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Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, and Jason Segel Discuss ‘Bad Teacher

 

 

Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake in 'Bad Teacher'Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake in ‘Bad Teacher’

© Columbia Pictures

Cameron Diaz’s teacher in Bad Teacher is a school student’s parents’ worst nightmare. She’s crude, rude, hates her job, and she getsdrunkat work. All Diaz’ character, Elizabeth Halsey, wants out of life is to quit her job which she’s doing only for a paycheck, not because she feels any special calling to shape the minds of young people. Her plan for being able to leave her job behind involves landing a rich husband, which means she needs larger breasts – and she’s not above lying and stealing in order to raise funds for the breast enhancement surgery.

Justin Timberlake (The Social Network) plays a wealthy – and geeky – new teacher Elizabeth tries to seduce. Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) co-stars as a gym teacher who has a thing for Elizabeth. Together for the press conference to support the R-rated comedy directed by Jake Kasdan, Diaz, Segel and Timberlake talked about getting raunchy in Bad Teacher, their own memorable teachers, and women behaving badly in comedies.

Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel Press Conference

Your character was motivated to get a boob job. Was it fun to play a character with the wrong self-image values?

Cameron Diaz: “Completely. Because obviously if I thought that I could get somewhere with having bigger boobies, I would have done it by now. But for her, it’s everything. It’s called hard economic times. Have you ever heard of this? You can’t find a millionaire the way you could three, four years ago before the crash. So it’s like a lot of work for her now. So it’s an investment. Suze Orman would have been like, ‘Girl, five year plan.’ You know what I mean? So yeah. She’s working hard for those. She knows that to get what you want you have to have a goal, and her goal is to invest in her business and get a pair of tits.”

“But I’m not judging, clearly. I’m not judging. But the thing about it is if we really believed this was the right thing to do we wouldn’t be making fun of it, right? So it was really fun to make fun of it because clearly, especially living in this town, we all know what it’s like to sort of come up against people who have their priorities a little screwed up and focus on the wrong things.”

“It was really fun to be able to sort of go to work every day and have a gang, a team of people all on the same wagon going towards complete and utter distaste, and throwing everything out the window. It was fantastic. We had a lot of fun doing that.”

Do you have any memorable teachers, not necessarily a bad one but somebody who really stands out?

Jason Segel: “I would like to give a shout out to a teacher called Ted Walsh, who was my high school drama coach. […]He really changed my life. Right before I left and started working with Jake [Kasdan] on Freaks and Geeks, wow, 13 or 14 years ago now – that’s crazy. He said, ‘Don’t ever forget the best actor in the world is out there stuck doing dinner theater somewhere, so don’t ever get arrogant about thinking you’re entitled to this.’ It stayed with me for this whole time.”

Justin Timberlake: “I had a teacher in seventh grade who told me I should have more realistic goals than being a songwriter and an entertainer because my schoolwork was suffering. And you can quote me on this directly to her: suck it.”

Cameron Diaz: “I had Mr. Fujikawa in sixth grade. He used to come in after the weekends and tell us about his three-year-old son that he would spend the weekends with and how wonderful it was to have a child to pass on knowledge to and how you want to encourage them, and how to also teach them life’s lessons as he sat with his feet, literally, kicked up on the desk talking about how wonderful it was this weekend that his son was starting to walk. And how gratifying it was that when he took the four steps up the porch to get to the top to the front door, as he got to the very top last step he would pull on the string that he had tied around his leg to bring him back down to the beginning. To help him get back up the next four or five steps. And I just thought that was the most amazing, like I laughed so hard when he told that story. Everybody else was like, ‘Ah’, and I was like, ‘That’s awesome’. Of course I can relate very well to it. But, yeah, it was very…that, to me, was somebody who helped form and shape me, really. Honestly.”

Justin Timberlake: “I feel like these three stories really explained who we are as adults.”

Cameron Diaz: “Exactly.”

Justin and Cameron, you’ve achieved the most iconic dry humping scene in cinema history.

[They high five each other]

Can you talk about creating that and putting that together?

Justin Timberlake: “He said putting that together. Well, I think we created the only dry humping scene ever seen in a movie.”

Cameron Diaz: “It was absurd.”

Justin Timberlake: “I would like to say that Jake had… He wasn’t literally between us but figuratively he was there.”

Cameron Diaz: “He was our humping coach.”

Justin Timberlake: “He was my humping coach. I’ve got to say there’s nothing wrong with a good jean jam.”
Cameron Diaz: “I kind of feel mostly proud of [it].”

