By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Comedians Amy Schumer and Bill Hader travel the rocky path of modern urban romance in the R-rated comedy “Trainwreck.”
Schumer’s career has taken off like a rocket in the past few years. Having burst onto the scene in 2012, the blond, blue-eyed jokester placed fourth on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” She then moved up two notches taking second prize on Comedy Central’s “Reality Bites Back,” before landing her own series, “Inside Amy Schumer,” a sketch comedy show in 2013, which recently was greenlit for a fourth season.
The 34-year-old Manhattan native is indisputably the comedy “It” girl of the moment with her self-effacing, raunchy brand of humor. With curves and carrying few extra pounds compared to many wafer-thin actresses, she also is unapologetically redefining the standard of female beauty in this industry. With “Trainwreck,” she makes her feature film starring role debut. She wrote the script based on personal life experiences.
As Amy, she is a commitment-phobic magazine writer who parties hard, sleeps around and yet manages to stay afloat in The Big Apple. When she is assigned to write about noted sports doctor (Hader, a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member), she soon finds herself in the unfamiliar position of falling in love, and isn’t quite sure how to handle it.
The single Schumer has chronicled her free-spirited ways and fears of commitment in her TV series and comedy act. She’s also not afraid to tackle serious subjects with a light tough. For example, the father character in the film (played by former “SNL” cast member Colin Quinn), is based on her real father, who has multiple sclerosis.
Hader, 37, plays nice guy Dr. Aaron Conners, who falls hard for Amy after only one date. Hader created a number of memorable characters on “SNL” for eight seasons. He has made movie audiences laugh in supporting roles in “Tropic Thunder,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Men in Black 3.” He currently can be heard as the voice of Fear in the hit Pixar movie “Inside Out.”
An Oklahoma native, Hader has netted positive notices with his heartfelt turn in the live-action dramedy “The Skeleton Twins,” co-starring another “SNL” cast mate Kristen Wiig. “Trainwreck” marks his first big screen romantic lead role.
Schumer and Hader worked with comedy legend Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), who directed the film. Sitting together for an interview, the quick-witted comedians have an easy banter that is echoed in their onscreen performances.
Q: What was it like playing a couple? What was it like having an onscreen scripted relationship? Was it fun? Did you have like awkward moments? What was it like playing with each other?
Schumer: Bill is disgusting.
Hader: Yeah, Amy’s a total *****. I don’t know if you read that.
Schumer: I found working with him to be atrocious. (They laugh.)
Hader: Yeah, it was a lot of fun.
Schumer: We just hit it off.
Hader: I auditioned for the movie and Judd took us out to dinner. He didn’t say anything.
Schumer: He took us on date.
Hader: He watched us having a date, basically.
Schumer: He’d take pictures of us.
Hader: He’d take pictures of us and then was showing them to friends saying, “Do you buy these guys as a couple?”
Schumer: It was great. It was fun. There were a couple of people that I’ve met in my life that where you just bring like this really silly energy out in each other and you’re just like, “Oh my God we’re going to be friends forever.” It felt very comfortable right away.
Q: Amy, which sex scenes did you enjoy more: the ones with Bill or the ones with pro MMA fighter John Cena, who plays your boyfriend?
Schumer: (laughing) I wouldn’t call my scenes with John sex scenes. I was trying not to die (laughing). I was bracing myself. They were both wonderful. I think about them every day—both of them. It was
really hard to do the more serious sex scenes. It wasn’t gross out, but it was just embarrassing.
Hader: Yeah, it’s more like an operation.
Schumer: I was like bracing myself.
Hader: It was like a procedure.
Schumer: They were both wonderful. I think about them every day— both of them. But it was really hard to do the more serious sex scenes (with Hader).
Hader: Judd (Apatow, the director) was very embarrassed. He was very shy when we did the sex scene.
Schumer: He was covering his eyes.
Hader: (mimics Apatow in a nervous voice) “So today’s the big day! Uhhh, okay you guys. This is gonna be fun!”
Schumer: There was no eye contact on set that day.
Hader: Yeah, no one looked at anybody. We just looked at the ground.
Schumer: But it was fun. We loved it.
Hader: Judd would say, “It’s like three thrusts and then you say you’re line Amy and then maybe two more thrusts and then Bill you answer her,” and then he’d walk out.
