This summer at Comic Con I hadn’t even heard of Sex Drive, Summit’s shockingly funny new teen sex comedy, in theaters right this very second. But I knew who Clark Duke was, thanks to the web show he created with Michael Cera, Clark and Michael. Despite not knowing much about the film he was in San Diego to promote, I wanted to sit down with him for a couple of minutes. A few months later I’m happy I did.
I met Clark in the talent green room at the San Diego Convention Center. You couldn’t miss him, as he was dressed in an immaculate white suit. As we walked out to the balcony of the center to do the interview, Clark ran into The Rock (Comic Con is weird like that); Clark had just done an audition for The Rock’s family film The Tooth Fairy. Somewhere there’s a picture of Clark Duke and The Rock shaking hands with me standing there like an idiot.
You have a Tom Wolfe thing happening.
That is the nicest possible thing you could say. Tom Wolfe is one of my heroes. Thank you! I bought this the other day. I bought this and a seersucker suit, because I knew I was coming out here. I thought, ‘What would Tom Wolfe wear?’
To a comic book convention he would wear that.
To anywhere! Tom Wolfe wears summer suits, man.
I haven’t seen the film yet, but I am told that you play a character who is really to your own persona.
Yeah, it wasn’t a huge leap.
Did you come in and play with the script, or was it written for you?
The guys who wrote it, Anders and Morris, saw Clark and David, the show [Michael Cera and I] did on the web, and they wanted me to come in. My agent thought it was for [Josh] Zuckerman’s part, the lead kid, who is kind of the straight man. I read those sides and and went in, and it was like the third meeting I had that day, so I wasn’t thinking that much about it. They said, ‘Hey, we really like your show and we want you to read for Lance.’ I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ In the script he was tall and blonde and handsome and stuff, but they wanted me. I did a cold read and ended up improv-ing a lot of it on the spot because I didn’t know the lines, and they dug it. And here we are.
Here we are, at Comic Con talking about.
This is like a personal dream for me, promoting a movie at Comic Con.
Hobnobbing with The Rock back stage.
Seriously! Did you see that? I was just talking to the fucking Rock, man.
When you were shaking his hand, how was his grip?
You could tell he had a lot of power, but he wasn’t squeezing.
That’s the guys with a lot of power, they don’t have to show off. The guys who are showing off don’t have it.
Any guy that comes up and tries to break your hand is probably a wussy.
You started out with internet short films. It’s interesting to see how that’s changing the face of comedy.
It was really interesting because the pilot of Clark and Michael was my thesis for film school. We had no aspirations beyond that. It was me and Mike writing for fun, just to do it. And it did really well, despite CBS not promoting it or doing a whole lot for it.
You can get it on Xbox.
My brother told me that. They would never tell me. What frustrates me is that it’s not on iTunes and they won’t put a DVD out.
Will they never put a DVD out?
I don’t know. Eventually they hopefully will, but they never said anything. I never understood from the get go why they didn’t. I think they closed their whole online division down over there. It’s kind of a mess.
The whole online world keeps changing every six months.
Totally. We definitely hit the zeitgeist a little bit, with the timing and the style of the show and the humor, the stuff that we think is funny, is sort of popular now. But I don’t know what I think of the internet in terms of original material because to me there’s nothing that’s popped out, broke out big out of it. I would argue that Clark and Michael is one of the most successful shows from the web, and it’s not even all that. I don’t think anyone has figured out how to make money yet.
The best stuff is free…
The quality of most stuff, without putting anybody down, is shitty. There’s no filter. Whatever your complaints about the network system are, they weed out some of the worst stuff.
Funny or Die, for example, is there something freeing about having a concept, writing it out with a friend, shooting it that day and having people laughing at it that night is gratifying in itself? Is the shagginess part of what makes it charming and fun?
I think so. Mike and I have shot stuff in my computer, cut it on my computer and had it online on YouTube later that day, and there is something fun about that. But I don’t what you do with shorts. I don’t know how you make a career.
But for you personally –
I’m talking about the networks. As far as online becoming this huge thing with a lot of funding and a lot of new shows, I don’t know how that works yet.
But for you…
But for me personally it’s great! It’s fantastic for me!
You said that people do recognize you. Where do you see your value on a marquee at this point?
What do you mean?
I’m sitting here for Sex Drive because I want to interview Clark Duke. But is it that way for other people? Do you want to be the guy whose name drives people to a movie?
I just want to have fun. I don’t have a whole big plan. I did Sex Drive because I liked the script and I really liked the guys who wrote and directed it. I’m shooting this Eddie Murphy because I thought it would be fun to shoot a movie with Eddie Murphy.
How is it?
It’s pretty fun. I was not wrong.
What is he like? Do you guys have a lot of scenes?
All my scenes are with him. I’m one of the leads. He’s been nothing but nice to me. With big stars you hear a lot of ‘Don’t look him in the eyes,’ but that’s not true. In my experience.
You can still look Michael Cera in the eyes?
Not if he has his sunglasses on.