Interview with Geoffrey Arend

Geoffrey Arend is known for his comedic roles in such films as “Super Troopers” and “The Ringer”. He is starring in the recently released horror film “Devil”. Movie Mikes had the chance to conduct Geoffrey’s first ever phone interview so it was an honor to speak with him about his roles and his new movie, “Devil”.

Click here to purchase “Devil” on DVD or Blu-Ray

Mike Gencarelli: You started your career as the stoner in “Super Troopers”, how did you get the role?
Geoffrey Arend: It’s funny this guy, Pete Lengyel, who is the Executive Producer on the movie, saw me in a play like two years before. He remembered me for two years and tracked down the pizzeria that I was working at in New York. He called me up like three or four times. Finally I called him back, I was like “Why is this creep calling me, who is this guy? He asked me to come and audition, which was pretty wild. I do not even think the casting director liked me, but the Broken Lizard guys did. Pete said “I am funding the movie, hire this kid!”. I only had one day on set for the first scene. They ended up calling us back then for the scene at the end. That first day was so fantastic, I have never been on a movie set before, it was pretty wild.

Mike Gencarelli: You stole the show in “The Ringer”, tell us about working on that film?
Geoffrey Arend: It was great. The Special Olympics were part of that movie, so half the cast was handicapped in some way. I have never had an experience like that before. I might have one or two great lines in the movie. For the most part I didn’t really have a part. Barry Blaustein, who directed it hired me. The movie was supposed to be made three years before it was made because I remember auditioning for it. When I auditioned in front of Barry, we were going through the script and at some point I was in character and I threw the script down in frustration. Barry is a funny guy, he used to write jokes for Eddie Murphy on SNL. Barry started asking me questions and I stayed in character and I started answering all of the questions. I was improving the whole thing for like five minutes. He called up and said “There are a couple of holes in the movie I want you to fill. I don’t have a character for you. I would love for you to play any of the characters in the movie but I really want you to come in and do what you did in that room for the entire movie”. The improv is difficult alone. But improv of a mentally handicap role, it was kind of making me a little crazy. You kind of can’t write it,  it is a kind of stream of consciousness. The ice cream line, “When the fuck did we get ice cream?” I remember I did it and everyone laughed, except Peter Farrelly. He started yelling “How am I supposed to make a movie, if everyone is going to laugh?!” I thought, “What happened, I finally came up with something that worked”.

Mike Gencarelli: You not only starred in “500 Days of Summer,” you also sang, did you enjoy working on that film?
Geoffrey Arend: I remember reading the script. After I finished it, I turned to my wife and said I really want to be in a nice movie like this. It was a really nice movie. I went in and met Marc Webb, who couldn’t have been a nicer guy. I went in three times. On the third time, I went in and read with Joe Levitt, who was awesome. The second time I went in, he made me do one of the scenes as an Indian guy. He was laughing so hard he fell off the couch and hit his head on the floor. [laughs] It was the craziest thing I have ever seen. I looked at him and said “I have to get this role now, right?” It felt like a bunch of romantics made this film, that is why it came out so nice.

MG: Tell us about you role of Vince in “Devil”?
GA: I have made it this far without saying much. I remember I had to sign this whole thing. M. Night will come and beat the crap out of me. I grew up in New York and I started out doing theater. I got married and the day after I got married, my wife left to do a movie and I went to Toronto. We didn’t see each other for two weeks from the day after we got married. I was in Toronto with these people and it was like the greatest thing that could ever happen to me. The whole movie was setup in one place. All of my scenes, except the entrance into the elevator, everything takes place in one little room. It was like theater. I was trying to figure out how to stand in a tiny room with four other people and how to make my body act in this tiny space. It was the best experience ever. The Dowdle Brothers are absolutely fantastic directors. I haven’t seen it myself but I am very excited to see it.

MG: You have done a lot of comedy, was it hard to switch to horror/thriller mode?
GA: I didn’t find it hard at all. It was one of those challenges you come home from everyday and you’re exhausted but you just wanna sleep because you worked to your highest ability. That was how I felt after that movie. Getting to the question, the comedy-drama thing, I go at it the same way.
You treat whatever situation you’re in realistically and to behave under the given circumstances realistically. I mean it is not any different than “The Ringer”. I can try and say a bunch of things that sound funny or I can sit there and try and figure out how my character’s mind works.

MG: On a scale from 1 to 10, how scary is this movie going to be?
GA: Depends if you are claustrophobic or how you feel about elevators. When we auditioned, we didn’t get the script. I think that is the standard practice with M. Night’s movies. When I read the script, I had the same feeling when I read “500 Days of Summer”. Two totally different movies but I thought it was going to be a really good movie. You never know how it is going to turn out but when I first saw the trailer I think they nailed it. It looked really scary. I think it is going to be up there, around 8 and up, just from the trailer.

Click here to purchase “Devil” on DVD or Blu-Ray

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