PARK CITY, Utah — It’s been six years since David Wain’s small ensemble comedy “Wet Hot American Summer” came and went in theaters — and almost instantly achieved cult status. This year’s Sundance Film Festival hosted the premiere of “The Ten,” the eagerly anticipated feature follow-up from the former member of “The State” comedy troupe. The title refers to the number of short stories that make up the film, each dealing with one of the Ten Commandments. Boasting an eclectic cast that ranges from Jessica Alba to Adam Brody to Liev Schreiber, the comedy is anchored by the narration of a philandering husband played by Paul Rudd, who worked with Wain on “Summer.”
MTV News recently gathered four of the film’s massive constellation of stars — Winona Ryder, Famke Janssen, Gretchen Mol and Rudd — to dish on their latest out-there comedy, which was just sold to ThinkFilm for $4.5 million.
MTV: This is quite a cast here. What power does David Wain hold over you? How did you get involved?
Winona Ryder: Luck. I heard about it and I loved “Wet Hot American Summer.” And I’ve known Paul a long time. I would read the phone book for him.
Famke Janssen: David got Paul involved and because of that everybody else came.
Paul Rudd: Wow, that’s flattering but completely untrue. David, I’ve known for years. He’s one of my best friends and we were trying to get this movie made. And then, like Famke said, I signed on and they had to turn people away. [He laughs.]
Janssen: It was crazy. People in New York were lining up to do it.
Rudd: We thought about adding some extra Commandments but it didn’t work out.
MTV: It’s an unusual kind of comedy. We’re used to seeing these kinds of overlapping storylines in dramas, but not so much in comedies nowadays.
Ryder: And it’s not a mean comedy. It’s outrageous but it actually does educate you about the Commandments.
Gretchen Mol: I was just so excited because I don’t often get comedies.
Rudd: Everyone was just so shocked all you guys said yes. One thing is for sure, there’s never been anything like this movie. One of Gretchen’s main sequences is in Spanish. It’s so weird.
Mol: It was a real challenge. We got to do things we’d never done.
Rudd: Most of Winona’s stuff is opposite a puppet.
MTV: Winona, you actually have a sex scene with that puppet. How did it compare to some others you’ve filmed?
Ryder: I actually haven’t done a lot of sex scenes. I found it a lot easier. But there were times where, to the puppet, I was like, “Are you OK?” I’m not kidding!
Rudd: At least you don’t have to worry about Altoids.
Ryder: It’s very uncomfortable doing [sex scenes]. You’re always like, “Are you OK? Can I put my hand there?” On this, I didn’t have to do that, but I still did talk to him a few times. [She laughs.]
Mol: You made him real.
Ryder: I had to!
MTV: Famke, Paul plays your husband in the film. Was he everything you could imagine in a mate?
Janssen: And more. Well, wait, he cheated on me [in the film]! What do you mean, “Is he everything you could imagine?”
Rudd: It was only because it was in the script!
MTV: Have you broken any Commandments today yet?
Rudd: Jesus Christ, no! [He pauses.] Wait a minute …
Janssen: We’re good people. I don’t know who you think we are, but we’re good people.
MTV: Do you have a favorite Commandment?
Rudd: Thou shalt not swim until waiting 30 minutes after eating a big meal.
MTV: I’ve never heard that one.
Janssen: You learn something new every day.
MTV: I take it this was a happy experience for all of you, shooting with a jolly cast like this?
Rudd: I’ve heard these stories of when Steven Spielberg was making “Schindler’s List” — he had to call Robin Williams every day to talk him down after the day’s shoot. We had so much fun making this film that when we were done shooting I had to call somebody to be reminded of the Holocaust just to bring me back down. [He pauses.] I can’t believe I just said that.
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Ten.”
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