LOS ANGELES — Between “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre,” writer/director Jared Hess has carved out a unique Hollywood niche fueled by quirky characters, sincere plotlines and obscenity-free outrageousness. Now, the 30-year-old filmmaker is leaving his tater tots and stretchy pants behind but still making waves with [movie id="384717"]“Gentlemen Broncos,”[/movie] an October comedy whose trailer already has the look of an instant classic.
The flick stars [movieperson id="237470"]Michael Angarano[/movieperson] as a student whose work gets ripped off by a hilariously over-the-top sci-fi writer played by Jemaine Clement, giving birth to a bizarre substory starring the incomparable Sam Rockwell. To help us finish out this week’s Fall Movie Preview festivities, we caught up with Hess to discuss the inspiration of Super Dave Osbourne, how adding “anous” to the end of anything makes it magical, and why anyone who wears a Bluetooth automatically looks like an a-hole.
MTV: Jared, the trailer is hilarious. Tell us about your thoughts as you assembled it and how you knew which jokes to put in and which to hold back.
Jared Hess: I didn’t want to keep anything sacred, you know? I’m always about whatever you can do to make a good trailer. But surprisingly, for me at least, some of the funniest moments aren’t even in the trailer at all! It was cool when we started editing different versions of the trailer and found one that was still very funny but didn’t give away all the good nuggets.
MTV: We’ve been watching these solid Michael Angarano performances for years. Is this finally the movie that’s going to make him a household name?
Hess: Yeah, he’s been under the radar for a while, but he’s such an incredible actor. He’s super talented and does a great job in the film. I’m a big fan of “Snow Angels.” I really love him in that film. But what I most remembered seeing him in was this movie back in the day, the “Super Dave” movie. He was little Super Dave, and although it has nothing to do with “Gentlemen Broncos,” it was a pretty rad movie.
MTV: They say that all experiences are cumulative — so at some point, maybe you directed Michael in a tough scene where he thought, “I need to find that emotion I used with Dave!”
Hess: Yeah, exactly. [Laughs.] “Dude, this is just like what I did on ‘Super Dave’!” Totally.
MTV: How did you become aware of Jemaine Clement? Are you a Flight of the Conchords fan?
Hess: I’m a big, big Flight of the Conchords fan. Jemaine just got talking about the part, and he’s amazing. I told him to watch “Logan’s Run,” to see if he could do a good Michael York voice from that that film — and he nailed it.
MTV: I find it hilarious that as soon as you see Jemaine’s character wearing a Bluetooth, it’s shorthand that he’s an a-hole.
Hess: Yeah, and he never uses it at all in the film. [Laughs.] He’s rockin’ that thing the whole time and actually has a couple different phone conversations, but the Bluetooth is never used. It is for him, at least, a kind of a status symbol. His character is a combination of everything that’s lame about egotistical people that are creative. He did such a funny take on a lame science-fiction author.
MTV: We see Sam Rockwell as the fictional character, surrounded by a lot of bizarre sci-fi stuff. Tell us about some of what we see there.
Hess: Well, there’s the surveillance doe — that’s a cyborg deer. There’s another clip in the trailer where it shows Bronco — the kid’s hero in his story — flying a battle stag, which is a deer that shoots missiles and can fly and crap.
MTV: What’s your favorite scene?
Hess: Gosh, that’s a toughie. The trailer shows a clip of it a little bit, the scene where Jemaine is doing the writer’s workshop and talking about character names.
MTV: And he says that adding “anous” to any name makes it magical. Where does that line come from?
Hess: I’ve got a friend that I went to film school with, and he’s made a hundred movies — they’re all pretty epic in scope, and he shoots a lot on super low budget. … He comes up with pretty wild names for the characters in his fantasies. … He told me if you have a name like [the biblical king] Nebakanezer, you can totally make it sound awesome, fantasy-style, by changing it to Nebakaranous or something sweet like that.
MTV: OK, so if you wanted to be awesome, you’d change your name to Jared Hessanous?
Hess: Yeah, or maybe Hessoneous. Hessmodeous, maybe, would be kind of cool.
MTV: Nobody would mess with you then.
Hess: [Laughs.] Totally.
From the sexy Megan Fox in “Jennifer’s Body” to the black-clad warriors of “Ninja Assassin,” the MTV Movies team is delving into the hottest flicks of Fall 2009. Check back daily for exclusive clips, photos and interviews with the films’ biggest stars.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Gentlemen Broncos.”
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