IAR INTERVIEW: Director Steve Pink and Adam Scott Talk 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

Thursday, 19 February 2015 10:26 Written by  iamrogue
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IAR INTERVIEW: Director Steve Pink and Adam Scott Talk 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

We've seen a lot of time machines on the big screen, from the classy Victorian contraption of The Time Machine to the unmistakably eighties DeLorean in Back to the Future.  Only one cinematic chrono-device combines relaxed recreation, bacteria, and the circuits of time, however: the one that's also a hot tub.

In Hot Tub Time Machine 2, the least-practical time machine we've ever laid eyes on returns to theaters.

The first movie, a sleeper hit in 2010, introduced the Hot Tub Time Machine, which sent four friends back to 1986, where each one had to overcome the demons of the past on a ski-resort weekend in order to return to their native timeline better off than they ever imagined. 

Having used their time travel escapade to enrich themselves, when Hot Tub Time Machine 2 begins, Lou (Rob Corddry, Sex Tape), Nick (Craig Robinson, This Is the End), and Jacob (Clark Duke, Kick-Ass 2) are loving life: Lou is the ultra-rich inventor of the internet and Nick plagiarizes pop songs to lucrative effect.  When a mysterious assailant shoots Lou's testicles off, however, they set off through time to find the culprit and save Lou's balls.

The sequel, which opens nationwide this Friday, February 20th, is once again directed by Steve Pink (About Last Night).  In addition to the three familiar leads, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 also adds Adam Scott (NBC's Parks and Recreation) as a new addition to the timeline-hopping crew.

IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick was on hand for the comedy's Los Angeles press day, where both Pink and Scott enthusiastically – and with their tongues characteristically in cheek – discussed the influences behind the sequel, how Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is like The Avengers, Scott joining the cast, acting in love with Gillian Jacobs, and the movie's no-holds barred tone.


The structure of the first movie made its indebtedness to Back to the Future 2 clear.  Hot Tub Time Machine 2, then, takes its cues from Back to the Future Part II, with its paradox-riddled plot that bounces from the present to the future to the past and back again.

That's just one of many influences, however.  The sequel, Pink said, drew from, "Every single movie that had either a time machine or hot tub element to it. Obviously Looper is a big influence, killer goes back to the past… Terminator of course. There was a Turner and Hooch reference, but it got cut."

At one point, the director and studio considered titling this second installment Hot Tub Time Machine 3.  What kept them from adopting the clever, winky title?  "The fear that people might feel that they missed the second one and not gotten the joke," said Pink. "They would miss the joke and not see the movie."

The first film was led by John Cusack (Say Anything...), but his character, Adam, sits out the sequel.  That doesn't mean Cusack will never soak in the titular hot tub again, though, as Pink cheekily explained, "Like Hot Tub, Hut Tub 2 kind of exists like The Avengers in terms of the universe. I think John is like Thor or Iron Man. The cosmos of characters in Hot Tub Time Machine exist very much like those in The Avengers. He might be lost somewhere in time."

In Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Scott effectively steps into Cusack's shoes as Adam, who is, in fact, the original Adam's nephew from the future.  Obviously, finding the right actor to keep the quartet alive without throwing off the chemistry of the other three leads was a tricky task.


"We were thinking about who to bring into the movie and I called Clark (Duke) and he said he had just made a movie with Adam and what about Adam? I said to Clark, 'Do you think we can trick Adam into being in the movie?” Then I called Adam and tricked him into being in Hot Tub 2 and he exercised incredibly poor judgment," the director said. "There were a lot of points in time where he could have said no. And we just keep reeling him back in."

Asked about how he became involved, Scott replied, "Before I answer that question I just need to consult with my attorney. I really enjoyed joining this film. Rob Corddry was especially generous on set and I loved the first one. I was actually at the premiere of the first one, not to brag. I got invited, okay? I’ve known all these guys for a while so I naturally had a conversation with Steve on the phone before Josh (Heald) had even written a script and agreed to do it then, which is such a stupid thing to do. But then it was just a no-brainer. It just sounded like going to New Orleans for summer camp with some friends and I’m really glad I did," he said.

Before Adam dips his toes into the time machine, he's blissfully in love with his girlfriend, played by Gillian Jacobs (Community).  Of their nauseatingly adorable onscreen relationship, Scott said, "It was really fun. We didn’t really talk about it or rehearse anything. We just started doing it and they just became disgusting and so in love with each other. It was also written that way and it was a great place to start because then their relationship becomes corrupted so it was naturally a great place for their relationship to start."

Thanks to Nick's time-traveling trick of turning pop songs into hits even before their actual writers ever get a chance to write them, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 features plenty of familiar music.  Lisa Loeb's "Stay" in particular receives a lot of attention.


"The world was our oyster on that. Every single musical artist in the history of music was calling actually to be a part of it," Pink joked. "Lisa just called first. It had to be some kind of iconic video, too. It had to be an iconic video that we could shoot."

The soundtrack also boasts an original single, "You're a F***ing Nerd," which is based on an insult and a cappella bit of mock-singing by Corddry and Robinson in the movie itself. 

"They improvised it on the set and it seem to be something that could have a life of its own," explained Pink. "We called OK Go. We have no shame. We will ask anyone at anytime to allow someone to make the mistake of being a part of a Hot Tub Time Machine movie. They apparently loved the first one and were tricked into doing the second. They recorded part of it on the road and sent it to us in pieces."

Even compared to its predecessor, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is almost astonishingly crude and unhinged, reveling in its characters' misanthropy and gleeful self-absorption.  As such, not much was off-limits to the filmmakers and very few jokes went too far.

"The studio gave us a lot of creative freedom, foolishly or not," said Pink. "You guys know what a Hot Tub Time Machine movie looks like and feels like at this point and to their credit or detriment they put their faith in us to dictate what the humor and tone was."

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opens at the theater near you this Friday, February 20th.


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