Amy Schumer & Cast Interview, Trainwreck
“Trainwreck,” Judd Apatow’s fifth feature film as a director, takes a comic look at the complications of growing up in the modern world and features a breakout new comedy star, Amy Schumer, who also wrote the screenplay. Schumer has made a career out of blending confessional comedy, gender politics and uproarious observations from brutally honest performances at awards shows and comedy clubs to her hit TV series, “Inside Amy Schumer.” Now she brings her talents to the big screen in her feature film debut portraying an ambitious writer that’s convinced monogamy isn’t realistic until she meets the subject of her new article, a charming and successful doctor (Bill Hader).
At the film’s recent press day, Apatow, Schumer, Hader, Colin Quinn, John Cena and Vanessa Bayer talked about their collaboration, why Schumer finds it therapeutic to discuss her work alongside important issues, how Apatow encouraged her to write something deeply personal to create an unforgettable character, what she learned from their creative partnership, the hilarious opening scene with Quinn, the funny but awkward aspects of Schumer and Hader’s on-screen romance, what a virtually unrecognizable Tilda Swinton brought to her role, how Cena found humor in the most awkward of situations, and their favorite comedian cameos.
Check it all out in the interview below:
QUESTION: Amy, on your show and in doing press for this movie, you’ve been able to talk about issues like the media double standard for women. Do you prefer to just talk about your work or do you like having the opportunity to discuss bigger issues, too?
AMY SCHUMER: I really like that question. I like talking about both. It’s therapeutic for me to be like, “Yes, I’m not going to look like a malnourished bird.” I like speaking to that as well as speaking of my work and what I’m doing. So, I don’t mind. That is a very considerate question.
Q: Amy, was it difficult writing something so personal and then finding the sweet spot for the comedy to come in?
SCHUMER: It was difficult. I would also say, on this season of my show, I rewrote “Twelve Angry Men” and had to trash myself endlessly for 35 pages. I would say actually that was harder than this, but Judd really encouraged me to look at myself and ask myself these questions of what’s going on with me. He really made me realize that I was broken. Thank you.
JUDD APATOW: My pleasure. That’s the first step, Amy.
SCHUMER: It was difficult though sitting there and really digging these things out. I didn’t even know what I thought, but I’m really glad that I did it.
Q: For Judd, what was challenging about training King James to be an actor?
APATOW: (joking) Well, it was much harder working with John (Cena). John took a lot of work. No, it was great. I think that LeBron was really game to have fun and he knew what he was doing. He was a good actor. I think he might even have prepared. He showed up and knew his stuff inside out and had ideas. I’m just happy when anyone is nice to me.
SCHUMER: Yeah, he was nice to you even though we asked him not to be.
BILL HADER: It’s a rare thing.
APATOW: It’s pretty rare that I would get that kind of respect, only in that position, for the whole week. We had a week with LeBron.
SCHUMER: Our week with LeBron.
HADER: Did you guys not see the show, “Our Week with LeBron”?
APATOW: But I also think, and John, maybe you can tweak this, athletes are just speaking so much and they’re in front of the camera so much that they’re very comfortable being themselves and being funny. So, we just tried to take advantage of everyone’s improvisational skills.
JOHN CENA: Yup. That’s pretty good.
Q: Was it always the intention to have three Saturday Night Live members in this part of the movie?
HADER: Exactly three.
SCHUMER: We had more. We got Pete Davidson.
HADER: And Leslie Jones, Tim Meadows. There’s a Lorne Michaels cameo in there. I don’t know if you guys caught that. He was the hotdog vendor in the street and he says, “Amy! Go!” when she’s running.
SCHUMER: He throws me a hotdog.
Q: Not to get too personal with this, but was it originally your intention to put the MS sideline in here? Thank you for that. I was just diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. It was kind of nice. There are not a lot of films that have that in there.
SCHUMER: I’m sorry about your diagnosis, but you seem like a bad-ass. From the beginning, I was going to write about that and my dad, and also because it is an affliction that a lot of people don’t know anything about but a lot of people have it. So, this was a good opportunity to show what it’s like for somebody living with that. But I also was a little fearful because the way my dad handled it was to continue to drink and really punish his body. Whereas, it’s come a long way and it’s way more manageable than the way that he’s treated it. So, that was a little bit of a fear of mine. But yeah, from the get-go, I was definitely going to write about my dad and show our relationship, and how you don’t know what’s going to happen, and that that shit’s pretty unfair.
