There is a lot of embarrassment around male bonding. Is it refreshing to finally face this problem head-on?
Paul: "Yeah, one of the things I loved about this movie is that it is about two guys who wear their hearts on their sleeves a little bit and there isn't the sort of stereotypically macho alpha male approach. These are two guys that are not unlike a lot of other men. And, you know, this is going to be very hard to believe, but I am not an alpha male. I never know how to deal with too much machismo coming atcha."
Jason: "We were doing interviews and someone asked Jon Favreau, 'You're kind of a guy's guy, aren't you?' and he looks over at Rudd and I and says, 'In this crowd, I am.'"
Paul, you play a lot of bumbling men. Is there a bit of you in these characters?
Paul: "Part of my personality is in there, yeah. It's a little heightened for the movies; I don't think I'm quite as awkward, but I certainly do have those moments. And I do overcompensate and I talk when I know I should shut up and I just still can't stop."
You obviously feel comfortable with Jason though. It's been reported that you woke him up one day by dangling your 'appendage' in his face…?
Paul: "I think you're thinking of Michael Caine. No. Jason, you've told this story that you were in your trailer one day sleeping at lunch..."
Jason: "What do you mean, I 'told' it? It happened. As if I would weave a yarn like that!"
Paul: "I think you were probably having a dream. Or a nightmare... Actually, I did. I went into his trailer while he was sleeping and went 'hey!' just so that he'd wake up. And I, uh, wasn't wearing any pants. You know, and then I just left."
Is it the element of surprise that makes good comedy?
Paul: "Sure. He wasn't laughing though."
Jason: "To me good comedy could just as easily be played as a drama and then you layer comedy on top of it. I think that's what we've been striving for. The story has to be a genuine one."
Was there a lot of improvisation on the set?
Paul: "Yeah, there was. A pretty fair amount. John encouraged it, but we also got together before we started shooting and would sometimes improvise scenes in the office, or rehearse things maybe differently from the way scenes were written in the script. But it was a pretty tightly honed script and very funny and oftentimes we didn't want to veer from it."
Was it love at first sight for you two?
Paul: "Yeah, I think we hit it off pretty quickly."
Jason: "Yeah, but we didn't get to spend that much time together on Knocked Up and in the end most of our interaction didn't make the film because it was a bit extraneous. But I will say that I think at that point we did start to see a, like, maybe little glint in each other's eyes, like, 'Boy, huh. Maybe this could work?'"
Paul: "'I like the cut of this guy's jib.'"
Paul: "I would say that in a lot of Judd Apatow's movies - where we worked together - there's a very kind of familial, fun atmosphere on the set that is determined really by him, so although we didn't have that much stuff to do together, there were days when we were just on set together and just joking around."
Jason: "And then we did Forgetting Sarah Marshall together in Hawaii, so we're on a beach in tropical locale, in bathing suits, you know? So we really got to know each other on a whole different level, definitely. And we got a lot closer when it came to doing this film. We know each other's ins and outs."
Paul: "That sounds disgusting."
So making this film was a bonding experience in itself, because you could just goof around together?
Jason: "Yeah, I think to some extent a lot of male friendship is based on that; just sitting around and goofing on stuff and, you know, having a laugh. I think there's this myth that men just get around and talk sleazy about women and stuff, but really when Paul and I hang out, or whoever, it's not like that at all. We're just making a lot of obscure reference jokes and trying to make each other laugh."
Paul: "I think, actually, that's the appeal for a lot of guys with these comedies. We don't appear to be any different to anyone who's watching the movie. I know that in The 40-Year-Old-Virgin or with scenes in this movie people are like, 'Hey, that's just like me and my friends. We do that stuff!'"
I Love You, Man is out in cinemas today.