Tim Heidecker talks about his dramatic role in “The Comedy”

Tim Heidecker is half the comedy duo, along with Eric Eric Wareheim, that is Tim and Eric. They have worked together on numerous TV series on Adult Swim like “Tom Goes to Mayor” and “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” and films like “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”. Tim is starring in the film “The Comedy”, which is actually sits more in the dramatic genre. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Tim about his dramatic turn in this film and also what we can expect next from him and Eric Wareheim.

Mike Gencarelli: What made you want to approach this dramatic role in “The Comedy”?
Tim Heidecker: Well, I liked the director Rick (Alverson) and I liked his work. We had a long conversation about the movie and what he wanted to do and I really liked his approach.  It just sounded like a cool and fun project to do.

MG: How did you get yourself into the character of Swanson?
TH: We worked developing the character starting from myself…and then worked from that. We sort of dressed me up like a hipster and turned off all the regulators my brain that keep me from saying nasty things. We treated it with a more classic Hollywood filmmaking sensibility. We wanted to focus more on the technical and no so dramatic, theatrical or method style of filmmaking.

MG: You are no stranger to offensive comedy, were you ever concerned about letting too much comedy through your performance?
TH: I think because the film itself is so severe, dramatic, quiet and serious. We all felt that any moments of humor will act as relief and create a nice balance. We wanted to tap into the natural sense of humor that I have and try and use that in a different kind of way.

MG: The film is still quite edgy; do you think that fans of Tim & Eric are going to dig this?
TH: I think our audience in general is a really smart, creative, artistic sensibility type of audience. The reaction from the the core audience so far has just been super positive and encouraging. They are grown-up and they can understand that we can work outside of a certain box. Frankly, it was interesting to see if we could challenge our audience to give them something different to watch.

MG: In this overall experience, what would you say was your most challenging aspect?
TH: It was a pretty pleasant experience, believe it or not. The crew made it very easy. The director and I got along very well. I think just relaxing…was my main challenge. With Tim and Eric and most of the other stuff I have done, there is a real sense of instinct to overdo things in a comedic way and be ironic on camera. The challenge was to play things in a more naturalistic and quiet way. I focused a lot on patience and keeping it small, which is something that I am not used to doing.

MG: Was all the dialogue in the film improv?
TH: Yeah, it was all improvised dialogue. There was a written conceptual aspect in the script. Like “This is where Swanson goes into a bar and becomes provocative”. What comes out of my mouth is all improvised for the most part. That is just is the way that I am comfortable working. When you are shooting quickly, using mostly master shots and with long takes, it makes for a more relaxed and comfortable environment to get natural performances.

MG: Do you see yourself pursuing more dramatic work over comedy?
TH: I am grateful for any opportunities that are presented to me. I don’t have a lot of control over that. If things are offered to me, I consider them based on quality and project that interest me. But like I said I usually don’t have a lot of control [laughs].

MG: You have worked for yourself mostly in the past, how was it taking direction from Rick Alverson?
TH: It was a relief actually for the most part. For me, I enjoyed not worrying about that end of it. I trusted Rick and the only way I thought it would work is if I let go and let him lead. After a few days, I think Rick and I were on the same page and enjoyed collaborating. I think it was helpful for him having a guy that used to come from behind the camera all the time, since I understand what he was going through. Overall, it was just a really pleasant collaboration.

MG: Tell us about you have planned next?
TH: Eric and I are currently sitting around writing a mini-series idea for Adult Swim. We are still working out the details for it. But we want to comeback and return to TV next year for sure. So far we have some great new material in the works.


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