Cops, Cons and Skiptracers: Supporting Cast
With Bateman and McCarthy good to go, the filmmakers began to cast the
many supporting roles. Naturally, the next part was Sandy's
loving, supportive wife named Trish, played by Amanda Peet.
Initially resistant to her husband's idea of tracking down the criminal
who has stolen his identity, Trish soon realizes it is their only
chance to get out of the financial mess that the whirling dervish
called Diana has whipped up.
"Sandy and Trish are caught between a rock and a hard place and have no
other choice but to take matters into their own hands and not rely on
the help of the law or anyone else," explains Peet. "Though
Trish is a little worried because Sandy is a conservative, law-abiding
person, and he's going to go off on this crazy wild-goose hunt to find
a criminal." Peet knew she'd made the right choice for her
next project. "When you're in a room by yourself reading a
script and you start falling off the bed laughing, it's a good
sign. I kept emailing Jason with 'This is so
brilliant.' I also feel like it's very topical with the
economy the way it is and families struggling."
Stuber had no doubts they'd found the perfect Trish for the
comedy. He says: "Jason and Amanda are friends, which is a
big plus when it comes to playing husband and wife of 12 years, so
right away you knew there would be good chemistry. Amanda's a
terrific actress and brings such great energy in her performances, so
she was a great fit for the character."
Diana's actions wreak havoc on every member of the Patterson household,
including Trish and Sandy's two young daughters, Jessie and Franny,
played by Maggie Elizabeth Jones and Mary-Charles Jones,
respectively. "We were lucky we found two strong, young
actresses who could hold their own," says Gordon. "It was
important for the characters that the girls who played them be
sisters. We knew this would give them a real comfort with
each other, and they could play around and riff with Amanda, Jason and
In the film, Sandy has worked at Prominence Financial for many years
with very little to show for it. Despite his dedication to
the company and outstanding work ethic, Sandy is becoming increasingly
frustrated as he struggles to make ends meet. He reaches his
breaking point when his boss, Harold Cornish, asks him to come into his
office and cut bonus checks -- checks that are meant only for partners
at the firm.
When casting the role of Cornish, Bateman turned to his longtime pal,
Jon Favreau. "I have known Jon for many years, and I knew
that he could come in and take a role that wasn't that fleshed out on
the page and make it into something special. That is exactly
what he did," commends Bateman. "I am so grateful that he was
able to do the part."
"Scott sent me the script and when I read it, I liked the role of
Harold because I haven't played this type of part in a while," returns
Favreau. "I knew that I would get to come in for a few days
and bang it around a bit with Jason, which is always a lot of fun
because there's such subtlety to his comedy."
"We all know Jon as a fabulous director, but he is also one of the
great comedic actors of his generation," adds Abdy. "He took
a very simple role, which was written for plot and setup, and brought a
whole new layer to the character that was incredibly funny.
It sets up and helps earn the moment that Sandy quits his job and
finally stands up for himself."
After Sandy realizes that he will never have the life he wants working
at Prominence Financial, he agrees to join co-worker Daniel Casey
(portrayed by John Cho) at his new startup company. His new
boss gives Sandy his dream job, complete with a vice president title,
terrific salary and plush office. "Prominence is an
investment firm run the old-school way, which is basically thieving,"
Cho dryly states. "It's definitely a cutthroat business, and
people don't feel appreciated. It's one of those companies
where the profits stay at the top and don't trickle down, so I am sure
people are not going to have a difficult time comparing it to the place
where they work."
Daniel's decision to hire Sandy sets off a chain of events that rock
Sandy's world. Explains Cho: "Daniel brings in a majority of
the new business to Prominence, and he is not seeing a dime from
it. So he defects and starts his own company, with more
equitable profit sharing. Sandy is attracted to that and
decides to come on board. The first day in the office, Sandy
gets a visit from the police about a drug ring in Florida, and it
starts to make Daniel very nervous. He lets Sandy know that
unless it is cleared up quickly he has to let him go."
For Gordon, Cho's presence on set was an unexpected bonus.
"John came on board just before production," says the
director. "Everyone knows him from comedies like the HAROLD
& KUMAR films, but he brought this edge to Daniel we really
needed. The role is important because if you don't believe
the working relationship between Sandy and Daniel -- that they're
starting a new company together -- then the entire movie is
compromised. We needed somebody who would approach it with
that level of intensity, and John did a great job."
At the Denver Police Department, the officer investigating Sandy is
Detective Reilly, played by Morris Chestnut. While the cop is
initially somewhat helpful, his attitude quickly changes.
Chestnut explains: "Reilly comes to Sandy's job with a warrant to
search the premises for drugs and guns because Sandy's name was on a
list of buyers in a drug bust. He doesn't find anything, but
it pushes Sandy to go track Diana down so his name can be
cleared. Reilly also likes to take subtle jabs at him
because, despite knowing that there is a woman who has stolen his
identity, he feels like there might be something else Sandy is
hiding. So he is keeping a real close eye on him."
Chestnut tackled another one of those roles that expanded as the
production started shooting. Abdy sums that the performers
were all game: "When you get on set and the magic starts to happen,
sometimes you find a kernel of an idea that's good and you want to
explore it and see if it works. Not all of them will live in
the film, but a handful will. That's the magic of
comedies. You come up with new ideas on set and you play with
them. You hope to have actors like Morris who are willing to
jump in and make things messy. He was fantastic in rolling
with the punches."
