'Dinner for Schmucks' Set Visit Preview

The last time we saw Paul Rudd and Steve Carell team up was five years ago in 40-year-Old Virgin. Now the boys are back, collaborating with the guy who brought us Borat and Meet the Parents for a retelling of the French farce The Dinner Game. Last December, Fandango was invited to the Dinner set, and while we can't divulge all the details until closer to the movie’s July 23rd release date, we do have a couple of nuggets to share (along with a peek at the new Dinner for Schmucks trailer here).

The story starts off with rising exec Tim Conrad (Rudd) being invited to a monthly "Dinner for Winners" hosted by his ruthless boss. Attendees vying for a career boost are required to bring along the biggest buffoon they can find. Against his better judgment, Tim decides to attend after he meets Barry (Carell), an amateur taxidermist who builds dioramas using stuffed mice…it's really not as repulsive as it sounds once you see the mice dressed up like Stuart Little…

Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in "Dinner for Schmucks."

Here's a quick snippet from our interview with Rudd and Carell, who tell us how their characters met:
Q. What was it about Barry that gave away that he's a schmuck?
Rudd: In our opening scene, I’m in a little bit of a bind. I’m not so sure I even want to go to this dinner, but I hit [Barry] with my car [after] he tries to save a mouse in the street that’s dead already. He’s an artist, but with dead mice, so as he starts talking about that and showing me some of his art work in the middle of the road, I think maybe he qualifies.
Carell: [Tim] expresses an interest in my mice, which probably doesn't happen all the time. I think that's pretty natural, if you meet someone and they invite you somewhere or express interest in you, you feel like there's an immediate connection and I just infuse myself into his life whether he wants me to or not.
Q. So how does he invite you to dinner?
Carell: I think the line is, "Hey, I'm having some dinner with friends tonight." I say, "Wow, congratulations! Good for you!" because it just sounds like such a great thing, before I've even been invited. I think my character's very trusting, and he invites me to a party. It's an enormous event for him…
More of our conversation to come, but besides the two stars, we were able to watch director Jay Roach in action, and chat with other cast members, including:
-Bruce Greenwood and Ron Livingston, who play company executives
-Rick Overton, who plays Chuck, the Beard Champion (he kinda looks like a real-life Davey Jones)
-Chris O'Dowd, who plays Marco, the Blind Swordsman
-Jeff Dunham, who plays Lewis, a ventriloquist with an anatomically-correct dummy who resembles Joan Rivers. He creepily calls it his "wife."
-Octavia Spencer, as Nora, a pet psychic
-And Zulu, a vulture—yes, there was a vulture on set, which enhances the film's plot in a way that I won't spoil.
Although Zach Galifianakis wasn't on set at the time of our visit, he still plays a hilarious part as Carell's co-worker, which you can check out in the trailer. We'll have details on the scenes, and the rest of our interviews up soon. Stay tuned!
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