Sidecar Willy? We’re going to have to talk more about that.
Josh Meyers: And I’m Jimmy T. [pauses] Not as exciting of a name. [laughter] It got no reaction from the table. Sidecar Willy, everyone’s like, “Oh!”
Is that like the Jimmy Olsen kind of character?
Meyers: No, Jimmy T is just a prick. He’s an uppity sidekick is rubbing it in the face of Max (Benedict) who’s just lost his job as a sidekick.
Has to be one in every movie.
Meyers: Yeah and it always seems to be me. [laughter] That’s what I play!
Do you guys draw inspiration for your characters from any other comics?
Peele: Good question. Robbie Benedict wrote the movie and produced it and starred in it as well. I think he sort of wrote the characters toward us. Like Josh was saying, we all play sidekicks who are in this sidekick community and I think they’re slightly referential to people. The character that I’m the sidekick of, I don’t know if there’s a parallel to him. He’s like a super-fast Mad Max-y motorcycle guy. It rings true. I can’t point to an actual guy, but every different superhero had a bit of a different style and came from a bit of a different world and so did their sidekicks.
I’m assuming, since you are Sidecar Willy, you spend most of your time in a sidecar?
Peele: I actually don’t. I have the leather jacket, I’ve got the goggles, the sidecar is implied. It is implied.
Meyers: Don’t you have like a bad hip or something from riding? [laughter]
Peele: I was internalizing that.
Meyers: That’s good! That’s acting. We’ll see it when we watch it.
In talking about the costumes, did you guys have any input for what you had to wear or did they just present it to you?
Meyers: Mine was pretty much straight tight white Lycra. [laughter] My choice. I think also a white sort of underpants situation going on. I didn’t have a lot of input.
Peele: Certainly it was lofted up to us like, “Whatever input you guys have, bring it.” Rob’s a good friend of ours so there’s a lot of trust. He trusts in our experience and ability to put the piece together in character, but what we work off of well is seeing the outfit and that helping us create the character. It’s a lot of tights in this movie and it worked. When they first unveiled the Sidecar Willy thing, I just said, “Alright, that’s it. I see him.”
Meyers: Put me in white Lycra and then give me a spray tan, a little tinting in my hair, it’s amazing the jerk that will come out. [laughter] It’s so natural.
Peele: I didn’t even realize that you had a spray tan.
Meyers: Yeah, it was a slow start to the shooting day and it was the first thing we wanted to shoot and I was complaining, saying, “If this is the thing that’s holding us up, we might not need the spray tan.” Rob said, “No, we definitely need the spray tan.” We held shooting so that I could be a few shades browner.
Peele: Just for me to not even notice.
Meyers: Right. [laughter]
How long was the shoot and how long were you guys on it?
Meyers: I feel like they did four or five days maybe. I worked a day, you worked a couple.
Peele: I worked a couple, yeah. Both days we were in there maybe four or five hours. Two scenes. I still haven’t seen the movie, but one of the cool things about it is that there are so many funny people coming in. I think part of the world is getting that variety. Everybody has a scene.
Did you guys rehearse at all or was it just on set?
Meyers: It was on set. The scene that I was in was with Jordan, Ike Barinholtz, myself …
Peele: In a Laundromat.
Meyers: In a Laundromat. All friends for between 12 and 16 years, so it was not something that we needed to really work through. Pretty confident going in that it was going to be alright. It was very loose. We certainly got what was in the script but then we got a lot of things that weren’t on the page.
Peele: A lot of the humor in the film comes from just taking this heightened reality and placing it in the most casual, real conversation, real people with real problems, real flaws. It doesn’t play like any other kind of superhero world you’ve ever seen. It plays on such a small scale level, which is part of the satire on sidekicks. There’s this dude running around admittedly inferior to his partner. [laughter]
Meyers: And he knows he never aspired to be #1 because he knew he didn’t have it in him. He’s that kind of guy.
Meyers: I don’t know if we’d go web series, TV series, Adult Swim, something like that where we’d have 15-minute episodes, but I feel like Rob would like to expand and have the Sidecar Willy episode and the Jimmy T episode and have it be the kind of show where you could get a lot of good people to come in and do a week and have their episode and maybe pop in here and there, to have that freedom to not lock actors into something. And also have the joy of, “Oh, next week I’m doing my Sidekick episode!”
Peele: You’ve got to think that if it went to series it would just be a revolving door of comedic talent coming in and playing a new character; it would be an ever-expanding world. I think Sidecar Willly actually is a super-villain’s sidekick.
Meyers: He is, but they get along. And Martin Starr plays a villain, but they’re all friends, like they all went to the same high school. “We know you!”
Peele: Another part of the allegory, if I remember right, it feels like actors.
Meyers: It’s a bit of that, it’s a bit of Robbie’s mid-life crisis. [laughter] Which he wrote an article for on HuffPo, that exactly.
Our interview with Benedict, Caplan and Ritter can be found on page three.