While most pooped moms and dads may think of the workplace as a treasured time to get away from parenting and chill out, Shawn Levy’s Date Night considers the. Tina Fey and Steve Carell met to talk about playing that unfortunate pair on the run to get back home, and how their plight in the movie may or may not mirror their respective predicaments in real life. The duo also aired alternating gripes and good-time flashbacks about doing physical comedy sans props, dashing all around town for the shoot in high heels and dodging rodents, sex in marriage as the antidote to dullsville, accommodating house daddies, and something referred to as impromptu stripper pole licking.
Q: Tina, once they take your bag away, you don’t have any props to work with. How hard was that?
TINA FEY: Yeah, once I lose my purse and coat, it was just me and my arms, and the night! Just my bare arms. Shawn Levy was always saying, “What are the arms and hands doing in every scene?” And I was trying to hide my arms behind, like, a door jam. The only thing they didn’t take was my heels. They didn’t take my high heels!
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Q: As an actress who has to be on her feet all day, you didn’t really wear those high heels all the time, did you?
TF: I mean, I took them off when we were in the car sometimes. You know, I would cheat a little bit! And I think we had several sets of them. We had this sort of like grandma set and a higher set, and then the higher set. And when I ran, it was only one-and-a-half inches high, and with an athletic strap that went across the top of the foot. That was my steel reinforcement in the heel. That, and really, Steve built all those shoes for me. He is also a cobbler!
STEVE CARELL: I am!
Q: Steve and Tina, both of you are married, but do you actually do date nights and have you ever had any weird experiences on those nights?
TF: We definitely try! But we don’t have it as formally. I mean, maybe once a month my husband and I get out, and it is a massive effort to get a babysitter. And if we get more than 10 blocks from our house, it’s a miracle and I am exhausted! So I definitely related to the idea of like, “OK, oh good, it’s our date night.” That made sense to me. But Steve’s had tons of weird stuff happen.
SC: Ha! Lots. Like we’re always happy when we get invited to an awards show. Because that is it. That’s our excuse to get dressed up and go out somewhere. And even on those nights, we’re generally back by about 10. But as most people with kids know, you pay for it. You know, if you really go out late and whoop it up, the kids are up at 5:30 a.m. the next day, and so are you. So, that kind of determines how crazy our date nights get.
Generally, our best date nights are very simple. And we spend a good deal of them talking about our children anyway. So there is no escape!
TF: Yeah, there is none.
Q: So was this movie something you planned to get into together, or did you just accidentally run into each other?
SC: Well, we spoke on the phone and kind of heard each other out, in terms of what we each of us was thinking. And Tina said the funniest thing. She said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to just be hanging off a car bobbing through New York City?” And I was like, “Yeah, I’m in!” So, that was kind of how it came together.
TF: And for me, I really wanted to do something with Steve. And the idea that it was a married couple who are grown people appealed to me. Because I felt like, “Yeah. That’s what we are in real life.” And it gets to a point where you’re getting up there, so the roles should too.
Q: What about that mini-homage to The 40-Year-Old Virgin at the beginning of Date Night?
SC: Oh, until you just said it, I didn’t realize it was an homage to 40-Year-Old Virgin! But I hope to rip something off of my body in every movie!
Q: Steve, did you give Tina any advice to be prepare her to be a big movie star?
SC: I said to her, “First, you have to disregard all other people.” Because she has no attitude, and there is no pretense about her. So I schooled her in pretense! But I don’t think that we think of ourselves in that realm at all. No, Tina doesn’t need any advice from me.
TF: When I first met Steve, he threw a phone at me. He threw a large black iPhone at me and I thought, “Alright, we are in the movie business!” No, I mean I still feel like this is enjoyable. And like a very long sustaining prank that I am playing on the American people!
Q: Tina, you had practiced on a stripper pole for the movie. And the unusual way you performed on that stripper pole, whose idea was that?