By Kiko Martinez
Filmmakers Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore were in San Antonio last week to promote their new film Miss March, which opened in theaters Friday (See Jeremy Martin's review in this week's issue). The duo sat down with the Current to talk about working with Playboy icon Hugh Hefner and told us why they think a movie like this is different from others in the road-trip subgenre.
Current: Uh, where is Sara Underwood (2007 Playboy Magazine Playmate of the Year, who has a cameo in Miss March and toured with Zach and Trevor for a week to promote the film)?
Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore: (Laugh)
TM: Well, she came on the bus with us for about a week. It was great. She told us a lot of stories.
ZC: Hef didn’t come. I don’t think he was in the mood for a bus trip.
My guess is that he’s probably happy right where he is.
ZC: Yeah, he’s happy in his nice house.
Did either of you ever stumble upon your dad’s Playboys like the kids in the opening scene?
ZC: I found my grandfather’s in the closet. It was kind of like it is in the movie. I was intrigued and afraid all at the same time. And I knew I wasn’t supposed to be looking at it.
How old were you when you started noticing girls?
TM: I guess it was in kindergarten when I had my first girlfriend.
ZC: I had my first crush when I was like in the 5th grade. I remember in 3rd grade the girls would chase the guys and hold them down and kiss them.
Girls were maturing much faster than boys at that age.
I remember in the 5th grade a group of girls came up to me giggling and asked me if I wanted oral sex.
ZC: In the 5th grade? Isn’t that a little young?
Yeah, well, I literally had no idea what that was and when I told them I didn’t, they just laughed at me.
ZC: I remember in the 4th grade someone told me that a blow job is when a girl blows on a guy’s penis and foam comes out.
Did either of you get the sex talk from your parents?
TM: Well, I remember the day that I found out how sex worked. I was at the playground and there were some older kids there. Basically, there was this kid there trying to put this ball into this bucket and I said, “Put it in, put it in.” All the older kids started laughing. I knew it had to do with your genitals. I figured genitals went inside other genitals.
During the writing process, did you guys ever worry about being able to get away with some of the more vulgar jokes and images?
ZC: No, basically we just wrote what we wanted to write. We were lucky because no one really stepped in and said, “Whoa, guys!”
There weren’t any issues with Playboy? Well, I know they did “The House Bunny” last year but that was pretty tame.
ZC: House Bunny is for girls.
TM: We showed them the script and they liked it. We did get a call from Hef about a week before we were going to shoot with him and he said, “At one point you call a girl ‘busted.’ What does that mean?” I said, “Uh, it means that she’s not good looking.” He said, “Will kids know that?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Okay, that’s fine.”
I read that you had actually filmed Hef’s scenes with Robert Wagner playing the role. What did Hef think about coming in to replacing him?
ZC: The first thing he said was, “I don’t know why you guys want me to do this. I thought R.J. did a great job.” It’s not that [Wagner] did a bad job or anything. We replaced him with the man he was portraying.
Why did you decide to make the switch?
ZC: [During test screenings] we were getting a sort of disconnect when the door opens and it’s Robert Wagner. I mean, everybody knows Hef – The House Bunny, The Girls Next Door. He’s an icon.
Why did you decide to make firemen the antagonists in the movie when the rest of the world always depicts them as heroes?
TM: That’s why. Especially after 9/11 – and rightfully so – you’re not going to see firemen as the bad guys. It ended up working well because they have those huge super trucks and they all have axes. They really are pretty scary.
Do you think your characters, two guys on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, would be friends in real life?
ZC: I think Eugene and Tucker have been friends since they were little kids. I think Eugene is a nerd who probably couldn’t make any friends in high school and Tucker just doesn’t know any better. He’s loyal out of stupidity. Eugene appreciates that for whatever its worth.
Why is this movie different from other road trip movies?
ZC: Underneath it all, I think this movie has a message. These two characters basically have the same problem. Both are putting sex up on a pedestal in an unhealthy way. Tucker is obsessed with sex. He has a girlfriend but he want to sow his wild oats. Eugene is obsessed with [not having sex]. He spends his time talking to kids [about abstinence]. His girlfriend wants to be intimate and elevate their relationship to the next stage, but he is unwilling to do that and that is poisoning his relationship. It’s about these two guys finding this middle ground. I don’t think it’s an idea you would normally get in a “we’ve-gotta-get-laid-by-prom!” kind of movie. Our movie is totally dirty. It’s filthy. We know that. But under that, it has a message that says sex is not this monster and it’s not the best thing in the world. It’s something you have to figure out on your own.
How do you all take criticism? What’s going to happen when you read a bad review of Miss March?
ZC: I don’t read reviews at all. Listen, I know what this movie is. This is a movie for young guys. There’s poop jokes and cum jokes. Critics are not going to be kind to this movie, so why put myself through the torture of listening to people saying how dumb they think this movie is? Anyway, no critic can scathe this movie as much as I do in my own brain.
Do you have an automatic pass now to get into Playboy mansion?
TM: They said they were going to invite us to the parties, but I doubt it.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Bill Maher.
ZC: (Laughs) No, I don’t think so. I would love to go to a party at the Playboy mansion. The Midsummer Night’s Dream party is supposed to be pretty amazing.
Do you think they’re as wild as people imagine?
ZC: Yeah, I think they’re insane. I’ve heard that the grotto, by the end of the party, it’s just people…
In a massive orgy.
ZC: Yeah! I mean, I’m not going to get into an orgy in the grotto or anything, but I wouldn’t mind peeking in.