In his latest film Our Idiot Brother, set to be launched on August 26, Paul Rudd embraces his inner hippie and shares the screen with three high-powered actors — Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer — as his neurotic New York sisters. His character — the underachieving, Croc-wearing, homeless brother Ned — wreaks havoc in their lives.
In Our Idiot Brother, Rudd will be seen with a beard and long hair. Though the character makes some idiotic decisions, Ned is a gentle soul who gets into trouble because of his overly kind nature.
The actor who has starred in Hollywood hits like Knocked Up, I Could Never Be Your Woman, I Love You Man and The 40-Year-Old Virgin talks about portraying the easygoing Ned, the joys of tie-dyed T-shirts and why he’s not shy about kissing dogs.
When asked how close Ned’s character is to Rudd’s real-life personality, the actor said: “It’s not me, but there are parts that are. I like to think of myself as being optimistic and happy, although not as much as Ned, which is good and bad. The moment I read it, I wanted to do it, and I also felt it’d be a fun world to live in for a couple of months — and it was. I was very happy making this movie because of Ned.”
Rudd believes he’s not a method actor, “I don’t need to be called by the character’s name. I don’t take roles home with me, but playing Ned was a different experience altogether.” The actor went without shaving for a while and dressed in a similar fashion even after the shooting was over. “I wore cut-off shorts and flannel shirts. I’ve never owned anything tie-dyed in my life, but there was one tie-dyed shirt I wore in the movie with this hippie-dippy print that was so extreme. I still wear it. And had I seen this shirt before doing this film, there’s no way I’d have kept it,” says the actor.
Giving more details about the character, Rudd says: “I don’t think Ned’s an idiot. He’s a gentle soul, and makes some idiotic decisions — there’s no getting around that. But we wanted to make it very clear he’s living his life a certain way, and it’s a conscious decision. He has an ethic he subscribes to, and it’s not always easy for him. The cracks show in some scenes, and that’s important. You don’t want it to look like he’s just out to lunch.”
In the film, Ned has three sisters and an ex-girlfriend to contend with, about which Rudd comments: “It was fun because I knew them all. I was already friends with just about everyone in the cast, and had been for years.”
Talking about the shooting of Our Idiot Brother, Rudd says: “We shot in New York where I live, so I could literally walk outside and start work some days. But it was incredibly hot and humid, so there was a lot of sweating and people getting patted down. And I got a chance to hang out with people like Steve Coogan, who plays Emily’s cheating husband. I’ve been a major Coogan fan for many years, so I was thrilled to get the chance to meet him and get to know him a bit.”
Rudd is seen to have great screen chemistry with his dog in the film: “I’m actually a big dog lover, and a golden retriever’s particularly lovable. Growing up I always had dogs, so the dog-kissing scenes didn’t gross me out.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.
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