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article imageBruce Willis & Tracy Morgan aim for the funny bone in Cop Out Special

By Earl Dittman     Feb 26, 2010 in Entertainment
In Cop Out, easily the most hilarious buddy cop comedy of the new millennium, Hollywood action vet Bruce Willis and 30 Rock funny man Tracy Morgan, team up to resuscitate the cinematic genre that gave us such classics as Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours.
What do you get when you cast Bruce Willis, Tinsel Town's truly indestructible, scandal-free, iconic action/adventure star, with Tracy Morgan, heir-apparent to Eddie Murphy's comedy throne -- and television's latest unstoppable funny man from the highly-rated, award-winning, laugh-packed sitcom 30 Rock -- in a sure-fire, laugh-out-loud script (from super successful TV scribes The Cullen Brothers) with director Kevin Smith, the indie world's most favored, politically-incorrect, filmmaker son at the helm? You get Cop Out, one of the freshest, most hysterical and inventive buddy cop movies since the '90s. For Willis, who says he is his own worst critic, it's a side-splitting comedy he is extremely proud of.
“The last time I was in a comedy, I guess it was probably A Whole Nine Yards; so it’s been a while,” Willis recalls. “I've been offered others, but they just weren't funny. I wanted to just to make people laugh for the sake of making them laugh. And, those kind of comedies -- good, well-written comedies -- are just getting harder to find. But, from the first time I read it, I knew Cop Out was the real deal. And, it only got better from Day One.
“Luckily, the writers, Rob and Marc Cullen were on the set with us everyday, helping us, and if we get stuck they would shout lines out to us,” Willis continues. “We’d stop and go talk and they would say, ‘You could say this now.’ And they had great memories, they would go back to something from another day that Tracy or I said and say ‘Let’s put that in there.’ We had great people around us, all the time, and it shows. This is a really funny movie, if I must say so myself.”
In the Big Apple for the Manhattan premiere of Cop Out, Willis and Morgan sat down with a handful of journalists – just hours before the red carpet festivities – to talk about the making of their hilarious new comedy together.
Bruce Willis  Seann William Scott & Tracy Morgan in Cop Out
Bruce Willis, Seann William Scott & Tracy Morgan in Cop Out
Warner Bros
Did the two of you do a lot of improvisation while filming Cop Out?
TRACY: “Well, you know for us, it was easy because it was already funny once – it was on the paper. So, it was just playing in character. And me and Bruce made it seem like it comes across as improv, because before we started shooting, me and Bruce had a couple of talks and we gave these guys history. So, that made us so much closer to the characters. By the time we started shooting, I was already Paul and he was already Jimmy, so it was easy for us.”
When did director Kevin Smith become involved with the film?
BRUCE: “Keven was always attached. Kevin was being groomed for the Corporation for the last four or five years, and this was his shot. And I think he hit the ball out of the park.”
In this movie, Bruce, you make a joke about your character from Die Hard. A lot of audiences don't like it when actors spoof themselves...
BRUCE: “Unless they are laughing so hard that they can't really get upset with it. Had it not been funny, I would have said, 'Maybe we should take this out,' but it was funny, it got a laugh. I've been around long enough, I think, that I've earned the right to make fun of my own films.”
How did you keep a straight face working with someone as funny as Tracy? Even when he's eating corn chips he gets laughs.
BRUCE: “It's impossible. It's impossible. That corn chip scene should have taken probably – our side of it anyway – should have taken five or six minutes. It ended up taking close to an hour. (laughs) And they like the way that I do that, what do they call it, slow burn attitude. (laughs) The most important, f**king thing is happening in the world right now, and he asks, 'Do you want to eat some corn chips?' It was great. It's just great timing.”
Tracy Morgan in Cop Out
Tracy Morgan in Cop Out
Warner Bros
Tracy, you have been having great success with 30 Rock. Is Cop Out your chance to hit it out of the park with a mainstream movie hit? Do you see it that way, as an opportunity?
TRACY: “Yeah, absolutely. You know, working with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin was like getting me ready for this opportunity. To work with actors like Alec Baldwin and Tina is great, so by the time I got to Bruce, I was sort of like relaxed going into it, because I had worked with Alec and I was working with Bruce now. So, it was good.”
