Press Conference: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, and David Dobkin chat THE CHANGE-UP

Melissa Molina

August 6th, 2011

Plenty of people wish that they had another person's life, preferably one who's ridiculously rich, but you know that it's nothing more than a wish. It's not like you're going to wake up one day and have it come true. Unfortunately for a couple of guys the phrase "Be careful what you wished for" holds more weight on them than they ever imagined as they swap bodies in the new raunchy comedy THE CHANGE-UP.

The story follows the lives of two best friends that get turned upside down thanks to a magical pissing fountain. Mitch (played by Ryan Reynolds) is a carefree single man who's semi-unemployed and plenty of women at his disposal while his friend Dave (played by Jason Bateman) is a high-strung father of three who's inches away from achieving his dream job at a law firm. Hilarity ensues once the two unknowingly make the switch but both learn lessons in the process.

Recently we were able to score the opportunity to converse with the stars and director of the latest summer comedy. Despite the crackle of jokes Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman kept spitting out through the press conference, we were able to condense it all past the jump.

Q: There's a few ways to do a body-switching movie: You can do it the way you guys did it, where you play the other part, or you can do it where the actors continue playing their roles and the other characters see that differently. Was that part of the fun for you guys, where you actually get to do it this way? Would you be interested to do it in a standard way?

Ryan Reynolds: I wouldn't have. Every actor loves a challenge like that where you get to play two different people in the same film. For me, I think the only way to do it was that. Plus, it allows you to inhabit the bodies these guys are in, to really experience their world. The fact that basically if the film where two drunk idiots piss in a magic fountain, great, but they switch bodies, great, and then what happens after that is what to me was the reason to do the film. To have this mentally unhinged lunatic be looking after your children was very appealing. There's something fantastic about that setup and that payoff and vice-versa. This conservative guy who's basically inhabiting the world of a guy who, unbeknownst to him, is working in porn. It's absurd, but that's what it's all about. If you're seeing it all through the perspective of other people, I don't think it would be as rewarding.

Q: When you were on set, did you ever have to pause and say "Maybe that's a bit too much"?

Ryan Reynolds: Yeah, there was a few moments where that happened. For me there was a couple of moments in the "lorno" that went a little too far. You know, I don't typically look in a schedule in advance, which would be a wise tip for a couple of young up and coming actors to know, especially when your mom is coming to visit. I introduced her to my porn-mate and proceeded to get in there and do the best I could without throwing up on somebody's back. Yeah, that was tough, but there was a few moments during that sequence in that film that will probably make it in the DVD which just went way, way too far.There are some things that go way cross the line.

Jason Bateman: I didn't feel like there were gloves on at all during this film. We could've kept going further and further but there's a balance you've got to strike. You don't want to get the audience numb to stuff that is shocking and that's what makes David (Dobkin) such a good director. If you have it all be shocking and crazy all the time then you have just static. He's got a great ability with the writers to bring it down, make it touchier every once in awhile and then take off again.

Q: Olivia (Wilde) spoke a lot about fleshing out the female characters in the film. How did your character change from page to screen and what did you bring to the role?

Leslie Mann: I think a lot. I mean, we had rehearsal time where we all got together and talked about how we could make things better. I think it was written well to begin with, but it's always helpful to have more input. We all, as a team, worked on it and made things better. Everybody was open to other people's opinions and how to make things better.

Q: What was it about the character of Sabrina that resonated with you?

Olivia Wilde: The whole movie, to me, is about balance in your life. Ryan (Reynolds) and Jason (Bateman) find themselves at the beginning of the story on opposite sides of a pretty extreme spectrum. You have the responsible guy who's got the kids and a lot of pressure on his back, and you've got the guy with no pressure who's just completely irresponsible and has nothing to do and sleeps on a futon. They're envious of each other because they're fully in those extremes. Throughout the movie, they learn the grass is greener and they have these insanely outrageous experiences and they end up learning to have a bit of both in their life -- to have a little bit of fun and responsibility. I found that Sabrina was an example of that from the beginning... We spent a lot of time developing her and I was so grateful that they listened to any of my ideas because I was, out of the bunch, the least experienced in this type of film. I do love to write and I did bring some ideas, and a few major things that I brought to the table actually made it into the movie and that was such a thrill for me. I learned a lot and ended up creating a character that I'm proud of.

Q: You mentioned you wrote a couple of things for your character that got into the film, what were they? Also, are you looking into doing that more in the future or collaborating with someone on a script or anything like that?

Olivia Wilde: Yes, I love the writing process. It's something that I'm interested in personally and something I always do on every movie. Writers get to know me very well It always serves me in the end because I feel I have a deeper understanding of the character and sometimes they really like my ideas and they use them. But I don't swagger in with a bunch of big structural changes and demand things. I meekly suggest what about this, could we do that, while understanding the structure of the film and not trying to change that... I wrote a script that I'm directing this summer. It's a short film. It's a comedy and I know I learned a tremendous amount from this experience.

Q: How did your four leading actors get along on set?

David Dobkin: They all got along great on set. They all have a little bit different acting techniques and everybody does have a very different style of filmmaking. It's my job to marry them all together seamlessly and make them feel liek they're in one movie. They got along really well. When you come into a movie like this, the one great thing is you know you're taking risks and you know you're pushing boundaries. If you can make your actors comfortable, you're going to find people really pushing themselves to do different kinds of things in their performances that they've done before and reaching that far. When they see the other actors doing it, it's infectious. Everybody pushes each other and you have to raise your game because if someone else is going for it and you're not, it's really going to leave you behind. They all actually have to accelerate to keep pace with each other. It was fun in that way.

THE CHANGE-UP is out in theaters now.

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