Q: For Colin and Amy, I loved how the film opened with Colin’s character explaining to his kids why he’s divorcing their mom. That was great writing. What was the inspiration for that and what was it like doing that scene?
SCHUMER: Thank you. The inspiration was my dad. He never sat us down and said, “Monogamy is not realistic.” But we got to just see that in his behavior every day with all the new women that we were supposed to call “Mom.” For that scene, we wanted to have a flashback. It actually started with when our dad taught us to play poker really young. If we would do something wrong, he’d be like, “If this were a real game, you’d be killed!” He just treated us like dudes his age and he was really repressive.
COLIN QUINN: Mickey Five Fingers, he’ll be down here in five minutes!
SCHUMER: Exactly! And so, it was just that kind of realistic, inappropriate, boundary-less dealings with children. And watching Colin doing that scene, I’m so glad that we opened the movie with that. It’s just one of my very favorite scenes.
HADER: (to Quinn) You’re really good in that scene.
SCHUMER: We were like, “Just talk about women who you’ve fucked over.” And then we just ran out of film.
HADER: Yeah, and the world ran out of film.
SCHUMER: What was it like, Colin?
HADER: Did you have fun, Colin?
QUINN: Well yeah. I mean, it was sad with those two little girls staring up at me with their eyes, even though I knew they were acting and they were chain smoking on their breaks. They had that look, and I don’t even know if they knew what I meant, but someday they’ll be haunted by that speech for sure.
SCHUMER: You were great.
Q: We know that this movie has a lot of aspects of your real life in it. Is there anything else in the movie that we would be surprised to know is based off of reality?
SCHUMER: A lot of people have asked me if I intended to flip the gender roles and I’m playing the guy, and that’s not been my experience at all. This is how I am and like how a lot of girls I know are, where the guy wants to be a little more sensitive and more invested maybe. So, the scene where I get high, and then John’s character looks through my phone, and then instead of comforting him, I ask if I can leave, that did happen in my real life.
QUINN: How could you not love her for admitting that story.
Q: The Tilda Swinton character may bring it close to home for some of you in terms of dealing with editors out there that want to get the salacious stuff on celebrities. Have you ever had any bad experiences and how do you deal with troublesome press?
HADER: You want us to say this to the press? Just among you guys and it’s not going to leave this room? Oh, okay. No comment.
Q: What have you learned in terms of what to say, what not to say, and when to say it?
SCHUMER: I think we’re all pretty impulsive up here and have wound up speaking our minds probably more than most, definitely this half of the table I would say. Sometimes the questions feel kind of aggressive and hurtful, and I’ll say, “That’s so rude.” Not today. You guys are all cool. But I’ll just be like, “That’s so rude.” I don’t do a good job of rolling with it.
HADER: Or you say, “I don’t want to talk about that,” and then the next question is just the same question dressed as another question. I’m like, “That’s essentially what you just asked me. I’m not going to answer that.”
SCHUMER: And with me, with this movie, some people just miss the point. They get it wrong. They’ll be like, “So, you’re a disgusting cum dumpster. Is that fun?” And I’m like, “Yes. Thank you so much for having me.”
HADER: How are you supposed to respond to that? Like “You’re right! How did you figure that out.”
SCHUMER: “Is this a morning show?” You’re good at it, Judd.
APATOW: I was going to try to say something really inappropriate.
SCHUMER: Is your mic on?
APATOW: It isn’t. They shut it off because I’m Jewish. Oh there it is! I’m like Bill Maher. I might end my career.
SCHUMER: Oh my God, don’t! We need you!
HADER: Don’t do that! So tell us about it. What’s happening?
APATOW: Politics. They’re going to find out I don’t even know where any of the States are.
SCHUMER: You’ve got to know all your capitals. You’re good with press.
HADER: This is great. Next question.
Q: Amy, as far as writing, this is your first big movie. What changes did you see that maybe you didn’t expect from the writing stage to production and then editing? How did the movie change for you personally?
