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The Ringleader
"I worked with John Hughes, who wrote some excellent comedies,” says Deutch, who directed three of Hughes' screenplays: The Great Outdoors, Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty in Pink. "One of the things he taught me was, ‘take your comedy seriously,' and I will never forget that. When you start telling jokes in movies and winking at the audience and elbowing them I think that takes them right out of the story. They don't believe it anymore because you don't believe it.

"That's not to say you can't have a character who's larger than life, like Kevin is with Lazlo, as long as it's real to him,” the director clarifies. "That's operatic. It's exaggerated and it seizes big moments. The actors who can seize those moments are rare. Matthew, Bruce, Kevin and Amanda are among those who can do it and get away with it.”

Assessing his methods and the creative atmosphere he fosters on the set, Deutch notes that "sometimes with a high octane group like this it's best to stay out of the way, especially when the switch is flicked on. As Billy Wilder used to say, I'm a teacher, a whipping boy, a maid, a psychologist – whatever I have to do to get what I need or to help them strike the notes they're aiming for, that's my role.” 

"When you're dealing with so many great comic minds it invigorates the work,” adds Gallo. "We'd be going through a table reading and cracking up or people would be jumping in with ‘no, no, how about this, how about that?' Howie would navigate.”

"His laugh is great,” says Perry. "For me, one of the big motivating factors each day is to impress the director. You want to show him what he's looking for and maybe go a bit further and surprise him. He was a key factor in developing the script and a major reason why it goes at a bullet pace. We did a lot of screwing around and he was open to that. Essentially, our philosophy was ‘beat this joke,' and try to get laughs out of the craft service guys.” 

One element proved beyond Deutch's control. Perry, who worked on The Whole Ten Yards in between taping episodes of Friends, recalls that, "as a result of my TV schedule we all had to work on the movie Super Bowl Sunday, so I wasn't very popular that day. But we didn't get a whole lot of work done anyway. Around 3:00 we sort of gave up. Everyone piled into Bruce's trailer to watch the game. Howie just threw up his hands.”

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