On Bomb Defusions and Boner Ghosts

MacGruber's cast and crew tell all, or at least a lot

Some girls learn about womanhood with the help of health videos. As Kristin Wiig explained during the "How to defuse a bomb and other life lessons from the cast of MacGruber" panel, women who learn from Will Forte get the help of a "courtesy pillow."

Directed by Jorma Taccone of The Lonely Island and inspired by the SNL skit of the same name, MacGruber world-premiered Monday night at the Paramount with most of the cast – Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, and Val Kilmer – in attendance. While the film shares the title of the SNL skit “MacGruber,” a spoof on the 1980s character MacGyver, the film really draws from a variety of the screenwriters’ (Will Forte, John Solomon, and Jorma Taccone) favorite 1980s action movies, which they listed in the Q&A that followed the screening, as well as in the panel today: Lethal Weapon, Rambo, Die Hard… Weekend at Bernie’s. Taccone explained how he successfully conjured the special cinamagic of those films during the panel discussion: “Every single interior we shot it in was filled with smoke, and every exterior was wet down with a hose.”

The Lonely Island has procured its share of star-power and famous cameos in the past – Justin Timberlake and T-Pain, for example. But getting Kilmer, and especially Phillippe – who’s known for dramatic roles and being, in the words of Q&A moderator and executive producer Akiva Schaffer, “obviously better-looking” than the rest of the cast – to work on the film surprised some of the attendees. Of his role as Dieter Von Cunth, Kilmer said, “In a way, the entire script was written to ruin my career.” But he said he decided to do it because, “It was really funny.” “The last time I read a script, comedy or otherwise, and called my agent and said I wanted to do it by about page 30 was a comedy not many people saw called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” Kilmer said. “It was just that good. I didn’t really realize that everyone would be yelling, ‘Hey, Cunth!’ for 10 years after.”

Seth Meyers, who assisted in creative development, also attended the panel, and was called on midway through to reflect on some of the more harrowing experiences during the film’s creation – the least of which was not the night Forte, Solomon, and Meyers had to spend in a haunted house. “I went to bed in this bedroom, and Will and Solomn came over,” Meyers said. “And Forte said, ‘I just want to warn you that this house is haunted by a Boner Ghost. And he probably won’t even come back, but if he does, we found the best thing to do, is just let him have sex with you. It’ll just take a few minutes. It’s far less risky than making him mad. But again, he probably won’t even show up.’ And then they left.” About 25 minutes later the Boner Ghost made an appearance, which, Meyers said “looked a lot like Forte with a bath towel over his head,” dancing in the doorway.

As the film’s ripe with that style of humor, it’s no wonder Taccone expressed some initial concerns over receiving an NC-17 rating. But Kristin Wiig cleared up any worriess over the gratuitous love scenes between her character Vicki and MacGruber with an explanation of the film’s “courtesy pillow” policy. “When you do a sensual love scene with Will Forte, there’s a little barrier between your bodies… He puts it in between our areas…And he had a little covering. Like a little sack.” Forte was quick to add his two cents.. “I didn’t want to use it,” Forte said. “But you insisted on it.” And, he corrected, it’s a “pretty big sack.”

Check out Forte tweeting as MacGruber at Grubes69.

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SXSW Premieres, SXSW, MacGruber, Jorma Taccone, Will Forte, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Seth Meyers, Val Kilmer

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