Casting the Commune
With Rudd and Aniston committed to the project, it was time to find the players
to serve as the supporting cast of Wanderlust. Apatow sums the approach to
casting: "This film is a combination of some new friends and a lot of people
that David and Ken have worked with before. There's nothing more fun than
knowing you have seven or eight fantastic parts that you can get your favorite
people to perform. It's exciting to be a part of a movie with all of these
To portray Elysium's founding father, Carvin, Wain and Marino approached
legendary performer Alan Alda. Recalls Wain: "Alan was our shoot-the-moon
choice. We would say things like 'Obviously, he won't do it, but let's put him
on the list.'"
Though initially unavailable, Alda ended up meeting with Wain to discuss the
role. Remembers the filmmaker: "We were both at coincidentally in Chautauqua,
New York one weekend, so we had a chance to sit and talk for over an hour, after
which he agreed to do the film. It was a big 'pinch me' moment."
His production partner was just as surprised. "The fact that Alan Alda agreed to
do this movie blew David and me away," shares Marino. "He's an icon. Then you
meet him, and he's a hundred times better than that. He is the most gracious,
kind, loving, talented man I've ever met."
Though he appreciates the accolades, Alda says he made sure to do his research
before setting foot on set. "I looked up communes and found out that they
actually still exist, except now they call them 'intentional communities,'" the
actor shares. "But some are polyamorous, meaning they're amorous all over the
place. I thought these places were just a thing of the '60s and '70s, but
apparently they are still common."
Carvin, referred to as "The Lion" by the rest of Elysium, is wheelchair-bound,
is a bit touched by senility and has a memory that ends in the 1970s. Alda
extrapolates upon his character: "Carvin started this commune with nine friends,
and he doesn't know what happened to them. Still, he can't get them out of his
head and what they all meant to each other. He likes to recite each of their
names, first and last, whenever he gets the chance."
Aniston reveals that she was thrilled to share the screen once again with the
performer, with whom both she and Rudd had screen time in The Object of My
Affection. "Alan is phenomenal. I'm just so deeply in love with that man," the
actress says. "He's so smart and so wise, and I've learned so much from just
sitting with him."
With the exception of George and Elysium's charismatic leader and lothario,
Seth, Wain and Marino admit that they didn't write the script with specific
actors in mind. Justin Theroux previously worked with Rudd, Wain and Marino on
The Ten, and they were quite eager to ask the multitalented performer to come
back to their team.
Of their decision, Wain laughs: "The first day we wrote 'commune,' there was a
'Justin Theroux-with-long-hair-type guy' in that draft. We weren't even planning
on casting him, but it was one of those things where we kept looking for that
guy. Then we thought, 'Let's just cast Justin Theroux!'"
Theroux shares his interest in tackling the role: "In this incubation they've
created, David and Ken have a very strange, wonderful sense of humor that has
been allowed to marinate. These guys have a completely unique voice in comedy,
and I love watching the way they work."
Swedish-native Malin Akerman was cast to portray Eva, the enchanting beauty in
Elysium who proves to be most distracting to George when he and Linda agree to
open their relationship. The Swedish native previously worked with Marino and
Wain on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim series Childrens Hospital. According to
Wain: "Malin was a natural choice for Eva. She knocked it out of the park."
Akerman felt comfortable with her team and easily slipped into character. She
shares: "It has been such a pleasure working with everyone. To be surrounded by
these amazing actors, whom I cherish, well, I couldn't have asked for a better
As Wain and Marino are known for a specific type of comedy, they wanted to
ensure that Wanderlust stayed very much an ensemble cast, one featuring many of
the performers with whom they've previously worked. Shares Wain: "There's this
core group of actors who we like to work with, so when it came time for casting,
we looked to the people we knew best." He adds: "In my opinion, they also happen
to be the funniest people in the world."
Kerri Kenney-Silver, who plays Kathy, the seemingly omnipresent hippy with the
ability to show up at the least opportune time, felt right at home on set.
"David, Ken, Joe and I have a comedy group called The State, on which we've
worked together since we were 18," she explains. (The State's mid-'90s MTV
series was a big inspiration for many
current comedy stars.) "So it's been 23 years, and we've had these characters
under our belts for a long time."
Joe Lo Truglio recounts that he wasn't remotely fazed when asked to portray a
character who remains naked throughout most of the film. Recalls the actor: "I
had read an early draft and loved the character of Wayne. At the time, I had no
idea I would be playing him, but I found Wayne to be both a funny and sad
character. His very first scene made me laugh."
In order to allow Lo Truglio to retain a modicum of modesty, the makeup team fit
the performer with a prosthetic penis to cover up his actual business. He
offers: "It's a monster in terms of size, and I'm not kidding. It took a lot of
work to put it on, too." Always willing to take one for the team, Lo Truglio
laughs, "But I have to say that for being nude for six weeks in the woods, I
came away with only a small case of poison ivy on the ankle."
Kathryn Hahn, who plays Karen, an adult-film star turned moon goddess, describes
her character as a "damaged soul." The comedienne shares: "She's just in a lot
of pain. Her husband ran out on her after he convinced her to tie her tubes, and
he left her with a son, Grisham [IAN PATRICK]. Karen is always ranting about
something and threatening to go back to her life as a porn actress. She has
Karen's younger sister is Almond, a pregnant free spirit who is much more suited
to the commune lifestyle than her wild-card sibling. Almond is portrayed by
Lauren Ambrose, best known for her role in the critically acclaimed television
drama Six Feet Under. Explains Hahn: "Karen, who's harboring a lot of anger and
hostility, is also dealing with a ton of sibling rivalry."
Ambrose, who previously worked with Wain and Marino on the film Diggers, relates
that this experience was an educational one: "It was a very different way of
working for me, just rolling with it. It was also a great pleasure to be in a
comedy world with these folks and in the beautiful red-clay countryside of
Wain offers that Ambrose's addition to the team was as much for her dramatic
choices as it was for her more humorous ones. He says: "Lauren is more known for
her dramatic roles, but we love to try to find actors who aren't known for being
in silly comedies and put them in our movies."
Rounding out the cast is Jordan Peele, who plays Rodney, the father of Almond's
baby. He embodies the spirit of Elysium and believes what's mine is yours and
what's yours is mine. Wain says Peele was chosen for his impeccable comedic
timing: "Jordan is a consummate improviser and comedian, and he brought a whole
level of gravitas to this role, which wasn't easy, since he had some of the
weirder material to execute."
Discussing his character, Peele laughs: "Rodney likes h
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