INTERVIEW | Paul Rudd Would Like to Play Someone Different, Please
Paul Rudd in "Our Idiot Brother." The Weinstein Company.

In our DVD/Blu-ray pick of the week,"Our Idiot Brother," Paul Rudd's second film directed by his good friend Jesse Peretz (they collaborated on the 2001 comedy "The Chateau"), Rudd plays the nicest guy since Forrest Gump opened up his box of chocolates.

Ned is a dim if well-meaning idealist who gets into some trouble when he sells pot to a cop. Once back in society, the ever-positive Ned is forced to shack up with his three sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer), who each have their own baggage and don't respond well to Ned's sunny disposition.

Rudd, who next appears opposite Jennifer Aniston in "Wanderlust" (Feb. 24), caught up with Indiewire to discuss how Ned's positive vibes rubbed off on him, his love of Crocs and how long it took to grow out the impressive beard he sports in the movie. (This interview was originally published during the film's theatrical run.)

You’ve played a fair share of likable, affable guys. This one takes the cake in many ways. What was the experience of playing a guy with such a sunny disposition?

I loved it. You know, I’m not really a method actor or anything. That’s not the way I tend to operate.

It is true, that if I work on something, the experience of being the character everything does start to permeate into your everyday life. As a result, I was very happy during the shooting of the movie. It’s not often that you get to play somebody that has absolutely no cynicism, or is not judgmental in any way. And on top of it all I got to wear short shorts and Crocs.

Having no cynicism in our day and age seems like an impossible notion to most. How did you wrap your head around Ned's outlook on life?

I think that everybody has facets of this. There are times when I feel I’m not cynical... Feeling a little bit more like when you were a little kid or something. When I took Ned on, I thought, "All right, I’m going to explore that part of my personality and you know, ignore the rest."

That’s the total drum that he’s drumming. This is a choice that he’s made and it’s a conscious decision. It’s isn’t like, oh, he’s just like this. I don’t think he’s an idiot. It’s very clear that he made this decision to give the benefit of the doubt to everybody.

The results from doing that… They don’t work out all the time. It’s an ethic. It’s a principle. It’s a way of living. By kind of saying that, it makes the character enlightened. It makes him noble. It makes him multidimensional. Being an idealist, I think that everybody tries to do that as much as we can. We just do it in a world not really built for it.

On Blu-ray/DVD/VOD Nov. 29, 2011

  • Fox Searchlight
    1 of 6

    "Another Earth" (DVD, Blu-ray and VOD)

    Winner of the Special Jury Award and the Sloan Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Mike Cahill's "Another Earth" stars indie starlet Brit Marling as Rhoda, a young woman with a bright future. The night that the world learns of a new planet in the sky, she crashes her car into a van, killing an expectant mother and her child. Four years later, Rhoda is released from prison still harboring guilt for her deadly actions. In a freak occurrence, she happens upon the house of her victim’s widowed husband (William Mapother) and strikes up a friendship with the stranger.
  • IFC Films
    2 of 6

    "The Wave" (DVD)

    American audiences are largely unfamiliar with director/writer Dennis Gansel, but he got our attention back in 2005 with his award-winning German-language WWII drama "Before the Fall." He's back with "The Wave," a thought-provoking thriller about a high school history teacher who demonstrates to his class what life is like under a dictatorship. The film world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.
  • Roadside Attractions
    3 of 6

    "The Future" (DVD and VOD)

    Miranda July's anticipated second feature, the whimsical romantic dramedy "The Future," stars July and Hamish Linklater as a couple whose decision to adopt a stray cat backfires when it forces them to face what the future really holds. Fans of July will no doubt eat this oddball tale up, but be ready for something a little more depressing than her award-winning debut "Me You and Everyone We Know."
  • Magnolia Pictures
    4 of 6

    "Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil" (DVD and Blu-ray)

    Eli Craig's blood-soaked feature directorial debut, "Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil," premiered at Sundance 2010. It's a real comedy-horror hybrid, which may explain why it took a while to get a release. The film concerns a group of snotty college kids who cross paths with two hillbillies. When the hot blonde from the group gets separated from her friends, the backwoods duo come to her rescue and bring her back to their place, leaving her friends to think they kidnapped her. (They're actually just two fun-loving friends out to enjoy some time off in their mountain home; they only look like forest-dwelling psychos.) One misunderstanding leads to another and soon the body count starts piling up.
  • Focus Features
    5 of 6

    "One Day" (DVD and Blu-ray)

    Focus Features romantic drama "One Day," directed by Lone Scherfig ("An Education"), centers on Dexter (Sturgess) and Em (Hathaway), who after spending the night together on graduation night, are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. Watch this with a box of Kleenex.
  • Sundance Selects
    6 of 6

    "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (DVD and Blu-ray)

    In "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," documentary titan Werner Herzog takes audiences back in time over 32,000 years to explore the earliest known images made by humans in the Chauvet caves of southern France, which have remained a mystery to the general public since their discovery in 1994. To this day, more people have walked on the moon that have set foot inside the Chauvet caves. Herzog, inspired by a New Yorker piece written by Judith Thurman (credited co-producer), became the first filmmaker to be granted access by the French Ministry of Culture to shoot within the caves.


“Our Idiot Brother" isn't just a broad family comedy, it has a lot of heart. How was adding that dramatic edge to the framework of a pretty mainstream comedy?

Whenever I’m working on things I don’t try to differentiate between those things. Unless it’s like "Anchorman," which is a cartoon. I don’t find the characters I’ve played funny. The characters are actually taking their situations very seriously. So it doesn’t seem that different.

But I knew that this was tiptoeing that line. I tend to like that kind of thing the most. I knew it wasn’t a broad comedy. It's also the kind of thing that Jesse and I like. We’ve worked for the past 10 years trying to get movies made together. We made a movie called “Le Chateau” that had a little bit of that too. You know, it’s like life. It’s funny and it’s dramatic and it’s real. And it’s engaging because you’re relating to the characters and what their struggles are.

It was great. I love attempting to play real people. I like to try and have dramatic moments as well as comedic moments and my favorite thing is when those two lines are blurred.

What did you learn about yourself in taking on this character?

Whenever I’m playing a part in something, you’re living as the character. That line can get fuzzy and you start to behave in weird ways... Like my intonations will change. With this, because the character had no cynicism and was unburdened by certain things, I found myself to be very happy during the shooting of it. I mean I loved playing the part, but I really liked the experience of making the movie.

I thought when we were starting, "It’s 120 degrees here in New York City and I can’t wait to see when it’s done because it’s so hot with the beard." But then when we finished, I didn’t shave right away and I wore some of the shirts from the movie. I think living in that skin for a while, as a cornball as that sounds, was kind of nice and I didn’t want it to go away.

About that impressive beard you sport in the film. How long did it take you to grow it out?

Well, I kept it for about two weeks after we wrapped. I don’t really know exactly how long it took to grow. Probably a couple of months. I had to maintain it during shooting, otherwise it would have gotten really big. But yeah, I can grow a big, sizable beard quickly. But then it gets to the point where it starts looking less civil war and more “Fiddler on the Roof.”