Bad Teacher may be the sexy comedy where Cameron Diaz lets it all hang out, but for me it’s the next film by the director of Walk Hard. That spoof of musical biographies and the American hero’s journey has been my ultimate movie of the last 10 years. I got to interview him for the one where Diaz washes a car in short shorts.
The film is rated R for Diaz’s language and some raunchy scenes involving dry humping and drug consumption. Kasdan tells Screen Junkies how he kept his Teacher bad, and a little bit about the upcoming TV series “The New Girl.” Kasdan directed the pilot of the new Zooey Deschanel Fox comedy.
Q: Were there any fights with the studio to keep the film unapologetic?
JK: There really weren’t. They were sort of on board with what this was from the beginning and knew that you couldn’t really make this movie any way but this way. Even though it’s not what you’d expect, the truth is they were really completely supportive of that endeavor at the point where they decided to make the movie. They knew what they were getting.
Q: And it’s R-rated, but not really hard R.
JK: Well, it’s a fairly hard R in terms of it’s unambiguously R. The language makes it a clear and strong R. It has no penises in it.
Q: Well, she talks about sucking dick but it’s not lik South Park language.
JK: Just the fucks and the cursing count makes it unambiguously R-rated but yeah, in terms of how hard it is, it’s a funny one because you’re right. Pound for pound, it doesn’t chalk up the PG-13 violations the way that some movies do. But I think because the character is outrageous, it strikes people as being very R-rated.
Q: Did you ever consider having her show The Substitute as one of her teacher movies?
JK: Oh, we did talk about The Substitute. We were afraid that it wasn’t a clear enough thought.
Q: Some of us would have recognized it.
JK: Yeah, that’s the thing. There were a few that we talked about that we knew a few of us would love but you’re unsure of how universal the imagery is.
Q: Was it important to you that no one learn a lesson in this?
JK: It was sort of important to us that we not make it that thing. When people change, they change in very small increments. To the extent that her worldview was going to change at all, it was going to change in only the smallest possible way which is she considers a different kind of guy.
Q: Walk Hard is my favorite movie of the last ten years.
JK: Really? Nice, I love to hear that.
Q: It is the American hero’s journey. Was that the concept?
JK We were satirizing a certain kind of mythmaking, yeah. So to some extent we were very conscious of the scope of the joke and eager to see it through as completely as we could for sure.
Q: None of those songs could get nominated for an Oscar?
JK: That’s what we were saying. Come on.
Q: I’ve watched the director’s cut twice because sometimes you want to see the subplot where he marries Cheryl Tiegs in the ‘70s.
JK: American Cox we called it.
Q: You did the pilot for “The New Girl.” Will you stay on the series?
JK: I will be around as they get “New Girl” kicked out the door, for at least the beginning. I’ll be helping them get it launched.
Q: Is it tonally like your movies?
JK: It’s tonally more like the TV shows I’ve worked on I think. It definitely I think is in some ways related to “Freaks.” It has a little bit of that energy to it.
Bad Teacher his theaters this Friday. “The New Girl” premieres on Fox this fall.