By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Motormouth actor Vince Vaughn, best known for his performances in comedies like “Old School” and “The Wedding Crashers,” has returned to his somewhat more serious roots in the dramedy “Delivery Man.”
In it he plays David Wozniak, a meat delivery man, who discovers that the anonymous contributions to a sperm bank he made two decades ago have resulted in more than a few biological offspring—533 to be exact. And 142 of them are suing to learn his identity.
Before his “kids,” now twentysomethings of various sexes, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, can figure out who he is, David decides he wants to find out more about them. He tracks them down, one by one, and begins looking out for them without revealing who he is. Among his progeny: one an NBA player, another is a lifeguard, one is a junkie and another is institutionalized with cerebral palsy.
The once self-centered and immature David finds himself connecting with his kids emotionally and, for the first time in his life, begins to understand how good it feels to put other people’s interests ahead of his own. While there are lots of humorous moments in the film, written and directed by Ken Scott, who previously made the same film in his native Canada, calling it “Starbuck,” it also has some very emotional and heartrending moments. “Starbuck” is the moniker Wozniak used when he sold his sperm for money years earlier.
Vaughn, who in real life is the father of two with Realtor wife Kyla Weber, recently spoke about returning to his dramatic roots, being a father and what motivates him as an actor.
Q: Did you watch the original Canadian version?
Vaughn: Yeah, I saw “Starbuck,” but what was interesting to me was the director, Ken Scott, wrote the movie and also directed it. He’s a very passionate director and storyteller and he was passionate about that script and telling that story, and telling that story to this audience here. That was my question when I first heard (they were doing a remake), because if it was a different director, or just a concept they were trying to roll off of, I would have been less interested. But in meeting Ken, and knowing the place that he works from, I feel very grateful that I met a director like that who is such a great storyteller. So when you see the film, you see a lot of Ken’s DNA in the movie.
Q: What did you like about the script?
Vaughn: One of the things I really love in the film is that nowadays a lot of times you see just a comedy or just a drama or just in the middle, and this under one umbrella is really unpredictable. From one scene to the next, you don’t know if you’re going to laugh or be tense. It was a compliment to Ken, and that is what I was most excited about being a part of.
Q: Is there a real David Wozniak?
Vaughn: No, it’s a fictional story. It’s something Ken came up with, although there have been (true) stories that have come out where people have had similar experiences. But this story is really a nontraditional way to get at the heart of a lot of human situations.
Q: Is there something you related to in your character or another character in the movie?
Vaughn: As an actor the best thing you have is your imagination. You’re not going to have all the experiences but you draw on the things you know so you use the things you’re familiar with to your advantage.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out your wife was pregnant with your daughter, Locklyn, and the second time, with your son, Vernon?
Vaughn: I was thrilled. I had gotten married a little later in life so we were excited to try right (to have a baby) right away and we were thankful that my wife was able to get pregnant right away. The second one—we were trying on this movie actually. So it was around Christmas when my wife came to me with a Christmas ornament with our family on it, and there was this extra person with a Santa hat on it. So that’s how I found out, which was great. I was really excited both times. I was thrilled to have impregnated my wife. It was more the fact that I was proud of my own ability to (laughing) so I was very happy.
Q: How would you react if an old girlfriend from 20 years ago came up to you and said, “Here’s your son?”
Vaughn: Ye-ah, I haven’t been presented with that but I think what’s nice in the movie and what I think is great about the character of David is his capacity to love. It’s impossible for him to resist trying to reach out and have a connection.
Q: We see your character become this guardian angel or cheerleader for his children. Can you elaborate on how parents do that?
Vaughn: What happens is he’s presented with a circumstance and then he approaches it as wanting to be all things and is presented with the actual reality of that. My job is made easy with both Cobie (Smulders, who plays David’s girlfriend) and Chris (Pratt, who plays his best friend and lawyer) because a lot of my character is taking information about how they see my character and these points of view. It’s a nice relationship between the characters in the film but there are also real points of view about the character.
Q: You said earlier that you didn’t know whether you were going to laugh or be touched…
Vaughn: (joking) When I said “touched,” I meant emotionally, not that someone in the movie theater will come up and touch you. Just to be clear, because sometimes things get lost in translation.
Q: Do you see yourself doing more dramatic roles after this?
Vaughn: For all actors, it’s fun to do different things. Each day required something a little bit different.
Q: Are you from a big family?
Vaughn: I have two older sisters and we’re very close. If you can survive trying to kill each other when you’re younger and come out the other side of that, at least in our case, we’re probably best friends now.
Q: You’ve played a lot of these characters who are the fast talking guy who gets away with things. In the past few years, though, since “Wedding Crashers,” you’ve played characters taking on more responsibility. Would you do another wild and crazy role again or is that in your past?
Vaughn: I would definitely do something crazy again but part of it is my age. Different roles present themselves to you. It changes from what you play at 23 to what you play at 43. For me, it’s more about tone. I started off doing more dramatic character studies. I had a lot of fun and we were early to the party with “Old School,” which was great. Now, for me, with this movie in particular, it has been really great because it is more dramatic but I also think it is very funny. I would definitely do a more outlaw R-rated comedy again, depending on what that story was.
Q: Do you feel your own arc of maturity has paralleled the characters you’ve played?
Vaughn: (chuckles) I don’t know about that. I guess different things come to you at different times of your life. You’re drawn to different types of material. For myself, I feel like this director, this material came to me at a time when I was wanting to do something different, and return to doing stuff like I did when I was younger. So I was grateful for the opportunity as far as this movie was concerned to get a chance to work with (Chris and Cobie) was really fun. We came to work every day with everyone believing in the material, which was great. I’ve never been one to plan stuff, maybe to a fault. So I just have to see what comes my way and what I’m interested in at the time.
Q: Do you feel the dramatic shift internally when you became a parent?
Vaughn: It’s true that a whole new world opens up with kids. As a parent you try to enjoy them, be happy and have fun and try to figure out the best way to be a parent so they’ll be happy in life. A lot of that goes for me to my relationship with my wife. A (romantic) relationship, when the kids are young, can suffer, so it’s important to spend time with each other. As a father, the best thing you can do for your kid is to love the mom. As a parent, loving the mother is the most important thing. Even parents that aren’t together, it’s important as well for them to respect each other and be kind to each other.