SCHUMER: Well, I am very lucky that Judd came along and became my fairy godfather with this movie because the first couple drafts I felt were pretty sad, but he was like, “We’ll add the jokes later.” He just saw the pieces of what he could turn into a movie that we could be proud of. It changed so much, just some scenes that I didn’t even think of that he was like, “Well we need this here.” And I’m like, “Oh yeah. It’s a good thing we put that there.” And just knowing the balance like, “Don’t leave the audience hanging and sad for too long,” and how a character with behavior like mine could still be likeable, because you could really turn on me. If I describe any scene to someone, they’re like, “Oh, so she’s the worst?,” and I’m like, “Uh huh.” It changed a lot. There were huge changes. I had a different idea for the ending. I guess I shouldn’t spoil the ending, but [there were] big changes. I knew it was a good Apatow Production idea.
Q: For Bill and Amy, what was it like playing a couple and having this romantic, on-screen relationship? Was it fun? Did you have any awkward moments?
SCHUMER: It was disgusting.
HADER: Yeah. Amy is a total cum dumpster. I don’t know if you read that.
SCHUMER: I found working with him to be atrocious.
HADER: No. It was a lot of fun.
SCHUMER: We just hit it off.
HADER: I auditioned for the movie. Judd took us out to dinner and he didn’t say anything. He just watched us have a date basically.
SCHUMER: He took us out on a date.
HADER: He took pictures of us and was showing them to friends saying, “Do you buy these guys as a couple?”
SCHUMER: “Would you want to see these two fuck?”
HADER: “You want to see him fuck, alright?” It was just to anybody. “Oh thank you, sir. Here’s your bill.” But no, he was great. It was great. It was a lot of fun.
SCHUMER: It was fun. There are a couple people that I’ve met in my life, and I would say this of Vanessa too, where you bring this really silly energy out in each other. You’re just like, “Oh my God, we’re going to be friends forever.” I felt really comfortable right away.
APATOW: Which sex scene did you enjoy more, John or Bill?
SCHUMER: I wouldn’t call my scene with John sexy as much as I would call it trying not to die. I was bracing myself.
HADER: Yeah. You’re getting mounted. That was more like an operation. It’s like a procedure.
SCHUMER: They were both wonderful. I think about them every day, both of them. But it was really hard to do the more serious sex scenes.
HADER: Judd was very embarrassed. He was very shy when we did the real sex scene on the couch.
SCHUMER: He was covering his eyes.
HADER: He was like, “Okay! So today’s the big day! Okay you guys, it’s going to be fun.”
SCHUMER: There was no eye contact.
HADER: Yeah. No one’s looking. Everybody was looking at the ground.
SCHUMER: But no, it was fun. We loved that.
APATOW: It was uncomfortable. You guys don’t feel uncomfortable doing it?
SCHUMER: When you said, “Action!”, I would really try to…
HADER: You said the word, “Thrust!” You’d go, “It’s like three thrusts and then you say your line, Amy. Then, maybe two more thrusts, then Bill, you answer her.” And then you’d walk out of the room.
SCHUMER: Judd would yell, “Cut!” in that scene and I would just roll off Bill.
HADER: She’d start screaming, “Ewwww!”
SCHUMER: “It’s so embarrassing!”
HADER: It made me feel great about myself when she’d go, “Ewwww!”
SCHUMER: I’m so sorry. No, I wasn’t grossed out, but it was embarrassing.
HADER: It was weird. It was very crazy.
APATOW: What about your sex scene, Vanessa?
SCHUMER: Yeah, Vanessa.
HADER: We cut all your sex scenes.
SCHUMER: We’re so sorry about that.
APATOW: Tell us about the sex scene of yours that we cut out.
VANESSA BAYER: What’s that?
HADER: Your sex scene that they cut out.
BAYER: Oh yeah, it’s me and it’s kind of like…
SCHUMER: You can say “gangbanging.”
HADER: It was you organizing an orgy.
BAYER: It was me organizing an orgy and it was just really fun. I was really shocked that it got cut, but I guess, as Judd told me, that’s show business.
APATOW: It was too long.
BAYER: That’s right.
HADER: That’s show business, babe.
