It’s Peter Farrelly vs. the Internet for ‘Movie 43′
Before director Peter Farrelly will get on with our interview, he needs to make sure he’s talking to someone from a real publication. “Metro News sounds like something out of ‘Superman,’” Farrelly says. “‘I work for the Metro News!’” After assuring him that we are in fact very real, it’s time to talk about the raunchy comedy anthology “Movie 43,” a project that’s also very real, even if Farrelly is working without his brother Bobby, his co-director on such career-definers as “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary.”
You’ve got some big stars in this, some with Oscars. How did you convince them to take part?
Well, when we got Kate [Winslet] and Hugh [Jackman], Charlie Wessler, the producer, told them that Coen Brothers were going to direct them, and then I showed up and said that they’d had to cancel. [Laughs] I was nervous showing up with Kate Winslet and Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman. I thought when they got on the set they were going to blink and say, “You’re kidding. I can’t be doing this.” Not only did they not, they embraced it like it was their first movie ever and they wanted to go for it. And they were pushing me, like “Hey, is there more we can do? How about this? What about that?” I was pulling them back, like, “No no no, you calm down. That’s too much.”
How do you think approaching a project like this has changed since the advent of Funny or Die and the Internet in general?
The world’s attention spans have diminished drastically in the last 10 years, so you can’t just have a movie of shorts. What we had to do is have a wraparound story that explains what “Movie 43″ is and keeps you wanting to know what’s going to happen at the end. The difference between this, by the way, and a Funny or Die — and I love Funny or Die, it’s fantastic — but they do have limitations. They can only go so far. There are rules and regulations to being on the Internet. And we don’t have that. It’s as hard an R-rated movie as they come.
How much do sites like Funny or Die work as far as finding new comedy talent?
That’s where we got all our new talent, in fact. Charlie would scour Funny or Die and the entire Internet for funny pieces and then contact those guys or women and say, “Hey, that’s hilarious. We’re doing a movie of shorts, you want to write one?” Funny or Die and the Internet and all that has definitely advanced comedy, I will say that. There’s something magical happening comedically in the world. Television comedy — and television in general — has never been better. We’ve had crap since that thing was invented, and all of a sudden you’ve got incredible content on television — in fact, probably superior to what you’re seeing in the theaters these days.
That’s big of you to say, as a film comedy guy.
That’s what I feel. I can’t believe how good comedy on television is getting. You used to go three or four years without seeing a good comedy. And now, I mean, there are some great comedies that never see the light of day. The bar has been raised. You’ve got to be funnier to get out there.
How did you decide which of the segments to direct yourself?
I just picked the best ones. [Laughs] Because I’m the producer. Um, no, I picked the ones that I thought were the funniest. And by the way, it’s going to get about a 6 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes scale if we’re lucky, just so you know. Because it’s groundbreaking and odd and offensive and critics aren’t going to know what do with it. But it plays like a rock concert. But it’s not for everybody, and the people it’s not for mainly will be the critics.