So I interviewed Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! once again, and for the second time I’m not really sure what happened to me or… yeah. Our conversation covered Season 5 of their show, their upcoming movie (an article from before it was 100% confirmed), the Smurfs, and then they made sure to get across that they’d jumped on the Kevin “fuck press screenings” Smith bandwagon.
Frankly, I’m not really sure how this interview went, and since the tone and delays were so all over the place, I’m just going to lay it out pretty much exactly as I transcribed it. All I know is that T&E’s humor is often called “anti-humor” and, while I don’t necessarily agree with that label, I will say they like to engage in anti-interviews. It would have been foolish to expect otherwise.
R: So, Tim and Eric- hey guys, it’s good to talk to you again.
Tim: Thank you.
Eric: What’s uuup.
R: I’m glad we get to speak again. You probably don’t remember but we had a chat about Season 4.
Tim: Oh cool.
R: Yeah, I’ll be honest: when I re-listened to it I got the impression that you guys thought I was full of shit, so I’m glad we got to talk again because I’m a genuine fan.
Tim: Oh God.
Eric: Make up for it.
[Tim sighs loudly]
Renn: Yep, my chance at redemption. If I fuck it all up again-
Tim: Can we stop for a second. Can we stop for a second and just watch the language?
Renn: You’re right, I’m very sorry. I’ll keep it PG for you, or G even- whatever you need.
Tim: PG’s fine.
Renn: So to talk about season cinco a little bit, which has a DVD bursting onto the marketplace for people to enjoy, I’ve seen you guys talk a little bit about it not necessarily being the end of Awesome Show, but you are doing other things for a while. So how did you approach this season knowing it would be it for Awesome Show, at least for a while?
Renn: Do I have you?
Eric: Season Cinco is a very dark, emotional season, we tried to wrap up a lot of stories, there was a lot of death, a lot of bloodshed, but a lot of laughs along the way.
Tim: I agree with that.
Renn: Alright. Well without spoiling anything, season 5 definitely has a transgressive ending, and one that might be the darkest since something like The Sopranos. Did you always envision ending it the way you did- again, for the moment at least.
Tim: No, I don’t think we ever had an idea of how the show would end. I think only when we were presented with the idea of ending the show did we think about how we would like to end it.
Renn: Did you care at all about keeping any kinds of secrets- making sure people read the ending script in a locked room, that kind of thing?
Tim: Nobody gives a shit.
Renn: I disagree, but fair enough. If you guys ever did get around to doing more seasons, do you have any big ideas in the wings, or is that something you’d figure out when you got there?
Eric: We’re working on a movie right now dude. I mean, that’s all we got. We’ve got a big screening tonight that I’m focused on.
Renn: Well I definitely wanted to get around to talking about the movie, but wanted to be sure we talked about Season Five to start, since it’s-
Tim: Yes, definitely. Now hold on, I don’t think-
Eric: Tim and Eric Awesome Show…
Tim: I don’t think if you’re looking back on Season One, I don’t think you’re predicting or imagining the success of Season Five…. I mean, do you know what I mean?
Renn: For sure.
Tim: There’s a growth that happens as the series went along that couldn’t have been predicted. If you’re a television reviewer, or just an audience member watching the first episode –which was created four years ago– you don’t have the capacity to predict the success of Season Five. I’m not talking about commercial succes, I’m talking about artistic, creative success.
Renn: Of course.
Tim: You’re not able to do it. You’re just not able to do it. I don’t think.
Renn: Well as you look back on that and now you work on a feature film, and you’ve done the one hour Chrimbus special, how does your method– Actually, first of all, where are you on the movie right now? You’re screening it already?
Eric: Can you imagine being a teenager at home and seeing Season One of the Awesome Show, and in their minds thinking, “These guys are going to do a one-hour Chrimbus Special, then fold right into a huge Tim & Eric Billion Dollar Movie, with a massive cast, with action, and with bloodshed, adventure, romance.” It’s not possible.
