino does a killer Michael Caine impression.
* After a recent Party Down marathon in Los Angeles, some of the show’s creators announced their intention to do a “small” Party Down movie. If you’ve done everything correctly, this should be the best news you’ve heard all day.
* While he’s been a part of the past few Grand Theft Auto games, Lo Truglio hasn’t yet been contacted about performing in Rockstar’s next GTA game.
Ken Marino: We just got here. We were on the plane an hour ago.
I thought you guys were at the Wet Hot American Summer screening last night?
Joe Lo Truglio: No, I was. They just got here.
Oh, gotcha. Well, how’d the screening go?
JLT: It went great!
Had you been to the Alamo Drafthouse before?
JLT: I hadn’t, and it’s a great place. Great idea to hold the screening there. Great crowd, and I hadn’t seen the film on a big screen in a long time.
KM: I think you’re thinking of a different movie. You were watching Jaws.
KM: You were watching Jaws. Jaws: The Revenge. Jaws 4.
Wasn’t that Jaws 5?
KM: No, it was Jaws 4. Jaws: The Revenge.
JLT: Well, what the hell happens in 4?
KM: That’s right. With Michael Caine (Marino then launches into a lengthy Michael Caine impression, none of which will be as funny in print as it was live. Rest assured, it was extremely funny and included dialogue from The Cider House Rules).
I coulda sworn that one was 5.
JLT: No, no, no– it was 4. That’s the one where the shark follows Elaine Brody down to the Bahamas. And now it’s after her.
KM: (As Michael Caine) Pull my finger. Pull my finger! I’m Michael Caine.
JLT: I remember that one. It was 1972. Him, Kevin James–
(Laughing) Kevin James?
JLT: Is that what you needed, Scott? Are we done here?
We’re done. That’ll do. I’ll print this up and we’re good.
I was reading an old interview with both of you guys this morning, and in it you mentioned a horror/comedy that you were both trying to get off the ground: Burnt. What’s going on with that?
JLT: Yeah! We met with someone who had interest in the script, and we’re in that phase where we’re…y’know, trying to pull it together. And it’s not really a horror/comedy, it’s more of a straight-up horror film.
KM: Although it does have some comedy in it. There’s a winking to it.
This is the one with a classic monster, weed, et cetera?
KM: It’s kids at a farmhouse getting attacked by, like, escaped convicts…
JLT: It’s Frankenstein meets Last House on The Left meets…
JLT: Yeah, Straw Dogs.
KM: Straw Dogs? That’s not really Straw Dogs.
KM: Well, OK, yeah–
Plus, you just said Dustin Hoffman’s going to be in it, right?
KM: Oh, yeah, he’s attached.
JLT: We’re very excited to have written a horror movie.
KM: And I will say this: since I’ve had children? Don’t really like horror movies.
Really? Why not?
KM: Because I don’t like to see people die.
KM: Yeah, the violence.
Erica Oyama: Yeah, we don’t really go for that anymore…
So, does it really bother you if you see a movie and, like, something happens to a kid? I’ve heard that once you’ve had kids, that happens.
KM: Oh, yeah.
EO: Yeah, like in The Dark Knight.
KM: Yep, The Dark Knight. We went to The Dark Knight when our son was born. We had a “Date Day”, y’know, where the babysitter shows up in the morning, we go to breakfast, and then–
EO: Catch the first movie of the day.
KM: Right. And we went and saw The Dark Knight, and there was so much anxiety and anarchy in that film, we just wanted to get outta there. He (ed. note: The Joker) is just going around killing people for no reason, and at the end, there’s a little kid at gunpoint, and we were just like, “Ugh”. And when I say “we”, I mean Erica and I, not me and Joe. Joe and I went to a different theater.
That’s understandable. But did ya like the movie, or did you–
KM: I loved the movie, I loved the movie. But it effected me in a very different way than when I was, like, twenty. Back then, I loved horror movies, and I loved movies like that– stuff with an anarchy to them, with chaos. Stuff that glorified violence and whatnot. It’s not as entertaining now. It effects me now in a way that it didn’t then. That being said, I can’t wait to make this horror film we’ve got going on now…
KM: Well, I haven’t talked to Joe about this yet, but yeah. Most of it takes place in a playground, but now we’re going to put down (soft stuff) all over the playground, so it’s not as dangerous (for the kids).
And you’re gonna have to cut all those scenes in the orphanage…
KM: Definitely! It’s more like Yo Gabba Gabba now. Have you seen that?
No, but it sounds delightful.
JLT: You should check that out.
KM: Yeah, it’s more Yo Gabba Gabba, less horror movie now.
Have you changed the script at all?
Well, yeah, but to be fair, he says you guys haven’t talked about this yet, so…
KM: (Laughs) Well, the joke answer is, yes, it’s changed the script. The real answer is: no, we haven’t. As a matter of fact, we started rewriting the script to make it…look, it’s still gonna be a horror film.
