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Published: Tripper Clancy, screenwriter of Stuber

Tripper Clancy, screenwriter of Stuber Stuber - Although Stuber proudly positions itself as following in the legacy of films like 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop and Lethal Weapon, it also represents a perhaps necessary evolution of those kinds of movies, which is something we touched on recently with the film’s producers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (who, together, wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming and directed Game Night), in addition to speaking to Nanjiani, Bautista and screenwriter Tripper Clancy at the world premiere at SXSW earlier this year. [caption id="attachment_19415" align="aligncenter" width="600"][/caption] What, if anything, about the action comedy did you feel needed to be updated in revisiting this genre? John Francis Daley (producer): As much as I love and have an affinity for action comedies in the ’80s, there is a bit of misogyny that is inherent in that genre, and that’s something that we wanted to address. Jonathan Goldstein (producer): And also sort of a clichéd version of what masculinity means. This was an opportunity to undermine that cliché. Bautista playing the sort of Nick Nolte throwback character, and Kumail coming in to drop a grenade into that trope. You don’t write a film like this without being a fan of action comedies. What did you learn about the genre that you maybe didn’t know before you decided to write your own? Tripper Clancy (screenwriter): I learned that it all hinges on the central relationship. At some level, all movies do, but some people [focus on]: “What are the set pieces gonna be in an action comedy? What are the funny beats gonna be?” But at the end of the day, if the relationship doesn’t work… I think that’s why I’m drawn to Midnight Run and 48 Hrs. specifically, because those central relationships, they drive the whole movie. You can go on an adventure with those guys anywhere. So I wanted for Vic and for Stu, the two main characters, I wanted the audience [to be willing to] go on a ride anywhere with them that we took ’em. You want to put them in weird places and you want them to learn from each other, but I think it’s hard to do, and even Beverly Hills Cop does it, but he’s kind of a lone wolf in that movie a lot of the time. Lethal Weapon is one of the all-time greats because those two guys, their relationship is what drives those movies. We haven’t seen many of these specifically ’80s-esque action comedies in a while. Is it a genre you think has the potential to come back? TC: I hope so. I think the ’90s were not kind to the genre. I think they got a little bit goofy. And they kind of removed themselves from reality, just based on someone’s star power. But one of the things I love that the studio did on this movie is they didn’t go to the people that have done this a hundred times. For Dave, for Kumail, this is the first time they’re playing these kinds of roles, and I think there’s a freshness to that that the audience is really going to appreciate. Yeah, action comedies got a bit family-friendly there for a while. But this is unashamedly R-rated. TC: This is R-rated. It’s very violent. There’s a lot of blood. It’s not for kids. I’ve got two kids at home, they won’t see this for about ten more years, it’s fine with me. It’s edgy, it’s got some darkness to it, so I hope people appreciate that. Was there an action comedy that really attracted you to the genre when you were a kid? Kumail Nanjiani (Stu): I watched Midnight Run later, I didn’t watch it when I was a little kid. But that’s a movie that really to me is sort of the gold standard of this genre of movie. It’s so perfect and intimidating. I’m trying to think what other… Turner & Hooch I liked as a kid but I haven’t seen that in a while. I also liked Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot as a little kid, but haven’t seen that in a while either. How would you say Stuber updates the classic action comedy? Dave Bautista (Vic): I don’t know if it updates it. We’re not breaking down any walls here. We’re not creating anything. It’s a new twist on it, it’s a new spin. It’s two different characters. I think what we do bring to the action comedy is a lot of heart. There are a lot of really emotional beats in this, which you don’t often see with action comedies. And if you look at the [action comedy] stuff lately, The Rock has done it with Kevin Hart, it’s mostly laughs and a lot of action. But you don’t often have tear-jerking moments, and we have plenty of those in this film. There’s some great arcs in this film. Some great learning lessons in this film. The characters depend on each other and learn from each other and grow as human beings. I hope that’s what sets us apart. You’ve often talked about wanting to do something new with each role. What was new about this role for you? DB: There’s the scruff. I’ve done scruffy before, but I’ve never let my hair grow out, and I’m really self-conscious about letting my hair grow out because it’s thin and the director was like “Could ya?” and I was like “Oh man!”. But I did, I grew my hair out so I would be kind of just scruffy and surly for this. But also he asked me to wear a little [fat] suit, so I’ve got a little belly. And so I kind of loved that because he really just wanted me to break away from my physicality and just depend on my acting chops. When a director sees that in me, it’s a win for me.

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