Three comedic geniuses came to 100 State on West Washington Avenue to discuss their Netflix exclusive comedy, “Gave Over, Man!” with The Badger Herald.
Joel (Blake Anderson), Alexxx (Yes, with three x’s, Adam Devine) and the University of Wisconsin’s very own Anders Holm — who plays the salvia-fiending and vape-crazed Darren — make up the hotel cleaning crew that finds themselves in the middle of a terror plot.
After pitching to have fictional Dan Bilzerian — Bey Awade (Utkarsj Ambudkar) fund their video game concept at a Los Angeles function full of celebrities, the guys find themselves in a hostage situation. They then have to find a way to not only make it out alive from the hotel, but free their benefactor from terrorists to preserve their dream video game.
“We wanted the audience to feel that these guys are in over their heads. If the audience feels like the audience is in over their heads as well, hopefully that will make the stakes high,” Holm said.
It’s “Workaholics” meets “Die Hard” — a concept the trio joked they were writing down as another idea for a film they didn’t want to forget. Good thing we were recording.
The guys were all raised on action movies, watching actors like Bruce Lee and Wesley Snipes to name a couple. Action comedies are big in the film industry, but of late, the “Workaholics” creators haven’t found such comedies satisfying.
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“They always tip toe around the action, and the comedy sometimes,” Devine said.
Devine went on to say the genre often gets thrown right down the middle as PG-13 in order to appeal to a mass audience.
They wanted to make the hard R-rated version of an action comedy, giving little concern to the lack of mainstream demographics in their audience.
“We’re going niche, real niche,” Devine emphasized.
The film has a surprising amount of gore, not just for an action comedy. In reality, when people get shot or takes substantial blunt force trauma, there’s going to be significant blood loss. It’s clear the boys did some research, but it’s not all about racking up the kills.
A scene takes place near the climax of the film where Devine’s character Alexxx has all but finished off a goon when he realizes things are getting a little too real, even for his eager persona. Anderson’s character Joel has to bail him out in cliché fashion to progress the plot.
“It’s not just gore for willy nilly’s sake. There’s something behind it. A little something,” Holm said.
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There’s something behind all of the celebrity cameos in the film, many of whom play hostages at the party in the hotel. One in particular, who was teased in the trailer, gains countless laughs.
Shaggy, lead singer of the 2000 hit “It Wasn’t Me” is forced to recite lyrics from his seductive anthem at gun point, in order to appease the terrorist holding him hostage.
“Shaggy was our top pick because that song specifically is upbeat, but if you listen to it, the lyrics are a little wild and a little out there. So, if you strip all the music and the good times from it and you make a man sing it with a gun to his head, it’s funny to us,” Holm said.
The characters are similar to those the cast played during their seven seasons of “Workaholics.” Of course, some details are changed for the big screen. Anderson went through a bit of a physical makeover when he took on his role.
The curly locks were not free flowing as per usual. Anderson pulled his hair back to become Joel. The hair tie was surprisingly huge for Anderson as an actor, genuinely helping him get into character. Though without his mustache, Holm noted Anderson could finally hear them without his hair covering his ears.
“It was weird, I was much better at improvising,” Anderson joked.
The three have worked together for a long time, dating back to when Anderson met Devine at Orange Coast College before linking with Holm in a comedy troupe to begin making content on the internet.
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Anderson considers Devine and Holm his best friends as they’ve risen through the ranks of the entertainment industry.
“It’s cool to have people around me that know exactly what I’m going through and sharing it with them,” Anderson said.
Coming from a television background, the three realized jumping to the big screen was different, even with Holm and Devine having their own cinematic experiences beforehand.
They have the support of some additional comedic geniuses behind the scene as well. Seth Rogen reunited with Holm after the work they did on the controversial film “The Interview” in conjunction with the fourth creator and director of “Workaholics,” Kyle Newacheck.
Though Rogen’s name comes with well-deserved prestige, Holm wanted to make clear Newacheck was in control.
“This was Kyle’s movie. I was pretty hands off,” Holm said.
The cast greeted fans at an exclusive screening at the AMC Theatre in the Hilldale Mall on Friday, March 16. Anderson marched through with a megaphone as Holm and Devine led the way with microphones of their own, clearly plastered after having come straight from the Kollege Klub to greet those in attendance.
The film lived up to its hilariously gory expectations, highlighted further on the big screen as opposed to the laptops most stream Netflix content from today.
You don’t have to level up to unlock the characters of “Game Over, Man!,” you just have to wait until March 23.