“McBride be­longs to the same no­ble lin­eage of F-blin­ders as Richard Prior. He’s also the hands-down best thing in ev­ery movie he’s turned out for”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

his com­edy chops to a mis­spent youth in red­neck sur­round­ings.

“I ba­si­cally just watched movies. I was no good at be­ing a red­neck. I didn’t go hunt­ing. I didn’t have a huge four-wheel drive. In­stead I found those dudes hi­lar­i­ous. Jody Hill, who I write with, was a punk-rock kid from North Carolina. We just didn’t look good in trucks.”

At the Univer­sity of North Carolina, McBride and Hill hooked up with film-maker David Gor­don Green, who went on to di­rect such highly re­garded in­die clas­sics as Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton and All the Real Girls. But Danny and Jody just wanted to write “some funny shit”. Like all good film stu­dents, they du­ti­fully de­camped to LA. “It was the usual amaz­ing se­ries of jobs as a waiter. You leave film school, you wait ta­bles.”

Un­de­terred, McBride and Hill took the DIY route. The Foot Fist Way, McBride’s hi­lar­i­ous, guer­rilla-bud­geted por­trait of a North Carolina taek­wondo dojo, took Sun­dance by storm in 2006. Conan O’Brien loved the movie so much he kept invit­ing McBride to ap­pear in char­ac­ter on Late Night with . . . Judd Apa­tow soon got in touch, as did Will Fer­rell and Ben Stiller.

“Ev­ery­thing hap­pened re­ally fast af­ter The Foot Fist Way,” says McBride.

“ Pineap­ple Ex­press and Tropic Thun­der hit around the same time, so there was a real mo­men­tum to it. It was East­bound and Down that has made things re­ally crazy. Now I got to wear a hat if I want to go to a bar.”

East­bound and Down, McBride’s hit sit­com about a bush league base­ball player with anger is­sues, has just been re­newed for a third sea­son at HBO. The show is a phe­nom­e­non; McBride’s char­ac­ter, Kenny Pow­ers, even has his own deal with K-Swiss shoes.

“I get my best ideas when I go home and sit in a bar with my friends. They’re funny be­cause they have noth­ing to do with movies. I’m not go­ing to hate on LA. The weather is great, there’s great mu­sic there, there are amaz­ing restau­rants. But when you’re try­ing to write or be cre­ative, it’s tough liv­ing in the same place where the cheques are signed. It’s hard to take ideas from real life when real life is al­ways sitting around try­ing to work out what ideas are hot and funny right now.”

Your High­ness, a de­light­fully puerile quasime­dieval stoner com­edy, pre­dates McBride’s cur­rent wave of suc­cess.

“David [Gor­don Green] and I used to play this stupid games be­tween takes on the set of All the Real Girls,” re­calls the ac­tor. “He’d come up with a ti­tle and I’d come up with a stupid plot. So that’s Your High­ness. It’s

irish­times.com/cul­ture

about this loser prince who can’t com­pete with his heroic brother.”

As ever, the pro­ject’s de­motic use of lan­guage falls some­where be­tween high art and piss­ing con­test. Bongs are passed. In­ap­pro­pri­ate body parts are rubbed. A Mino­taur is slain.

“That was the first idea David had: ‘I want you to kill a Mino­taur, then chop off its dick and wear it for the rest of the movie.’ In the script that was 20 pages of me wear­ing a dick. But on the shoot that trans­lated into me wear­ing that nasty thing for a month. You lean over your plate and bang. Damn thing’s in your soup again.”

Hang on a sec­ond. Can this re­ally be David Gor­don Green, the same guy who di­rected the sub­lime, un­bear­ably poignant Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton? How on Earth has he drifted in to stoner come­dies?

“You haven’t seen any­thing from that guy yet. He’s do­ing a re­make of Sus­piria with Natalie. He’s de­vel­op­ing west­erns. He’s some­body like Alt­man. He’s head­ing out all over the fuck­ing map.”

Un­like many of their erst­while Frat Pack and Team Apa­tow col­lab­o­ra­tors, McBride and com­pany are happy to give their fe­male lead some­thing to do.

“Natalie is awe­some. She did some­thing that’s re­ally tricky to do. She’s stand­ing around with all these jerks do­ing re­ally dirty things, and she’s play­ing this whole other comic movie. She stays the course.”

