We’ve seen mismatched-guys-on-the-road comedies before. How did you make this one unique?
GALIFIANAKIS We knew my character had to be annoying, but there was one element that was lacking. Then [director] Todd Phillips called me one day and said, ”Let’s make him an aspiring actor.” I was like, ”Yes, that’s perfect!” I kind of based it on some actor types I knew in New York in the early ’90s who wore black blazers and comedy-tragedy-mask pins. It’s very specific.
DOWNEY Correspondingly, I wanted my character to have no details. He just basically wears a suit and tie and everything else is stripped from him, so he’s able to focus completely on this remarkably annoying and traumatized creature that he’s in close proximity to.
Have either of you actually done a cross-country road trip?
DOWNEY Yeah, I did with my dad when I was a kid.
GALIFIANAKIS When I first came out to California, I came with two friends in a van. My friend Bobby kept a fart count — I’d write down every time he farted from New York to California. It was in the thousands. We taped it to the dashboard: ”Bobby’s Fart Count.” I love road trips.