Interview: Sean Anders from “Sex Drive”
Interview: Sean Anders from “Sex Drive”

The Massie Twins recently had a chance to sit down with director Sean Anders to discuss his newest film, “Sex Drive,” in theaters October 17th, 2008.

The Massie Twins: One of the first things we saw at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con was a guy in a donut suit promoting Sex Drive.

Sean Anders: Whenever they put people in the donut suit, they have to be very skinny. You guys would fit great.

MT: So how do we get a donut costume?

SA: We should get you guys a suit.

MT: You’d have to get two donut costumes.

SA: You guys might both be able to fit in one! (laughs)

MT: We heard you were in bands here in Arizona. Did your experiences as a musician influence your choices for songs in the film?

SA: My writing partner and producer John Morris is also a musician and so music is something that’s really important to us. We had really great music supervisors – the same guys who just did Iron Man. They do big serious movies and they really liked the script. Music is a really subjective thing. If I’m happy that we got a particular band, someone else will say, “that music sucks!” so – I’d probably say that too if it was something I wasn’t into. In this movie there were two songs mentioned in the script that made it all the way to the film – AC/DC and The Flys song.

MT: Did you drudge up any bad childhood memories to throw into the film? There’s an abundance of embarrassing things happening to Josh all throughout.

SA: In general I had an older brother who tortured me a little bit. I’m new at this so I’m not sure how proud of my work I’m supposed to be, but one of the things that I love is the little brother who gets the older girl. That’s not a specific memory, but those things are great. The scene at the party where the girl is sucking on Ian’s fingers – it didn’t make it into the film, but it’s on the DVD – there’s a punchline to it. He has the scene with Felicia and the guy says “Harsh” and he goes back into the room and it’s just a shot of him. He’s seeing something but we can’t see what it is and he says, “I’m just gonna go” and she says “Ian, don’t be shy.” Ian says “You look like you’ve got your hands full,” and then you hear this guy’s voice off-camera: “you sure you don’t want to get in on this bro?”

MT: (laughs) We were wondering about that scene – he just left the girl in the bedroom to walk outside.

SA: There’s a punchline to that scene too – I’m like telling you guys all the deleted scenes! John and I were brainstorming one night and he tells me this story of how he was at a party with this girl and they go into her parent’s bedroom and they’re kinda drunk and he hears something crash, so he says he’ll be right back. He goes outside and sees that someone broke a plate. He goes back to the room and hears this dude’s voice say “C’mon man, we’re in here!” He was gone for like two minutes and some guy walks in and takes his girl. I was like “this really happened?”

MT: It makes us feel better about ourselves that some of this stuff didn’t happen to us.

SA: One of the things that is fun that is a newer generation thing is once something embarrassing has happened it’s not bad enough until all of a sudden it’s on YouTube. How often do you see something on YouTube and you’re laughing and then you think, “Oh my god, what if you’re that guy?”

MT: This film has a great cast. When you were writing the script did you have anyone specific in mind?

SA: No. We do that more now when we write. We didn’t think of Clark Duke for Lance until much later, and that obviously changed the Lance character. We weren’t aware of Josh or Amanda, but we knew it wasn’t going to be Michael Cera. Marsden was someone I wasn’t all that familiar with, but that turned out to be a great score.

MT: What an unexpected role! We barely recognized him.

SA: People will actually say, “I can’t believe how much that looks like James Marsden!” He’s a super nice guy and we were shooting in this neighborhood and he’s gotta yell some vulgar stuff. There were all these people out there with their 8-12 year old daughters watching the guy from Enchanted and Marsden’s in the driveway yelling some crazy shit. Just before each take he’d run out there and say “Hey, just so you know there’s going to be some coarse language, so you might want to get the kids outta here.” And of course they all said “No, we’re fine!” He’d do a scene and he’d go out and sign autographs for the little girls.

MT: How much did you let Seth Green improvise?

SA: I don’t want to take all of the credit away from us (laughs) but our philosophy was to get the scene on script, and then open it up and do more takes to try things. You’d have a really funny line in the script and someone would really pay it the right respect and we’d all say, “that was so funny!” Then we’d open it up and someone would say something else and we’d say, “Okay … that was way funnier.” There’s this great story about Marsden I like to tell – he has a really great sense of humor – in the opening scene, we were filming in Florida and there was this tiny stretch of road that we had to keep towing cars along because we were playing it for Chicago. We were way behind and it was taking forever. On the way back, Marsden would stay in character and fuck with Josh. We were hearing him through our headphones and he would say “…but seriously, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but you’re gay right?” And Josh was like “no!” So Marsden said, “Well I’m just assuming you were because you like cock.” It took Josh a minute to figure out he was being messed with. Marsden keeps going and it was hilarious, so I asked the first AD, “Are we behind?” And she said yes. And I said, “We have to go back.” We don’t have time! We go through all the insane trouble of turning the rig around and I told James to just do what you were doing. There’s some of it in the film, but there’ll be a lot of it on the DVD.

