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Run, Fat Boy, Run in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Run, Fat Boy, Run

Simon Pegg • Thandie Newton • Hank Azaria
• Matthew Fenton
DIRECTOR: David Schwimmer

Hank Azaria and Simon Pegg THE CONCEPT:
Five years after Dennis (Pegg) left his pregnant girlfriend Libby (Newton) waiting at the alter he realizes he made a big mistake. In a desperate effort to get her affection back, Dennis impulsively announces he will be running in the same London Marathon as Libby's high-achieving boyfriend, Whit (Azaria).

U.S. RELEASE: March 28 2008, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13


DAVID SCHWIMMER on the difference between American and British humor:
Director David Schwimmer“I think we find the same things funny. I know when I was growing up I found all the Monty Python stuff hysterical, and conversely, there are many shows that were exported to the UK that Simon grew up on and found hysterical. There’s one difference, Simon said that the British are a little less comfortable with expressing emotion, and I think you find this in our movie, that anytime there’s a scene that’s getting a little too schmaltzy, suddenly there’s a joke to undercut the moment.”

Simon Pegg“I don’t think there is much of a difference in American and British humor. I think where the difference lies is the cultural minutia of what we talk about in comedy, so a joke about a celebrity that’s very famous here might not work in Britain because we don’t know that celebrity. But the structure of joke is the same, and it will work in England with a different celebrity that we do know. Our tendencies in comedy socially may be a little different, in the U.K. we’re perhaps a little more prone to use cynicism and irony in social situations, because we’re slightly more emotionally guarded than Americans.”

THANDIE NEWTON on working with David Schwimmer:
Thandie Newton“Very often with people who have been in the public eye for a long time [as Schwimmer was with Friends] you wonder if you’re going to be able to have a real encounter with him. I met David and we got on great and he was all about the work, all about the material, all about it wanting to be a comedy that was true. That was Dave’s thing, to focus on the serious stuff and let the comedy take care of itself. That was a great way to go. I expected to meet him and he’d go, ‘Okay, how can we make this as funny as we possibly can?’ And it wasn’t about that.

“I was attracted to this script because it was three movies in one – it was a great physical comedy, it had real drama, and it turns into this great sports movie. As a first time director, I loved the idea that it starts out as a little movie and gets bigger and bigger and bigger.”

“One thing we are all fans of I think in America and the UK is the underdog, seeing ordinary people triumph is always vicariously thrilling for us. I just liked the fact that Dennis was a complete loser. I liked the idea that he did the most heinous thing, trying to make him sympathetic after he jilts his pregnant girlfriend at the alter was [challenging], because it seemed like an impossible task because he did an awful, awful thing.”

“It was really hard shooting the marathon scene. The challenge was I only had 200 extras and I had to make it look like there were 10,000, that’s why it was so tough, and I only had one day to shoot it. We took half the day, and my second unit director took those 200 extras, while I was shooting Simon on the bridge, and it’s called the crowd replication technique, you shoot them on one block, then you keep moving them around, and a post-production house that specializes in this has a computer program that renders all these shots, which suddenly looks like 10,000 people.”

PEGG on the practical jokes Thandie played on him:
“Thandie was relentless – there’s another word for it, bullying. I would creep into my trailer waiting for something to jump out at me. She sewed up the arms and neck of my sweater so I couldn’t put it on. I didn’t react [to any of it], and she hated it. Finally, with the sweater incident I came out of my trailer furious, I said, ‘Did you do this to my sweater?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘My mum gave me this,’ and I kept it going until there were tears in her eyes.”

“I was mortified when he told me his mum gave him the sweater; the thought that I’d upset him. It was terrible, I’m a nice girl; I didn’t do it to be mean. He really got me, his voice was cracking in anger, and I was worrying all the way home and texting him saying, ‘I’m really sorry Simon,’ and he never responded. Then finally the next day he was like, ‘Gotcha!’”

Marathon training on Hamstead Heath

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #695, May 2008 cover

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