Filed under: Interviews
Trevor Moore started the comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U Know back in 2000 after trasferring to New York's School of Visual Arts. Eventually joining up with fellow SVA students Sam Brown and Zach Cregger, and non-students Darren Trumeter and Timmy Williams, The Whitest Kids began performing at various comedy venues throughout NYC, eventually landing an eponymous sketch show on the music channel Fuse. Garnering cult-like status among young comedy fans, the show moved to the Independent Film Channel for its second season in 2008. It was during this time that Moore and Creggar began working on their first feature-length film, Miss March, which they co-wrote, directed, and starred in.
Just prior to the film's release from Fox Searchlight Pictures on March 13th, Moore took the time to talk to us about the film, as well as the Whitest Kids TV show.
Mark McLeod: Hey Trevor, it's Mark from ShowbizMonkeys.com. How are you this morning?
Trevor Moore: Pretty good...
MM: Awesome. Just wanted to say that I've caught some of your show online on YouTube and you guys are hillarious. What were some of your influences growing up?
TM: Definately Monty Python. That's really kind of what we look up to as a comedy troupe. They are the Beatles of sketch comedy. I grew up in a pretty conservative home, and I wasn't really allowed to watch a lot of television. I wasn't allowed to watch Smurfs because it had magic in it, but for some reason my parents would let me watch Python. So I watched a lot of that and David Letterman.
MM: You and Zach have been on the road alot promoting the movie, hitting college towns doing a screening and then a live performance after. How has the reaction been to the film thus far?
TM: It's been really good, I've been kind of surprised. It's our first time out of L.A. really since the show has been on the air. The way the schedule has been, it's taken about 9 months to do a season of the show from writing to production. So between that and working on this movie, we haven't been outside of New York or L.A. that much. It's been really cool to go and see America and connect with the fans. I've been pretty impressed with how many people know of the show, because we've been doing the screenings like you mentioned, and then at night we'd do a Whitest Kids performance, and we've been selling out.
MM: How did you guys come up with the idea for the movie?
TM: Fox actually came to us and they had seen the first season of the show, and they brought us the script with characters named Zach and Trevor. However, we weren't really crazy about doing a road trip comedy. It's just not the genre we'd like to work in. Some of the ideas, like the coma and the playmate, seemed interesting, so we took it as a writing excerise and the studio said we could change it up and make it more something that would fit our sensibilities.
MM: Now the movie deals with the Playboy brand, which of course is highly protected. Did they have any notes on the movie and were there things you wanted to do but they vetoed?
TM: Well we wrote and shot the movie without their involvement. We hired Robert Wagner to play a Hugh Hefner-type character. We just wrote the movie the way we wanted to, and you don't know about how a corporation will want to change it, especially an iconic one like Playboy. And it's a huge part of what they are selling, so you just don't know how closely they will want to protect that image. So we shot the movie and then screened it, and the problem was that the movie would test well right up until the very end where Robert Wagner shows up, and then there was such a huge disconnect with the audience. And you could see that people were wondering, "Why isn't that Hugh Hefner?" Also, a lot of young people don't know who Robert Wagner is, but they really know Hugh. So that really left us with a big problem at the end of the movie.
So we showed it to them, hoping they wouldn't change much, and we really lucked out because Hefner really liked the movie and wanted to play himself in it. The only note he had was he wanted to know what the term busted meant, and I told him it just meant that she was, like, not pretty. And he's like, "kids will know what that means?" and I was like, "yeah," and then he was cool. He was really into poking fun at himself.
MM: The trailer for the film looks pretty funny, but trailers for comedies in general tend to put the best material in. Why should audience members take a chance on the film?
TM: I think they should go because it's really funny and really different. It's really made for people who roll their eyes when they see these road trip movies. No diss to road trip movies, they've just been done to death. This is our sort of tweaking the nose and making the sex romp film for people who are tired of them. We like to think of this as secretly a Whitest Kids-style movie disguised as a mass audience road trip comedy.
MM: Talking casting for a minute... You have Craig Robinson, who I think is great in just about everything. Was he always someone you were looking at?
TM: You know, he wasn't. We did auditions for the role, but we didn't have him in mind. Once he came in, though, it was one of those things where he was perfect for it. It was one of those things where as soon as the door shut we were like we have to have him, get his agent on the phone, and if we didn't get him then we'd have been settling. He did everything that we wanted the character to be and more.
MM: Sounds good man. Thanks for your time this morning.
TM: No worries. Thank you!
Mark McLeod has always loved film. In addition to his roles with ShowbizMonkeys.com, Mark also works on many film promotion projects in Vancouver, BC, through his company, Mark McLeod PR.