Brie Larson Talks 21 Jump Street, on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, June 26th
It came as a shock, we know, but 21 Jump Street actually turned out to be an amazing experience. It still resides as the best comedy of the year, and it may just be the best TV-to-Film adaptation ever made, with maybe the exception of The Fugitive. It's taken a bit of an effort to get this fact across to the ticket buying public, but once they give into 21 Jump Street's wily ways, we know they'll be hooked.
If you refused its run in theaters, now you can catch what you missed and hit yourself in the face, screaming, "Dang! They were right! This shit is too good to pass up!" As 21 Jump Street makes its way to Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday, June 26th.
Stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play rookie cops recruited to a new division of an undercover sting operation that mostly targets high schools. The two actors made sure to surround themselves with an outstanding stable of backup players that includes Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Chris Parnell, Ellie Kemper, and an over-the-top Ice Cube who kills the few short minutes he's in as the squad captain. But our favorite face in the crowd has to be Brie Larson, who goes toe-to-toe with Jonah Hill as his love interest and star of the high school play.
This really is a breakout role for Ms. Larson, who is sure to become one of the most sought after actresses in the next couple of years. You may know her from her stint on United States of Tara, but we'll forever forget her as Ruxin's Au Pair on The League. In fact, we think she still has a little bit of Rafi funk wafting around her upper torso.
We talked with Brie about forever being tied to El Brolo Cunado on that infamous Golden Gate Bridge, as well as her role as Molly Tracey in 21 Jump Street, where she steals some pretty big laughs from some of the funniest guys in the business.
Here is our conversation.
When The Dictator came around, I got to chat with Jason Mantzoukas, and he seems quite proud that he left his Rafi taint on you. How do you overcome that stigmata?
Brie Larson: (Laughs) I think you don't. You just embrace it. You make it part of you.
He seems pretty happy with himself about that.
Brie Larson: Oh, no!
Here, with 21 Jump Street, I have to say...This is a perfect movie. I don't think we've seen a better TV to film adaptation. Why do you think it works, compared to some of those in the recent past that didn't?
Brie Larson: There are a few things. We had a super team. We had Chris Miller and Phil Lord, who come from an incredible background, where they understand physical comedy, and they know how things should look cinematically, because they come from an animated world, where you can create anything. We had Jonah Hill and his whole track record. Then we had the action side of it. It was a good meeting of the minds. None of us set out to emulate what the show was. It is the way that it is, and that shouldn't be messed with. We just took this great concept, and a great idea, and we turned it into our own thing. It's something unique.
It is truly unique in the genre. And I think it genuinely surprised those that saw it in the theater. What was your reaction when you sat down and watched it for the first time?
Brie Larson: I laughed my ass off when I saw it for the first time. I am usually very uncomfortable watching things that I am in. Especially on a movie screen. I have this rule, where I don't like to look at myself when I am bigger than myself in physical form. Maybe I'll watch it on an iPhone screen. That is less intimidating. Seeing it on the big screen is always scary. But I really enjoyed this one. I felt really proud of what we did. I was really proud of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, and Jonah Hill.
I know that Jonah Hill prides himself on his excellent improv skills, but here, some of these scenes seem so perfectly written, especially in the way one scene builds to the next...Did the script not allow for improv as much as we're used to seeing nowadays?
Brie Larson: We improvised in a lot of the scenes. Though, that script gives a lot of story in a short amount of time. It was so strong as it was. It was too good...Though we maybe did come up with a few new lines here or there. It was perfect the way it was written, and I am sure there will be some extended scenes on the DVD that show were we went off the page. But, that script? It truly was good enough as is, on its own.
Are there any bloopers on the Blu-ray?
Brie Larson: I don't think so. Maybe they showed some after the credits? If they did, no one told me. I never saw them...
Is this one of those rare instances where the funniest stuff happened in front of the camera as intended? Is the 21 Jump Street team a group of perfectionists?
Brie Larson: Oh, no! There were plenty of bloopers on set. I don't know where they are, but there were definitely some bloopers happening.
What was the vibe like on set?
Brie Larson: It was definitely a lot of fun. We were working long hours. It was normal, but you spend a vast amount of time with these people, and you become very close. You build up a great rapport. It was an awesome time!
I don't know if you were friends with Channing Tatum before working on the movie, but were you just as surprised by his performance as the audience? If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times. People just weren't aware that he could be this funny. He almost steals the movie...
Brie Larson: I've always found him to be remarkably interesting and charming. I didn't think being funny was that far off. He blew me away day after day with his improv skills. Is there anything he can't do? He's like the perfect person...
I doubt anything is outside his wheelhouse, especially when he follows up his role here with The Vow and Magic Mike. The man can do it all...Except maybe play a nerd...But I think he can pull off dorky...
Brie Larson: (Laughs) Yeah...
In terms of you landing the part of Molly, they came to you, right? You were someone they wanted for the role from the get go...
