Adam Scott on His Nominated Turn in ‘The Vicious Kind’ and Other Stuff

We’ve been on the Adam Scott bandwagon for a while now, from his days as a rubber-cocked husband on HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me, to his gloriously douchey turn as Will Ferrell’s brother in Step Brothers. Now we’re pleased to have the Independent Spirit Awards aboard with us, since they plucked his performance in a little-known movie called The Vicious Kind and stuck it in a category with award season titans like Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth. Bravo! In The Vicious Kind, Scott puts on a seething show as a deeply disturbed blue collar dude who’s infatuated with his younger brother’s girlfriend (Brittany Snow). Yes, Tell Me You Love Me was as depressing as TV gets, but this role is still a departure for an actor who’s flaunted serious comedic chops in things like Knocked Up, Eastbound and Down, all over Funny or Die and most recently in Starz’ catering comedy Party Down. When Scott rang us up to chat about his movie, we covered a wide range of topics, like his director’s non-existent pubic hair, his upcoming bloodbath Piranha 3-D and the plot points of Ice Cube’s next movie. The highly edited transcription, after the jump.

So I just streamed The Vicious Kind on a random website. Oh, so you just watched it on an illegal download?

Does that bug you? Um, well, I don’t know. Do you care if I litigate?

No, that’s okay. How long ago did you shoot it? Almost two years ago. It was like the spring of ’08 in Connecticut and it was really freezing.

So it’s like the extreme opposite of Piranha 3-D, which you wrapped a while ago. Oh yeah, it was like 112 degrees there.

Which temperature did you prefer? I hated both of those temperatures. I’d rather get kicked in the nuts than work in either of those temperatures again.

Do you feel removed from the film, considering you shot it so long ago? Not really. I feel like I’ve been talking about it now for a year. And also I’m happy to talk about it because I really loved the movie and I’m proud of it.

It’s also timely because you have the Spirit awards coming up. Do you think you have a chance against Jeff Bridges? No way, are you kidding?

But you’re still going to show up? Yeah, fuck, it’s so weird. The morning we got nominated Lee, the director, got nominated for his screenplay, and we both got on the computer. We had to check and make sure this was not some weird new awards ceremony that was being created just to sound like it was the Independent Spirit Awards. We were like, this can’t be the Spirit Awards that we both kind of know and have been following. This has to be some weird Brazilian thing. We didn’t know that anyone had seen it.

What was it about your performance that go you nominated? I don’t know. That’s an interesting question. Probably the beard. I guess Jeff Bridges and I both have beards in the movies, and I think those are award-worthy beards.

Your director [Lee Toland Krieger] is a pretty young guy, right? He just turned eight. No, he’s 27. It’s infuriating. He’s very confident and self-assured, almost in a jarring way. It felt like I was working with a seasoned veteran, even though he’s too young to have pubic hair.

J.K Simmons plays your dad in this. You’re like the hundredth actor who got him as an onscreen dad. It’s actually funny, because right before I started shooting The Vicious Kind, I was hanging out with Paul Rudd—we were together like with our kids on like a two day vacation—and we were both about to start a movie. He was about to do I Love You, Man, and I was about to go and do this. We were hanging out and talking about the things we were about to go do, and I was like ‘J.K Simmons is actually playing my dad in this,’ and Paul’s like, ‘Wait a second, J.K Simmons is playing my dad in what I’m about to do. How is that possible?’ It turns out J.K came and did ours, and got shot out in like six days so he could go play Paul’s dad.

You’ve done some really great work on film and TV. When are you going to break out? I learned early on that it’s beyond your control. It’s something that’s up to the Showbiz Gods, as they say.

Do you think you’re an underrated actor? No, I feel like I’m lucky to be working at all. If anything, the fact that I’m even in the middle of an interview brands me as overrated. I’m kind of bowled over that our movie is getting this attention. I feel very lucky to be in the middle of any of this, no matter how small it may be. I’m still in the ‘guest start on NYPD Blue’ mindset. I’m still kind of in that place. Having been brought up watching movies and TV shows constantly, just being a total TV and movie addict, being part of any movie or TV community is completely crazy to me.

People who watch Party Down love it, but not enough people see it. Do you think that would be different if it was on a network other than Starz? Totally. I mean Starz is a terrific network. We’re lucky to get in on the ground floor as far as their series development goes, because they’re all really cool people and really responsive to what we do. They give us an insane amount of freedom. The whole thing feels really home-grown and very personal. It’s our show. We make it with our hands. I don’t know if you feel that on a CBS show.

What can we expect from Piranha 3-D? Whatever it is, it’s the bloodiest movie in history. And I believe it because when we were shooting it there was a tanker truck on the side of the lake filled with fake blood, and it had a hose coming out of it and going down underwater on the bottom of the lake and them coming out in the middle of the lake where we were shooting, just pumping blood all day.

It just got pushed back to late August. Are you okay with that? Yeah, August 27th. It’s just taking a movie that was shot on 35mm and making it 3-D. Now that Avatar is out there and the bar has been raised so high, they really need to make it amazing.

But now you have to go up against Ice Cube’s The Lottery Ticket. It could be trouble. Is that really coming out on that day? Can you and I just work out the plot points of that movie, just by knowing the title.

I’m guessing he wins the lottery. Yeah, and probably learns a few lessons along they way. You think he might come to appreciate his kids?

‘The Vicious Kind’ is in selected theaters today. Season 2 of ‘Party Down’ begins in April on Starz.

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