JLT: Have you seen Attack The Block yet?
Yeah, I have! That was the best movie I saw at SXSW.
JLT: Exactly. Best movie I’ve seen since Shaun of The Dead. Certainly comparable. One of the best things about that movie was the kids that they got, because they looked like…y’know, like kids, and that made it that much more suspenseful. And after I saw that, I was thinking about addressing that, maybe using that for our film.
JLT: It’s about a lonely, deformed giant that rescues a city girl from escaped convicts. That’s the logline. (To Ken) Would you agree with that? Is that how you’d describe it?
KM: Mmmyeah, I might put “rescue” in quotes, though.
JLT: (Nodding) Yeah, yeah.
KM: But other than that, I think that’s right.
JLT: Can I say something? And in no way does this mean that he’s attached, but I was lucky enough to visit Greg Nicotero’s effects shop, have a chat with him, and he was very kind to say that he would at least look at the script. So…
Awesome. Now, I know that you’ve both been involved with movies that feature a good amount of pot humor, but sometimes you’ll hear stories about studios asking people to tone down pot-related stuff in their scripts, or editing stuff down…what’s your experience been like with that? And do you feel like there’s any chance it’ll effect Burnt‘s chances of being made?
JLT: Well, there is a pot element in Burnt— the kids in the film are growing it, which is kind of controversial– but I think that…well, in the script, let’s say that they get their just desserts for that. There’s some justice to it, where they’re punished– in a way– for that sin. For the people that are financing (or who might finance) the movie, I think that makes that element a little more palatable. There’s a morality there.
That’s the formula for slasher movies: teenagers smoke pot, have sex, so they must be killed.
KM: In Wanderlust, people smoke pot, but the studio never said, “Don’t do that”. I think there’s a hesitation to make a stoner movie. Like, if that’s all the movie’s about. But if it’s just a part of the movie, that’s different. A stoner movie kind of alienates the crowd that…y’know…
Doesn’t smoke pot.
KM: Right. I haven’t seen Your Highness yet, and I hear it’s funny, but I think that because it’s seen as a “stoner movie”, some people wouldn’t want to see it.
Yeah. And it seemed like they might’ve toned that one down, so that’s why I ask–
Now, is Wanderlust— the David Wain-directed comedy starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston that you just finished making– period-specific, or is it set in modern day?
KM: No, no, it’s modern.
Cool. You guys are both in the film. Can you talk about your roles a bit? Have you seen a cut of the film yet?
JLT: I’ve seen parts of it, and I think it’s going to be really funny. I’m very excited for it to come out. I play a nudist twine-maker who’s also an aspiring novelist.
And that’s not the first time you’ve played that role before, is it?
KM: Yeah, you’re getting kinda typecast in that role.
JLT: I often play nudist twine-makers.
KM: It’s the fifth time this year.
Just not necessarily opposite Paul Rudd, of course.
KM: One time it was with Seth Rogen, one time it was with, uh…
KM: Tony Danza, that’s right. One time it was with that guy from That 70’s Show.
JLT: And the last time it was with Ruth Buzzi.
JLT: (Laughs) No, they didn’t.
(To Ken) And what are you doing in Wanderlust?
KM: I play Paul Rudd’s assh-le brother.
You realize your IMDB page doesn’t even have that listed on there?
KM: Lemme tell you something. I don’t understand how IMDB works. I don’t know who logs in the information. I’ve checked it a couple times and saw (something he was supposed to be listed in) that I wasn’t in there, and thought, “Well, I’m not gonna put it in there”, y’know?
JLT: They find out. Somehow, they find out.
Don’t they have, like, a staff of people that do that?
EO: I’ve been working as a writer lately, but I did do some acting years ago. So, somehow I’ve now got this thing on my page that’s like Cream Lemon: End of Journey. I don’t even know what that is.
KM: You were great in that!
What the hell is that?
EO: I have no idea, it’s just some strange Japanese movie that…I don’t even know. Maybe someone with the same name? But they’ve got my (correct) credits as a writer…
Couldn’t you contact the site and say–
EO: I tried! I’ve sent them messages.
KM: I don’t wanna diss IMDB, I just don’t know…I don’t know who’s running it. It could be computers. I’d like to talk to someone from IMDB.
EO: I think we should talk more about Wanderlust, though, because this is a long-gestating script that Ken and David wrote that they’ve been working on for years, and it’s been through so many changes…
KM: Erica did some rewrites on it.
EO: It’s hilarious, it’s–
KM: It’s really funny, people are gonna like it.
KM: They thought it was hilarious! They really liked it.
Awesome. Well, I’m looking forward to seeing it. How much nudity is actually in the movie? I mean, if it’s set in and around a nudist colony for most of the film–
JLT: I think that’s still to be decided.
