Tom Lennon's acting credits include everything from "Reno 911!" (he of the short-shorts) to "17 Again" to "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" (that role is technically uncredited, but he also co-wrote the script).
But something tells us this talented actor-writer is just getting started.
"Bad Teacher" brings him back to school, or, more accurately, the school testing board, as Carl, the socially awkward man with the answer key to the state's annual standardized exam -- which is what brings the titular educator Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz) to knock on his door, or, more accurately, to lounge seductively across his office desk.
The scene stealer tells us why he'll do things on camera that he would never, ever do in real life.
What made you want to do "Bad Teacher?"
When I first read it, I loved that this script was 100 percent unapologetic. Cameron's character is terrible, really and truly, terrible! She just goes for it. She makes no apologies.
And then I thought, "Oh this is really fun! You get seduced by Cameron Diaz in the movie," which is what it reads like on paper. What it actually means is she drugs me, knocks me out, hits me over the head and throws me into a Xerox machine. I had a huge bruise on my body. I know you're laughing, but it was really painful.
Then I had to film a whole bunch of still photos at the end, but at that point, Cameron's long gone, so all of my nudity is by myself—which, you know, is less hot. It's me and like, some teamsters holding lights over me while literally my penis is out on top of the Xerox machine, for real. Which it was.
How was it working with Cameron, when she was still there?
You know it's interesting because she is a very disarming person—especially when you're around her, because she's very tall and very beautiful, and she's really stunning and cool.
You sound a little starstruck.
Oh, totally. I don't get starstruck around people, but there is something about her. It's like she kind of glows from the inside. I don't know what it is. I think it might be sexiness. Or maybe those weird arms that she has because they're so crazy strong.
The only more striking thing about her than those arms is how incredibly sweet she is. She's way nicer than she needs to be. Because, let's be honest, if you look like that and you're that kind of movie star, you don't have to be the nicest person in the world. I mean, why bother? But she's really, really super lovely. She's very down-to-earth, plus she has a really raunchy sense of humor. Which, you know, I like.
And how was Justin?
I'll be honest. I have no scenes with him, so I met him for the first time last week at the press junket and he said he was a big fan of mine. Which I thought was so fun!
Were you starstruck with him?
I'll be honest. He's a pretty sexy dude. Even for dudes, he's a pretty sexy dude. Even for straight dudes, you'd think about it for a second, like, "If I gotta go that way, I'd go Timberlake."
Justin plays kind of a wishy-washy guy, but Cameron's character is really bold and raunchy. Do you think the confident female lead trend will continue?
Well, for starters, I think it's just great that this territory is becoming fair game for women. I think there's a wonderful crudeness about it and I totally embrace that.
I'm actually working on another female-driven comedy with a really strong lead too. I play Anna Faris' ex-boyfriend and gynecologist in "What's Your Number."
The very first scene I shot with her is a flashback where I do oral sex on her. So, literally, I get to set at like 6 a.m. in Boston and my first scene is to put my head under Anna's skirt and pretend to eat her out while a crane shot swoops in over us. So, you know, we did it. I just put my head down and got to work.
When you get to set and they tell you your first scene is going to be, umm, pleasuring Anna, or being stripped by Cameron, do you just get on with it? Is this a skill you learn or you're born with?
You know, it's funny you ask that, because there are things I will do if you're filming me that I would never in a million years do in my normal life, like ever. There's just stuff you wouldn't do, and I don't mean just creepy sexual stuff—though that's a big part of it—because in real life, there is a line. I do have one. I swear.
So, you would never put your, umm, junk on a copy machine?
I would never do that! For the record, I would never do that. But, the second you're filming it—f**k let's do it. Let's get it from both sides!