Danny McBride, who by his own admission simply "fell into" acting, has become something of an accidental star, probably best known for his portrayal of baseball legend-in-his-own-mind Kenny Powers on the hit series "Eastbound & Down," which he also co-created.
"30 Minutes or Less" moves McBride from the batting cage to the junkyard, where his character Dwayne and BFF Travis (Nick Swardson) strap a bomb to an unlucky pizza delivery boy (Jesse Eisenberg) and force him to rob a bank. Which doesn't seem like a very nice thing to do.
But when we sat down with McBride at the Ritz-Carlton in New York, he explained why murder isn't always so wrong, and hinted at the prospects for an "Eastbound & Down" movie.
Your character sets out to murder his father, but we still kind of like him. Why?
I honestly think it's just me. I'm really likable. [laughs]
No, when I got the script that was one of the things that I thought was really interesting. Usually in a movie like this you would just be following the good guys, Jesse and Aziz [Ansari], and the bad guys would just kind of show up magically whenever they need to in order to wreak havoc.
But here, the friendship between Dwayne and Travis has levels that audiences can identify with, and because Dwayne's dad is such an a**hole to him, you can understand why he might decide to do what he does -- even if you think that murder is wrong, you know, in general. I think what Dwayne really wants is acceptance from his dad, and that is kind of weirdly what people like about him. Bad guys have their good points too, you know.
Was there anything that you were looking forward to seeing in the movie that just didn't make the cut?
You know, not really! With "Eastbound & Down" I'm involved with every frame of that show, from writing it, to being on the set, to coming up with the final product. It was nice to just show up to set, throw stuff in and then let someone else worry about doing the hard part.
What's going on with "Eastbound & Down?"
Well, you know, it's awesome. [laughs] We're shooting the third season right now, and when we started out we imagined the show as something that was super-small and that would be a story that unfolded in three acts over three seasons.
So, is this the final season? Is this the end of the road for Kenny Powers?
We're definitely going to finish the story that we had planned on telling from the beginning, but we do really have a good time with this character, so who knows what life he'll live beyond the show, or if we'll come back one day and continue it. I think for now, creatively, we feel like we should finish what we aimed to do and then see what happens after that.
Is there any possibility for "Eastbound & Down: The Movie"?
It's definitely something that Jody [Hill] and I have talked about that we think would be fun to do, but I think we're just focused on finishing out this last season right now and seeing what happens after that.
You never can know for sure how a movie is going to do, but were you surprised by the underperformance of "Your Highness"? were you surprised that it...
Farted and fell on its face? [laughs] No, seriously, it farted. It's okay.
It was one of those things where I think we knew the whole time we were making it that it was really nuts and wasn't necessarily going to be for mass appeal. For some reason, when you put in actors like James Franco and Natalie Portman it makes the movie feel like it should appeal to a larger audience, but at the end of the day we really did make a pretty f**ked up movie. I think the moment we put a minotaur cock in it, we realized this probably wasn't going to be a critics' darling. Minotaur cock can definitely turn an audience off.
You seem to gravitate toward characters who are, umm...
Do you see yourself playing a different type of character in the future?
My whole trajectory with acting has been kind of unexpected. I didn't have any acting goals, like, for example, to be an actor. I still don't have a headshot or anything like that. I just sort of fell into it because we needed an actor and there was no one else to do it, and then once people see you playing a certain type of role, you just start getting more roles like it. It's not rocket science.
I would love to sink my teeth into different types of material, but at the same time, a lot of the stuff I'm doing is stuff that I'm writing, so it really reflects my sense of humor and I'd like to sort of keep that intact. I would really love to go and direct something. I've been looking for what that project's going to be, and I am hoping to get into that next year.
So what you really want to do is direct?
Yeah, exactly, like the cliché, thanks.
What did you buy with your first paycheck?
I'm always managing my money really carefully because I always assume that at any moment they'll find out I don't know what the hell I'm doing. So I've never been really extravagant with my spending. When I got first Hollywood paycheck, I quit my job and bought my freedom. Party on.
What do you think of the term "bromance"?
I think it's pretty lame. Like, you wouldn't call Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer's relationship a bromance. I think it's funny that you can't have two dudes be friends without some connotation that there's like homosexual undertones or trying to poke fun at it.
But whatever, people can call things whatever they want. Bromance just kind of seems like the word of the day. You don't get any points for using that one. Unless you want points for looking like a tool.
Do people call you Kenny Powers?
Oh all the time, yeah.
Do you respond?
It depends on how many beers I've had.