Have you talked to Eddie Murphy at all, because your career is closely following his early days?
TRACY: “I know, he worked with Stevie Wonder and I worked with Stevie – no, I haven't spoken with Eddie, but it seems like that with 48 Hours and then Trading Places, the same as like Cop Out and (the upcoming) Death At A Funeral, with Chris Rock. But, no I haven't spoken to him but those movies sort of inspired me to go for that standard of funny. I wanted to be on that level of funny with Cop Out.”
Do you have a favorite Bruce Willis movie?
TRACY: “All of them. (laughs) I can't pinpoint just one of them. All of them. They are like good pizzas, like a good mom and pop pizza shop, you grow up with that stuff, but I think I like the first Die Hard the most. It's a classic.”
BRUCE: “It's quite popular.”
TRACY: “I like them all, but that's my favorite, if I had to pick one.”
The two of you are like the Kings of New York, did that make it tough for you to shoot in places like Queens? Were they polite about it or make it tough with all their shout-outs?
BRUCE: “They welcomes us in every borough with open arms.”
TRACY: “I thought that was so cool, man. Kids on bikes and everything.”
Bruce Willis in Cop Out
Bruce Willis in Cop Out
Warner Bros
You are both like heroes in New York.
BRUCE: “Thank you. It sometimes got a little carried away, but it was so nice to get the shooting done. But we are all in the genre of cop movies, whether it's Die Hard, which is serious with some very dark humor in it. 48 Hours, it's a long list, a big club. I would put our film, I would put Cop Out in a little different of a niche, in that everything else that happens in a traditional buddy cop movie – shoot 'em ups, car chases, gotta save the girl, gotta get the bad guys – all those things, in our film, are secondary to making you laugh. We just went for the laughs. Our job was to make you laugh and Tracy Morgan brought that every night, every night.”
Bruce, is there a genre or type of movie that you would like to do that you haven't?
BRUCE: “Doubtful.”
What about a musical?
BRUCE: “You know what, that's the one thing that I clearly haven't done.”
We all know you are a great singer.
BRUCE: “Well, I don't know about that.”
TRACY: “If you are joining The Lion King, I'm coming to see you. (laughs)
BRUCE: “I don't think you'll be seeing me in The Lion King.”
Bruce Willis with director Kevin Smith in Cop Out
Bruce Willis with director Kevin Smith in Cop Out
Warner Bros
Would you like to another installment of Cop Out?
BRUCE:”I would love to.”
Do you think it will happen?
BRUCE: “I wouldn't be surprised.”
TRACY: “I would love to do another one because I love working with Bruce. He made me feel really at home doing my funny. He said, 'Just do you, and you'll be great,' and that's what I did. I enjoyed it. I called him The Chief, like Robert Parrish, who played for the Celtics. He was The Chief, I follow him into battle, I'm going with him.”
Since you are known as basically a comedian, Tracy, would you like to do drama?
TRACY: “I'd love to do a great drama. I would love to cry on film. I think I could do it. But right now, I'm just really getting affiliated and associated with the funny. So I am not looking to do anything dramatic right now, I'm embracing the feeling of being one of the funny guys.”
Tracy, are you planning to host Saturday Night Live any time soon?
TRACY: “For this movie, they asked me if I wanted to make some appearances on the show or I could wait towards the end of the season and then host again. I love it. It's sweet to go back and host.”
What was the toughest part of doing Cop Out?
TRACY: “What was the toughest part of doing this movie. I was just relaxed, I went to work, I paced myself and I just learned by being around Bruce, about how to be on a movie set, and be Number Two on the call sheet. It wasn't really hard. It was so much fun for me. I was filming at home. I could leave work and actually go home and have dinner and see my friends and family. So, no, I can't say that there was anything tough about it. Oh, there was one time that I had a stomach virus, and I believe I was on the beach. I got really sick, but we got through the night. But just being on the beach in Rockaway was cold! I was cold in Rockaway, and this was summer. Now that was tough, especially with a stomach virus.”
Tracy Morgan in Cop Out
Tracy Morgan in Cop Out
Warner Bros
Cop Out opens nationwide on Friday, February 26, 2010 (check local listings)
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