Danny McBride writes movies and TV shows about dudes who partake in the reefer and otherwise excessive vices like drink and fornication. Your Highness is his take on a medieval character who smokes up and swears like Kenny Powers. McBride wants to make it very clear though that he’s not high while he’s writing the script.
“You know, I don’t tend to partake in much wizard weed when I work on scripts,” McBride said. “It’s such a hard process and if you want to do it good, it seems like if you do partake in a lot of that, people don’t tend to really want to watch the things that you come up with when you’ve done that.”
McBride also stars as Prince Thadeous, the slacker loser brother second in line for the throne. Behind the scenes, his vision for Your Highness was very highbrow. “We pitched it as ‘This is Krull meets Barry Lyndon’ and the executives were like, ‘Never pitch this movie like that ever again.’ But to us, that is what it was. We wanted to take it, approach it as a serious drama but at the same time have that fun that we had with a movie like Krull. Can you make a legitimate fantasy/adventure movie like this and still find a way to find comedy in it without making it a spoof?”
David Gordon Green directed the film and gave the actors weird cues. James Franco plays Prince Fabius, the heroic brother. “David won’t have you just improvise different lines,” Franco said. “He’ll have you say it in very weird ways, like say it like a robot or say it like you’re taking a big dump.”
“That was a direction he gave to Charles Dance at one point,” McBride added. “It was very funny to see his reaction. He was just kinda like, ‘What have I signed up for?’”
In real life, the guys are total gentlemen. McBride even felt bad working blue around Natalie Portman. “The way David Gordon Green directs, he’s literally right out of frame of the camera and he stands there and he makes you say the most ridiculous things and you can’t really hesitate,” McBride said. “In the scene, he’s just like, ‘Call her a bully and a whore.’ So I started just doing it without thinking about it and as soon as I looked at Natalie and word ‘whore’ came out, it just felt horrible and I couldn’t get through it. I had to just keep doing it over and over. That weirdly was the hardest thing for me to get through.”
Your Highness opens April 8.