Tim: You know, it’s intriguing for me to think about it and it almost might be an idea for- I don’t want to say a film, but maybe a play… Where you have two teenagers on stage and they’re in a set that looks like a basement, and it says “2007” on a big projection. And you see these two dudes just pulling hits off a bong, losing their minds for the first twenty minutes of the play, and there’s Rolling Stones and whatever music playing throughout, a good soundtrack, and it becomes late and they turn on the TV in the play and it’s the first episode of Awesome Show. The first one says, “whoah, this is wild” and they other said, “Yeah, but that’s probably all there’s going to be to this, just these guys on green screen goofing around,” and the other says, “I don’t know… these guys could really go far and do tremendous work. I bet there’s five seasons and also a special. THEN a movie.” Then the curtain comes down and that’s the play.
Eric: That’s a short play.
Tim: That’s not a short play Eric, it’s a forty-five minute play.
Eric: Forty five minutes is short, in terms of play time. That’s all I’m saying.
Tim: Right. It could be coupled with another play, for a ninety minute experience. Two plays, two acts, get used to it. That’s the future of theater.
Renn: Cutting edge! So what part of the process are you in with the movie?
Tim: We’re in the post-production process of the film, which what that means is we take all the footage we shot, and obviously we can’t just screen all the footage we shot. That gets cut down to a suitable length, for theater owners. So in other words, theater owners have a term sheet and we have to adhere to certain things like your movie has to be at least 90 minutes long, it has to be in color, and it has to have sound. So we have to meet all those requirements. And that’s what we’re doing now.
Renn: Well if you weren’t bound by those terms, what do you feel would be the ideal length for Billion Dollar Movie? I saw a tweet that suggested there was a 54-hour cut. I would watch that.
Tim: Well I think film is like sculpture, and it’s like you’re given a big block of granite and what you’re forced to do is carve away at it like Michealangelo- till you have David.
Renn: So how close to David are you at this point- you’re screening it now…
Eric: We’re having a screening tonight. Friends, family, tastemakers.
Tim: Yeah, no press.
Eric: People that can say, “hey, you guys have never made a movie before, here’s my thoughts.” And we’re gonna take all of those thoughts, and some of them are gonna be good and some are gonna be bad, and then we take all that, we go back to the sculpt. We rearrange, we add stuff: sound effects, different kinds of music, take out this take- it wasn’t funny enough, this was insincere. Do foley, you know there’s all kinds of shit we gotta do. It’s not easy.
Renn: So would you consider what you’re doing now an extension or an evolution of what you were doing with Awesome Show, or is this a leap into a whole different paradigm for Tim & Eric?
Eric: The movie is like when you go to the convenience store and get a king-sized Snickers. The TV show is a regular Snickers. Both are amazing, but the king-size you’re gonna get a lot more. Everything is more important in a king-size, that’s basically it.
Renn: So do you see franchise potential with Billion Dollar Movie, do you want to keep doing movies, or are you too in the thick of it to see that far?
Tim: You know, it depends on how Smurfs does- that’ll be sort of the bellwether of whether or not this is successful.
Renn: So that’s really the trend-setting movie you have to keep an eye on?
Tim: Yeah, if that’s successful, then that will open a lot of doors for Tim & Eric. If not, that’s probably it for us. We can throw in the towel. [a phone rings on the line] What the hell?
Eric: Alright, we gotta pop off, thank you so much for the call.
Renn: Well thanks guys, I’m very excited for the movie and can’t wait to see more-
Tim: –and just so you know, there’s not going to be a lot of free screenings, just so you know. I just wanted to get that out there so it’s not awkward when the movie comes out. There’s not going to be a lot of free screenings.
Renn: Well I don’t think I’ll mind–
Tim: –Thanks! Peace out.
So yeah, the Season 5 DVD is a thing, and the movie is making its way towards completion. The Smurfs hits theaters on July 29th, and Billion Dollar Movie will have a release sometime in 2012.
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