Q: John, I’m a big fan of WWE and your action movies. How comfortable was it for you to come into comedy and say those lines written by Amy Schumer, especially in that sex scene which was so hilarious?
CENA: It was extremely comfortable thanks to these folks right here.
SCHUMER: Those were 80 percent John’s lines. I’m not gonna lie.
HADER: I was getting texts throughout the whole day, because when John shot, those were my days off. I would get texts all day just quoting things that he was saying and just how funny he was. And I’d go, “It’s just not fair.”
CENA: I think it’s a situation where I just didn’t know any better, and them being able to survive in the environment that I was extremely comfortable with, even when it was the most awkward of situations.
SCHUMER: I felt like we were fine though. It was embarrassing, but then I was just trying not to laugh. He was killing me.
CENA: It got extremely [inaudible] but it was over really quick.
SCHUMER: I know. It’s weird.
HADER: He came in other languages. He was speaking Mandarin.
SCHUMER: Oh yeah, he was speaking Mandarin.
APATOW: How much Mandarin do you speak?
CENA: [says something in Mandarin]
HADER: Fuck you! Goddammit! I can’t speak Mandarin.
Q: Judd, in addition to maybe some of those deleted scenes, what other cool stuff for the DVD and Blu-ray do you have planned?
HADER: There’s the gangbang scene?
APATOW: Well, we have Vanessa’s sex scene. Bill had to learn how to ride a horse carriage for a sequence that got cut.
HADER: I’m afraid of horses. We shut down Columbus Circle and most of Central Park West for a week. Amy and I had to actually drive a horse carriage. Jim Norton was in it. And then, I ask Barry Mendel, our producer, “How’s that coming?,” and he says, “Oh that got cut,” and I’m like, “What?!” I had to learn how to [ride a horse carriage]. I was so afraid of horses, too. I don’t like horses.
APATOW: The hardest things to shoot always gets cut, so that was the most difficult thing. But we have tons of stuff. There’s lots of additional scenes. There’s a great scene, another Vanessa scene, where she’s hitting on a guy in a bar. She’s asking him about his app. He says he invented an app that tells you where pick-up soccer teams are. She was like, “You’re gonna get rich like Stephen Hawking.”
HADER: Vanessa has all my favorite lines.
APATOW: Then she hits on two guys and she says, “It’s okay if there’s two of you because I’ve got two NuvaRings in.”
BAYER: Yeah. I can take on both y’all.
Q: Tilda Swinton is so funny in this. We’re used to seeing her in these intense character roles. What was it like approaching her? How did she come aboard?
APATOW: Amy wrote her into the script just as a description of the character, that the character looked like Tilda Swinton waiting at baggage claim. I said, “Well I met her once and she said she wants to do a big comedy.” We asked her, not thinking she would do it. Literally, the exact days we had free were the exact days that she had free for those four months. She came and she designed her whole look, her hair, her clothes. We just left her alone. She’s unrecognizable because she’s a Scottish person with a tan which makes her look very different. She was really funny. We played around. Everybody was in awe all week. She’s also the greatest.
HADER: And such a nice person, too.
APATOW: I totally get why everyone on Earth loves her and wants to work with her.
SCHUMER: I love her more than you guys all love her.
Q: Judd, can you talk a little bit about the wonderful cameos you got for this?
APATOW: Amar’e Stoudemire was someone who we’d just watched on “Letterman” and we thought he was so funny. We thought that’s a nice personality in the movie. His scenes were hard because he’s waking up from anesthesia and he was doing some physical comedy.
HADER: He did that one bit that was really funny. He was really funny.
APATOW: And then, Tony Romo, but I always say Tony Roma because I think of the ribs. He was really fun to hang out with. We always try to put in people that we just think are funny or think in the future it’ll be like Richard Dreyfuss in “The Graduate.” So we had Leslie Jones and Pete Davidson, and then Claudia O’Doherty is one of the people in the baby shower scene who’s on this new show called “Love” for Netflix, and Bridget Everett and Nikki Glaser.
SCHUMER: Two of Variety’s Top Ten Comics to Watch.
APATOW: And Rachel Feinstein is the nurse. There are so many people hidden everywhere in the movie who are our favorite comedians.
“Trainwreck” opens in theaters on July 17th.