Justin Timberlake: “I’m serious. I don’t know why that’s funny to you guys. But also we felt collectively, the both of us, that we had a responsibility. And that was to the young people who are going to buy tickets to, I don’t know, Transformers the second week and go see this movie because they’re underage. It really is a public service announcement for safe sex.”

Cameron Diaz: “You can’t, you know, when you’ve got the denim on denim.”

Justin Timberlake: “Nobody ever got pregnant with their jeans on.”

Cameron Diaz: “So, totally promoting that. That’s pretty much the only message that’s in the movie that we’re proud of. Other than that it’s completely – there’s nothing else. It’s just, we thought, ‘Well, you guys look. We shouldn’t just be making a movie about nothing that is of any importance or is like, you know, if we’re going to try to be role models in any way, we should offer up least a jean jam.’ At the very least.”

Justin Timberlake: “And it is jamming.”

Justin, how hard was it to sing that crazy song without cracking up? Did you contribute to the lyrics at all?

Justin Timberlake: “‘Simpatico’, the original composition by Scott Delacorte? Yeah, it’s a special song. That was an idea that Gene and Lee and Jake kind of came to me about. And in the script, there was a loose idea about the teacher band show and Scott doing kind of a singer/songwriter thing. And I remember Jake coming to me and saying, ‘If we’re going to do this, we have to create something that’s going to be terrible.’ And so it’s pretty obvious that I put my body on the line for comedy. Why not put my voice on the line for comedy? But honestly, yeah, the lyrics were Gene and Lee and then they brought it to me and then I just tried to create the most terrible melody that I could to it. The mission was to make it so bad that they would not be able to market it in the trailer. So, yeah. It’s really just an extension of the character. I mean it was totally a collaboration between the writers and Jake, the director?”

Was there anything in the script that didn’t make it?

Cameron Diaz: “The puke and the blood? The urine and the blood? Oh, yeah. I mean that better be in the DVD – the vomit scene. That was pretty amazing. Also, the puking scene that I volunteered for didn’t make it.”

You threw up all over Lucy Punch?

Cameron Diaz: “Several times, and it’s not there. All of that work.”

Justin Timberlake: “You guys know what it’s like. You’ve got to kill babies when you make movies. Sometimes those gems just end up on the DVD.”

Cameron Diaz: “What are you talking about?”

What’s your opinion of public education and are you a product of public education?

Cameron Diaz: “Oh, I am as public as education gets.”

Justin Timberlake: “Man, we’ve got to figure out a way to pay teachers more. That’s my opinion of it. They actually are like surrogate parents away from home and in doing the junket for the last couple of days, I’ve kind of come across the realization that, in hearing everyone talk about, because we’ve constantly gotten the question, ‘Have you had a bad teacher when you were younger?’ And I get why you guys ask us that because it’s a little hook with Bad Teacher. Yeah, I get it. But you keep coming across this idea about how we started talking about it and we found that the teachers that we actually learned more from were the ones that were kind of like taught us life lessons more than trigonometry. And, so yeah, I mean they have such a huge responsibility and they’re under-appreciated and underpaid. So that’s my opinion of teachers.”

It looks like right now is the time for women behaving badly in comedies. Can you talk about how that’s changed over the years and what your commitment is to doing that?

Cameron Diaz: “My commitment to it is pretty obvious. You know, women have always behaved badly. I think probably worse than men. Maybe men just don’t have the stomach for it. They don’t want to see it on film because they just can’t take it. I mean any of my guy friends when I start to tell them what women really talk about and what really goes down they’re like, ‘La, la, la, la, la, la, la.’ They don’t want to hear it. It’s like [they] plug their ears. They can’t take it. So maybe it’s just at this moment is the time for women. There’s a lot of those films now. I think that people are willing to sort of laugh at those things altogether now. And to know this script, this movie would have been just as hilarious with a man, a male role, you know? It being a male role. As a female, which I think is kind of great because it just goes to show that humor – that you can make something funny for everyone. And so, yeah, I think that we can find a lot of similarities in what we laugh at.”

“I haven’t seen Bridesmaids yet so I can’t wait to see it. I’ve been out of the country and it’s not open in England at the moment. So I actually don’t know the humor of theBridesmaids, so I can’t really speak to that. But I think that people are just willing to take a chance, and I think the studios nowadays are willing to. Formulaically, we’re tired of kind of seeing the same old thing, the same old thing. And after a while it just doesn’t work anymore. And this is a business and we want to make some money, and we want to make things that work. And I think they’re taking a chance at different things. So that was like, you know, the worst answer in the world. But that’s cool. You’ll do something with it.”

