Late last August, I fled the humid concrete confines of Times Square and arrived in the dusty heat of a junkyard in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Next to a giant tangle of rusted-out cars, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson were busy blowing up watermelons and shouting expletives far too dirty to reprint.
It was a strange and hilarious sight to behold, but it all made sense: I was on the set of “30 Minutes or Less,” and what I was witnessing was the unlikely glamour of major studio moviemaking. McBride and Swardson play low-life criminals with a simple plan: strap a bomb to a pizza delivery boy and force him to rob a bank in less than nine hours, lest the kid become an unwitting suicide bomber.
“They’re kind of simple dudes. They’re not very learned,” Swardson said during a break in the action. “But they’re not robots. At the core, they are actually very nice people.”
Added McBride, “They just want to be loved, whether it takes a bomb or a bank robbery to get there.”
What happens after they hatch their scheme, test their explosives on watermelons and then strap them to Jesse Eisenberg’s pizza boy forms the bulk of the action and the comedy in “30 Minutes,” which hits theaters on August 12. With Eisenberg in trouble, he enlists the help of his best friend (played by Aziz Ansari), even though they’ve had an earlier falling-out resulting from Eisenberg’s sexual conquest with his friend’s sister. But there’s nothing like a life-threatening situation to bring two pals together.
On set, both guys were having a blast. During some downtime, Ansari cracked that he and Eisenberg were making plans to reboot the “Fast and Furious” franchise and take over the roles of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Eisenberg, for his part, was having a blast being a madman behind the wheel during stunt-driving exercises.
“I live in New York City and ride a bicycle, so I never drive ever, so I’ve been given the opportunity and a cool car,” he said with a sly smile. “Every time I drive, I get yelled at by the crew, but the stunt drivers always wink at me and say, ’Nah, that was good, man. Keep doing it.’ I’ve been subtly and subversively encouraged to be very dangerous in the car.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “30 Minutes or Less.”
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