Talking ‘A.C.O.D.,’ ‘Parks and Rec,’ & ‘Walter Mitty’ With Adam Scott

Dealing with the strain of divorce can be pretty psychologically ravaging territory. Not only for those whose marriage has come to an end, but for the children, friends, and relatives left in its wake. Whether you’re five, fifteen, or thirty-five divorce creates a schism in your foundation, and although those wounds may mend themselves with time, it can certainly be a life-altering experience to undergo. And when it comes to cinematic portrayals of divorce, the relationships shown usually tend to be on the brutal side of things, exposing the heartbreaking and painful aftermath of a family broken apart. But with Stu Zicherman’s directorial debut A.C.O.D. we get an entertaining glimpse at divorce on screen, with a comedy about a man who thinks he’s put his parents strange past behind him and has his life totally in control, only to find himself back in the chaos of it all.

Starring the always enjoyable to watch Adam Scott, the film focuses on Carter an A.C.O.D.—“Adult Child of Divorce”—and seemingly well-adjusted guy with a great job, lovely girlfriend, and his life totally in check. But when his younger brother rushes into a engagement, Carter is forced to reunite his bizarre parents (played by Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins)—after not speaking for 20 years—and set them on an amicable path to appear at the wedding. But upon returning to his childhood therapist (played by Jane Lynch) he soon learns that the sessions the two shared as a child were used as a case study in a book about child of divorced families. From there, Carter is forced to reexamine everything that’s happened since his youth and begins to unravel his controlled exterior and become a child again amidst the whirlwind of his family. Co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as his girlfriend and Amy Poehler as his evil stepmother, A.C.O.D. proves a perfect film for Scott to helm, and a refreshing new comedic voice from Zicherman.
 
So between A.C.O.D., his role on as Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation, and his upcoming role in Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Scott certainly has his hands full. But last week, I got the chance to sit down with him to talk about what drew him to this movie, the pleasure of working with friends, and taking on new challenges.
 
I’ve got to admit, for all the people I’ve interviewed, it’s really bizarre meeting you, consindering I fall asleep to Parks and Rec almost every night. It’s probably the only show I’ve watch more than Frasier.
Oh, I think it’s a good show for that. It’s comforting. I do the same thing with Friday Night Lights.
 
So do you cry as you fall asleep?
Yeah, that show, man, it kills me. It’s so great.
 
So how did you first get involved with A.C.O.D and what attracted you to the script?
It was sent to me and I read it and just loved it. It reminded me a little bit of Flirting With Disaster, which is one of my favorite movies. So I said yes right away because I loved it and it was the opportunity to be a lead in a movie; so I kind of just jumped at the chance.
 
What I enjoyed about it was that it had a similar tone to a lot of really great other comedies but tackled a topic that really hasn’t been explored too much in the comedy.
Yeah, it’s a little unmined. I also liked how the lead character starts as this grownup who feels like he has everything wired and is taking the grownup position—perfect job, perfect girlfriend, has everything in control—and then slowly as things unravel throughout the movie he becomes a kid again and loses control and needs someone to take care of him a little bit. I thought that was interesting because it’s usually the other way around. 
 
Did you find he was an easy person to tap into?
My experience with divorce in my family was completely different, but I understood it. I understood the control thing, because as you get older you want more and more control in your life so you don’t lose your mind.
 
It was interesting to watch because my parents got divorced when I was 15 and I thought that I was fine and then now I look back and see I was a total mess.
Absolutely. Mine divorced when I was five, but it was so nice, we had a great childhood and there was no animosity whatsoever. So I didn’t relate to that part of it, but I think we’re all curious about our childhood as we get older and it gets more and more interesting to unravel what was going on.
 
And it’s nice to see a movie about divorce that’s light and enjoyable.
Rather than Kramer vs. Kramer, right?
 
When I was first starting college, I remember taking film classes and getting really snobby about what I watched, so my roommates made me watch Stepbrothers with them. And of course, I fell in love. So when I first found out about A.C.O.D. I was excited to see you and Richard Jenkins reunited as father and son. How is he to work with?
Yes! Oh, he’s the best. He’s such a lovely guy. It’s so fun doing scenes with him because you have no idea what he’s going to do.
 
I love seeing him get really worked up.
Yes, it’s hilarious. That dude is the best, he can do everything.
 
