Sex Tape: Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel

sex_tape_posterDirector Jake Kasdan notes that the roles of Annie and Jay were written expressly for Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel.  “Working with Cameron and Jason on Bad Teacher was one of the great experiences I’ve ever had,” says Kasdan.  “And I really wanted to find something else for them – I knew that they were hilarious together and I knew that, in these very different roles, we could pick up where we had left off on the first movie and do something completely new. I had a strong hunch that there would be something kind of spectacular between them, in these characters, and they surpassed all of my hopes and expectations. As actors, they are both hugely supportive teammates that really commit, and as comedians, they’re generous with each other and eager to set each other up to get a laugh. They pitch jokes for each other… And then of course, they’re both just hugely appealing, on their own and together”

 

 

sex_tape_4_segel_diazKasdan says that the parts play to each actor’s strength.  “Jay is well-meaning, an optimist who loves his wife and kids and has a powerful desire to make things right, but doesn’t always know exactly how to go about that,” he says.  “I think Annie is slightly more pragmatic; she’s a mommy blogger and concerned parent who is feeling somewhat remote from her more carefree past.”

 

“Everybody’s eyes lit up when the idea came to cast Jason and Cameron,” remembers producer Jason Blumenthal.  “To me it’s like the pairing of Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.  When they come together, magic happens.”

 

To portray Annie, Cameron Diaz says she embraced her character’s everywoman qualities.  “Annie is a mom, she’s a wife—someone for whom everything is about her family,” describes Diaz.  “She loves her partnership with her husband and has an adventurous and playful spirit—she’s content with her life and she utilizes her blog as a release.  It’s a way of talking about the things that she cares about, to work them out for herself as well as her readers.  As Annie expresses on her blog, you always remember what it was like in the beginning of the relationship and wonder how can we get that back. When you’ve been with somebody for a long time it’s hard to keep the physical part of your relationship going – you really have to work at it.”

 

Diaz says she was never intimidated by the material, because she knew that she would be working with Segel. “Considering that this is a film where we had to be naked with each other, here was a partnership where I could feel so safe and at the same time, completely playful,” she says.  “We could laugh and find humor in what we were doing and at the same time tell the story of these two people who really love each other in a real way. We’re not trying to be shocking just for the sake of shocking.  Annie and Jay are doing some crazy stuff that they never thought they would ever do, and they’re doing it with somebody they each feel safe with.  And that’s how I feel about Jason – he’s just the guy you can do that with.”

 

“Cameron is really game,” says Segel, “and she’s a student of comedy.  One of my pet peeves is people who settle for pleasant instead of funny, and Cameron goes for it every time.”

 

“Jason is a double threat that we haven’t seen in a long time,” says Blumenthal.  “He’s a great actor and a phenomenal writer.  A lot of writers lead with the ‘funny’ and that’s it; Jason leads with the character.  And he’s an inherently relatable actor — you root for that guy.”

 

Bobby and Tess

After receiving an anonymous, taunting text informing them that their supposedly private video has, in fact, been synced to several devices in the hands of friends, acquaintances, and even possible future bosses, Jay and Annie begin a madcap race against time to reclaim the synced iPads.

 

Their first stop is the home of their closest friends, Robby and Tess (Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper), who become their accomplices in tracking down the remaining devices.

 

“The scene when Annie and Jay come over to Robby and Tess’s house to suss out if they know about the sex tape was so much fun to shoot,” says Kemper.  “It was a wonderful game that the four of us played, with Annie and Jay reading Robby and Tess’s sheepishness, as if they were trying to hide something.  The misunderstanding and awkwardness before the truth comes out was really fun to play.”

 

“It turns out that this evening is Robby and Tess’s 12th wedding anniversary, so they’re eager to do something besides hang around and watch TV,” continues Corddry.  “They are just so intrigued by the whole thing that when they get the opportunity to help out by insinuating themselves in the adventure,” he chuckles, “they are thrilled.”

 

Of course, Robby finds a way to make the situation even more uncomfortable.  “My character is pretty delighted from moment one,” he says.  “At first, he has this anticipation – and then he has great admiration for Jay’s endurance and for Annie overall.  He becomes a great fan of her work.”

 

“For me, Robby and Tess were one of the funniest things in the script,” says Kasdan. “I knew that I wanted the two couples to play as people who have spent a lot of time together – there’s a real intimacy between them and they’re comfortable having these really matter-of-fact conversations about this insane sex tape problem. The dynamic between the two couples sets the tone and the sense of reality for the whole movie.”

 

“I could not have imagined a better pairing,” says Blumenthal.  “Tess and Robby are the couple that Annie and Jay love, but that absolutely drives them insane.  It’s like ‘I Love Lucy’ – Lucy and Ricky are the main focus, but they are only as good as the Fred and Ethel with whom they interact.  That’s what Rob and Ellie deliver here.”

 

 

HANK ROSENBAUM

 

As if it wasn’t mortifying enough to have to face their friends, Jay and Annie also come to realize that their entire future may be at risk.  Annie’s pastime – recording her thoughts as a wife and mother on her blog – could be about to hit the big time if the multinational toy company Piper Brothers decides to purchase it.  The decision rests with the mild-mannered, family-values CEO, Hank Rosenbaum, who’s supposed to be reviewing the blog this weekend on an iPad that Annie has graciously supplied.

 

“In their madness, Jay and Annie rush out the door in the hysteria of ‘How do we get this thing back?’” Diaz explains.  “They show up on Hank’s doorstep, without any plan or explanation of why they’re there – they just need to find that iPad.”

 

And Annie and Jay will stop at nothing to find it.  “So while Jay is ransacking my house,” says Rob Lowe, who plays Hank, “Hank co-opts Annie into his very surprising and unbelievably bizarre world that no one, including she, would ever see coming—which is why I wanted to play this character, along with the fact that the script made me laugh out loud.  I didn’t want to play an uber-smoothie, good-looking CEO charm bomb; that’s been done.  Instead, I’d describe Hank as ‘hail fellow well met’ – a Silicon Valley power dweeb with a secret. When he reveals to Annie who he really is and what he’s really about… that moment really made me laugh; it’s everything I look for in a part.”

 

“Hank could have been a more brash and aggressive character, but Rob did something unexpected and made him into this upbeat, spirited guy with a really complex life who and is, ah, dealing with some issues,” says Diaz.  “He has a buoyancy that Annie understands and is drawn to—they have an amazing night together.”

 

“Rob is just hilarious in this movie,” says Kasdan.  “He saw a way into the part that was just inspired.  He plays Hank as an inspirational CEO type, a guy whose entire presentation is designed to impress shareholders.  He speaks very eloquently about the values and mission of his very wholesome, All-American company – a family brand– and he tries to project that image himself. And he’s in the process of deciding whether or not to buy Annie’s mommy blog. So, he’s not the guy you want to have your sex tape.”