SUNNY SIDE OF FAME
If you want to make it big in film and TV then nothing beats just writing your own show and starring in it, as a very busy Charlie Day reveals
Charlie Day may not be a household name, but he is as busy, if not more so, than just about any actor you could name working in film and TV today.
“Just finished season 10 of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Just directed a pilot. About to produce another pilot with the Always Sunny guys. Writing an animated pilot. Promoting Horrible Bosses 2. Trying to get funding for a movie I wrote.
“And,” he adds, almost as an afterthought, “being a dad!”
Day, 38, who grew up in the New England region of the US, has worked himself into this position over a period of about 10 years. Ground zero of his current success was shooting, on camcorder, the pilot episode of Always Sunny with his mates Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney.
They sold the show to US cable network FX, winning a cult audience for their insane exploits as three hugely selfabsorbed best mates (and one sister) who run an Irish pub.
The series picked up even more momentum in season two when Danny DeVito joined the cast. It’s shown locally on The Comedy Channel.
Now here he is co-starring in a big Warner Bros comedy sequel with Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis.
In Horrible Bosses 2, Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) reckon they’ll be able to avoid horrendous employers – and thus avoid having to kill horrendous employers – by starting their own small business. When that business collapses, they hatch a plot to kidnap their smarmy investor’s equally smarmy son.
Clearly, Day knows a thing or two about the business of DIY. He reckons it was easier kickstarting his career himself than waiting for the right role to come along.
“It was much harder before to just go around and ask people to employ me,” he says.
“Once I had more to offer than just the acting – an entire show, that some company, namely FX, could make money off – then it was a lot easier for me to do the other part, the acting.”
The first Horrible Bosses, released in 2011 was only Day’s second role in a studio film. He’d first proven his comic chemistry with Sudeikis when the pair played comic relief in the Justin Long/Drew Barrymore rom-com Going the Distance.
The Sudeikis relationship was a factor in his then getting Bosses, but Day reckons it had more to do with the studio wanting “people who weren’t giant names at the time, who wouldn’t command a giant pay cheque, so they could afford to go get Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx”.
Still, the film was his breakout: “Somewhat with fans but more so industry awareness,” Day says.
“Because Always Sunny has sadly stayed under the radar of some of these studio executives.”
After that, Guillermo Del Toro gave Day a role as a scientist in Pacific Rim and the actor lent his endearingly scratchy tones to the retro astronaut figure in The LEGO Movie.
Next year, he’ll pop up in the National Lampoon’s reboot Vacation, which also features Chris Hemsworth, Chevy Chase, Christina Applegate and Leslie Mann. Day is getting used to mixing with such big names, especially after being sexually harassed for a second time by Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses 2. The sequel also adds Christoph Waltz as the investor and Chris Pine as the kidnapped son.
Hollywood hottie Pine ( Star Trek, Jack Ryan) spends much of the sequel as Day, Sudeikis and Bateman’s fourth wheel, a job Aniston says must have been “quite intimidating for anybody who saw their chemistry in the first film”. Day begs to differ. “Chris Pine doesn’t strike me as the type of man who has had much to be intimidated about in his lifetime,” he laughs. As Nick, Kurt and Dale’s kidnapping scheme gets more and more out of hand, the guys tend to talk over each other in panic.
When Hit saw the film, one scene in which the fools are blurting their plans to the police drew a holler of “Shut up!” from two ladies seated behind us.
“The audience was telling the characters to shut up?” asks Day when Hit relays this story. “Well, that’s not a good sign!”
Not in a this-film-is-bad way, we assure him, but in a comical you’re-going-to-messit-all-up way.
Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Jason Bateman in a scene from
Horrible Bosses 2.