Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for DHD with an emphasis on Hollywood:
A workplace comedy isn’t exactly standard Comic-Con fare, but it makes sense when one realizes that most attendees here are big fans of cult TV shows, and Jason Bateman starred in Arrested Development. Also, Extract is directed by Mike Judge, whose IDIOCRACY was remade last year on a big budget and called WALL-E (I kid, I kid…though that robot movie really did draw heavily on both IDIOCRACY and SILENT RUNNING, even as the filmmakers only publicly acknowledged the latter).
In EXTRACT, Jason Bateman plays the boss of a small factory that makes artificial flavorings. He has marital issues – the wife, played by Kristen Wiig, won’t have sex with him. And when a freak accident happens at the factory and an employee gets castrated by flying debris, a gold-digger named Cindy sees opportunity in cozying up to a guy who has a big cash settlement and no balls, so she infiltrates as a temp.
Judge is asked if this is a spiritual sequel to OFFICE SPACE. He replies that when Beavis and Butt-head took off, he became a boss, and started to have some sympathy for management, and this movie reflects that.
Charges of sexism? Judge says “When someone complains about how women are treated in everything I do, I tell them everyone gets treated poorly in everything I do.” Adds that he isn’t trying for social satire or overarching view of life…he just writes stuff he thinks will make his friends laugh.
In a curious casting turn, Ben Affleck is in the movie seemingly trying to be The Dude from BIG LEBOWSKI. He doesn’t seem to be that good at it, so far. Affleck seems like a nice guy, and his directorial debut was great…but acting-wise, he has rarely impressed me, and this doesn’t look to change my view. Though he does get good lines: in a clip where Bateman says that he thinks Cindy is coming on to him, he justifies it by saying “Hot girls need jobs too right?”
Affleck: “Do they? Do they really?” Judge says of the character, “I wanted him to have long hair, he wanted to have long hair. It was just a beautiful thing.” Notes that he’s always enjoyed Affleck’s character-acting roles rather than his leads. The character is based on a high-school friend of Affleck’s.
Later in the movie, Bateman’s character, who feels like Cindy is a definite romantic possibility, hires a gigolo to seduce his wife, so that she’ll be the first to cheat and he’ll have an excuse. We see a scene where Bateman and Affleck are interrogating the man-whore (Dustin Milligan, a man who’s had many roles but few of significance – this should change that). He’s hilariously dumb, not getting very simple concepts, even as Affleck keeps repeating the instructions louder and more slowly. Finally, the kid gets it, and asks if they might have other jobs for him afterward, so he can quit his gardening job. “I hate landscaping, dude. I like getting’ laid a lot better.”
(Miramax marketing department, that is your first T-shirt slogan. Trust me.)
Bateman: “He just doesn’t seem all that bright.”
Affleck: “Well what do you expect? He’s a whore.”
Panel: Bateman, Kunis, Judge.
Bateman asked if he actually took Ketamine for a scene in which he’s accidentally drugged. “I went very method for the k-hole!”
The set was in downtown L.A. at a bottling plant – there was no air conditioning.
Bateman asked whether he likes comedy or drama better. He says whatever he’s doing at the moment, he wants to do the opposite: “the grass is always greener.”
What drives Judge toward dim-bulb characters? “I guess I do have a lot of dumbasses in my work. I dunno. Maybe that’s kinda how I feel in the world.”
Fan asks if Judge would ever play a James Bond villain? “Yes. Definitely.”
Says Fox told him that IDIOCRACY was “a big, commercial idea.” EXTRACT was privately financed.
Mila is asked how it was to work with Wiig? Mila notes that they’ve done three movies together, but never shared a scene. Bateman adds that Wiig told him, re: Mila: “She is so goddamn pretty, I will never be in another scene, or movie, or room with her!”
Fan says OFFICE SPACE taps into a similar cultural malaise as FIGHT CLUB and AMERICAN BEAUTY, then asks “Why do you hate America?”
Judge: “I love it here. I’ve been to Europe, and uggghhhh!”
Vegan fan asks about THE GOODE FAMILY – he wonders if it’s okay to laugh at the way it skewers vegans. Judge says many of his friends are vegans, and “it’s okay to like it, even though it might be making fun of you a little bit.” Says the idea for the show came from the fact that many of us have liberal guilt about issues, but we followed through on all of it it might be really hard to stick by all the rules.
What’s the worst job they ever had?
Bateman: “Everyone knows how to access IMDB, right? Just go ahead and pick one.”
Judge: “It’s a three-way tie between Jack in the Box, loading chain-link fence, and alphabetizing purchase orders.
Is animation or live-action more fun? Judge: “In live-action, people kiss your ass and suck up and treat you a lot better. Animation, nobody cares.” He enjoyed making animated shorts by himself, but doesn’t have as much fun overseeing a big team. Will he do another Animation Show with Don Hertzfeldt? “Probably not for a little while.”
Bateman says an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT movie will still happen, but there’s no script – Ron Howard and Brian Grazer want it to happen.
More BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD? There are a couple of treatments floating around and it’s not out of the question.
More President Camacho from Idiocracy? “I kinda doubt it, but I would love to see it.” There are rumors of an animated spin-off.
Highland High in Beavis & Butt-head was named for the Albuquerqe high school where Judge’s mom taught. McVicker was the name of a rival school’s principal, and Beavis was a guy on the football team. “I probably should have spread it around a little more – I think I ruined the last name Beavis for a bunch of people.”
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