By what? What the MPAA says that you can get away with? What I’m asking is, does the film actually contain a lot of nudity, or is it going to be blocked out naturally through editing?
JLT: My character’s nude a lot, but there is a lot of nudity in the movie.
EO: A lot of people are uncomfortable looking at a penis.
JLT: Who isn’t?!
Now, I’m a huge, huge fan of Party Down—
KM: Thank you!
In fact, I was just watching the episode this morning where you’re violently throwing up and begging for an ambulance. Can you tell me anything about a possible Party Down movie happening? What’s going on there?
KM: Well, we had a marathon– a Party Down marathon– in L.A. recently, and the creators announced that they were in talks to do a Party Down movie. Whether that happens or not, I dunno. They seemed confident enough to talk about it, so I’m confident enough to pass that information along to you. There’s a chance, but more than that…I dunno.
KM: I don’t think it has to do with DVD sales or a new cult– I mean, most of the fans watch the show while it was on the air or got it on Netflix– but it just kinda got this cult status because the people that really liked it latched onto it, and they spread it around to their friends…
EO: And it ended up on a lot of critics’ top ten lists.
KM: Right, critics really liked it. I think that the people who wanna fund it were just fans of the show and the writers and felt that there may be some value in doing a small movie with those characters.
I was really shocked at how great it was once I watched it. Not that I should be surprised, but sometimes with things like this, people oversell you on how great the show is. Party Down really was that great.
KM: Thank you, thank you.
JLT: I think the writing on that show is a testament to the show’s success. Or, the show’s success is a testament to how great the writing was. Which is usually the case: if the writing’s great, the show (gains a lot of fans).
KM: Except for porn.
JLT: Except for porn.
Ya think it’d be hard to write porn movies?
JLT: I think you could just Mad Lib it.
KM: Oh, yeah.
Just set up the scene and–
JLT: And let it go. That’s all there is to it.
Well, with that kind of attitude, you’re never going to make it in the porn business.
KM: I think porn’s kinda become inspired by UCB (ed. note: The Upright Citizens Brigade) in that it’s more about the improv these days.
Oh, Joe, I gotta question for you: you did a few voices in the Grand Theft Auto games. Has Rockstar approached you about doing a voice in the new game?
JLT: No! Not yet.
KM: There’s a new Grand Theft Auto?!
JLT: Yeah, can you believe it?
Well, they haven’t announced it officially, but they’ve been hiring voice actors, which is why I ask Joe if he’s been contacted yet.
JLT: I haven’t been contacted yet, but I had a lot of fun doing it. My favorite game that I did was The Warriors. Have you played it?
JLT: Well, have you seen the movie?
No again. I’ve got a copy that’s been sitting on my shelf for a year and a half, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.
JLT: It’s awesome. But it’s kinda funny, because the gangs in the movie aren’t really very intimidating: they were, like, purple vests and sh-t. Baseball jerseys. They don’t look very scary. But it’s a Walter Hill movie, so it’s awesome.
What’s the experience like, recording for video games?
JLT: You’re in spandex a lot, covered in ping-pong balls. Y’know, ’cause I did the mo-cap for it as well as the voice. It was fun. Not a lot of improv opportunity.
KM: My favorite part of Joe in Grand Theft Auto was walking into the fast food place where he worked and shooting him to death.
JLT: (Doing the dialogue from the game) “Hey, buddy, whatta you want? Cluck-Cluck’s about it…”
KM: And then you get shot.
JLT: Ken and I wasted an entire month of our lives completing that game.
KM: And at the end, you feel fulfilled and completely empty.
Hopefully you’ll get to be in the new one. I never finished a Grand Theft Auto game. Started ’em, but never finished one.
KM: We’re not like the young kids. We don’t use any cheats. But the young kids, they know what they’re doing (goes into old man voice). These young kids. With their video games. And their cheat codes.
JLT: And their mo-cap.
And their spandex.
KM: (Laughs) Yeah, and their spandex.
The interview went on for a few more minutes, but– unfortunately– my recorder failed to adequately pick up a lot of the audio. This means that I was unable to get the moment where Lo Truglio and Marino filled me in on the pilots they both shot (Lo Truglio’s got one for NBC, while Marino’s got one with Rob Riggle over at CBS), but you should absolutely keep your eyes peeled for those when they make it to air. Also, Lo Truglio tells me he’s a Collider reader, so…thanks for reading, Joe! Special thanks to Ryan and Brandy Fons with Fons PR for setting this one up, as well as to Tim League and the Highball for hosting our little beer-soaked conversation.
David Wain’s Wanderlust— starring Lo Truglio, Marino, Jennifer Aniston, and Paul Rudd– opens this August. Stay tuned to Collider for future news regarding the Party Down movie (fingers-crossed).