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Getting Smart With Peter Segal

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008


get-smart-image.jpg
Steve Carell stars as Maxwell Smart and Anne
Hathaway stars as Agent 99

IGN’s exclusive edit bay chat with the director of the upcoming action-comedy.

As 2008′s summer movie schedule continues to fill in and firm up, more and more blockbusters are finding their way into audiences’ hearts and minds. Naturally, Iron Man, Indy IV and the Hulk sequel are already programmed to be major-league breadwinners by virtue of each character’s expansive fanboy fan base; but evidenced by an exclusive screening of footage for IGN by director Peter Segal, Get Smart seems almost assured to take its place alongside those films mentioned above as one of the biggest successes of the summer.

Segal showed several scenes from the film, including a terrific mid-air battle between Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell), Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) and a henchman for KAOS (Dalip Singh); a background scene featuring Agent 23 (The Rock), The Chief (Alan Arkin) and a couple of junior agents; and a bravura dance-off between 99 and Smart as the infiltrate the lair of a terror suspect. Interestingly, Segal says that action fare inspired him as much or more than the original 1960s TV series.

“I’d come from the last Naked Gun, that was my first film, and Steve had done a pilot with David Zucker which was similar to Police Squad!, so we had both done that kind of thing and paid homage to Get Smart,” he explains. “[But] it’s hard to go back and do that again, so we wanted to do something different, and Steve had the idea that if we can make something like the Bourne Supremacy as a comedy and be as true and faithful to the TV show, but give it real villains, a real plot, real stakes, I think the comedy can play even better.”

IGN spent more than an hour discussing the scenes with Segal, who revealed a few of the tricks in his filmmaking arsenal, and discussed how he honed Get Smart into a fun, fast-paced adventure.

IGN: I was at Comic-Con last summer and really enjoyed the footage you showed. How soon do you expect to release an official trailer for the film?

Peter Segal: I had never taken a movie to Comic-Con before, so I thought, “what do you bring?” We didn’t have polished scenes, so I thought I guess it’s like a trailer and so we just kind of winged it. That thing was three minutes long and we’re actually working on our domestic trailer now, and it’s going to be a lot like that Comic-Con reel. They’ve got the international trailer now and that’s made very specifically by the international department for the markets that have never heard about Get Smart before, so they wanted to include the shoe phone and things like that to start to educate people to what some of the bits were like. Some of those bits, we’re not putting in the domestic trailer. But I was really glad that the Comic-Con reel did not wind up on Youtube because that was a year ago and by the time the movie comes out [a year has passed].

IGN: Have you found that jokes in previous trailers, even for some of your other films, have died before the movie came out? Other filmmakers have indicated that punch lines they included in their trailers were killed by overexposure before the film is released.

Segal: There are a bunch of different ways you can look at that. One is certain jokes , they stop laughing at it because they’ve heard it in the trailer. Certain jokes, you can laugh at time and time again, and some jokes don’t work in the movie but only work in a trailer form. The nice thing about the trailer that we’re working on right now is that even when we did the Comic-Con reel, we didn’t have the benefit of knowing what jokes worked in the movie, but now there’s a couple of things [we know] – like we should not use that, let’s take that out, so we’ve been able to make what I think is a much better trailer than what we had in San Diego.

Click here to read the entire interview

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