One of the benefits of doing an ensemble comedy is catching up with old friends. At least, that’s how it was on “The Watch” for Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, who co-star with Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade as concerned citizens investigating what turns out to be an alien invasion in their suburban neighborhood. Stiller and Vaughn previously squared off in “Dodgeball,” but here they play it a bit chummier. “I love working with these guys. It’s great to work with the people who make you laugh and who are funnier,” Stiller admits.
Reunions aside, Stiller also enjoyed letting loose in a comedy that didn’t have the same restrictions as his more family-friendly fare.
“The fun thing for me is to be a part of a movie where you don’t have to worry,” Stiller says. “Being in an R-rated film, you can have a lot more freedom.”
And that freedom doesn’t just mean more violence and cursing, but it extends to how the characters are depicted. These guys aren’t forced into experiencing personal growth.
“I don’t think it was about having it all sort of tied up in bow. It was more about these guys hanging out and how they affected each other, but it wasn’t like about teaching lessons or anything,” Stiller says.
Vince Vaughn’s character has an argumentative relationship with an unruly teenage daughter trying to grow up too fast. In real life, Vaughn has just welcomed his first daughter. So did the movie give him any premonitions of troubles to come?
“My daughter is just 19, 20 months now,” he says. “Thankfully I’m a long, long way from answering any of those questions as far as being protective. But I have encouraged her to get on some scooters — motor scooters — motorized vehicles. That kind of stuff. I threw her in the pool, but she swam so it’s fine.”
Of course, he won’t pass up an opportunity to joke about potential suitors coming round the house. “That happened the other day, I had a 3-year-old ring the bell. I said it was little bit inappropriate. She’s too young to make her own decisions. They have to walk before they fly.”
Who’s the new guy?
While Stiller, Vaughn and Hill are familiar faces to comedy audiences, the fourth member of their neighborhood watch might not be: British actor and director Richard Ayoade, who directed last year’s “Submarine” (executive-produced by Stiller), admits he felt like he stuck out a bit in the cast. “I’ve never been in a film, not really,” Ayoade admits. “My wife said — and she’s right — it’s going to look like I won a competition to be in a film with movie stars. And there were several days when I was like, ‘Why are Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill looking at me? Oh! I’m in a scene with them. I ought to start trying to act back.’ It’s very surreal and I’m a huge fan of these people. It was a great pleasure for me to get to somewhat bring down the film by being in it.”