Jay Chandrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan are two-fifths of the Broken Lizard comedy team. Chandrasekhar and Heffernan first garnered mainstream attention (and some notoriety) for their second feature, "Super Troopers," which has gone on to become a cult comedy fave. Since "Super Troopers," the duo have worked on several other features and been involved with a number of television series including "Arrested Development" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm".
"The Babymakers" marks their latest feature film collaboration. The film follows an impotent hubby's (Paul Schneider) quest to impregnant his wife (Olivia Munn) by any means, eventually attempting to steal his previously donated sperm from a cryobank. "Babymakers" is both a romantic comedy and a heist film, and through its romantic grounding, a slight departure from their previous work. [It opens in select theaters and hits VOD on August 3.]
Indiewire met with the two in Manhattan to discuss their process, the criticisms levied against their films, and their reasons and inspirations for making movies.
Did you do much research for the film? Investigate any sperm clinics?
Heffernan: Yes, months!
Chandrasekhar: We did several Google searches of sperm banks. You take what you need to make the story work for your plot and keep it as real as you can. The truth is a lot of people have gone through it and a lot of people haven't and they only imagine what's in there. One thing we know is in there is porn and sperm. The writer went through it and we said, "What do you think of this?" and he said, "Yeah, it's roughly that."
Have either of you ever donated sperm?
Chandrasekhar: My cousin did.
Heffernan: Have you done it?
No. I haven't yet faced that kind of financial necessity.
Heffernan: Right, right. But what about just the desire to?
Heffernan: Yeah, for fun.
I read this article about a guy who fathered 150 children around the country. That creeped me out. So, no I don't have any desire to. This is your 5th or 6th film together as Broken Lizard, right?
Heffernan: It's not technically a Broken Lizard film. It's more of an offshoot that the two of us did. We've done, including "Dukes of Hazzard," seven or eight films? This might be the eighth.
Do you feel that with all the collaborations you've done together there is a rhythm or a system to the filmmaking?
Chandrasekhar: Yeah, there's both a rhythm and a system. We don't worry about the details of how to create a script or how to shoot a movie anymore. We know how the technology works and how our own internal system works. We just need an idea and then we can push it all the way to the end.
How does that internal system work?
Chandrasekhar: We tend to do a lot of drafts of the script. We're not an improv based movie making group. Judd Apatow has his own system that is improv based, though he does a lot of rewriting off that improv and then rehearsals and then they'll shoot that. But they still keep the improv thing alive. We write and write and write until we think, "If we have to shoot this script, we'll be happy and it's going to be a great movie." I meet with all the actors two weeks before and I ask them, "What lines don't work? What is uncomfortable for you? What jokes do you think aren't good? If you're not getting it, here's what the joke is." You fix it. Then you get on the set and you shoot that. And then I also tell the actors, "We're going to do three takes of what we wrote, then be ready with another two or three with whatever the hell you want to say." Sometimes I'll be like, "This take is yours. Go as big or small as you want. Put in whatever jokes."