Interview: Director Jody Hill Talks OBSERVE AND REPORT
As “Observe and Report” heads towards its April 10, 2009 premiere the Jody Hill directed and Seth Rogen lead comedy continues to build buzz. Praised for its non-generic approach to the comedy genre and no holds barred attitude, “Observe and Report” looks to be a hit with the Judd Apatow and Will Ferrell leaning audiences.
Hill is no stranger to this new generation of comedy either with his previous film “The Foot Fist Way” and his ongoing HBO series “Eastbound & Down,” both of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
After speaking earlier with Collette Wolfe, one of the stars of “Observe and Report,” I had the exciting opportunity to pose a few questions to the director himself, Jody Hill. Take a look at how it was for Hill to make his movie under the watch of Warner Bros., what he was looking to do with the film’s soundtrack, and more.
Hollywood Hills (HWH): “Observe and Report” is being tagged as a dark, twisted comedy. How dark does it go and did you have to pull any punches you really wanted to get the studio to go along with it?
Jody Hill: People seem to be calling Observe dark and I guess it kind of is. Some people will find it darker than others. I think that any time you mix comedy with drama or action or anything other than just laughs you’re going to get a reaction. Some people will like it and some people won’t. Warner Brothers was great to work with. They let us go places that most studios wouldn’t and I thank them for that. I’ve heard horror stories, but luckily I don’t have one myself. The film as it is presently is the film that I wanted to make and there were no real compromises made. Certainly none in terms of how far out there the film goes.
HWH: Several of the reviews coming out of SXSW have very positively highlighted the soundtrack. Were these songs you selected and were you trying to support the story with them or just throw in some cool tunes?
Jody Hill: A cool song in a movie is meaningless unless it supports the scene. That being said, I love pop music in movies. It was great that we actually had a budget and could afford a decent soundtrack. My editor Zene Baker and myself try to push each other to find those hidden gems in music that we love, but hopefully haven’t been used up and mashed into the culture, yet.
HWH: “The Foot Fist Way,” your HBO series “Eastbound & Down,” and from what I’ve seen and heard on “Observe and Report” have all featured a self-indulgent, semi-delusional male lead character, something you’ve done an excellent job of creating. Were you inspired by someone you knew or are these guys straight from the mind of Jody Hill?
Jody Hill: I don’t know where that comes from. Some of the characters have parts of people I know, some have parts of me, some have parts that are made up. I like characters that you don’t see everyday in movies. Real life weirdos.
HWH: Speaking of “Eastbound & Down,” were you able to juggle both the HBO series and “Observe and Report” at the same time?
Jody Hill: Yes, but it was difficult. Danny, Ben, and Shawn Harwell would come over to my edit bay everyday and I would edit while writing the episodes. I wasn’t able to go down to Wilmington for most of the production because I was doing my director’s cut on Observe. WB was cool enough to let me go down to direct the final episode. After that, I would divide my time. During the day it was Observe, at night it was Eastbound. Danny and the gang were great. He really stepped up and carried a lot of the weight during production and post. David stepped up and directed a bunch of the episodes and in my book, killed them. Everybody came together and there was nothing but support. Really couldn’t have done it without my friends.
HWH: What can we look forward to next from you?
Jody Hill: A nap.
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