OVER THE TOP Tim & Eric

Demented DIY comedy
duo continues to do a great job on
Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. View trailer below – it’s also out on DVD.

 

BY A.D.
AMOROSI

 

 

In a
small and private fashion, I felt dumb asking Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker
about how they came to make Tim &
Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
. Not because questions about Billion Dollar Movie‘s bathtub full of
fast-splattering fecal matter or a wolfen, tubercular John C. Reilly seem hard
to get a real and honest answer about. It’s not just that they got illustrious
co-stars such as Jeff Goldblum and Robert Loggia to spend the film making
ridiculous faces to go with the comedy duo’s exaggeratedly sprayed tans, fake
bridgework or boy-band hairdos.

 

 

It’s that
I’ve known Wareheim and Heidecker forever (we’re all from Philadelphia
with time spent at Temple
University’s film
department) and have talked with them throughout their joint career of Adult
Swim programs (the cut-and-paste Tom Goes
to the Mayor
, the sketch surrealism of Tim
and Eric Awesome Show! Great Job!)
film shorts (on HBO’s version of the Funny or Die website) and television
commercials they’ve directed (Old Spice).

 

 

So I
start with one that has nothing to do with the film and everything to do with
their audience, the obsessives that filled the Philly local theater on
Valentine’s Day to pre-screen the Billion
Dollar Movie
. Most of the audience knew the film’s lines, as they watched
it during its early pay-per-view run. “It’s true,” says Wareheim. “All of the
screenings have been almost one hundred percent die-hard fans. They’ve been
fun.” The screening found Tim and Eric (mostly Wareheim, as Heidecker was
ailing) making fun of their juvenile fans for lousy predictable questions with
that same audience eating up every bit of the dressing down. “You’re making me
sicker!” Heidecker yelled.

 

 

The only
screening crowd that wasn’t a T&E love fest was the infamous Sundance
screening. “Sundance was a very polarizing experience,” Wareheim says. “When we
did the Q&As, some people had never seen us before and wanted to know more
about us and others were just surely disgusted.” Sundance it seems is
uncomfortable by rampant diarrhea. “It was interesting to see where those
audiences drew the line.”

 

 

Wareheim
and Heidecker have had more guardian angels than detractors during their years
in the biz, despite the reviews of Billion
Dollar Movie.
Bob Odenkirk from Mr.
Show
was an early adopter who
pushed them to Adult Swim. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis asked that they
be written into the new film with the former acting as a co-producer with his
Funny or Die partner Adam McKay. John C. Reilly was so into playing a hacking,
coughing man-child and mall guardian that he requested a special costume. “He
didn’t let our wardrobe department fit him for an outfit,” says Wareheim. “John
insisted that we go to the junior’s shop and buy him boy’s clothing.”

 

 

Sure,
these pros love T&E because they’re hilarious, but also for their business
acumen. “With Bob Odenkirk a lot of it came down to our presentation,” says
Wareheim, stifling a laugh. “I cobbled together a DVD
of our stuff when I was still working at Urban Outfitters in Philly, hating my
life. We got together a professionally packaged thing with head shots. It
looked great. As a joke we even sent him an invoice for having mailed him the
package.

 

 

“Honestly, we really took our time with the details. He
liked our comedy but definitely dug our work ethic. We proved we were not the
lunatic wild artists our sketches presented us to be. The Funny or Die
connection came about because we made a few short films for their HBO show,
came through under budget, and everything looked great.”

 

 

Along
with Billion Dollar Movie, Tim &
Eric are currently flexing their producer muscles with two upcoming television
series, the sketch-y Comedy Bang Bang for the IFC network as well as a talk show, The
Eric Andre Show
for Adult Swim. The pair also stars in the bleak dramedy, The Comedy, a move that allows them to
stretch their acting chops beyond their own Dada-ist brand.

 

As
Wareheim and Heidecker come from a “punk rock Philly background” of DIY stuff –
lighting and editing their own shorts, printing out labels, making their own
t-shirts – the pair know how to make flicks look great for less. The cheesy
cut-and-paste AV club quality of its previous Adult Swim shows come through
every awkward pause and PowerPoint display on Billion Dollar Movie.

 

 

So it
cost something closer to $2.5 million to make Billion Dollar Movie, the premise of which finds two filmmakers run
amok, splurging up an outrageous debt as the Schlaaang Corporation and remaking
a desolate mall so to find the fortune they owe the mob in what could be a
get-rich-quick scheme. In reality, the pair wanted to tear apart the showbiz
experience with movies inside of movies that “make fun of Hollywood
douchebags.” What they didn’t quite plan on was getting some of the kings of
movie villains – Robert Loggia and William Atherton – as their on-screen
rivals.

 

“All I remember was talking to our
manager and saying wouldn’t it be great to get a Robert Loggia-like character.
The next thing you know, we got Robert Loggia. Having guys like that made the
movie real for us. We’ve always wanted to make movies, these sorts of movies,
since our days at Temple
– and did – but somehow that put us over the top.”

 

That put them over the
top? 

 

 

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