Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman Discuss Improv on the Set of Couples Retreat
10.04.09 by Ryan
Couples Retreat, the latest comedy from Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, follows four couples on a tropical vacation where they are forced to participate in the resort's therapy sessions. The idea was conceived by Vaughn, who brought Favreau on to help him write the script. Vaughn and Malin Akerman (Watchmen) spoke to ComingSoon about the movie, with Akerman revealing that having a script didn't keep Vaughn and Favreau from improvising constantly.
Yes. I think there was so much improv that we could probably do a whole other film on the side, but it was great. That was sort of some of the fun parts where you have your character, your intention, your goal for the scene and then it was really cool working with these guys because of the improv. I always love it. I think it's so much fun and so great. Although, once him and Jon start you're like, "Holy s**t." You can tell that there's some history there because you guys together are like husband and wife. You guys should've been a couple.
Since Favreau and Vaughn's second movie, Made, improvisation has been a staple when the two actors work together. Vaughn said that they have a system worked out.
I always do it the same way with Jon. I'll setup two cameras so that we can cut back and forth so that you don't try to match something that comes to your mind on the one side. I've always written, this is the first time I've taken credit, but I've always written a lot on all the movies I've done and not just dialogue but actual story and other people's lines. I've always done that. The great thing about doing that with Jon is that he knows what the story intentions of the scene needs. So it's not like you're with someone just rambling and saying bizarre things. It's all viable and cuttable choices. I think on the DVD of The Breakup, that scene in the bar where Favreau suggests putting a hit out on the new guy that she's dating, I put on that DVD a few other takes that are all really, really good that are just completely different ways to go to get to the exact same end result.
Unlike their previous efforts, Retreat sees Favreau and Vaughn in a role reversal, with Vaughn playing the straight-laced family guy and Favreau as a cheating husband. Vaughn purposely put Favreau in the role.
A lot of times the protagonist or the lead [in a movie] will [have] the burden of staying grounded so that the audience can see the movie through their eyes but a character like Trent [Vaughn's role in Swingers] is allowed more freedom to be out there because he's the comic relief. So for me it's just fun to watch Favreau in that role as it was in Breakup. I thought that he was really great and hilarious and in this one, too, he's so driven and ultimately so likable because Favs is very funny and also has a real warmth to him.