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In the middle of promoting his latest film, “A Thousand Words,” out March 9, Clark Duke, of “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “Kick-Ass” fame, took some time to sit down for a conference call with CUI reporter Avalon Jacka and 14 students from across the country to discuss his latest endeavors.
How was it working with Eddie Murphy for this film?
Clark Duke: It was pretty surreal. It’s a guy that you grow up watching your whole life and it’s was one of those things I never quite got used to, to be honest. You never quite forget it. Holy smokes, this is Eddie Murphy, standing right here! But it was incredible. The only thing that I keep comparing it to is for “Hot Tub Time Machine,” getting to work with Chevy Chase, he’s my hero.
How was it to have Eddie Murphy as a sparring partner in the movie with his lines being so limited? Did you have more lines or did you have to rely on a lot of hand motions and stuff to get across the facts?
CD: Yes, like I said, the reality is kind of scary at first. I mean, luckily Eddie is the guy that is just as funny not being able to talk as being able to talk, almost. So in a lot of the scenes, the whole gimmick is that he can’t talk, so I’m going to have to talk for him which causes confusion. But like I said, Eddie is so funny he doesn’t even need to talk, so it was fun. He still ends up carrying a lot of weight.
How about working with Brian Robbins?
CD: Brian is a cool guy. He’s a family man. It was one of the more relaxed sets I’ve ever been on, which is a pretty big compliment, because so many times stuff is so hectic and it’s just, “hurry up and wait” all the time. I guess it was one of the calmest, easy-going sets I’ve ever been on with a director.
A lot of the roles you play can kind of relate to college kids, particularly with one of your more recent roles, “Sex Drive” This movie was produced at the time “Sex Drive” was released. Can you talk about playing the role as a college kid, especially around 2008?
CD: It’s interesting because this one was sort of the first post-collegiate role I got to play because this is a very conscious guy, new on the workforce in “A Thousand Words.” So, it was fun. You kind of start playing high school and college for a while. There is kind of this weird movie reality, of you being a high school or college dude. So, I feel like now, at 26, I’m kind of finally getting out of that a little bit, which is nice.
How would you describe your character, Aaron, from “A Thousand Words”?
CD: When the movie starts you see he’s terrified of his boss, Eddie Murphy’s character (Jack), and by the end of the movie, he sort of ends up becoming Jack, for better or worse. So it was fun to play to somebody that’s just terrified all the time, which wasn’t that hard to play because that’s sort of how I felt with Eddie. It’s not that Eddie was scary, but just the pressure of being opposite the funniest dude that ever lived, it was easy to play.
Does your character take away any life lessons or does he learn to appreciate the power of words by the end of the film?
CD: Without giving too much away, he sort of learns the wrong lessons at the end. He sort of takes on all the bad qualities that Eddie had at the start of the film, which is much more fun to play.
The premise of a bad guy turned good is a theme in some other motion pictures, like “Shallow Hal” and “Yes Man.” What makes this movie different than these other movies?
CD: I think this one has a little more heart. The movie is about Eddie figuring out what’s important to him and his family. First, I think all three of those examples, they kind of live or die on just the charisma of the lead actor. And you’re just hitting a very specific thing for all three of those guys. Plus I’m in this one, so that’s different. Yes, I mean, that raises the bar somewhat. Interesting fun fact, I was in Canada and bought a DVD of “Yes Man”, or as it’s known there, “Monsieur Oui.”
What was your favorite scene in the film?
CD: The one where I have to do, not my impression of Eddie, but we’re at this business dinner and Eddie can’t talk. So I’m having to say what I think he would say and it’s sort of like me doing a bad Eddie Murphy impression, which is really a nightmare to shoot because I was just like I can’t, like I was having a panic attack. Literally sitting next to Eddie Murphy, like trying to do a bad – not bad intentionally, but I’m sure it’s bad – kind of impression of his mannerism, so that was pretty nerve racking to shoot. I mean, I don’t know if it’s my favorite but definitely the most memorable for me as far as making a movie. I had to drink about four beers at lunch to get through it.
Do you have any projects planned for the future?
CD: I’m actually going to start a movie Thursday [March 8]. And then, I think, I have got something lined up for later in the summer but I can’t talk about it yet, but it does look like it’s going to shoot. So yes, short answer is yes. I just wrote a feature script that I’m re-writing at the moment.
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Avalon Jacka at Avalon.firstname.lastname@example.org.