Not anxious to brave the roads this long holiday weekend? IFC has the perfect compromise: Wanderlust (premiering May 29 at 9 pm/ET), an original documentary detailing Hollywood's many and great road movies, with insightful commentary from such heavyweights as Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider), Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways), Barry Levinson (Rain Man), Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho) and Robert Benton (Bonnie and Clyde). In a narrative framing device for the clips and quotes, Paul Rudd and Tom McCarthy play filmmakers who take to the open highways and back roads to shake their creative block while assembling a doc about... road movies. Here's what Rudd has to say about the project, as well as his current, "low profile" Broadway gig and his Parker Posey problem.
TVGuide.com: To put it simply, Wanderlust is a road movie about road movies, right?
TVGuide.com: How did you get attached to this? Are you a friend of someone's? Do you have an unpublicized affection for road movies?
[Laughs] No, the directors [American Splendor's Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini] just asked me, and I think they're both really talented people, so I was happy to work with them. And I knew Tom McCarthy. But it was a really random thing that just came about.
TVGuide.com: Have you had a chance to see the final product?
No, I have not.
TVGuide.com: Because they so did not skimp on clips or talking heads. I mean, everybody and every movie is represented.
Oh, good! How is it?
TVGuide.com: The production values are great, every possible road movie is here, and you have people like Dennis Hopper talking...
TVGuide.com: What's the wildest road trip you ever embarked on?
I went to Padre Island for spring break during my freshman year of college, and it was a decision that was made that day. We went down there from Kansas, which was like a 17-hour drive, without a hotel or money or anything like that. We just brought big tubs of peanut butter and bread and got into a car.
TVGuide.com: That's all guys really need, after all. That and some music in the tape deck.
TVGuide.com: Thus far, Oprah, Billy Crystal, Martin Short and Hugh Jackman have declined invites to host this year's Tonys. How much farther down the list are you?
You'd have to ask the Tony committee, but I would have to imagine that I am so far down that list, they would go to [Broadway insider] Brian Stokes Mitchell before they called me!
TVGuide.com: How has it been being the primary stage vet among Three Days of Rain's three-person cast? [Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper costar.] Are there added pressures?
No, there's enough pressure just to be a part of this production regardless. We're all just trying to, you know, be as good as the play is, which is nearly impossible, because the play is perfection in my mind.
TVGuide.com: Have you had the opportunity to offer your cast mates any advice, other than not to say "Macbeth" inside the theater?
Just "always wash your tights."
TVGuide.com: I'll assume that has some sort of hidden, inside meaning.
Not really. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Having previously garnered largely wonderful notices for your stage work, has the Three Days of Rain experience shown you a different side of yourself or the business?
I haven't read any of [the reviews], but I know what they are. That's impossible to avoid. At some point you just go out and do the best play you can do. There is obviously a whole other element to doing this play than there is to doing other plays I've done. There's this weird "microscope" thing around here.... It's crazy. Unbelievable.
TVGuide.com: Any tips, any inside jokes to tease her about?
I would say to ask her about that time she went down to Mexico and killed a man with her mind. And if you ask her that, I'm sure she'll say, "What the f--- are you talking about?!"
TVGuide.com: You had to enjoy that one-two punch you had with Anchorman and Virgin, eh?
Yeah, that was pretty crazy. It was nice to be a part of those, that's for sure!
TVGuide.com: Can you imagine if the Michael Showalter-Michael Ian Black troupe ever clashed with the Will Ferrell-Steve Carell posse? Comedic mayhem.
It's a little bit of a mutual fawning society, I think. I know Showalter and those guys think that [Ferrell's group] is funny, and I know that part of the reason I even got in Anchorman was because of Wet Hot American Summer [Rudd's 2001 comedy penned by Showalter and fellow Stella fella David Wain]. That was a movie that a lot of those guys seemed to like.
TVGuide.com: I once asked the Stella guys if they consider themselves this generation's Ivan Reitman-Bill Murray-Dan Aykroyd subversive comedy machine.
Yeah, the Stella guys, they seem to be the underground version of that. They have a massive, devoted following, but most people don't know who they are.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, I'm sorry to hear that in your upcoming film, The OH in Ohio, you can't give Parker Posey orgasms, so you go after Mischa Barton.
Uh, I'd like to think they both come after me. [Laughs] I was really going after [cast member] Danny DeVito.
TVGuide.com: Is that movie as funny as it sounds on paper?
[Dryly] No, probably not.
TVGuide.com: How many times on that press tour do you anticipate you'll have to vouch for your prowess?
I'll probably get asked about it a lot.
TVGuide.com: Maybe you should have handy some mimeographed affidavits from your wife.
Oh, yeah, that would be classy. I'm pretty sure Gene Hackman did that for the Hoosiers press junket.
TVGuide.com: Why, what was he being asked a lot?
I'm sorry that was a half-assed, poorly formulated joke. And not a particularly funny one.
TVGuide.com: I'm sorry to have put you in the position to make it.
I appreciate that.