Rose Byrne and Jude Law Discuss ‘Spy,’ Comedies, and Melissa McCarthy

Jude Law and Rose Byrne Interview on Spy
Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law star in the comedy movie ‘Spy’ (Photo by Larry Horricks © 2015 20th Century Fox)

Writer/director Paul Feig’s new comedy Spy stars Melissa McCarthy as an under-utilized CIA agent stuck in a desk job. Jude Law co-stars as a very Bond-ish hotshot agent who’s one of the best in his field, and Rose Byrne plays a Bulgarian arms dealer named Rayna Boyanov who’s the target of the agency’s investigation. Spy is a hilarious send-up of espionage thrillers and at the 2015 CinemaCon in Vegas Byrne and Law teamed up to talk about working with Feig and McCarthy and how they tackled their characters in this spy comedy that’s one of the funniest films of 2015 thus far.

Rose Byrne and Jude Law Interview:

Is your approach to comedy different than your approach to dramatic films?

Rose Byrne: “I think it’s the same as preparing for a drama except on top of that you’ve got to get a laugh. I think it’s the same amount of work except for me it’s more challenging. You really know when it’s working and when it’s not.”

Jude Law: “I was amazed at how not scientific because that makes it sound a bit antiseptic, but how there was a real technique to it. Watching people who had done a lot more than me before, and obviously Paul [Feig] who’s a real master at it, I was impressed. And like Rose says, you’ve got to approach it straight. You don’t come in thinking I’m going to be really funny now. You have to start it straight and rely much more on the technique. It’s got a real technique to it and I was learning it while I was doing it on this.”

Rose, can you talk about your character’s hair? It was fabulous.

Rose Byrne: “Thank you! Yeah, that took a long time in the chair. That was like three hours. But, it was fun. I really pushed for it. They initially had a different idea of what her look would be, but I was very specific about going to push it a bit and creating a specific presentation of Rayna. She’s that way. She’s royalty, virtually, so it was very important to establish that with her look. And Paul is so obsessed with style. He just loves it. He wears three piece suits every day. He has a cane. He gets it. He really gets it.”

Jude Law: “I love her look. I love that line where she’s changed clothes on the plane because she can’t land in the same outfit she took off in. That’s fantastic.”

What’s writer/director Paul Feig like on set?

Rose Byrne: “He’s lovely. He’s an eccentric for sure, but he’s a very hard worker. He’s great with actors. He loves actors; he respects actors. He just loves to collaborate.”

Jude Law: “And he’s very easy-going. The director’s always carrying probably the most pressure and he approaches it with great flair. But also it’s not just a case with him of capturing what’s on the page because it’s constantly evolving. He’s watching and he knows when he’s got one that works, and he’ll say, ‘Let’s try it like this,’ and there will be an alternative. He’s growing all the time. It’s quite spontaneous and collaborative.”

Jude, your character’s a lot like Bond. Would you ever do a straight action spy movie?

Jude Law: “Sure, I’d give it a go. Never say never, which I think is a Bond film. I think we need a female Bond.”

Rose Byrne: “I’d love to play Bond.”

Jude Law: “Jennifer Bond.”

Was it ever a fantasy of yours to play Bond?

Jude Law: “Not specifically, no. But I was definitely one of the kids running around the yard taking people out. I was a fan of those films. I was a fan of the Harry Palmer films, The Ipcress File and all of those that Michael Caine did.”

Rose, can you talk about reuniting with Melissa McCarthy and what it was like to be on the set with her again?

Rose Byrne: “It was all sort of fun. She’s brilliant. She’s a hard worker and there’s no one funnier or smarter. She’s just so great to collaborate with. We had such a bizarre chemistry, these two characters, so we had a really good time. She just works so hard. I admire her. She has such a great attitude every day at work. It’s a pleasure. It really always comes from the top and she just sets the tone, really, of a good time.”

Jude, how do you approach a character who’s handsome and charming, can kick butt, and needs to be taken seriously in a movie that’s overall a comedy?

Jude Law: “First of all, Paul didn’t want it to be a spoof. He approached it like this is a spy movie, but it’s just going to be funny. So what I meant was you therefore can’t be too arch. You’ve got to play it for real. And in the end, the joke’s sort of on him because he’s a little bit too full of himself. He thinks he’s unbeatable and he is in a way keeping Coop [played by McCarthy] where he wants her. So, the joke’s almost on him in the end. That’s what I meant by sort of playing it straight on.”

Also of interest: 10 of the greatest spy films of all time


-By Rebecca Murray

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