Video:Evan Almighty-Wanda Sykes & John Michael Higgins Interviewswith Rebecca Murray
Wanda Sykes and John Michael Higgins play a couple of assistants to Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) in the Universal Pictures comedy Evan Almighty. Sykes and Higgins love to improv, and director Tom Shadyac allowed them plenty of freedom to play.See Transcript
Transcript:Evan Almighty-Wanda Sykes & John Michael Higgins InterviewsRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the World Premiere of Evan Almighty.
Wanda Sykes ('Rita')
I read in the production notes that it took you a while to convince you to sign onto this. Was that true?
Wanda Sykes: "That's true."
Wanda Sykes: "Well at first when I read the script you could just tell like that the character Rita really wasn't fully developed. I mean, you could just lift her right out of the script and it wouldn't change anything. So I was like, 'There's nothing here.' And at the meeting with Tom Shadyac I shared my thoughts and he totally agreed. He said, 'You understand, that's why we want you for this part because I know you could bring so much more to it. You would make it an integral part of this movie.' He was so passionate about this project. He's like, 'It's going to be huge and it's going to be so big! And if it doesn't work, I'm going to be in a lot of trouble.'"
He convinced you it was going to be big but at what point during the production did you realize just how huge it was going to be?
Wanda Sykes: "It must have been when we got to Charlottesville and walking up and seeing this gigantic ark. That's very humbling. I was like, 'Okay, so we're not the stars of this movie. Here's the star, ladies and gentleman.'"
Did you have to work with any of the live animals?
Wanda Sykes: "No, no."
That's something you were very happy about?
Wanda Sykes: "Very happy about! There was never a day I was like, 'I want to work with the birds.' I never. Never."
You improv'd all of your part?
Wanda Sykes: "Pretty much."
Did he give you any guidelines on where you couldn't go?
Wanda Sykes: "Not really. I mean, I knew they were trying to do a family movie and we were going to keep it clean. That was pretty much it. But I didn't feel handcuffed or any hindrance because of that."
Were you hesitate about signing onto a spin-off?
Wanda Sykes: "No, not really. No, because this was such a far stretch from the original Bruce Almighty. And as long as you've got Morgan Freeman playing God, you've got a movie. What is there to worry about, you know?"
John Michael Higgins ('Marty')
You love to improve so how much were you allowed free rein in this?
John Michael Higgins: "I never saw a script. If there was one I wish they'd gave it to me. No, Steve improvises a lot. I do, too, Wanda, Jonah [Hill] If they gave us a script it wouldn't have mattered. We're all just said what we wanted to anyway, and I think Tom [Shadyac] basically likes it that way. You get material that way. It sort of loosens things up."
Did he tell you when you guys were going the wrong way with it or did he just let the cameras roll?
John Michael Higgins: "Yeah, he thinks of it as an editing thing. You just throw a lot of arrows at the target and then you go back later and cut out all the unfunny stuff, which is about 90%."
It's got to be a higher percentage than that. You always crack me up.
John Michael Higgins: "Steve has a much higher percentage than I do. That's why he's the star. Almost everything that comes out of him works really well."
What's it like working with him?
John Michael Higgins: "Well Steve is one of the nicest he really is one of the nicest people in Hollywood, honestly. I don't know where he came from. He should really be thrown out of Hollywood. He shouldn't be here. He's too nice. He'll never make it. He'll never be a star. Look at this. But he's a dream and I'll work with him anytime."
Were you at all leery about signing onto something that's a sequel of a super successful movie?
John Michael Higgins: "Yeah, I guess I was. But when I saw Steve was involved and Tom, who I trust implicitly, I thought it'll be great. And it is great. It's really good."
And you've got Fred Claus with Vince Vaughn coming up too.
John Michael Higgins: "I suppose there will be a sequel to that. Well, God willing. Yeah, that's coming up soon. That was a big movie, too."
Is that another one where you just get to riff?
John Michael Higgins: "Yeah, we just let it go. Vince you know, you can't keep him on script. That's why we love him."