Gervais, Stiller & Azaria Interview – Night at the Museum 2

Three of Hollywood’s comedy titans came together to discuss the movie-making process, Amy Adam’s physics-defying backside and…. spanking the monkey?!

In attendance: Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais, Hank Azaria

How do you feel about Night at the Museum 3 if all goes well with this? Do you see it as something that can go further or may stop here because it doesn’t get any bigger than the Smithsonian?

BS: I don’t know. The second one, we had to figure out a reason why the movie would happen and I think we figured that out. The third one, the idea of doing a third would be great; I think it would be really fun. It would just be having to figure out something that would sustain itself. I think that there are a few ideas floating around if indeed people want to see a third one.

RG: Just a normal museum where nothing comes to life. It’d just be about the admin. Just naturalise it a bit more.

BS: More realistic.

The last two films you played someone with quite a boring job that lead to high times. Were there any jobs you had before you got into acting that were quite dull?

BS: I was a busboy. I was really bad waiter. I waited on Dudley Moore once and I was really interested in what he was talking about so I was you know… leaning, and I think I annoyed him.

HA: I was a busboy as well. I was a really good one actually, I knew what I was doing, I could clear a table really well. But I was so bored, I would try out accents. I noticed that people would look through you if you just sounded like everybody else. Are you finished with this? They’d noticed and say, “Where are you from?”, so I worked showbiz into my job.

RG: I worked in an office. I took notes.

HA: How’d that work out?

RG: Alright, yeah.

Was it an absolute riot on set? And second question, were you distracted by Amy in those trousers because every male journalist has been talking about them.

BS: I enjoyed the trousers. I thought she looked great in them and I was happy to be in scenes with her every day. She’s great. We did laugh a lot, but it was great to hang out with people you admire. It was always very exciting. I remember the first one it was very exciting when Ricky Gervais showed up because it had been weeks and weeks of just acting with nothing. Like, running away from a dinosaur, there’s no dinosaur. Or running away from Attila the Hun, there were no people to really interact with and then Ricky showed up one day and it was just, oh my god…

RG: So it was better than nothing?

BS: Exactly, it was much better than nothing. It was almost too much. After acting with nothing for weeks and weeks, Ricky Gervais shows up and we just laughed a lot.

RG: I met Crystal the monkey, I didn’t meet him in the first one.

BS: She. It’s a she. I was not so thrilled. She’s very manly for a female monkey.

RG: She’s the cleverest monkey in the world isn’t she?

BS: She’s not that clever. I give her food and she slaps me. And she gets a little antsy at her time of the month too, so you’ve got to be careful there.

HA: I didn’t know that. I was very honoured to be slapped. I didn’t realise it was a she, until you just said that, I thought it was a he. And she really packs a little wallop that monkey. We all were delighted by her – you’re tired of her.

BS: I’m beyond tired, I think I resent her. There’s just something about it. I have a Pavlovian reaction to getting slapped by the monkey now. The monkey has gone off a Pavolvian reaction to slapping and getting food and then I get slapped and I want to kill the monkey.

RG: There’s a headline!

HA: Have you seen Ben working with the monkey, have you observed it?

RG: Just for one day.

HA: He really does look miserable.

BS: The worst day of the shoot is the monkey slapping day.

RG: He hates children as well.

BS: I like animals.

RG: You like monkey children.

BS: It’s just not the most exciting day of the shoot for me especially since now it’s a double. It’s one monkey playing both characters

RG: Play with this monkey!

BS: No, I know!

RG: Ben Stiller’s just f*cked the monkey.

BS: I’d rather do scenes with you.

RG: Brilliant. Nothing, monkey, Ricky.

Back to the second question which was: Were you distracted by Amy in those trousers?

RG: As I said, I only worked with Ben and the monkey and neither of them were wearing trousers which is really weird. They’ve both got hairy legs.

And now that you’ve seen the dispatches?

RG: I haven’t seen the film.

(Theatrical gasps from the audience)

RG: I haven’t…it’s brilliant. I only read my part of the script.

HA: I was open with Amy about my distraction over the trousers. I think I said something very clever and went, “nice pants”. She said, yeah they really hug you from behind. If it
works, great, if not, I’m ok with it. I said, I think it’s working.

If the three of you had to take home anything from any museum in the world and think, this is really cool, what would it be?

RG: Well we stole all those mummies from Egypt, so I’d probably see if I could up that collection. I’d got and steal other things from other countries.

BS: Something valuable…

HA: Yeah I’d probably find out what the most expensive thing was.

RG: You do that in Supermarket Sweep when you think, where would you go? Straight for the booze. Difficult one isn’t it. I’m into evolution, so I’d probably want Lucy, the first hominid.

BS: I just went to Egypt and I saw King Tut’s mummy, so I’d take something really cool like that. You said you stole mummies, what was that about?

RG: Well the British did, we just wiped them out and just took them. If we left any, then it’s yours. We went, “we’ll have that”. It’s like the world isn’t it? We said that about the world. We took all we wanted and the America came along we said, oh right, have what’s left.

HA: I’d go with the Hope Diamond

RG: Can I change mind. I’ll have the pink diamond as well. Who wants some bones? What an idiot.

BS: Then you could use the diamond to cut the protective glass in other museums and take everything else, so it’d be like the wish that gets you more wishes.

If you could choose an inanimate object to come to life, what would you choose?

HA: I like my car. Talking car.

RG: Like Knightrider! Do you just want a talking car or do you just want to be like David Hasselhoff?

HA: I’d like to bring David Hasselhoff back to life…