With David Schwimmer behind the camera, a script by Michael Ian Black and a cast that includes Simon Pegg and Hank Azaria, you might not guess that the prankster in the bunch is actually Pegg’s co-star Thandie Newton.
“Simon was just a perfect, perfect victim, because he was just so gullible,” says the Zambian-born actress. “I was in his trailer a lot when he wasn’t there, preparing things. I made a man-sized turd out of a king-sized Mars bar and left it in his toilet bowl. I had a pair of [my dad’s] old briefs at my house, so I rubbed [the Mars bar] into the ass crack and left it on the floor next to the toilet and left his trailer door open. I actually think it was particularly mean because it was a prank and a snack at the same time.”
Newton’s favorite stunt, though, was at a press junket months after filming. “I replaced all the mineral water next to his table with vodka—three bottles—so you would see him on camera. He would take a big swig, [spewing it] everywhere, immediately yelling, ‘Thandie!’ He got another bottle of water, because he’d just had a mouthful of vodka, poured a glassful took another glug and it’s more vodka—fantastic.’”
Schwimmer appreciated all the mischief on the set of his directorial debut, a comedy about an out-of-shape slacker who abandons his bride at the altar and tries to win her back years later. “I think it’s hugely important to have a great time,” he says. “We were serious about the work, everyone was there to work hard, but the atmosphere was one where I wanted everyone to feel the freedom to really play and have fun. I think that brings out the best in comedic performance. A lot of it is feeling that there’s something funny happening that the camera just happens to be documenting.”
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