20 Things to Know About Shawn Levy’s THE INTERNSHIP From Our Set Visit

     May 1, 2013

Over the past few years, I’ve been extremely lucky as I’ve been able to visit a lot of movies when they’ve been filming around the globe.  However, no matter where you get to go, visiting a movie set is usually the same: you spend hours watching from a distance, during a break in shooting you conduct interviews, and the production is always careful what you get to see while on set.  But when 20th Century Fox invited me to the set of director Shawn Levy‘s The Internship, it was a unique opportunity, because unlike most set visits that have a number of journalists visiting on the same day, I spent the day with only two other reporters, and we had a ton of freedom to watch what we wanted and take in the production on our own terms.  It turned out to be the perfect way to watch Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn work on a very funny scene.

If you’re not familiar with The Internship, which opens June 7th, the film reteams the Wedding Crashers stars as two out-of-work salesmen who attempt to reinvent themselves by competing against young up-and-comers for an internship at Google.  The film also stars Max MinghellaRose ByrneDylan O’Brien, and Jessica Szohr.  As you might imagine, there’s plenty of opportunity to showcase Vaughn and Wilson being ill equipped to handle modern technology in funny ways.  Hit the jump for more.

Before going any further, if you haven’t seen the trailer, I’d watch that first.

the internship poster owen wilsonDuring my day on set I learned a lot about the making of The Internship.   Here are 20 things to know about the film:

  • 5% of the movie is an idealization of what Google is really like, and the rest is real.
  • Vaughn and Wilson had been looking to reunite onscreen for a while, but they wanted it to be something that was original and made sense.
  • Vaughn came up with the idea for the film when he was watching a 60 Minutes special on Google and saw that the work environment there was so completely different from what he was raised to think that a work environment was supposed to be.
  • Vaughn wanted to work with Shawn Levy again after collaborating with him on The Watch, which Levy produced.
  • Levy liked the idea of putting characters in a situation for which they are completely unequipped.
  • They filmed the movie without a mandate for an R-rating or a PG-13 rating, but Vaughn says there isn’t as much sexual dialogue as Wedding Crashers. They played the scenes honestly, using “adult language” when needed, and gave themselves options in the editing room.
  • the-internship-vince-vaughn-owen-wilson-shawn-levyLevy only wanted to cast actors who were comfortable with improv, so Vaughn and Wilson would sit in on the auditions for the young cast members and improv scenes, and some of those scenes made it into the finished film.
  • When Levy has a question about something, he calls Google to get an answer.
  • At the end of the day, the movie is about still having a dream and these two guys looking for their second act in life.
  • Levy says there’s also a romantic aspect to the film with Rose Byrne playing an executive at Google who gets involved with Owen Wilson’s character.
  • Very early on in the process, Vaughn met with the people at Google to start a relationship with them and see if they would be open to the idea of being used in the film.
  • Vaughn first pitched the idea of The Internship to Levy on the set of The Watch. They quickly moved on it once Levy committed to directing, and he spent four months significantly re-writing the script with Vaughn and Jared Stern.
  • the-internship-vince-vaughnLevy filmed multiple versions of jokes so that they can decide whether to go R or PG-13 once they get into the editing room. He says that the film will either be R or a highly edgy PG-13.
  • There are a number of cameos in the film from many familiar faces.
  • One of the big takeaways Levy incorporated from Google is the fact that they have a bunch of whiteboards all over the campus with riddles and mind puzzles on them that the Googlers will take turns solving it like in Good Will Hunting except everyone is Will Hunting.
  • Levy will change shots on the fly if someone starts riffing one a good piece of improv.
  • In addition to the film’s comedic aspects, Levy saw an opportunity with The Internship to tell an underdog story.
  • A big theme to the story is the generation gap between the 20-year-olds who are glued to their phones and Vince and Owen’s characters who are trying to get them to connect to the outside world.
  • the-internship-vince-vaughn-owen-wilson-dylan-obrienLevy has started editing as he goes, so when he notices an opportunity for another joke or a reaction shot, he can shoot it during production instead of seeing the missed opportunity in post-production.
  • Also during the editing process, Levy can have friends and family screenings early on in the post-production process in order to get feedback, which allows him to re-edit the movie before the studio sees it at the first recruited screening.
  • The soundtrack for the film will be a mixture of old and new.  There’s a classic rock song that Levy hopes to use that is relevant to the characters.
  • Levy wanted to build the younger characters around the actors that he brought in, and he was open to input from the actors.
  • All the monitors on the screens at Google will have something accurate on them.  They have one person in charge of making sure hundreds of monitors are correct.

internship-owen-wilson-vince-vaughnFinal Words:

I’m a big fan of Vaughn and Wilson.  When they have the right material, they always make me laugh.  The premise of the two of them being interns at Google and completely out of touch with technology seems like a winning formula.  And based on what I saw and learned on set, I can’t wait to see the finished product.

The Internship opens June 7th.  For more on the film, here’s my 30 minute on set interview with Vaughn, Wilson and Levy and some new images.

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