In the comedy world, you tend to work with a lot of the same people frequently—whether it’s Lizzy Caplan or Amy Poehler, etc.—does that create a really easy and trusting atmosphere on set and just make the process that much more enjoyable?
It’s really fun because you’re just making stuff with your friends, and that’s the best—I love that. It makes everything really easy and fun. But that being said, I had never worked with Catherine O’Hara before. It was always a dream to, so that was really great to be able to do that and now, I’m not going to call her a friend because that would be a little presumptious, but we have worked together since and I hope to work with her many, many times. 
 
How was it working with Amy in this film where you two have such a contentious relationship and aren’t the perfect couple we’ve come to know and love as Ben and Leslie.
It was really fun—and really easy because we really do hate each other in real life. But it’s super fun doing anything with Amy, so it was great.
 
When you first started on Parks and Rec, did you know you were going to be there long-term?
I knew I was going to be on the show permanently, but I didn’t know that we would get married. I knew there was going to be some sort of romance down the road, but it was not formed just because they didn’t know how we would get along or how our chemistry would be or whatever. But I never would have guessed we would get married; it’s really great. I remember when we were making A.C.O.D. Amy and I were talking on set and I said I thought they should get married, we liked that idea. And so we were theoretically talking about it, and then six months later we were shooting the wedding episode.
 
Have you seen any of the fan-made Ben and Leslie videos online? They’re pretty ridiculous.
I saw one. Yeah,  it was pretty intense. They’re all very sweet though.
 
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As someone that navigates between television and film, how do you go about choosing projects?
I have a finite amount of time when the show isn’t shooting, so I just try to find something interesting to fit in there. I got lucky the summer before last, I got to do A.C.O.D. and Walter Mitty during hiatus—which was really great. Sometimes the timing works out and then sometimes it just doesn’t and you miss out on stuff because the show’s happening, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The show is so fun and everyone is great and everyone is friends. It’s the best.
 
I’m seeing Walter Mitty this Saturday.
Oh, me too!
 
For the first time?

Yeah, I haven’t seen it yet.
 
Can you tell me a little bit about the experience of working on that?
It was really fun and just fascinating. It’s such a big, epic movie. Watching Stiller direct was just amazing. We did a bunch of stunts and stuff with wires and all that, which I hadn’t done before. So that was a blast. I loved every second of it. It was just an experience.
 
Are you always looking for things you haven’t done before?
Yeah, and Mitty was definitely one of those experiences. It was lots of stuff I hadn’t done before.
 
And with A.C.O.D., how was the task of taking on the lead role?
It was fun, but the two times I’d done it before I at least had a day off here and there. But with this one, it was just like all day everyday on camera, which was really, really a blast and exhausting but in a good way. We shot it in 24 days, which was really quick, so by the end I was super tired, but you have eat breakfast and get plenty of sleep or you will crater in on yourself. Halfway through shooting I freaked out a little bit, just because the pressure of, if I suck in this the movie will suck kind of got to me. But Stu talked me down and it was fine.
 
I’d imagine with the people in the cast there was a lot of improv going on? Or was it a really tight script?
A little bit here and there. We were moving so fast that there wasn’t a whole lot of time and the script was in such good shape that we didn’t really need it. 
 
You’ve been working on writing and producing for yourself, what’s next for you with that?
I’m not totally sure. We’re still working on The Greatest Event in Television History. We have one that airs November 7th and another one coming up. Those are really fun to do and hopefully we’ll do more of those down the road. We’re looking to make a movie sometime in the next couple years. It just feels really great to create something from the ground up and just make something, again, through friends— it’s really satisfying. 
 
Are there any favorite roles you’ve played or experiences that you’ve enjoyed the most working?
Party Down will always have a special place in my heart. Stepbrothers too. And Parks. Those are the three things that really kind of always just stick with me. I miss the Party Down folks, but Parks is just such a perfect, perfect job; I hope it never ends. I love it. But I loved Vicious Kind too. 
 
Between TV and film you really do seem to pop up everywhere. Do you enjoy that constant state or working and being in motion taking on different projects?
Yeah, I like to stay busy. But I have two kids, so I like to stay busy but I also like to have time to let them get to know me a little bit. So I try to work and be with them and other than that I don’t really do anything. I just like to work and then hang out with my wife and my kids.
 
Well that sounds nice.
Yeah! I mean, it’s plenty, right?
 
Do you enjoy the dramatic roles just as much as the comedy?
Yeah. I haven’t done that in a while, but I’m hoping to find something else dramatic to do soon.

