In 2011’s Horrible Bosses, Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) were hapless drones plotting revenge upon their sadistic overlords. But in the sequel (rated R, out Nov. 26), the trio go into business for themselves
Their plans to mass-produce an all-in-one bathing apparatus—the Shower Buddy—go astray when a SkyMall-style marketer (Christoph Waltz) and his selfish son (Chris Pine) set them up for ruin. There’s a kidnapping, a car chase, and the return of some familiar sinister faces: Kevin Spacey as the emasculating ex-boss, Jennifer Aniston as the sexually omnivorous dentist, and Jamie Foxx as “crime consultant” Motherf—er Jones. The trio discover that even the self-employed can be their own worst enemies.
With the setting sun casting gold and pink light across the palm-lined streets below, Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis sit down on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton Hotel to chat. Although they’re technically on the clock, things get Not Safe for Work fast.
So, on a night out after a killer workweek, what would be your beverage of choice?
JASON SUDEIKIS: A double Jack on the rocks, a nice tequila—Casa Dragones with salt on the rim and a lime. And then a double vodka on the Uber ride home.
CHARLIE DAY: I like to think I’m more sophisticated than this, but truth be told, outside of maybe a martini here or there, I’m a beer guy.
What’s your brand?
SUDEIKIS: Here comes a case of it, so just be real careful.
DAY: [Scratches chin] I like a Sapporo.
JASON BATEMAN: Ah, konnichiwa!
DAY: Then I’ll maybe have a glass of sake. And then beer in a plastic cup with a Ping-Pong ball floating in it.
SUDEIKIS: A red cup—that you flipped over and won?
DAY: [Laughs] I’m gonna go to a nice restaurant and say, “Give me a Budweiser in a plastic cup!”
[To Bateman] You’ve been sober for many years, so what do you order when you’re out?
BATEMAN: If you can believe it, I’m a big water fan.
SUDEIKIS: Flat or sparkling?
BATEMAN: Flat. The sparkling upsets my tummy.
When you have two guys on set named Jason, does one of you end up with a nickname?
SUDEIKIS: I’m just Suds. People have called me that for years. People call you Bateman, right?
BATEMAN: Mastur-Bateman is always a real fun one.
SUDEIKIS: Really? You get that?
BATEMAN: [Sighs] I get it a bit.
How much improvising happens on a movie like this?
SUDEIKIS: Not as much as you’d think. It feels like a compliment that people ask that.
DAY: There are shades and different colors on the same thing, but there’s a pretty intricate plot. You can’t go too far off the page.
BATEMAN: There’s a certain amount of flexibility on the set when it comes to coming up with a funny final joke.
SUDEIKIS: Yeah—buttons, or the ways into scenes. Those can easily be trimmed. So it’s not too masturbatory on our end.
Again with the masturbation. Nick, Kurt, and Dale get into more life-destroying criminal activity in this sequel. Why are they even friends, let alone in business together?
SUDEIKIS: It’s basically me being the id, Bateman being the ego, and Charlie being the superego. Charlie’s operating for the good of his family, Bateman is vacillating between being good and bad, and with me it’s the overt sexual nature of my character.
Nick is the worrier, Kurt’s the overconfident one, and Dale is just the mess.
DAY: The frantic ass. [Bateman picks up Sudeikis’ drink and raises it to his nose.] Hey, man, don’t do that.
SUDEIKIS: He’s just giving it a sniff.
BATEMAN: It’s a sense memory. It puts me right back in the restaurant, in the bar, whatever.
DAY: That’s frowned upon in certain circles.
BATEMAN: What, sniffing? In the sober circles? No way.
SUDEIKIS: That’s the test! If you can have booze in the house still.
BATEMAN: I think we do have a ton of booze in the house.
SUDEIKIS: You should. [Laughs] For others!
BATEMAN: [Shakes head] The wife is always thirsty. [Laughs]
Do you guys make each other laugh like this during takes?
DAY: We laughed a lot on this one.
Who’s the worst?
SUDEIKIS AND BATEMAN: [Simultaneously] Charlie Day.
DAY: These guys, they, uh…know my funny bone.
BATEMAN: You’re a real easy lay. The three of us are junkies for one another’s humor, and energy, and spirit.
DAY: I don’t laugh a lot in the process leading up to shooting, when we’re writing or blocking out a scene. But when it all comes together, I have these moments where I step outside myself and see…
SUDEIKIS: You leave Charlie and get into Dale. You just become dumb.
DAY: I’m thinking about the scenario we’re in and I just get tickled. Bateman throws in something under his breath… I can usually hold it long enough that I know they’ll be able to cut it together. Then… it’s gonna go.
BATEMAN: You just get a few more seconds out of it.
DAY: [Laughs] I hold it long enough so that everyone is still satisfied.
Then it’s all over the place.
SUDEIKIS: It’s on the ceiling. It’s on the walls.
BATEMAN: And then you have to reload.
After Chris Pine’s spoiled entrepreneur’s son ends up in your clutches, the threesome becomes a foursome for much of the movie. Does that change the interplay?
BATEMAN: When these eccentric characters come around, the three of us become the straight men, and we have to react against it.
SUDEIKIS: Chris came to the story from a dramatic place, not going for the joke. So when he’s upset about his father betraying him, he’s playing that as real as you would in whatever—a Nicholas Sparks film. We’re falling for him as a friend.
He becomes the Zeppo?
SUDEIKIS: Yeah, that’s when we switch from the Three Stooges to the Marx Brothers.
BATEMAN: He wasn’t looking for laughs, or for this to be his comedy film, like, “I’m going to show Hollywood I can do comedy.”
That’s Christoph Waltz.
BATEMAN: Yeah, that Waltz guy. What’s his name? Christoph?
DAY: [Groans] Every day he comes to the set with a different rubber chicken. It’s like, “Buddy, it’s not going to work in that scene!”
BATEMAN: Always with a whoopee cushion. I mean, come on.
SUDEIKIS: Wocka wocka.
Is there any joke that got cut that you wish had made it in?
SUDEIKIS: We talked about at one point being with Motherf—er Jones and he says, “You crackers got to go, I’ve got some other crackers coming in.” And then the three Hangover guys come and sit in the booth.
Did you shoot that?
DAY: No, we couldn’t afford their quotes.
SUDEIKIS: I told Zach [Galifianakis] about it. He thought it was hilarious. I think I told Ed Helms about it, too. But it would take you out of [the movie].
Your characters pass the time by playing F—, Marry, Kill. If you were to play with yourselves [cough], who would you choose?
DAY: I’d say, “Please, just kill me. Just kill me now.”
SUDEIKIS: I’d say, “Fuuuu–me,” but wait—that’s just a saying.
BATEMAN: I already f—ed myself, multiple times, on job choices. And you two kill me.
SUDEIKIS: We’re all married to our work.
So how would that game shake out if given the choice of your costars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and Chris Pine?
DAY: I wouldn’t f— any of them, because they’re all men. No offense. I wouldn’t marry any of them, because I’m married. And I wouldn’t kill any of them, because that’s against the law.
BATEMAN: Well, [pause] I would f— Jamie Foxx.