Once Sandy persuades Diana to come back to Colorado, all that stands in
his way of getting his life back is a two-day drive across the
country. What he soon finds out, however, is that he isn't
the only one tracking Diana. They both come face to face with
a menacing skiptracer, played by Robert Patrick. Gordon
elaborates: "A skiptracer is essentially a bail enforcement agent --
like a bounty hunter or a 'collector' -- who is tracking someone who
has skipped bail or owes a lot of money. These guys can
travel interstate and take somebody hostage and bring them to the
person who is owed the money. It's this bizarre loophole in
interstate law, and I thought he would be a great antagonist.
Still, we knew it would require an actor who naturally has an ability
to be menacing without being a cartoon character. I thought
Robert was perfect, and I've loved him ever since he was the T-1000 in
"Before I read the script I didn't know a skiptracer was a
real occupation," laughs Patrick, who was recently seen in Universal
and Bluegrass Film's 2012 hit, SAFE HOUSE. "He's a cross
between a bounty hunter and a debt collector. When Seth and I
started talking about the character, we decided to make him an Army guy
who's created this niche for himself and works for debt
collectors. He gets the information, tracks people down by
their credit card use and then captures them, puts them in the back of
his van and takes them back to who they took the money from.
While Diana might not look intimidating, she proves to be one of the
most difficult targets he's ever tracked."
Bateman agrees that Patrick was just the man for the job: "Robert is
one of the great heavies, and we needed the character to represent real
stakes. By having him on your tail there was a sense of
threat and urgency. A different actor would've said, 'Well,
I'm doing a comedy and I'm playing the bad guy, so I need to come in
and get some laughs.' There are no laughs written for that
character, but if you play him perfectly and you're in these crazy
situations, there are going to be laughs that come from that.
Fortunately, Robert trusted that, and as a result he gets some
laughs. But more importantly, he's real scary, which is what
Nothing comes easy for Sandy when it comes to getting Diana safely back
to Colorado. As if having a skiptracer tracking your every
move wasn't enough, Sandy soon discovers Marisol and Julian, a team of
professional enforcers who want what he's got: Diana. "When
we found Genesis Rodriguez to play Marisol, who's so funny, and T.I.,
who lives in Atlanta, to play Julian, we changed the
characters. As a result, they and their boss, Paul [played by
Jonathan Banks] -- working from his jail cell -- rounded out the
antagonists," explains Gordon. "We needed audiences to
believe that all of them were real and threatening and are a force to
be reckoned with."
"Marisol is bat-shit crazy," Rodriguez succinctly puts it.
"She's a cold-blooded assassin who is partnered with Julian, and they
are the oddest pair. You would think to be an assassin you
would need to be emotionless, but they're very emotional and constantly
bicker with each other like an old married couple."
"Marisol thinks she's running things," adds Tip 'T.I.'
Harris. "She wants to boss me around, despite the fact that I
do most of the heavy lifting. The truth is that I do most of
the work, and she talks most of the shit. But I guess, like
they say, she's easy on the eyes, so I grin and bear it and let her get
away with it."
Julian and Marisol arrive at Diana's home just as Sandy is ready to
haul her off, and the producers were happy with their young performers'
take on the action-heavy roles. "Genesis and T.I. are both
bright actors," commends Abdy. "They have a terrific dynamic,
so it provides a different flavor to the movie and gives you two other
villains that are very different from the skiptracer."
Throughout their journey, Sandy and Diana meet a number of odd
characters, but perhaps none is more memorable than a gregarious
Southerner named Big Chuck, played by Eric Stonestreet. When
Diana visits a bar called The Foxhole (also the code name for the film
during production) across from the motel room she shares with Sandy,
she and Big Chuck instantly hit it off. An Emmy Award-winning
actor best known for the hit television show Modern Family, Stonestreet
describes his larger-than-life character: "Big Chuck's a real estate
agent who happens to be at The Foxhole when Diana and Sandy come in to
grab a drink. He is looking for a good time, and he looks at
Sandy as his ticket to be with Diana. Big Chuck soon realizes
that in order to get the prize, he's got to go through Sandy, so he's
willing to do whatever he needs to do."
"We had a hard time finding the right person to be a match for Diana,"
relays Gordon. "We wanted to have a character that could be a
mark for Diana, in terms of a scam, but also someone who audiences
would root for her to be with. Finding someone who could give
us that macho, big presence led us to Eric, who I knew was an amazing
actor from when I directed an episode of MODERN FAMILY."
"Eric came in and saved the day," adds Bateman. "We had a
situation with our schedule, which took us down to the wire in terms of
getting the kind of actor that we wanted. Thankfully, Eric's
schedule worked out. He and Melissa hit it off immediately,
which was important because there are some intimate moments between the
With the casting process complete, the filmmakers were quite pleased
with the outstanding comedic cast they had assembled. "I was
happy with our actors, from top to bottom," praises Gordon.
"In a comedy, the tiniest part can jeopardize a scene and can send the
movie off tone. We worked hard to find performers who could
make all of those smaller parts shine, and that started with actors
like Carlos Navarro [Luis] at the gas station, Ben Falcone [Tony] as
the hotel clerk and Ellie Kemper [Florence] at the Colonnade.
All these people made the most of these brief moments and really
elevated each scene."
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