Amy Poehler Offers Advice on Coping With the Week and Sends Love to Boston

This week has been terrifying. Last night, while glued to local news streams and Twitter feeds at 2:30AM, a friend who was awake doing the same asked how she was ever going to fall asleep. I felt that way as well but eventually dozed off after putting on an episode of Parks and Rec in an attempt to feel a bit lighter. And speaking of the show, wonderful human being Amy Poehler has now provided a few wise words of her own on just how to cope with everything that’s been going on in the last few days. 

On her weekly web series Ask Amy, she responded to a question about dealing with the bombardment of images and videos we’re presented with everyday on the internet and knowing just when its okay to turn away. And although no one has a clear answer for that, she offered up the suggestion, to first, "think what these images are doing to our brain and our heart," asking how we can deal with wanting to stay informed and connected without exploiting people. She gives the advice to "get out eyes a break" and to "be okay with letting some things rest in peace."

Take a look at her full response below.

See Louis C.K. & Nick Offerman Star in a Movie Together More Than a Decade Ago

If you were to ask most anyone who their favorite comedic men on television are, the answer would more than likely be a resounding: Louis C.K. and Nick Offerman. And although the two have only become beloved household names in the last two years, they’ve been scrapping their way through the Hollywood rounds for years. If you look back twelve years, you’ll see C.K. was writing and directing movies like Pootie Tang and Offerman was guest starring as Nick the Plumber on Will & Grace (alongside wife Megan Mullally). But even though their meteoric rise seemed happen at the same time, we rarely see the two together. C.K. did play an awkwardly nervous cop who dated Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec for a while, but unfortunately he and Ron Swanson never spent time bonding, drinking scotch or building a boat together.

However, a year before Pootie Tang, in 2000, the two dudes starred in a movie together, simply titled Tuna. The super, super low-budget film directed by Bob Byington (Somebody Up There Loves Me, Harmony and Me) is basically about people just driving around Los Angeles talking in their cars—but still, you’ll have to watch this. And earlier this week, writer of the film Adam DeCoster put the film up on YouTube and now we can all get a look at the young, fresh faces of Offerman and C.K. alongside Jon Glaser, David Krumholtz, and Kevin Corrgian.

Check it out below.

Watch Patton Oswalt’s ‘Star Wars’ Filibuster From This Week’s ‘Parks and Rec’

Patton Oswalt is really making himself a national treasure this week. And tomorrow, we’ll see him guest star Parks and Recreation, and as the citizens of Pawnee are wont to be, his character appears to be a crazy weirdo. And we’re not complaining. In the episode, he’ll be playing a man who attempts to filibuster a city council vote. In an improvised 8-minute long rant at the request of the producers to give a speech about a topic of his choosing, he goes on to describe—in full detail—his plot for the seventh Star Wars movie. And of course, his nonsensical passionate ramblings are wonderful and hilarious. Take a look.

 

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally Take the Cake for Best Couple

Valentine’s Day is coming up to remind us that love is the worst. But also the best. It’s probably the greatest impetus for creativity and pleasure, but also the biggest soul crusher. Unrequited longing and broken hearts are an inevitable part of being a human, but when you do find your person then well, life is probably worth all the mess. And in Hollywood, it seems that couples tend to explode and fizzle out at an alarming rate.

But one lovely duo that never fails to be awesome and probably has the most magical marriage, is the wildly-talented Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. Honestly, imagine waking up to that mustache and that boisterous beautiful cackle every morning. Vulture reports that last night at a screening of Side Effects, Jess Weixler provided an adorable anecdote about the couple, giving us some hope for love:

We were hanging out in Austin [shooting Somebody Up There Likes Me], and we would sit around watching So You Think You Can Dance, because his wife, Megan Mullally, who he is 100 percent obsessed with — I’ve never seen a man who’s been married for, like, fifteen years, he’s obsessed with her, so madly in love with her — so we would sit around together watching So You Think You Can Dance, because she was coaching or a guest judge on it, so he could talk to her about it.

She would call right after the episode, and he would talk to her about how it got edited, if she said anything helpful to the dancers, all of that stuff … Honestly, of any couple I’ve ever met, that’s the couple I admire most. I’ve actually never met a couple that supportive and that passionate. I want what they have."

