Craig Robinson is getting plenty of screen time these days after co-starring with Kerry Washington in “Peeples” last month and teaming with pals Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jonah Hill for the end-of-the-world comedy “This Is the End” later this month. And speaking of the end of the world, Robinson leads a cast of improv comedy all-stars as the Antichrist in “Rapture-Palooza.” Here’s what he remembers most fondly from the 18-day shoot.
All improvisation all the time:
“I know that there’s another level to it, that when comedians or actors get together, I can just sit and observe. The silliness can go wherever,” Robinson says of “Rapture-Palooza,” which was almost all improvised. “And then they can turn around and be superserious. They know how to really balance this stuff. There’s no self-editing. That’s what your director’s for. You go as far as you’re going to go, and it’s up to him or her to stop it. You can’t start editing what you do because you might not let something good come out. It could be a word or a look, anything.”
Not everything makes it in:
“I saw two or three cuts [of the film], so I knew where it was going,” says Robinson. “There are some things that were taken out that I miss. But thank God for deleted scenes and that kind of stuff. [Rob] Huebel and [Rob] Corddry go at it and go at it and go at it. They don’t stop. And Paul Scheer and Corddry, too, had a thing where it’s probably a solid hour of improv.”
On preparing co-star Anna Kendrick for his humor:
“I did a lot of improv on this one. I had free rein,” Robinson says. “It was collaborative, and Anna is a sport. She wasn’t fazed. She knows more hip-hop than I do.”
On a bigger role in a film:
“It’s a lot of fun,” Robinson admits. “I’ve been blessed to watch and learn and steal from Steve Carell, Bernie Mac, Larry David. I’ve been in all these situations where I see these stars. And one of the things I knew going in was that if you’re the star of a movie, the bigger your trailer is, the less time you get to spend in it. You’re in a closet, but you’re in there all day. You see these big trailers and you’re like, ‘I want to go lay down in there. One day when I’m the star…’ But no, you don’t get to do that.
“As far as doing a bigger part, I didn’t allow pressure to be put on myself. I just wanted to go out and have fun. It was like, I know the comedy is there, so let me just go and be myself and do what I would do on a Saturday night at midnight at a comedy club.”
The one co-star they couldn’t get:
“Daniel Day-Lewis,” Robinson says with mock-seriousness. “Well, he was coming, but they wouldn’t let him into Canada because he had a DUI. [laughs] It was a, ‘If you build it, they will come; if you write it, they will come’ sort of scenario. We just kept putting it out there and people kept coming.”