Justin Timberlake: “As a male who actually enjoys hearing those dirty things that women say, I think funny women have been around forever. Like Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn. I mean there’s always been genius, genius female actors in comedy. I also think that we live in an age where technology has afforded a generation a lot more of a crass look at the world. The internet is a really strange place to be. And I think the level of what we can kind of understand about brash humor mixed with all these different elements, I think with all types of movies like The Hangover and things like that, I think people like Jake and directors who step up and say, ‘We want to push the envelope but in a way that we know can get laughs,’ that always fuels the engine. But also it is great that, like Cameron said, that’s the coolest thing about this movie is that this lead role, it’s a great thing to see a female that can do it and do it as well as Cameron does it.”

Jason Segel: “I feel like the boob job storyline would have been weird.”

Cameron Diaz: “This is true. Yeah, we could have worked around it somehow. But he’s right. It could have been like calf implants or something. Isn’t calf implants like a big thing for guys? That’s funny.”

How difficult was it to get together and find the chemistry to make this movie work?

Justin Timberlake: “Well, after the first week of rehearsal and the first orgy it all kind of just flowed together.”

Cameron Diaz: “It’s like comedy marksman, you know what I mean? Everybody’s precision. Pull back the arrow, they take their breath, they slow down the heartbeat and then they just kind of let go and it’s like bulls eye. It’s easy. You have to do that, you know, with this kind of fast-paced comedy where you just kind of have to get – we’re shooting like this and we never stop. It’s like a constant. It’s not leisure time for us. We have a schedule. So it’s kind of like you have to kind of come in and just hit it. Jake would come up to me and give me notes and then he wouldn’t say anything to Jason [Segel]. And Jason would say, ‘So just be as awesome as I was last time?’ And he was like, ‘ Yeah.'”

Jason Segel: “Well, I’m like, I’m super good at this.”

Cameron Diaz: “That cuts down time because you don’t have to give people like Jason notes because he hits the mark, the bulls eye every time. So it’s precision comedy.”

Jason Segel: “For me, when you’re involved in a cast like this there’s kind of a mutual admiration society element to it, especially when you’re doing your off-camera. You’re sitting back in awe watching great comedians do their thing. That’s always when I feel the luckiest and when I feel like I’ve totally tricked everyone. You are sitting around with everyone who are actually amazing at the thing you’ve professed to do. It’s very humbling.”

Jason, you’re actually kind of the voice of reason in this.

Jason Segel: “Yeah, it was really fun. To some extent I’m the straight man. And I think in a small way I’m sort of the eyes of the audience a little bit. I’m the one who pops in and call her on her bs, which I think is what the audience kind of wants to do at points. ‘What are you doing?’ And I’m the character who gets to voice that opinion, so that was really fun. I got to come in and just kind of observe and try to get a couple of zingers in there. That was kind of my goal and just be natural. It was easy to act against Cameron and the entire cast.”

Cameron, what was your approach to the car wash scene? Was it a nightmare or did you embrace it?

Justin Timberlake: “Yeah, I’ve been waiting to be asked that question. I feel like I nailed it. No, this is – I mean a lot of people don’t know this but I’m just going to tell them about what we did.”

Cameron Diaz: “Okay.”

Justin Timberlake: “I choreographed the car wash scene. That will also be on the DVD extras. There’s a behind the scenes look at it.”

With you demonstrating how to wash that car?

Cameron Diaz: “Yeah, in his shorts. In his Daisy Dukes, as well.”

Justin Timberlake: “The shot of the black and white hitting the car, that was Jake just… There was a police car that came by and Jake just literally saw what was about to happen and had the DP pan the camera over and we just caught some reality. So, perfect.”

Justin, will you be joining the five-timers club on Saturday Night Live? What makes a host a good fit for that show?

