While best known for his hilarious work as a correspondent on The Daily Show, Rob Corddry leaps to leading man status with his newest film, Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story. Corddry plays the titular character—a disgraced former paintball champion who returns home after 10 years "of wandering the earth" to regain his former glory. Unfortunately, Dukes is still considered "a cheater," so he's forced to put together a rag-tag group of misfits in order to compete in the big paintball championship.
Almost completely improvised, Blackballed stars Corddry's cohorts from the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater, as well as comedians Paul Scheer, SNL's Rob Riggle, and The Daily Show's Ed Helms. While a classic underdog sports movie in the vein of Bad News Bears, The Longest Yard, etc., Blackballed is also a hilarious and surprisingly sweet journey along the path of redemption. Corddry recently talked to us about Blackballed—which starts this Friday at the Hollywood Theatre—as well as Tom Cruise, and the confusion involved in having a threesome.
MERCURY: In Mission Impossible III, Tom Cruise took a lot of Scientology classes to train for his role. What did you do to prepare for the role of Bobby Dukes?
ROB CORDDRY: Look—I am really sick of the Mission Impossible III comparisons to Bobby Dukes. It's time I stopped being compared to Tom Cruise—even though we are just as handsome, and I am 100% straight.
Did you eventually become a paintball expert?
My character and Paul Scheer's character, Lenny Pear, had to be pretty knowledgeable, so we did a lot of research. We basically became paintball nerds.
There's a long history of these kind of types of films—you know, where a group of misfits overcome great odds. Was any particular film an inspiration?
Umm, not really. Pretentiously enough, I was inspired by Henry the V.
See, in Henry the IV, part two, Hal is the ne'er-do-well son of the king who, like Bobby Dukes, regains his honor. And there's a famous speech in Henry the V—the St. Crispin's Day speech—were he says, "you will always remember this day, St. Crispin's Day, the day you beat... blah, blah." So for the paintball championship, I based my "Puerto Rican Day speech" directly on that—to my college theater teacher's delight.
The movie was mostly improvised?
Yes, the dialogue was entirely improvised.
So the screenwriter really didn't do anything, did he?
My favorite line is when you try to recruit a former friend onto your team and he says, "I would take a bullet for you, but not a paintball bullet."
Yeah, that's Owen Burke, and his brother in the film is actually his real life brother. The character's name is Bryan Adams, and they only gave him one direction: "When Rob comes over the hill, just act crazy." [And he really does!—Wm. Steven] His character became more and more retarded as the day went on.
Switching tracks a bit—I've noticed you've taken on a larger role on The Daily Show.
Yes. I was promoted to Senior Child Molestation Expert a couple months ago. I'm very proud.
Do you see yourself on that same career track as [Daily Show cast members] Steve Carrell and Steven Colbert?
Well, uh, they have two totally different career tracks. Carrell went off to do movies and a great TV show, while Colbert—
I mean, like, how they're both jerks. That kind of career track.
Oh! God, yes! I misunderstood. Of course I'll do that. It's my dream!
And you just shot a pilot for a TV show...
Yes, it got picked up by Fox.
Is it like 24?
[laughs] It's just like 24—except with more funny and without the drama. It's called The Winner, and it's about a 30-something slacker living with his parents in 1994 who is reacquainted with his former childhood sweetheart and tries to be worthy of her by gaining life experience, and the entire show is narrated by the character as a 50-something-year-old man looking back.
Can't wait. Hey, did you know you have your own Wikipedia page?
Yeah, a whole page dedicated to you on Wikipedia. It seems like everyone's got one except me.
You've got to get one.
Totally. Write your own.
Did you write your own?
Nooooooooo. God, no. I keep it real—ever heard of it?
Keeping it real?
I keep it real.
No. I haven't heard of that. Anyway, let me read you this sentence from your Wikipedia page: "In January of 2006 Corddry's wife, Sandra, appeared with him on a Daily Show segment in which he discussed his obsession with having a threesome. (The segment was not meant to be serious.)"
Wait, that's not the best part: "Soon afterwards it was announced that the Corddrys are expecting a baby in the summer of 2006." So what I want to know is, did the baby come from the threesome?"
Uh, we'll have to see.
Are you taking a paternity test?
Well, in my fantasies the threesome was with a woman. So I don't think we can... I don't know if that is physically possible.
Well, did your wife have the baby or did the other woman have the baby?
Well at this point there isn't a baby. However, it's my wife who's vomiting in the morning, so I assume it's her.
It also says you were in a commercial with Carrot Top.
Oh, yeah. It was voted one of Entertainment Weekly's Top Ten Worst Commercials Ever. 1-800-Call-ATT. Dial down the center.
I saw a picture of Carrot Top the other day and he was completely covered with muscles—like, a behemoth.
Oh, no, he's a beautiful, beautiful, specimen. You could cut diamonds with his calves.
So it's true? I was telling my friends the picture had to be Photoshopped.
No, no, no, no. He's an Adonis. I mean it. His abs are like hardened lava. You put a bag over his head—he is beautiful.
Wow. So do you and Carrot Top hang out a lot?
Well, his friends call him Scott. I'll just leave it at that.
Perhaps. I don't want to talk too much about our friendship.
Got it. One more thing: because it's always been my dream, I would love for my review quote to get on the Bobby Dukes poster.
What is it? Give it to me.
"Finally, a movie with balls. Paintballs."
No, it's not good.
I don't know if it'll play in the Heartland.
Because it's awful.
It'll play on the coasts—but not in the fly-over states.
Any suggestions for a good tagline for the movie?
"Corddry does it again—for the first time!"
How about... "A spine-tingling game of cat and mouse, with a surprise twist ending."
"This movie should be in French, it's so important." How 'bout that?
I love it.
Want more Rob Corddry? Listen to more of this interview at portlandmercury.com/podcasts. For Blackballedshowtimes, see Movie Times on pg.57.