Director Seth Gordon on improvisation, coke scenes and comedy.

The title of the flick says it all: Horrible Bosses is about three friends—Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day)— who are catapulted over the brink of sanity and headlong into Crazytown when their hatred for their employers inspires them to plot their murders. Badly. David (Kevin Spacey), is voraciously hungry for power and ruins the lives of his underlings for fun—especially Nick’s. Julia (Jennifer Aniston) may be a bangin’ dentist, but Dale’s lack of interest in her doesn’t keep her from her cringe-inducing sexual harassment. Kurt loves his job but hates Bobby (Colin Farrell), the coked out sleaze bucket running his late father’s business into the ground. And for Seth Gordon, the film’s director, watching all this torture go down wasn’t terrible. It was actually a blast, from the sounds of it.

You must’ve had some preeeetty terrible former employers to, well, “inspire” you to make this movie. These bosses are despicable.

I’ve had some authority figures that weren’t the best match for me. Teachers, coaches, some bosses. I had a job washing dishes in an old folk’s home when I was fifteen and everything I did was wrong in my boss’ eyes. I came to understand, over time, what it was like to be in a miserable work place and I think it’s definitely impacted the movie.

Are there any moments that stand up from the production of Horrible Bosses that you look back on really fondly?

Without a doubt, I think that my favorite day on set was the first day with all three guys when we did the cocaine scene. That’s the day we discovered that their chemistry was as amazing as it was.

Were there any parts of the movie that were completely unscripted?

Oh yeah! In the cocaine scene in Bobby’s house, it wasn’t scripted that they would get high as they cleaned the spilled coke up, and then the guys were like, “Let’s start to get high!” and “What would we say?” That scene was all invented. Colin’s “I’ve got a green belt” line was improv.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colin do anything that crazy, and absurd, and vulgar. Or look that terrible.

He has a lot of genetic gifts that were completely ignored in this movie—the comb-over was his idea. I think he really relished playing Bobby and being such a bastard.  He learned about kung-fu.  He was so different every day. 

You’ve never made a full-length comedy like this before. What was it like to take on a project like this, after your documentaries and short films?

I think that documentary filmmaking lends itself really well to comedy, at least for me, because I do come from an improv background. I’m open to playing along. Being open to playing around with the scene and discovering other ways of doing it is kind of the same. It’s comparable with the same level of uncertainty that you have with a documentary, where you can’t control what the hell is going to happen, and the best stuff is accidental, and that’s true for comedy too, I think. You play with the script, you make discoveries, it gets different, it grows, it changes, just like that. I thought it was a really fun movie to make.

Well, it was really fun to watch.

Basically, our fun comes across.  Usually they say the opposite—the films that were fun to make usually end up sucking, and vice versa.  But I think in Horrible Bosses, the fun comes through.


OPENS | 7.8.11



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