Whenever friends moon about what a great job Josh King has, the 1st AD repeats a line (attributed to Austin Powers star Mike Myers) that goes something like: “We all suffer so others may laugh.” King, whose partial resume includes movies starring Myers, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller, says running comedy sets is rarely all fun and games.
“What’s funny on paper may often not be on the set,” he says. “So ‘find-ing the funny’ can take time, which makes it hard to schedule the day.”
King says more improvisation (aided by digital cameras) has complicated his job. “A scene on The Campaign [this past summer’s political satire] where Will [Ferrell] opens the door and Zach [Galifianakis] asks to come in, reads as an eighth of a page. Then those guys started winging it, and ten minutes later we were still shooting.”
Politically themed movies, of which King has done two in a row with director Jay Roach, typically feature large crowds for debates and rallies. “While shooting Game Change [about Sarah Palin’s run for vice president] in Baltimore, we had to bring in extras from Virginia, New York, and Philadelphia,” King recalls. “McCain’s big rollout of Palin was shot in a college gym, where 500 extras were scheduled but only 300 showed up. The only option was to push the familiar faces to the back and tell Jay we just couldn’t shoot as wide as planned.”
DGA -Directors Guild of America