How did you prep for playing bird-watchers in The Big Year?
Jack Black I bought an app on my iPhone — iBird. I listened to some sounds, looked at the sky a lot. But mostly I just thought, in my life, what are my seemingly meaningless obsessions? Scrabble seems to be my main one. I love to play Scrabble. And when you play a big, difficult, strange word that gets a huge amount of points, you get that adrenaline rush in the same way that a birder, I imagine, feels when they see a rare bird. There’s almost a sexual satisfaction.
Owen Wilson I had a Scrabble game, but I was playing someone who was using an app [that generated all possible word combinations]. So it wasn’t even fair!
Black That’s why the only way to really know is to play people in person. In real time. And the timed game is key as well.
What about you, Steve? How did you prep for the film?
Steve Martin I just went out and shot as many birds as I could so I could look at them close-up.
Black That’s really missing the point, I think, Steve.
Jack and Owen, you guys have crossed paths before. Has your friendship changed now that you’ve worked together on The Big Year?
Wilson I’m scrambling in my head — where have we worked together?
Black You did a voice-over in that TV pilot Ben Stiller directed [1999’s Heat Vision and Jack]. You played a talking motorcycle.
You guys were also in an episode of Community together.
Black And yes, we were in one episode of Community. Your character says something to me and my character responds and then runs over to you, but we weren’t even there on the same day.
Martin So you guys are just as close as you never were.