The boys of 30 Minutes or Less took time off their busy Comic-Con schedule to chat with us about their new buddy comedy, starring Michael and Aziz Ansari as two bumbling criminals who kidnap a pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) and attempt to rob a bank. But things got a bit more interesting when they dished out firsthand accounts on their respective projects. Ansari, Peña, Nick Swardson, and director Ruben Fleischer had plenty to say about Jennifer Aniston, Peña’s gang-violent ride-along with Ryan Gosling and Fleishcer’s next film project with Sean Penn The Gangster Squad.
Movies.com: Are you guys comic book fans?
Michael Peña: Well, Seth Rogen told me about the The Preacher. I read the first book and I thought it was pretty good. Then I read the second and then I bought all eight of them. I had two copies of each.
Aziz Ansari: While filming Observe and Report I read Y: The Last Man. I thought that was pretty cool. As far as movies, I like Star Wars. I don’t dress up or anything. [Laughs]
Movies.com Are there any cameos in this movie?
Nick Swardson: There are a couple of smurfs, here and there, we won’t say which ones. [Laughs]
Ruben Fleischer: Jesse Eisenberg has a cameo as the lead. [Laughs] I wish we could provide another scene-stealing cameo but I got to say Fred Ward is great in every scene. He’s someone I grew up watching. He’s such a classic actor.
Movies.com: There are a few intense action scenes, how did you handle the car chase?
Ansari: The action scenes were pretty tame. The car chase with me and Eisenberg did take a few days. That was my first car chase. It wasn’t like a deleted car chase scene from Funny People.
Movies.com: Mike, You play a hilarious assassin.
Peña: I’ve been trying to do that character in a movie for a long time. It was actually written for an African American character.
Ansari: I can’t imagine anyone playing Chango besides Peña. He brought so much to the role that wasn’t on the page and I think everyone else did that with the characters.
Movies.com: You were recently caught up in a shooting with Ryan Gosling in LA. Tell us about that encounter.
Peña: We’ve done a lot of ride alongs for this movie End of Watch. I think it’s been about 20 ride alongs for about four, five months. We went up to this scene and there was this shooting where a guy was shot in the face. It’s kind of weird when you get, not desensitized but you’ve like seen it enough, stabbings, shootings and it definitely changes you. You almost lose a little bit of life.
Movies.com: We have to ask…what was it like to work with Jennifer Aniston in Just Go With It?
Swardson: Honestly, she’s like the greatest woman I have ever met. I’m not just saying that, she’s just the nicest, coolest, beautiful and so down to earth person. I think the world of her.
Movies.com: How did you guys finally get involved with the project?
Fleischer: I loved how original this was when I read it. The characters were just clearly drawn and I knew I could cast really funny people. Nick, Danny, Jesse and Aziz were just great and it felt really fresh and cool. It’s got a dark premise needless to say and it reminded me a little bit of Fargo, which is one of my favorite movies. This is definitely broader than Fargo but it has similar dark undertones. As a young filmmaker it’s hard to jump into a bigger franchise. I could easily get lost in the process and this really felt like an opportunity to continue to find my place and my style as a filmmaker before my next big movie with much bigger actors.
Swardson: I read the script and did a table read before Swardson was on board. I read for one of the good guys with Jonah Hill. So I didn’t hear anything after that…then I got a call asking if I wanted to be one of the bad guys. I was psyched to be a bad guy and knowing that Ruben was onboard with Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld producing, it’s like if there is anyone that could turn this subject matter into a great comedy it was them.
Movie.com: Let’s talk about this next big movie of yours—The Gangster Squad.
Fleischer: It’s a period gangster movie, kind of like The Untouchables set in Los Angeles in 1949. Sean Penn is playing Mickey Cohen. Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling are the two cops that have to bring him down. Emma Stone is not officially cast but I can honestly tell you that it’s my dream that she will do it.