SANTA MONICA, California — The officers at the center of “Reno 911!: Miami” may be dimwitted, but the talent behind the satiric comedy are anything but. From the writing process to surprise cameo appearances, co-creators, writers and stars Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver revealed more than Lieutenant Dangle’s shorts in an exclusive look at their show’s leap from TV to the big screen.
MTV: Considering the film was largely improvised (see ” ’Reno 911!: Miami’ Stars Ditch Scripts For Improv Style All Their Own” ), how did you plan it out?
Thomas Lennon: It was originally based on the title.
Robert Ben Garant: We thought it was a funny title, so we made a movie that made the title make sense.
MTV: It’s in the tradition of TV shows that spin-off by just moving to another location.
Garant: Yeah. Our original concept for the title was that the billboard was going to be all of us, like those posters of everyone standing side by side with their badges on their belts. A couple of years ago, I swear to God, there were 30 TV shows that all had the same billboard — guys with their jacket open or over their shoulder and their badges on their belts. And then there was a girl with a lab coat. And we thought that it would be really funny to have us in that pose, and it sort of morphed.
MTV: What happens to your characters in this film?
Garant: We try to bone each other — and strangers.
Lennon: And we get horribly, horribly hurt, both emotionally and physically. And we do a fair amount of masturbating.
Garant: We aim for greatness and fall really short very quickly.
MTV: What will fans see in the movie that they haven’t seen before?
Garant: We’re away from the station and theoretically on vacation, so people are going to make the moves on each other. I think what’s great about it is that it’s much, much bigger and funnier than any of the episodes of the show. We really got to bring in the all-star cast of every season as fresh new characters. One of our producers said it looked like they just gave $100 million to a bunch of 14-year-olds. That is what it looks like. And we get to have a lot of nudity, which we never get to do on the show.
Kerri Kenney-Silver: And fancy new uniforms. So tune in for the uniforms, kids!
MTV: Speaking of cameos, I didn’t even recognize Paul Rudd until he started speaking in his normal voice.
Garant: Pretty great right? Paul’s been on the show. Our policy with people like Paul is that they just kinda come on and do whatever they want to and we work around it.
Kenney-Silver: We have about a 15-second conversation with them in a bar and they go, “You know what would be funny? If I did this!” Then we write a movie around it.
Garant: It’s pretty fun, and I think that they have a good time. Like Paul Rudd’s a really weird, silly, silly man. He gets on “Friends” and he gets to show, like, one tiny little window of how truly berserk he can be. They come onto our set and we just sorta give them the freedom to do whatever they want.
MTV: That seems like a hallmark of the show. Do you guys really have as much fun as it seems like you do?
Kenney-Silver: We do. I think it’s as silly as it is, and as fun to watch as it is because it’s shot on video — if it doesn’t work, then we move on. And everything is as spontaneous as it seems to be, which I think makes for a better time.
MTV: What’s the funniest thing about your characters?
Kenney-Silver: I love playing the person who puts the brakes on anything good. My favorite thing about her is to be the killjoy.
Lennon: Obviously, I love the outfit.
Garant: Tom hates the shorts. He really, really hates them.
Lennon: I hate them and yet they make my job so easy. All I have to do when I wear them is act serious, and then I’ve really done everything I’ve needed to do. They kind of hurt a little bit, so I never need a reminder of how to stay in character. I’m in constant slight pain.
Garant: I actually like my [bulletproof] vest. I fall down a lot and the vest is like an inch of padding. It’s kind of great.
Kenney-Silver: Plus, if you ever accidentally got shot …
Garant: I’d be set.
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