"Robin's Big Speed Date" as told by James Duffy
Robin's Big Speed Date
Directed by: James Duffy
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Justin Long, Leslie Bibb, Uma Thurman, Kristen
Bell, Bobby Cannavale, John Hodgman
As told by Director James Duffy:
"Robin's Big Speed Date" got its start in 2004 when I convinced Sam
Rockwell to be in a movie for three hours. I had gone to college with
Justin Long, who had befriended Sam on the set of GALAXY QUEST. Justin
somehow convinced him this would be fun. Sam agreed to do three hours.
I brainstormed ideas with Will Carlough, another college friend and an
aspiring writer, when his comic book obsession allowed. We had three
days to try and figure out what kind of movie we could possibly make
with Sam Rockwell in three hours. I had an idea about a date gone wrong
and Will took it home and the next day we had a script about Batman
cock-blocking Robin on a disaster date. The movie, "Robin's Big Date,"
ended up being a mild internet sensation, pre-YouTube, if you can
believe that such a time even existed.
Several years later, Charlie Wessler and John Penotti approached us
with an even harder to believe scenario. They had seen "Robin's Big
Date" and wanted us to make a sequel for their upcoming MOVIE 43. We
said yes immediately. When it came time to shoot the sequel for MOVIE
43, Sam couldn't do it, because he was off shooting COWBOYS AND ALIENS.
Jason Sudeikis filled in, which in my mind, gave it a nice parity with
the 90's Batman films, having a new Batman for each new sequel.
Justin, who really is responsible for all of this happening, went to
work recruiting actor friends who would be willing to spend two days in
tights. Will and I worked on the script trying to limit the number of
dick jokes requested. An over the top ballroom dance studio in
Chinatown was discovered by a genius location scout, the script was
finalized and we were ready to go.
We had one read through the day before the shoot and I realized quickly
that everyone was game and everyone was ready to help out as they
could. There's something about putting people in tights that seems to
make everything a little more relaxed.
The shoot was on. It was hot in that dance studio and everyone was
drinking a lot of water. This meant a lot of complicated bathroom
visits. Bobby Cannavale gave the funniest read of Superman that I could
possibly imagine. He turned the character into a selfish thug, which if
you think about it, is probably how most super powered aliens would
probably end up. Almost everyone were in costumes that took a good
fifteen minutes to get in and out of. It was a whole ordeal and
required two costume designers to help each actor. Bobby didn't want to
go through the trouble and actually took a pair of scissors and cut a
pee hole into the blue tights under the red underpants.
Justin and Jason set the tone in their opening scene. Pushing each
other and one-upping each other with line after line of genius improv.
It couldn't be funnier. The options were limitless. These two could do
this all day. Charlie Wessler approached me calmly and let me know that
no, in fact, they could not do this all day and that we were way
behind. We made it through the first scene and then the first day and
the second. I can't thank everyone enough for shepherding me through
this my first non-three hour directorial adventure.
Will Carlough's funny recollections from the shoot:
When I arrived on set the first day, I saw Uma Thurman getting her
makeup done. I had met the rest of the cast in the read-throughs, but
she hadn't been there for those, so this was the first time I had seen
her. There's a scene in ADAPTATION where Charlie Kaufman is on the set
of BEING JOHN MALCOVICH, trying to just say hello to the stars, and is
summarily ignored. Charlie Kaufman displayed more bravery than me,
because he had the courage to try. I never introduced myself to Uma,
despite the fact that she was there to say words that I had written.
There was originally a part for Two-Face, Aquaman, and Batgirl.
"Robin's Big Speed Date" is the first time that Justin Long and John
Hodgman have appeared on screen together since their Mac commercials.
Our AD's first job ever was SUPERMAN in 1978. He retired after our film.
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