MacGruber’s Jorma Taccone and John Solomon on the Influence of Walker, Texas Ranger and Who Ruined Takes on Set

The post MacGruber’s Jorma Taccone and John Solomon on the Influence of Walker, Texas Ranger and Who Ruined Takes on Set appeared first on Consequence.

From Saturday Night Live sketch to Pepsi commercials to cult classic film to now an original series, one thing remains true about MacGruber — he just can’t be stopped. The fan-favorite character played by Will Forte, created from a grab-bag of ’80s action movies cliches, continues his journey of throat-ripping and dick-punching on Peacock in eight episodes that, according to director Jorma Taccone, held nothing back.

In fact, in a Zoom interview with Consequence, Taccone says that there was nothing he, Forte, and co-creator John Solomon felt was too ridiculous to include in the series. “There was nothing that we were told no about, and there was nothing that the three of us looked at each other like, ‘We shouldn’t do this.'”

As Taccone explained, the only time they were ever told “no” about a content-related decision was when they were making the original MacGruber film, and Val Kilmer, who played the villainous Dieter Von Cunth, refused to do a very specific bit.

“We had initially wanted to cut Val Kilmer’s penis off and put it in his [mouth], and we were very adamant about it, to the point where we were like, ‘Maybe we should fire him,'” Taccone says. “Afterward we were like, ‘What were we thinking? This guy’s a genius.'”

While Kilmer did not return for the series, the cast is still stacked, including returning MacGruber favorites Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe, as well as some new up-and-comers including Billy Zane, Sam Elliott, and Laurence Fishburne. In the below interview, transcribed and edited for clarity, Taccone and Solomon talk about the original inspiration for the character, why a TV show was the next step for the character, and who in the cast, if anyone, was prone to breaking into laughter during a scene.

So, what is it about this specific genre of action that speaks to you two?

Jorma Taccone: It’s what we grew up liking. All of my favorite stuff was like, Commando — all the stuff I wasn’t allowed to watch by my hippie parents. All the Schwarzenegger kill-everyone movies, and then it was just always funny to me, almost like Mystery Science Theater, just commenting on these things that we love while we’re watching them. It’s like making fun of them while we love them, that sort of thing.

So developing this character feels very appropriate for now — this flawed version of an American badass, a one-man army dude who just, like, doesn’t know what he’s doing. Where does a guy like this live in this world now? Putting the wrong character into a real action movie genre is funny to us — it gives us an immediate comedy spark.

Actually adding the detail to these characters has gotten more and more fun for us because, with it being a series, there’s more room for us to get into the backstory. Maybe you noticed it was a little more Skyfall-y, treating it like, well, everyone wants to know about this backstory, this is James Bond — we all need to know what his personal family trauma is. Just treating it with this lofty tone of, oh my god, that’s why he farts the way he does… John, why do you love action movies?

John Solomon: I’m thinking of when I went to see a movie called Lone Wolf McCade [starring Chuck Norris] up north in the theater. I saw so many of those movies in the theater. It’s just part of our childhood.

MacGruber Kristen Wiig Will Forte Ryan Phillippe
MacGruber Kristen Wiig Will Forte Ryan Phillippe

MacGruber (Peacock)

Taccone: Talking about Chuck Norris, I would say that Walker Texas Ranger is a bigger influence on MacGruber than I would like to admit. There was an episode of Walker Texas Ranger where a wedding was blown up with a rocket launcher, I believe, so we do have to give it up for that show. It has some gems in it.

I mean, Haley Joel Osment is still around, you could have him back for a cameo.

Taccone: He could be a psychopathic murderer.

What was it that unlocked the idea of doing it as a TV show for you? Was it very easy to come to it that way or did you need something extra for you to get it to there?

Solomon: We needed people to say no, we’re not going to make a sequel, no it’s not going to be in a movie theater.

Taccone: We did pitch it as a sequel to Netflix at one point and they did say yes, but for what we wanted the budget was too low to meet their algorithm, which was correct. But I did get really mad at Ted Sarandos once at the Indie Spirits. I ran up to him and was like, “you motherfucker.” So hopefully he sees [the show] and is insanely jealous.

Because of the tone of this, which is so deadpan, I’m curious — of all of the actors, who broke the most?

Solomon: Not Will.

Taccone: He doesn’t break.

Solomon: I feel like Laurence Fishburne definitely enjoyed a lot of the shooting and was laughing a lot.

Taccone: That’s a hard question because everyone is such a heavy hitter as an actor and if that was the case, if I picked someone, I’d be like, “But barely.” Like Ryan’s trick is that he would dig his fingernails into his palm so that he could hear the ridiculous shit without breaking, but no, nobody was like us. Me and John were behind the monitors, fucking up takes.

MacGruber premieres on Peacock December 16th, 2021.

MacGruber’s Jorma Taccone and John Solomon on the Influence of Walker, Texas Ranger and Who Ruined Takes on Set
Liz Shannon Miller

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