Thomas Lennon and I have several things in common. We were both born in 1970. We are both huge fans of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil." We both look spectacular in tiny shorts. And I'm pretty sure we both think "Hell Baby" is very funny.
"Hell Baby" is, of course, the film that Lennon co-directed with his long-time co-writer Robert Ben Garant, and I reviewed the movie after its first midnight screening at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. A few days later, I sat down with Lennon at the Yarrow Hotel for a conversation that covered a number of topics.
For example, you'll hear a lot about Michael Ian Black and his penis and a pair of disturbingly tight bike shorts.
You'll also hear about Riki Lindhome's startling nude scene in the film. Like, it's the most naked I've ever seen someone appear in a film. It's the sort of nudity that makes screen caps redundant, because by the time it's over, there is no way you will ever forget it.
He talks about the genius of Keegan Michael Key, and I don't think that's too strong a word for the way Key approaches his characters. He is preposterously funny in "Hell Baby," and Lennon talks about just how crucial Key is to the film.
You'll hear about a rookie mistake that Rob Huebel made when shooting a scene that called for the eating of po'boy sandwiches.
More than anything, though, what I hope comes across in this interview is that Lennon seems both self-deprecating and also very proud of the way he's managed to carve out two totally different careers. He and Garant impart crucial wisdom about the reality of working as a writer in the studio system in their book about screenwriting, and I think Lennon's pragmatic attitude about the work he does is a key part of why he's able to effortlessly move from independent personal comedy to giant studio movies.
This is a longer than average video interview for us, but we realized after doing this that the entire conversation was fun, so we're sharing it with you unedited.
"Hell Baby" hasn't closed its distribution deal yet, but based on the conversation we had off-camera, I'm guessing Lennon and Garant are very close to setting this up with a distributor, so here's hoping you get to see it sooner rather than later.