When I spoke with Offerman two winters ago, I asked him about how Mullally made her way onto Parks and Rec as Tammy, his horny-psycho ex-wife. He told me:

Well, I said ‘I don’t know if you guys know this, but I happen to be married to a comedy legend,’ and they said, ‘Why, yes we were aware of that, so we definitely need to get her on the show.’ So I remember early on, Mike coming to me and saying, ‘Okay, we’re writing this story of your bitch ex-wife Tammy and she’s really horrible and you hate her guts, do you think it would be cool if we asked Megan to play it?’ And he was asking me if it would be okay because he thought someone might take offense like, ‘What? You want me to play a horrible bitch?’ So I called Megan and I said, ‘Honey, check it out, Mike is asking if it would be cool if you played this part,’ and I described the part to her and she said, with relish, ‘Yes, please, and I would like to have lots of cleavage.’

Well, obviously. He also went on to say that, in comparison to Ron and Tammy, they "definitely climb the same peaks but have the good sense not to do it in a public restaurant. But yeah, Megan and I are delightfully boring compared to Ron and Tammy. Megan and I have hot love but it’s not as incendiary; we’ve never been put in jail for acts of love making."  So there that is.

Adam Scott Dons a Tux for Hollywood Circle Jerk

It’s kind of impossible not to love Adam Scott. And when he shows up in a tux? Even better. So last night, the Parks and Rec star turned up for a late-night appearance on Conan in full dress—simply for the season, Academy Award season. Scott went on to say the reason for his fancy duds was because "it’s good to be prepared because at any moment I could be asked to present something or get nominated for something—neither of which has happened." He continued by proclaiming that, "There’s only like a five-month period every year where Hollywood gets to, you know, stand around in a circle and jerk each other off so I wanted to be prepared." Good thinkin, Scott. 

Check out the full clip below.

‘Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman Talks Canoes, Bacon, & Rob Lowe

Above all else, Ron Swanson loves two things: dark-haired women and breakfast foods. But behind the perfectly crafted mustache of the beloved Parks and Recreation character lurks the seasoned wit of real-life actor Nick Offerman, who’s as hilarious as the Pawnee Parks director he plays on TV. Between rekindling his love for theater, being married to Megan Mullally (possibly the funniest woman on television, with all due respect to Tina and Amy), and his passion for wood working, Offerman still finds the time to star in NBC’s hit comedy. Swanson, a man’s man macho (see his Pyramid of Greatness) with a wry sense of timing, has become a sensation on Parks and Rec, a true blue eccentric that audiences can’t seem to get enough of. And the best part is, Offerman’s character isn’t so far from Offerman himself. After a brief seasonal hiatus, Parks and Rec–along with the Pawnee, Indiana government–is back. We stole some time with Offerman to discuss the evolution of Ron Swanson, the sexual screen chemistry between he and Mullally, and what season three has in store.

What did you do while Parks and Recreation was on hiatus? I finished a second canoe for a friend, and just the last few days, I’ve been making a bunch of canoe paddles to take to the Martha show to illustrate the different stages of construction.

How did you end up playing Ron on Parks and Rec? Well, it was the fall of 2008, and word was that there was this new Office spinoff and it was going to star Amy [Poehler]. When I heard that I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s the show I have to get on.’ I had auditioned for The Office a lot when it started up and I had been in for some guest star stuff and, unbeknown to me, a few years into The Office I was reading for one of their guest star roles. It went so well that one of their writers, Mike Schur, wrote my name down. They offered me the guest star role but I couldn’t do it — at the time I was mortified but he wrote my name down anyway. So then when Mike and Greg Daniels became the creators of Parks and Rec, Mike said, ‘Well, I know I’ve got this guy Nick I really want to do something with him.’ So they tried to fit me into another role, but NBC said, ‘No, we don’t want to see Nick Offerman as a handsome guy. But we have this part as Amy’s boss, so let’s tailor that to Nick.’ They basically wrote the part for me. But the funny thing is that NBC then made them audition people for five months even though they wrote it for me. And it was a grueling five months, very much an emotional roller coaster. But at the end of the five months they only ended up testing me for the part.

I can’t imagine anyone else playing the part. How much did you bring to the role that wasn’t in the script? You know, these guys are amazing at gleaning the parts of each of our personalities that will best suit their comedy and going to town with it. So they wrote this character that was a libertarian and that was anti-government, and I think the combination of their writing and my personality allowed them to see, Oh, this guy has a real thing for bacon.

That part was you? I think I exude a bacon-y sort of aura.

Did you come into the audition with the look: the well-groomed, full mustache and the hair? When they were creating the show, one of things we decided even before I got the job was that Ron had a kick-ass mustache. We actually call the hair The Full Douche. It didn’t really come into it’s full height until Season Two. It was sort of douche-y and parted on the side and then it achieved more pompadour. But the mustache was part of the inception of the character.