MT: With all of that did you guys have any run-ins with the MPAA?

SA: Nah. The movie was rated R and the only thing that I thought we might run into was the bit with the cock on the donut and the little girl, but we shot it in such a way that you never see both of them at the same time. We got a response right away and it was an R. It’s not like we were shooting for PG-13. What we did – and it’ll be on the DVD if there’s room – was we made a squeaky clean version.

MT: Is it like five minutes long?

SA: Actually it’s almost feature length and we did a bunch of ADR where people would say things like “Gee Whillikers Man!”

MT: We overheard in your previous interview when you said that on the Harold and Kumar DVD there were things the studio wouldn’t allow them to include. Is there an MPAA type of restriction on DVD content?

SA: Not really. More than anything, it’s the market. Certain retailers represent almost half of all DVD sales. If you go too far, those markets might choose to not sell your DVD, and then you’re really screwed. From that to the studio down to you dictates how much you can get away with. If we were running the show, obviously there would be no holds barred.

MT: It’s surprising how many unrated DVDs don’t really contain any extra risqué content.

SA: We actually shot a few things to specifically put on the DVD, which will be a send-up to Unrated DVDs.

MT: How many takes were necessary to get the donut falling scene in the mall?

SA: It was originally supposed to be the donut down an escalator. It was really tough because no one had any concept of how big it was going to be until it was built. There was no way it was going to get down an escalator. The stuntmen thought they could get it to go end over end down the stairs. He would fall backwards and wouldn’t slide down. We finally put a Teflon pad on his back so he would actually slide. What was more harrowing was shooting in the mall because it was actually open for business. Florida can be pretty conservative and they didn’t really know much about the movie. The thing with the dildo on the donut posed a problem. Originally we thought we’d shoot while they were closed, but it became more difficult because it was the only mall we could shoot in. We had to handle the dildo like it was an explosive. The prop guys had it in a case and when everything was ready someone would say “bring in the unit.” When the scene cut we’d scramble to get it. We had PA’s standing in a row trying to block the view so people in the mall wouldn’t see the cock.

MT: Speaking of conservative, what was the whole Amish bit setup like? It seems closer to Kingpin than Witness. What kind of research went into it?

SA: Well, if you haven’t seen it, you have to see this documentary called Devil’s Playground. It’s insane – it’s a teen comedy almost. What was in the movie is not a stretch. They do all kinds of drugs and have the craziest parties ever and have no parental guidance. Whatever parties you’ve been to, the Amish parties kick the shit out of them. We always wanted to do something with Rumspringa. It wouldn’t even be a stretch to think the Amish could get Fallout Boy to play.

MT: What was the process of getting Seth Green?

SA: He went to a costume party as an Amish guy and we got a hold of that picture. I don’t think anyone was prepared for how funny he would be.

MT: What about David Koechner?

SA: We’re big fans of David and his manager is our manager and we asked him if he could give our script to Dave. The hitchhiker scene was much longer but when we went and cut the movie it was just too much time to be spent broken down on the side of the road. Just by necessity we had to cut it down, but he did some really funny stuff that’ll be on the DVD.

MT: Did author Andy Behrens get involved in the film at all?

SA: No. I’m assuming I’m going to meet Andy at the premiere finally. It’s one of those things where the movie is so different from the book that we weren’t quite sure what the protocol for that was. From what I’ve been told his feeling on it was it was great financially to have a movie made out of his book, but he just stayed on the sidelines.

MT: Well it’s good you had control over that. I read that Simon Pegg’s latest film How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, also based on a book, had some upsets when the author was thrown off the set for getting in the director’s way.

SA: What’s interesting is that we sold a script to Dreamworks called She’s Out of My League, and they were making that movie simultaneously to our movie. So we didn’t have anything to do with making it and never went to the set, but we just saw it recently and I’m amazed at how much stuff we wrote is still in there. It turned out really well. If we hadn’t been making this movie, it would have been sheer torture for them to be taking these characters we made and us not having anything to do with it.

MT: The Judge: was that in the book or was that just a sweet addition?

SA: In the book he had a shitbox that he was driving and we thought, “Who would want to look at a shitbox for two hours?” We went with the Judge because it’s a really cool car, but it was all about the name. It sounds like a character. I also like the idea of The Judge representing judgment itself.

MT: Last question – what’s the biggest thing you learned from making Sex Drive that you’ll be able to carry on to your future films?

SA: Well, it’s something I kinda picked up from the commentaries of the Farrelly Brothers, and that was to have a really good time making the movie. So we went into it saying “let’s do everything we can to make it a fun set so that people aren’t all stressed out. Let’s keep it as light and fun as possible and put that up on the screen.” You can feel how much fun everyone is having – even though there are a lot of cringe-inducing moments! (laughs)