‘Horrible Bosses 2’ trio discusses sequels, working with stars



Vinnie Lione-Napoli

Who would have expected 2011’s innocuous—but oh so crass—dark comedy “Horrible Bosses” to have done so well in the box office, notably overseas? With the hilarious ensemble cast and sharp script likely offsetting the darker subject matter, the film jettisoned to a respectable $92.1 million gross overseas—a feat that just about sealed the deal for a future sequel.

The premise of the original was simple: three friends—played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, all of whom return for the recently-released sequel—get together and decide to hatch a plan to kill their insufferable bosses. What ensues as a result of this setup is a rollercoaster ride of unexpected twists, hilarious set pieces, quotable dialogue and surprisingly satisfying performances.

While Jennifer Aniston’s “horrible boss” character returns as a lead in the second film, Colin Farrell does not. Kevin Spacey —a highlight and primary antagonist of the first film—is reduced to a cameo.

The original villains are instead replaced by Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine, playing a greedy investor of the trio’s business venture and his son, respectively. Waltz, known for his Oscar-winning roles in recent Quentin Tarantino films, turns on the trio, forcing the bumbling friends to kidnap Pine’s character and hold him for ransom.

While a fresh plot was thankfully conceived for this sequel (unlike the critically panned “The Hangover Part II”), the necessity to revisit these characters is still an important question to address. Do audiences really need another “Horrible Bosses” movie?

In a recent college conference call with the sequel’s leading trio of actors, this justification for a second outing was a point of question.

“You get asked to do sequels…when it makes enough money to warrant it,” Bateman explained. “And it did really well overseas, which is not terribly common for a comedy.  So Warner Brothers wanted to do another one, and we were certainly open to it because we had such a good time doing the first one.”

Financial success does often cultivate the fields for a franchise, but the actors must still be willing to get onboard the project, provided they aren’t forced to through contracts.

“What we didn’t want to do is make a film that was not at least as good as the first film, and we worked really, really hard to attempt to do that,” Bateman insisted.

“Jason and Jason and myself had a lot of lengthy conversations about what the second story could be and we weren’t going to do a movie if we couldn’t find a story that, for us, made sense,” Day added. “So, the business side of course, that’s part of it. And then creatively I think we got it to a place where it made sense for us to want to do it.”

One major change during the interim was the replacement of director Seth Gordon by Sean Anders, who recently worked with Sudeikis in 2013’s “We’re the Millers.” Gordon was able to apply interesting stylistic choices to “Horrible Bosses 2,” never letting the sequel become stale or boring.

“There’s a whole chunk in the middle where it almost looks like a Steven Soderbergh film,” Sudeikis said. “I mean even like the stuff of us starting the business—all those visual elements to it that feel like a [David] Fincher movie. It’s like something right out of ‘Fight Club.’

“Yes, he walks a really good line of not completely reinventing it, so that you don’t know what movie you’re watching,” Day mentioned. “And yet when it makes sense with the film to get a little mores stylized, he put a little more style into the second one and it fits the story. So I think he did a really good job that way.”

What truly made the filming process special for the three leads, however, was the ability to simply spend more time together.

“The first movie we spent the first 30 minutes each in our own little movie with our own horrible boss, and this one it’s just right off the bat we’re all three sitting next to each other on a couch,” Sudeikis explained.

The three also expressed how much they enjoyed working with Pine as their fourth “musketeer.” Between him, Waltz, Spacey, Foxx (who reprises his role from the original film) and Jonathan Banks, known most recently for his turn in AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” the trio had a lot of talent alongside them for the ride.

“This is a big, kind of silly commercial studio comedy, and when you can class it up with some Oscar winners it becomes a really nice balanced cocktail, I think,” Bateman said, referring to Waltz, Spacey and Foxx.

“Especially for a sequel where sometimes they’d lack the “prestige” of the first movie and, you know, to get actors of that caliber, and actresses joining the movie is great,” Day added.

Despite the star-studded cast, the three knew how to have fun amongst themselves as well. The chemistry among the actors no doubt added to the comedy, again helping the film stray away from becoming another tired sequel.

While the three, due to their acting careers, have never truly had their own “horrible bosses,” they insist that they identify more with their characters than the antagonistic employers.

“I think we’re pretty fair guys.  Pretty nice guys,” Day claimed.  “You know we’ve have to employ some people here and there but no one’s filed any complaints yet that I know about.”

“I bossed my two year old into the car pretty quickly this morning,” Sudeikis admitted. “I think she would probably tell you that I’m a real a-hole but we were late for school.”

“You got to get there,” Day agreed.

“Horrible Bosses 2” is currently in theaters nationwide, hopefully poised for enough success for a third outing provided the cast puts together another story they know and love.