Paul Rudd | Interview
Paul Rudd takes it all easy.
In David Wain’s Role Models, Paul Rudd, along with Seann William Scott, gets sentenced to serve as a Big Brothers–type mentor for 150 hours. Rudd’s kid (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) loves live-action role play; Scott’s brat just loves to cuss. We recently sat down with Rudd, who, with Role Models, makes his cowriting debut.
Time Out Chicago: Was live-action role play your brand of nerdiness as a kid? Or were you the popular kid in Kansas?
Paul Rudd: No, I wasn’t. I played with Legos longer than most. Kids pack that shit up early. I was like, “Sweet, new Expert Builder set—have to pick that up.” And, oh God, yeah, I loved Scrabble. I was like, “Ooh, this is fun. You can make up words!”
TOC: So while your classmates were playing football—
Paul Rudd: I was hoping for a triple-letter score.
TOC: On the set, Mintz-Plasse must’ve been like, “If anybody calls me freakin’ McLovin one more time…”
Paul Rudd: You’d think, right? But no. He’s just so excited to be in the movie business. I mean, this 18-year-old kid, and it happened [Snaps fingers] like that. We’d look at résumés for all the kids auditioning for this movie, and they’d have all this stuff. His résumé said, “Superbad.” That was it. That’s the best résumé I’ve ever seen.
TOC: Is Scott contractually obligated to appear shirtless in his movies?
Paul Rudd: He’s shirtless in a lot of stuff. If you’re ripped like that, you would want to, right? [Laughs] I think he was not psyched about that, honestly. He looks like somebody who should be in the movie business. I look like the guy who loads the projectors.
TOC: They even show his bare butt. Is that why he got top billing on the movie poster over there?
Paul Rudd: [Looks at it] Oh—huh. I guess, yeah.
TOC: How do you feel about that?
Paul Rudd: I don’t care. I never even noticed it. [Laughs] Honestly, I can’t believe I’m making a living doing what I love. That’s always lame when people say, “Oh, I’m just waiting to get figured out.”
TOC: It is something actors like to say.
Paul Rudd: It’s that false humility. But I’m not kidding when I say, “Holy shit, I’m making a living in the movie business.”
TOC: Your son, Jack—he’s two now?
Paul Rudd: He’s actually gonna be four.
TOC: Wikipedia, man.
Paul Rudd: Wikipedia’s wrong on so many—I read things about myself, I’m not ashamed to admit it, and I say, “That’s not right.”
TOC: What’s the most wrong thing you’ve read about yourself online?
Paul Rudd: That I drink Sierra Nevada in every movie I do.
TOC: Where’d that come from?
Paul Rudd: I have no idea. I drank a Sierra Nevada, I think, in one scene in Knocked Up. Evan Goldberg—he wrote Superbad—he’s the type of guy that goes on Wikipedia and adds things that are so lame to entertain himself. I have to ask him.
TOC: So did being a dad spark your interest in this paternal role?
Paul Rudd: Not really. The idea of guys who don’t like children having to go into a Big Brothers program where they get some weird kids, I thought, was funny and, you know, completely predictable. And anytime I can see a ten-year-old really swear, it makes me laugh.
TOC: Is Jack swearing yet?
Paul Rudd: He will swear on occasion. He’s a huge music freak, and he got way into this Vampire Weekend record. There’s a song called “Oxford Comma,” and it starts, “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?” My wife and I thought, We’re not gonna make an issue of it. But then he went crazy. He would sing, “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford”—
TOC: Would he take that to school?
Paul Rudd: This was before he was in school. Then I noticed it would creep into certain conversations. I was sitting with him and this other kid who was five, and Jack, he was three, he said, “Where did you get your shirt?” And the kid said, “I don’t know. My mom got it for me.” And then my kid: “Maybe she got it at the fuck store.” And I was like, Oh, my God.
TOC: Between the Paul Rudd screen saver and the Joe Buck interview where you’re pantless in a cab—
Paul Rudd: Wow, you have seriously scoured the Internet.
TOC: It seems like there’s nothing you won’t do.
Paul Rudd: I’m a whore. I have such a need to be liked and told I’m cute I will do whatever anyone asks, and then I will feel horrible about it. Yesterday at this screening, one guy wanted this picture. He was like, “I want to give you a piggyback.” And I was like, “Okay.” But I wasn’t able to get on his back. He bent down, they took the picture, and it totally looks like I’m butt-fucking the guy.
Role Models opens Friday 7.