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HORRIBLE BOSSES

The Plan
"I don't care how much we hate our bosses. We're not murderers.” – Dale "You've never heard of justifiable homicide? It would be immoral NOT to kill them.” - Kurt

Gordon acknowledges it's the undeniable chemistry between the film's leads — often referred to on set as Charlie & the two Jasons — that really propels the action. "We got very lucky with this incredible synergy and these three accomplished comic actors who adapted to each others' rhythms so perfectly and worked so wonderfully together.” That camaraderie is key as Nick, Dale and Kurt try to brainstorm ideas and bolster one another's resolve in the face of everything they're up against. And for Dale, "up against,” literally means his boss's hands and any part of his body within reach.

As the unwilling prey of the sex-crazed Dr. Julia Harris, who can't seem to keep her lab coat buttoned up when he's in the room, "Dale is the hopeless romantic of the group,” says Charlie Day. "He's desperately in love with his fiancée and just wants to be a good guy but his boss is constantly coming on to him. Sometimes even his buddies don't quite sympathize with him.”

That's understandable, considering that Dr. Harris is played by Jennifer Aniston. "We drew straws to see which one of us would play Dale, and Charlie won,” jokes Bateman. But, as everyone knows, no means no and this is one woman who never got that memo. When her daily routine of grabbing, flashing and talking trash isn't enough, she adds blackmail to the list.

"I've never played a character so inexcusably raunchy and there was no way I could resist it — the dialogue and the situations are so outrageous and fun. I jumped at it immediately,” says Aniston, who calls the movie "a guilty pleasure for people unhappy in their jobs, to maybe go and get it out of their system by rooting for these guys. "It really stretches the limits and crosses boundaries and Dr. Harris is way out in front on all counts: guilty as charged,” she adds.

"What I love about the character is how masculine she is in her sexual appetite. As Jennifer and I discussed in rehearsals, Dr. Harris is a predator, like a lion. They don't feel one way or another, they just have to feed,” says Gordon. "It was really important to find an actress who could play Julia with all the intensity and delicious naughtiness the role deserves, and I thought it would be even better if it was someone audiences wouldn't expect. This is radically different from any role her fans have ever seen her in before and she just kills; you have to see it to believe it. It's electrifying to hear her deliver this dialogue. She's absolutely fearless and hilarious.”

Aniston previously starred with Sudeikis in "The Bounty Hunter” and with Bateman in last year's romantic comedy "The Switch,” but met Charlie Day for the first time on "Horrible Bosses.” Recalling the potentially awkward scenario of their first scene together, she says, "Within 20 minutes, I was straddling him in lingerie. But Seth never stopped laughing and we were all in perfect sync; if anything, after every take we'd be thinking, ‘let's push it a little further.' I was bizarrely comfortable in these scenes, almost more so than I would be playing the normal girl-next-door, and every scene was kind of crazy but that was really the fun of it.”

Dale's friend Nick, meanwhile, faces a different kind of domination at the hands of his boss: the powerful, tightly wound VP Dave Harken, portrayed by Kevin Spacey, who lords over the cramped bullpen of Comnidyne Industries where poor Nick toils alongside his fellow corporate drones in the futile hope of reward and recognition… or, at the very least, an occasional half-day off.

"Harken is the master of psychological torment,” says Gordon. "We imagined a kind of sophisticated passive-aggressive sadist, the kind of power-hungry micromanager that I think any of us can recognize because he exists out there in many forms, and Kevin handles it brilliantly.”

Says Spacey, "You can't even give him the benefit of the doubt, or think for a minute that he's being tough in order to teach a lesson or encourage his employees to try harder and bring out their best. There are no underlying strategies that might redeem him. Harken is just a bully. He's a terrible, terrible person.

"The three of us who play the bosses really back these three friends into a corner and I think audiences will completely understand why they're driven to kill us,” Spacey concedes. "Fortunately, everything they set out to do doesn't go the way they plan in any way, shape or form. They make the worst decisions ever.”

As Harken's long-time subordinate and number-one target, Nick has certainly paid his dues into the next century, notes Jason Bateman. "Nick is dedicated and ambitious and wants a promotion so badly he can taste it. Harken has promised it, but we know it's never going to happen. It's just part of his plan to dominate and emasculate.”

By comparison, conditions for Kurt seem much better — at least initially. As the story opens he's working for kindly Jack Pellit, played by Donald Sutherland as a man of warmth and integrity. "Jack is the kind of boss we all wish we had,” states Gordon. "We wanted an actor who could play that sort of father-figure role, the benevolent authority you want in your life, and Donald was perfect. Seeing him interact with Jason Sudeikis, you really get the sense that these two characters have mutual respect and a rich history.”

But that ideal situation can't last. Jack is soon out and Bobby Pellit, the son who replaces him, is one wormy acorn that fell a very long way from the tree.

"Bobby Pellit represents the sort of corrupt and incompetent jerk who's in charge of things but clearly has no idea what he's doing. Of course, he will find a way to blame his inevitable failures on someone else,” says Gordon.

"Playing Pellit was all about channeling my inner douche,” laughs Farrell. "This guy thinks he's God's gift to women, God's gift to intellect, to humor, to the club scene, to

Farrell also contributed significantly to Pellit's look, suggesting the comb-over and pot belly, as well as his affinity for the Chinese dragons that decorate his clothing to suggest to the world that he may have martial arts training. "Colin transformed himself so completely he's barely recognizable,” Gordon attests. "He fully went for it. Audiences are going to see a whole different and very funny side to him.”

For Kurt, Pellit's sudden promotion is bad news. Sudeikis explains: "First of all, Pellit hates Kurt because he knows his own father favored Kurt over him, so he makes it his mission to tank the business the two of them worked so hard for. Also, since all he cares about is money to fund his idiotic lifestyle, he's going to hurt thousands of people by dumping toxic chemicals because of some loophole that makes it legal, but still immoral. So, the way Kurt sees it, killing him would be doing God's work as well as his own. It's actually quite benevolent when you look at it that way.”

That goes double for Dale, and triple for Nick. But can they pull it off? As Day points out, "These three aren't exactly criminal masterminds.”

At least they're smart enough to know they need help. Enter ‘MF' Jones, an excon with a one-of-a-kind moniker, a flair for the dramatic and a special expertise he's willing to share for the right price… as soon as he decides what that might be. "Jones is kind of a self-described murder consultant, the killer confidante,” Jamie Foxx reveals.

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