Patton Oswalt on Charlize Theron, “Big Fan” fans and the comedy of “Young Adult” – AWARDS ALLEY
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Jason Reitman’s “Young Adult” finally opened in limited release last Friday, Dec. 9, though the dark comedy has been in the Oscar discussion for weeks.
Even before positive reviews started circulating, awards trackers highlighted “Adult” on their release calendars because it reunited Reitman with his “Juno” screenwriter, Diablo Cody (who won an Oscar the last time they collaborated). Then buzz started swirling around Charlize Theron’s performance as Mavis Gary, a self-centered author who heads back to her humble hometown to win back her ex-boyfriend (Patrick Wilson). And as more people started seeing the film, the conversation expanded to include Theron and her co-star, Patton Oswalt, who steals multiple scenes as Matt, Mavis’ former classmate who sees the shrew for who she really is.
“Adult” is a brutally honest comedy with a backbone, largely provided by Oswalt in his surprisingly dramatic scenes. He’s the ideal foil for Theron, and we talked about their chemistry, his “Big Fan” fans, and his efforts to distance himself from the natural instincts of a stand-up comic in a recent one-on-one interview. Here’s Patton Oswalt:
HollywoodNews.com: Jason Reitman told me earlier that you guys filmed in my hometown of Massapequa Park, NY, and I’m convinced that he’s pulling my chain.
Patton Oswalt: No, no. We did. We filmed in Upstate New York, and then went in and around Westchester County, so we went in and we used those suburbs. I was talking with one of the location scouts, and apparently there’s a lot of homogeny between suburbs all over the United States because when suburbs exploded, they used a lot of the same contractors, so if you travel from one suburb to the next, you’ll notice, “Oh, this is a lot of the same design.”
HollywoodNews.com: Which I’m sure you notice doing a lot of stand up.
Yes, exactly. I see a lot of that.
HollywoodNews.com: It bothers me how much I related to Mavis while watching this film.
I think everyone knows a Mavis. It can be female or male. So many people have been coming up to us after screenings and saying, “Oh, I know a Mavis.” But also, there’s something admirable and heroic about the fact that despite all odds, she is going to make things the way they were when she was 16, even though it’s obvious to everyone but her that that’s not going to happen.
HollywoodNews.com: Is there any truth to the rumor that you did “Young Adult” so that guys will stop coming up and telling you how much they love “Big Fan?”
[Laughs] That was not my plan. I was just so flabbergasted and grateful to be offered the role. I certainly wasn’t thinking, “Man, I’ve got to put ‘Big Fan’ behind me!” If people want to keep telling me how great they thought “Big Fan” was, I’m happy with that. That’s a good life.
HollywoodNews.com: OK, you have a funny line about being a fat geek and knowing about zombies. Did you re-write that to subliminally plug the paperback release of your best-selling book, “Zombie Spaceship Wasteland?”
[Laughs] Oh, man, do you know what? No. That line was … wow, no Diablo actually has that in her script. That’s … I didn’t even think about that. Was the book out at the time? I don’t think it was. No, that was her line.
HollywoodNews.com: When you get someone else’s writing, because you are so used to writing your own material, what do you do first. Do you pull it apart to look for the humor?
Well, I wasn’t thinking, “How do I make this funnier?” And I wasn’t trying to put my own stamp on it, because the real key to acting is to respect whatever voice it is in the script and try to do something new that’s beyond yourself yet still in service of the story and the character. I worked with an acting coach for a while to disabuse me of all of my comfortable habits, so I cold do something really new here.
HollywoodNews.com: What advice did you give to Charlize to make her feel at ease during your love-making scene?
[Laughs] I didn’t give her any advice. Both of us were so beyond advice at that point. That scene was shot so well, but it was so raw to shoot it because our characters are just beyond any kind of cleverness at that point. It was amazing.
Jason Reitman’s “Young Adult,” starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, opened in theaters on Dec. 9, and plans to expand on Dec. 16.
Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
– Harvey Weinstein
– Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
– Gary Oldman and Colin Firth for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
– Charlize Theron, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody for “Young Adult.”
– Steve McQueen for “Shame.”
– The cast of “The Artist.”
– Glenn Close for “Albert Nobbs.”
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