McBride lived in North­ern Ire­land for the six-month shoot. His fa­ther’s fam­ily is from Ty­rone, and he says he felt right at home.

“I be­came a lo­cal, to­tally,” says the 34-yearold. “It was awe­some. I’ve been on so many lo­ca­tions, and Belfast is by far the best stop in the world. The peo­ple are fuck­ing great. The crew are awe­some. The coun­try­side is beau­ti­ful. We were able to do all this Lord of the Rings shit with­out need­ing mil­lions for CGI. That stuff is there. And it feels like a place where peo­ple want to party.”

He’s lik­ing his new-found fame, he says. He doesn’t even mind it when fans come up to quote cher­ished McBride ob­scen­i­ties.

“I get the ‘thug life’ thing from Pineap­ple Ex­press a lot. I get ‘big-ass tit­ties’ from Tropic Thun­der and I get ‘you’re fuck­ing out’ from East­bound and Down all the time. It’s funny, ex­cept when you’re out with your par­ents at a fancy restau­rant. It’s crazy. They walk out of those movies so proud of me. But they’d never have al­lowed me to watch shit like that. I still don’t cuss in front of them.” Yeah, we do, but we don’t care. Ob­vi­ously we’ve come from a neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­ment, so they just think “Ohhh, these peo­ple are thugs”. we might come from that place, but we’re good-hearted peo­ple, y’know? And we put on a great show for the pub­lic. We’ve got so many ded­i­cated N-Dubz fans that just swipe the press out, man. Nah. She wears the trousers when it comes to be­hav­ing and be­ing good as a band – but when it comes to be­ing in the stu­dio, and tak­ing care of the al­bums and writ­ing the al­bums, me and Fazer wear the trousers. But ob­vi­ously she wears the trousers with her voice, ’cos she con­trols her own voice and it’s a beau­ti­ful voice. At the end of it, we turn a demo into a plat­inum record, and that’s what N-Dubz are about. I’m look­ing in the mir­ror right now, and right now my hair looks very nice, I must say. It’s nice and short at the sides, a nice lit­tle bit on top . . . I’m wear­ing some sun­glasses, but no hat. Hats are only for un­der-18s projects. When I go to some­where that’s for over-18s, I’ll be more ma­ture – maybe I’ll wear a cap, or glasses, or I’ll take my hair out, put a hood on, have some jew­ellery on. It’s never just hats. I’m not a plonker, d’you know what I’m try­ing to say? If that’s what they see me as over there in Ire­land. The un­der-18s are the ones who scream, you have to un­der­stand. The rest of them, 28, 29, they’re women and they’re start­ing to get more ma­ture. But the ages of 18-22, 23, 24 – they’re the ones who scream and cry for the band, man. They’d love us be­cause we’re such a home-grown act. We didn’t have to stand in a queue and wait to go in to an au­di­tion. We suf­fered for 10 years straight, and here we are – 1.5 mil­lion al­bums, four times plat­inum, four Mo­bos. Un­for­tu­nately we ain’t had a Brit, but it’s com­ing. It’s good to know that we’re the only band in our genre that have reached arena level. We’ve opened doors for a lot of peo­ple. I’m a carp an­gler. Like, fish­ing, man. And I know a lot of Ir­ish peo­ple fish, too, salmon and stuff. The last time we were over, I was stand­ing out­side our tour bus in Dublin next to that river you got run­ning through, and I asked this old man [puts on com­edy Ir­ish voice], “Ex­cuse me, you don’t know where I could go fish­ing, do you?”, and I said it in an Ir­ish ac­cent, try­ing to fit in, yeah? He goes to me, “You ain’t that boyo, are you?’ Dappy, is it? Give me a pic­ture for me daugh­ter, and I’ll tell you where you can go fish­ing.” So I took a pic­ture with him, and he said “Go down there to that bit of the river, and you’ll catch a lot of good salmon there.” So I ac­tu­ally went to a fish­ing tackle shop in Dublin, but it was closed! And un­for­tu­nately we only had three or four hours left un­til we were per­form­ing, so I never got to fish in the end. Ev­ery­thing is true, mate! Ev­ery­thing is ab­so­lutely true. [Re­peats story word for word in nor­mal ac­cent.] Why would I lie about go­ing fish­ing in the River

Li-fif-fif­fey, what­ever you call it?

Dappy: look­ing snappy, to be sure, to be sure

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