Schumer: After every time Judd would yell “cut” in the scene, I would just roll off Bill…
Hader: … and just start screaming. (They laugh.)
Schumer: I was like, “This is so embarrassing!”
Hader: It made me feel great about myself.
Schumer: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It wasn’t gross out; it was just embarrassing.
Hader: That’s show business!
Q: Amy, you’ve addressed the double standard of our society toward women both on your show and in interviews. Do you want to be able to talk about your work or do you like having the opportunity to discuss
bigger issues, too?
Schumer: I like talking about both. It’s therapeutic for me to be like, “Yes, I’m not going to look like a malnourished bird.” I like speaking to that as well as speaking of my work and what I’m doing, so
I don’t mind.
Q: Was it difficult writing something so personal and then finding the sweet spot for the comedy to come in?
Schumer: It was difficult, but I would say also in this (third) season of my show, I rewrote “12 Angry Men,” and had to trash myself endlessly for 35 pages. I would say that was harder than this.
Judd (Apatow, the director) really encouraged me to kind of look at myself and ask myself these questions of what’s going on with myself, and he really made me realize that I was broken. It was difficult though sitting there and really digging into these things that I didn’t even know that I thought, but I’m really glad I did.
Q: Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is remarkably funny as a heightened version of himself in this. Amy, how was it working with him as an actor for a week on set?
Schumer: It’s like our week with family.
Q: Bill, one of your scenes with Amy got cut. What did it entail?
Hader: Yeah, we shut down (New York’s) Columbus Circle and most of Central Park West. We rode around—me and Amy—on a horse. I didn’t actually drive a horse carriage. I had to learn how to ride a horse and I’m so afraid of them. I don’t like horses.
Q: Bill, of course, is a former “SNL” cast member, but you also have three other “SNL” cast members in “Trainwreck.”
Schumer: Actually, we had more! We had Pete Davidson, Lesley Jones and Tim Meadows. And (the show’s longtime producer) Lorne Michaels has a cameo, where he throws me a hot dog and I catch it like a touchdown pass.
Q: Amy, what was the inspiration for Colin Quinn’s character using the analogy of dolls as to why he and their mother split up?
Schumer: The inspiration was my dad. He never sat (me and my sister) down and said “Monogamy is not realistic,” but we got to see that in his behavior every day, and with the new women we were supposed to
call “mom.” He just treated us like dudes his age. That kind of realistic, kind of inappropriate boundary-less dealings with children was the way he dealt with us. Watching Colin do that scene, I’m so glad that we
opened the movie with it; it’s just one of my very favorites. Colin just improvised a lot of that. We actually ran out of film shooting it.
Q: This movie has a lot of aspects of your real life in it. Is there anything else in the movie that we’d be surprised to know is based off of reality?
Schumer: Yeah. A lot of people have asked me if I intended to kind of flip the gender roles, with me playing the (traditional Hollywood party) guy. But that’s not been my experience at all. This is how I am and how a lot of girls I know are. It’s often the guy who wants to be a little more sensitive and more interested. The scene where I get high and John (Cena’s) character looks through my phone (contacts) and is upset by seeing the names of other guys in it, and instead of comforting him, I ask if I can leave—that did happen in my real life.
Q: Amy, you work for a pretty unscrupulous editor in this (played by Tilda Swinton). Have you ever had a bad experience with the tabloid press, and how do you deal with it?
Schumer: I’ll get myself in trouble if I answer this.
Q: Put it this way, what have you learned about what to say and what not to say publicly?
Schumer: I think that we’re pretty impulsive. Sometimes the questions feel kind of aggressive and hurtful and I’ll say, “That’s so rude.“ I don’t do a good job of rolling with it. With this movie, some people
just miss the point. They get it wrong. They’ll be like, “So you’re like a disgusting *****, is that fun?” And I’m like, “Yes, thank you so much for having me!”
Q: Amy, this is your first big movie. What changes did you see from writing for TV and the standup to writing this? How did the movie change for you personally?
Schumer: I’m very lucky that Judd (Apatow) came along and became my fairy godfather with this movie because, actually, the first couple drafts I feel were just pretty sad. But he was so calm and said, “We’ll run out the jokes later.” He just saw the pieces of what he could turn into a movie that we could be proud of.