Brie Larson: I did audition. But, how that happened was, I was doing a table read for another film. Jonah Hill was there. We had some mutual friends, and we kind of knew each other. We talked for a little bit. As I was leaving, he asked if he could introduce me to his friends. His friends were these two young guys. Maybe they were the same age as me. Maybe they were writers. We talked, and then I left. As I was going, they gave me a piece of gum. I thought they were nice, but I didn't think much of it after that. Then, a week or so later, I did have an audition for 21 Jump Street. I looked at these directors, and they seemed so familiar. I was like, "Who are these children that are directing films now?" I recognized them, but I had no idea where I had met them. I walk into the audition, and they are like, "Brie!" Then, they were like, "Oh, my gosh! You completely forgot who we were. Brie, we gave you gum!" I was like, "Oh, my gosh! I can't believe I forgot." So, there was already a friendship there. We already had a rapport. It made the whole audition process easy and fun. I just felt like I was hanging out with my friends.
Do you think, after they initially met you, that they went back and tailored the role of Molly just for you?
Brie Larson: I don't know. Michael Bacall wrote the script, and he is a dead friend of mine. I was aware of the script early on. I had read it early on. And the second I read it, I felt like it was tailor-made for me. Though, there really wasn't that much tailoring that needed to be done. There were certain aspects that we created. For instance, I do have a dress-up trunk at my house. I collect costumes. They wanted to incorporate some of those things into the character. The way she dresses. They wanted me to feel comfortable, so I wore things I would normally wear in my real life. Other than that, she was always written as a cool, badass chick. (Laughs)
So, when you have parties, as it gets late into the night, do you make your guests go into this trunk of costumes and put something on?
Brie Larson: Oh, yeah! I don't have to make people go into the trunk. People want to go into the trunk! There are amazing hats, and collars, and gloves, and things...Yeah, if you've had enough to drink, you will definitely want to put a wolf mask on.
I have a friend who is the same way. But about three hours into any party at his house, he makes you go into the trunk. No one can get away from the trunk!
Brie Larson: Oh, that is too funny. I certainly don't make it a rule, but it is a fun time. People get into that trunk!
When you are entertaining, do you often appear in five, maybe ten, different outfits throughout the night?
Brie Larson: (Laughs) No! It's just a spur of the moment, "I want to wear a safari hat!" Then I will wear the safari hat. I'm not like Mariah Carey. I'm not going to do multiple costume changes at a party.
It can be fun to do that sometimes...With Jonah Hill, you said you knew him before you came onto this project. Is the chemistry we see shared between you two on screen something that was forged well before you knew you'd be working together?
Brie Larson: Yeah...If you are comfortable with the people you are acting against, it generally breeds towards better work. We were in New Orleans for two weeks before we began filming. During that time, we had rehearsals, and we were all new to New Orleans. We were exploring it together. So there were a lot of group dinners, and group drinks, and group concert going-tos. So, during that time, we all became quite good friends.
Were you on set when Peter DeLuise and Johnny Depp shot there cameo?
Brie Larson: Oh, yes. I was there. My interpretation of it is kind of unique. There were so many people there. And they had a blocked shot. It was going to take two whole days to shoot that hotel scene. So, I show up on set a little later than everybody else. There were a lot of characters missing. A lot of people were there that we'd never rehearsed with. There were a lot of new faces. There was this one man in particular. He was an old biker guy. He kept talking to me, and I kept responding to him in one-word answers. Because I didn't know whom this person was. I finally said, "Excuse me? What is your name? I didn't catch your name..." And he grumbles. I said, "Excuse me, what?" The old man pulls his sunglasses down and goes, "It's Johnny." Oh, my gosh! I had no idea that he'd been in his make-up. I had no idea that they were doing this at all. I didn't know they were doing that sort of make-up on him. (Laughs) From that point, I knew we were in for such a great cameo, because I'd been working with him for hours, and I had no idea.
Do you know if, earlier in the movie, when we see that same character, if its still Johnny Depp in the make-up? Or is it another actor that they made Johnny up to look like?
Brie Larson: I actually don't know the answer to that question. I wasn't there that day. That is a mystery. Who would ever know that old man was Johnny? It is so awesome that you see him in the beginning of the movie. Then you see him at the very end, where you realize he was there in the movie all along.
Are there any deleted scenes between you and Jonah that we'll be seeing on this Blu-ray release?
Brie Larson: Not so much deleted scenes as extended scenes. Everything we did, as I said earlier, we would do one take of improv, at least. They would go in wild places. That part of the release I am excited about. I hope they do include some of that stuff. That was a lot of funny stuff, there is just not enough time to put it all in one movie.
Last question. Is the Au Pair going to come back when The League returns in the fall?
Brie Larson: I would be so lucky if they asked me to come back. But they haven't yet. Mm-mmm.
Those were a couple of the best episodes of that show's entire run so far. Rafi tainted you for life!
Brie Larson: Oh (laughs)! Cool...Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed them!
Don't forget. 21 Jump Street makes its way to Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday, June 26th. Pick up a copy, or risk missing one of 2012's cinematic best!
21 Jump Street was released March 16th, 2012 and stars Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, DeRay Davis, Ice Cube, Dax Flame. The film is directed by Phil Lord, Chris Miller.