Video:Couples Retreat-Peter Billingsley and Karen David Interviewswith Rebecca Murray
Actor/producer Peter Billingsley makes his feature film directorial debut with 'Couples Retreat,' an ensemble comedy from Universal Pictures. At the film's premiere, Billingsley joined his cast - including Karen David - to talk about the movie.See Transcript
Transcript:Couples Retreat-Peter Billingsley and Karen David InterviewsRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the American Premiere of Universal Pictures' Couples Retreat.
Peter Billingsley – Director of Couples Retreat
How do you control these guys on set?
Peter Billingsley: "Actually, your job is not to control them. That's the truth. You have this kind of energy and intelligence and a sense of humor… You know, people often ask me and I say my job is to kind of set up the shots and then actually step back and let them do what they do best. And we prepare a lot. We set up a lot of multiple cameras. We let them improv, and we just let them do what they do. And everyone's really friends off-screen so you have a very natural chemistry that I think translates and makes it even funnier. You believe as friends."
They sell it.
Peter Billingsley: "They really do, because there's not a lot of selling going on because they're actually friends. You buy it – they live it."
How do you top this with your next directing job because you got to go to Bora Bora and you got to work with the people that you love?
Peter Billingsley: "Maybe I should retire. Maybe I should hang it up after this. Maybe I peaked. Maybe this is it. I don't know. It's pretty insane to have your best friend come to you with such a smart concept, this incredible cast that he already had in mind, and to say, 'You know, we can even go somewhere pretty tropically-awesome,' as a first time out. I said, 'Well, the short answer is yes, I'll do it. Thank you.'"
You must have decided just like that.
Peter Billingsley: "It didn't take a lot of thought."
But you know filming in Bora Bora had its own challenges, right? People don't film there very often.
Peter Billingsley: "Well I did find out that we're the first movie since Hurricane with Mia Farrow in 1979 to shoot there. But I wish I could cry you a river of these sob stories about how tough it was to be there, and I'll certainly true but it's not going to be very convincing. I've been told I'm a good actor, but I don't think you're going to buy it. I really don't."
How come you didn't write yourself a role in this?
Peter Billingsley: "I do, sometimes, little cameos in the films that I do and stuff for fun. But this directing was a lot. Every scene had a lot to do."
Was it difficult to make it PG-13?
Peter Billingsley: "No. I think from the onset we really wanted to make an accessible movie that was tonally funny. I think if you're doing an R, it should be a situational, extreme comedic R. The theme and tone of this movie did not lend itself to that. We wanted to make something accessible for people about relationships. It's regular folks. It's grounded problems. It's kids and school and hockey moms, and it's just regular stuff that folks have to deal with. That's what makes it funny."
Karen David – 'Anne' Couples Retreat
Karen David: "I play Anne and she works with Jean Reno at the resort. And we're in charge of taking care of all the couples and making sure that they're comfortable, and that they don't get up to any shenanigans."
Do you believe in this couples retreat and therapy nonsense?
Karen David: "I almost think it's a sort of a really cool excuse to go for an exotic vacation. But as you see in the film it doesn't turn out exactly like that, but it ends well – for the better. I mean it was so tough filming in Bora Bora with Vince [Vaughn] and Jason [Bateman] and Faizon [Love] and Kristin [Davis]. It was so difficult."
All those funny people in a beautiful setting.
Karen David: "The things we have to do to pay the bills. It was just so…it was not easy. It was a wonderful sort of paid vacation. We had so much fun. And everyone, being we were on this little island in Bora Bora for a few weeks, it was just…yeah. We had our hut parties every night."
Is there anything you can tell me about those?
Karen David: "Jon and Faizon are very good at spinning records, are very good at scratching and DJ'ing. I had no idea."
That's their hidden talent.
Karen David: "I know, and it was great. We'd be, sometimes at the end of a long day of shooting, they'd just spin records and stuff. I didn't know that Jon used to DJ. He's multi-talented – it's really annoying, really. That's what he used to do and so he was spinning records. He brought all of his decks and everything out. There he was, and Faizon. Jon was teaching a bunch of us how to scratch. It was quite funny."
How did you end up doing it? Were you any good?
Karen David: "Yeah, I better not quit my day job."
Did they let you improv or did you stick to the script?
Karen David: "Funny that you mention it because there was a lot of improv. I remember all my scenes and stuff are with Jon and Kristin, and it's funny. You practice so much and then you go in, we do a few takes, and then Jon's like, 'You know what?' – there's like 15 pages and he's like, 'Yeah, you know…' He just threw it behind him. And I'm like, 'Right…' He's like, 'Yeah, let's just wing it. Let's just have fun now.' I'm like, 'Really? Really? Do anything?' He's like, 'Yeah.' And you can see over the shoulder shots in between because it's so difficult to keep a straight face, you know? They're making me laugh so much that all of a sudden you see this [shaking of her shoulders]."
You're going to be on all the bloopers.
Karen David: "I know. I tried not to laugh. When Vince came out in his cow costume, that was quite funny with the udders and everything sticking out at the Halloween party. That was quite funny."