You brought your love for wood working into it. Do you actually play the saxophone like Duke Silver as well? I do, I do play, but I do have to say that nothing happens on our show without this incredibly brilliant group of writers. I would been remiss if I took any credit, because it’s them recognizing the value and putting it into the script that’s important.

How is it working with your wife on the show? Is that something you suggested? Well, I said ‘I don’t know if you guys know this, but I happen to be married to a comedy legend,’ and they said, ‘Why, yes we were aware of that, so we definitely need to get her on the show.’ So I remember early on, Mike coming to me and saying, ‘Okay, we’re writing this story of your bitch ex-wife Tammy and she’s really horrible and you hate her guts, do you think it would be cool if we asked Megan to play it?’ And he was asking me if it would be okay because he thought someone might take offense like, ‘What? You want me to play a horrible bitch?’ So I called Megan and I said, ‘Honey, check it out, Mike is asking if it would be cool if you played this part,’ and I described the part to her and she said, with relish, ‘Yes, please, and I would like to have lots of cleavage.’ Everyone always talks about the sexuality of those episodes. I’ve seen part one and two and I think they’re two of the funniest episodes of the series. In the first one, you two [Offerman and Mullally] throw down at the diner, and in this one your sexcapades land you in jail. At all true to life? We definitely climb the same peaks that Ron and Tammy do but have the good sense not to do it in a public restaurant. But yeah, Megan and I are delightfully boring compared to Ron and Tammy. Megan and I have hot love but it’s not as incendiary; we’ve never been put in jail for acts of love making.

You’ve been described as the shows secret weapon. Everyone seems to love the contrast between you being so straitlaced and firm on most things but also hilarious at the same time. Are there any people in real life or characters that you draw your inspiration from? There’s a few places I get parts of Ron. My dad is very dry. The thing that cracks me up the most is people that are super dry, it always makes me laugh the hardest. My dad is a really great guy and he’s a very simple sort of Norman Rockwellian midwestern father and school teacher He had all these rules that we were brought up to live by which were simply like: always carry a clean handkerchief, if you’re going to do a job do it right. He always said, “Ey, just be six two uneven.” He’s never been able to explain what that means or where that phrase comes form but we always knew what he was saying. So there’s a lot of that to Ron because he would always deliver those things with a little bit of a smirk. Paul Gleason who played the principal in the Breakfast Club, that guy to me was like the most god damn hilarious thing I’d ever seen. A guy who’s like middle authority and is incredibly pompous with his authority and overbearing.

I’ve seen the first seven episodes of the season. That’s five more than I’ve seen.

Really? Yeah, I wait to watch them with Megan when they air, it’s sort of our thing.

What’s something you can tell the readers to tune in for? The most obvious answer is Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. We’ve added these two incredible hitters into our lineup, they are both just so funny. I’ve been a big fan of Adam’s for years, he’s so subtly funny, he cracks me up. And I’ve got to say Rob Lowe is the new secret weapon.

I’ve never seen him like this before. It’s such a canny move on his part.

The episode where he gets the flu, he was brilliant. He’s so good because he understands what it takes to make the greatest comedy is to look as stupid as possible. Someone who is a renowned, good looking man has a hard time making an ass of themselves but Rob has taken to it like a duck to water.

They’re both great additions. Other than that, I think once people started getting on board with the show in season two, we have it really flagged. Everyone figured out how to keep all the pistons firing and I think that every episode is great. If you like season two, you’re in for some great treats, because there’s a lot more of it in season three.

I know you’ve been on Children’s Hospital in the past year and have played a lot of comedic roles, but how was it working on a film like All Good Things? Are dramatic roles something you want to explore? I guess it’s kind of pretty well-kept secret, but I don’t come from comedy, per say.

You got your start in theater. I come from theater, yeah, and I was known in town for more of a dramatic guy for years. I worked on ER, NYPD Blue, and Deadwood, but yes, I love being a transformative actor.

You do look very different without the mustache and hair. That’s my bag. There’s a move called The Go-Getter?

The film with Lou Pucci? Yeah! I play three parts in that and no one ever knows. It’s my favorite thing, to inhabit characters. So working on All Good Things was a fantastic experience in many ways. Working on a drama was nothing new, but getting to work with Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst and Andrew — Andrew is just the greatest kind of filmmaker. He put so much care and generosity into the film, that it just made it an incredible treat and experience to get to work on it.