Nude Awakening: Wanderlust Begins
David Wain and Ken Marino have collaborated consistently for the past 23 years.
From television projects to feature films, the writing partners have created
some of the most memorable (and bizarre) characters of the past two decades. The
latest entry into their world of signature humor, Wanderlust, was born out of a
six-day marathon writing session behind closed doors.
According to Wain: "Several years ago, we decided, 'Let's just go into a room
and not leave until we've written the first draft of a screenplay,' and we gave
ourselves seven days, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We did that, and out of it came The
Ten, which was released in 2007. When we tried it again, the result was a very
early version of Wanderlust."
Marino adds his thoughts about the process. He says: "We thought it would be
interesting to create a comedy where a couple has temptations in a world where
you could argue that it's okay to break all of the rules of civilized society.
We figured this notion would make for an interesting comedy that hasn't
necessarily been done before."
Wain acknowledges that he's long been fascinated by the reality of human nature
versus how we like to imagine ourselvesâ€¦and our attempt to escape our inherent
jealousy and selfishness. "The core of this movie explores the idea of a commune
functioning in today's world," he states. "It's about people trying to rise
above human nature, but who ultimately can't."
Though George is hesitant to indulge in too many of the commune's temptations of
drugs, free love and no boundaries, his wife grows to love it. As Linda becomes
fully immersed, George realizes how much she means to him and that he doesn't
want to share her within the communal setting. "We wrote this so that viewers
get that there are two sides," says Wain. "Linda goes off the deep end, but it's
at her husband's urging. Little does either of them know at the beginning just
how deep of an impact Elysium will have on their future together."
When considering the comedy's cast, the filmmakers requested the talents of many
actors with whom they had previously worked. Paul Rudd, who co-wrote the
screenplay for Role Models along with Wain and Marino, was a natural choice for
the lead role. "George is basically a combination of Ken, Paul and myself,"
notes Wain. "Plus Paul has had leading roles in the last three films I've made,
so obviously, he came to mind. But we didn't know if he wanted to do it."
It was a welcome opportunity for Rudd to perform and help produce Wain and
Marino's latest comedy. He says, "I remember David and Ken worked on Wanderlust
for a while. It went through a couple of drafts, but when they finally got it to
the place they wanted, I read it, thought it was hilarious and wanted to do it.
It all came together fairly quickly."
After Rudd came on board, the filmmakers took the project to actress Jennifer
Aniston, who offers that she instantly realized a kinship with Linda. "I felt
parallel to her and what she was going through," Aniston offers. "It was like
coming out of your shell and letting your guard down."
Wain admits to being a big fan of Aniston's since the time that the performer
was on the iconic television series Friends. "There aren't many actresses in the
world with whom we can identify so fully and are so funny and engaging," the
director notes. "She dove head first into our ensemble cast and is just
Rudd and Aniston have a working relationship that dates back 13 years to the
groundbreaking independent film in which they co-starred, The Object of My
Affection. "Working with Jen is great," says Rudd. "She's a talented actress,
very funny, and just plain cool. We've also been friends for many years. Because
of that I hope people inherently feel as if there's some history with the
characters, because there is with is us in real life. I think it comes across."
Aniston shares in the sentiment. She commends: "I just love Paul dearly. We've
known each other for such a long time, and I have to say he's a darn good
With Rudd and Aniston in place, Wain and Marino approached Judd Apatow to join
them in production duties. The filmmaker has worked with Rudd on several
comedies including The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up to Forgetting Sarah
Marshall, as well as Apatow's upcoming This Is 40. "Judd was the natural person
to seek out for this project," says Wain. "I've known him loosely over the years
because we've worked with a lot of the same people, particularly Paul. Our
sensibilities overlap, and he brings an unmatched depth of experience in laying
bare the emotional spine of a comedic story. I'd always hoped to work with him
at some point, and this project seemed like the perfect fit."
Apatow explains his interest in Wanderlust: "I read the script at my house one
night, and I was laughing my ass off. It's so rare that anyone hands you a
script that's very close to being produced, one that is so good and riotously
funny. I thought, 'Oh, good! Less work for me.'" Joking aside, he appreciates
Marino and Wain's message amid the humor. He adds: "The commune is meant to be
this ridiculous place, but it also represents something that everybody strives
for: to let go and to see what's actually important in life."
The producer enjoyed watching Aniston tackle this type of role with Rudd. He
says: "Jennifer was excited about doing something more extreme in comedy, and
she's certainly got her opportunity here. She's one of the most gifted comedy
actresses of all time, and it was fun to combine her with Paul because they're
such good friends. When people have that chemistry to start, then it's a lot
more enjoyable to put them through this nightmare situation together."
Rudd appreciated the complementary styles of his fellow comic producers. He
shares: "It's interesting to work in both the Wain camp and the Apatow camp.
Judd stresses improvisation and getting all of these alternate versions of a
take, while David often remains true to the script. I was a kind of liaison
between the two. We all worked together to figure out each other's methods."
Wain feels that this teamwork helped to create a comedy that doesn't take itself
too seriously. "Some people may take issue with the sexual politics or the
credibility of George and Linda's desire to move into the commune," the director
says, "but I hope the majority just go along with the story as it is intended.
We've got funny characters in funny situations, but ultimately it's a story with
heart and soulâ€¦oh yeah, and genitalia."
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