Video:Steve Coogan Interview - Hamlet 2with Rebecca Murray
Steve Coogan plays an actor whose career never took off so he turns his attention to teaching acting to high school students. When the school's drama program is in jeopardy, he comes up with the idea of putting on an original play - 'Hamlet 2'.See Transcript
Transcript:Steve Coogan Interview - Hamlet 2Rebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con.
Steve Coogan – 'Dana Marschz' in Hamlet 2
Is Hamlet 2 the absolute worst idea for a sequel you've ever heard?
Steve Coogan: "Yeah. Yes, it is. Well, when I read the title I thought, 'This is going to stink.' But I read it and it was one of the funniest scripts I'd read in a very, very long time."
You must see a lot of scripts so what stood out about this comedy?
Steve Coogan: "Just that it wasn't like… A lot of scripts you get are kind of very same-y and this was different. It had the, the main character Dana Marschz that I play in the movie was kind of vulnerable. He had his heart in the right place. It wasn't like a frat boy comedy or something I'd seen before. I thought whatever people say about the movie, they can't say, 'Oh, it's another one of those kind of movies.' And also it was poking fun at movies that hadn't been satirized, all those inspirational teacher movies. I hadn't really seen something that kind of poked fun at those. And it did that in a way that was a lot of fun, but also in the end it kind of becomes like an inspirational teacher movie so it becomes the thing that it makes fun of."
Doing the singing and the dancing, how tough was that for you?
Steve Coogan: "Oh singing and dancing doesn't come naturally to me. We had to give up our days off, you know, to go and practice rehearsing the choreography and all the rest of it. But it was good, and I got to dress up as Jesus which has always been an ambition of mine."
Are you going to keep singing and dancing? Is this a new career?
Steve Coogan: "I don't think so. I don't think so. If it's singing and dancing all I can do is do it badly and hope people laugh."
And you get to do a lot of improv, right? This is not tightly scripted in that he let you flow with some stuff?
Steve Coogan: "Yeah, we know, we kind of discussed ideas and threw other ideas in. When we were shooting stuff, you know, we got the things that were on paper and then we kind of like throw other ideas in. There's a lot of funny little moments in the movie that came from just flying by the seat of our pants."
Is it different working with a writer/director because he is the writer so he can allow these changes?
Steve Coogan: "Yeah, yeah. It's a lot more… It's quite liberating. It was an independent movie before Focus Films picked it up. It meant that we kind of could do more or less what we want to. We didn't have to go through any kind of committee if we wanted to take a decision on something. Because Andy had written it, I could say, 'Why don't we sort of do this line like this?' We discussed everything. Everything was always up for grabs. So we could think on our feet more."
Di d you expect the kind of festival reaction it got?
Steve Coogan: "Well, we showed it at Sundance and we got a great reaction there. I mean, I felt the movie was very funny but I was still sort of surprised, really pleasantly surprised by how much the audiences really went for it, really connected with it, on an emotional level as well as it being funny. And I was really pleased about last night, the screening last night [at Comic Con]. People really seemed to love it. They gave it a standing ovation so it was great. The people sort of really liked it. And also, there's a bit of a buzz about it and sometimes that can work against you because people's expectations are high. But it didn't work like that. I think it's very difficult to describe the movie, apart from telling people it's funny and it has heart. People don't quite know what to expect and they don't have any preconceptions about it. So when they went along, they kind of were… A lot of people say, 'I really enjoyed it. It wasn't the kind of movie I thought it was going to be, but I really, really loved it.'"
Did those tunes get stuck in your head too, because I know they're stuck in mine?
Steve Coogan: "Oh god, yeah, the tunes, yeah. Especially when you're rehearsing these numbers and singing them over and over and over. Yeah, Rock Me Sexy Jesus was stuck in my brain for a couple of months, and then I'd finally got it out of my head. And then now I've come back helping to promote the movie again and it's starting to creep in there again."