Justin Timberlake: “I’ve hosted four times. The season finale was just my fourth time, although it does seem like more because when I’m in New York City they can’t keep me out of 30 Rock, which is probably annoying to them on some level. I grew up with SNL, it is an institution. It is part of the humor and chemistry between me and my father. I come from a divorced family and didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my father when I was young, and it’s something that we share that is really special to me. And growing up with that show, it was just an institution. I mean I remember staying up late. I mean it was really bad parenting because I was too young to be watching some of the jokes that were on SNLbut, hey, I turned out okay. But I’m just such a huge fan of the show. And to be honest, I’m here at this press conference because of SNL. I have no doubt in my mind about that. I owe getting a shot to be in Bad Teacher with these genius comedians and comediennes directly to SNL and Lorne Michaels for letting me be there and rock out with…”

Cameron Diaz: “Your ‘Dick in a Box’?”

Justin Timberlake: “All I got. And I mean can we just say that that is a thoughtful Christmas gift?”

Cameron Diaz: “It is. I think it’s amazing.”

Justin Timberlake: “I don’t know, I feel like…”

Cameron Diaz: “The smaller the bow, the bigger the package.”

Justin Timberlake: “That’s true. That’s true. Yeah. Trim your bow, gentleman. Yeah, so I directly owe any opportunity that I ever get on film to be in a comedy to ‘SNL. So I’m so thankful for that show as a kid and as an adult.”

Jason Segel: “I’ll join the five-timers club if I host five more times.”

Cameron, your character does and says horrible thing but we still like her. Is that your sunny personality coming through or did you work really hard on trying to get us to like her?

Cameron Diaz: “That was the great thing about this movie; there was not one ounce of energy spent trying to make anything about this character likable. It was genius. I went 30 pages into the script, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m playing this character. How could I ever redeem her? There’s no redemption for her. This is a horrible person.’ Then 10 pages later I was like, ‘God, I think I like her’. By the end I was like, ‘This is amazing because I don’t have to apologize.'”

“There’s no apologizing for this person and that’s the beauty of this script. I think what is such a breath of fresh air of why you watch it because usually you spend the last 20 minutes of the movie trying to apologize for the first hour and a half of it because people are afraid of just owning what it is. And in life we don’t just have an epiphany and change our entire lives. It happens, but it’s not the norm. You have the sense that this person is just sort of slowing down the train to jump off so she can get cross the platform to get back on the train going the other direction. You know what I mean? And I really appreciated that and I didn’t want to mess with that. I didn’t want to try to make her happy. She has one moment where she says to the kid, she’s got her priorities all screwed up. And there’s like, you see this sort of flash for her going, ‘Huh? Okay.’ Like, ‘Nah. Oh, okay.’ But there’s no commitment.”

“I think the reason people like her is because, if they do at all, is because she’s honest. And people wish that they could be as honest as she is. And that they don’t have to suffer the consequences or repercussions of their actions. She doesn’t and therefore it’s kind of like she’s kind of like a hero even though she should be the anti-hero.”

The MPAA gave this an R-rating, but what’s the harm in 15, 16 seeing this movie anyway?

Cameron Diaz: “It’s arbitrary, honestly, the rating system. Who is to judge what is R-rated or not? It’s all relative, right? I mean it’s just to whom is watching it if it’s something that is inappropriate or not. So I say get rid of the ratings, man. Our youth are suffering. Suffering. That they are kept out of movies like this, we should give this to our children. They need it. Take off the R rating.”

“This content against like the video games where they all get to slash each other up and cut each other’s hair off. Or just even Viagra commercials in the middle of the Super Bowl. I mean that, to me, I take more offense to.”

Justin Timberlake: “Also, one can argue that if you take away the R rating, it’s going to take all the fun out of being a teenager and sneaking in.”

Cameron Diaz: “This is true.”

Justin Timberlake: “Let’s be honest. They’re going to do it.”

Cameron, would you rather see adults give kids realistic advice or protect them and say, “Yes, you can,” when you know they really can’t?

Cameron Diaz: “No, I believe that you should always be honest with kids. You’re doing a disservice to not only the child but to society if you’re breeding a child that doesn’t have the tools to cope in the real world. And so I’m a very direct, you know, I told the kids when they all showed up to set, I was like, ‘Yeah, so your parents let you do this, right? You know what’s going to happen? You think you do, but you don’t. But just be ready. Be aware. We’re not holding back. We’re not sugar-coating any of this. I’m not watching my language. If you don’t like it, if you guys have a problem you can leave. It’s fine.'”

Jason Segel: And then she said, ‘There’s no Santa.’ That was really totally unnecessary because they’re like 12.”

Cameron Diaz: “But I let them keep the Easter Bunny.”

Justin Timberlake: “But after that, everything was uphill. ‘Don’t move your face. Take this dodgeball.'”

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June 26, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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