The Three Things: Bill Hader on Amy Schumer and ‘Trainwreck’

Bill Hader Trainwreck

Bill Hader is tired, and for the life of me I can’t blame him. I sat down with the star of two of the summer’s biggest comedies, Inside Out  and Trainwreck, at the end of a very long day of press junketing, after he had answered “What are you afraid of” dozens upon dozens of times. He wanted to talk, as always, but focusing solely on his latest Pixar movie when I had already seen Trainwreck at SXSW 2015 seemed unnecessary, so in the second half of our interview we talked a lot about the anticipated new comedy. (Read the first half, about Inside Out, right here.)

We spoke about working with LeBron James (Bill Hader didn’t know who he was either), his reluctance to believe he had just been offered the romantic lead in a movie, and about why his co-star Amy Schumer is a great director. His anecdotes involve an important plot point very late in the film, so we’re issuing a SPOILER WARNING if you haven’t seen Trainwreck yet (or if you don’t know how romantic comedies work).

Trainwreck is now playing in theaters.

Trainwreck Amy Schumer Bill Hader

Related: Judd Apatow on Love, Amy Schumer and ‘Trainwreck’

Crave: It seems like it’s a really good time to be Bill Hader right now.

Bill Hader: Really?

Well, I mean, look… you came off of The Skeleton Twins, which you were amazing in, and now you’ve got a big Pixar movie, that’s got to be fantastic. I saw Trainwreck at SXSW. It seems like groovy times. Is it groovy times to be Bill Hader?

Yeah! Yeah, it’s pretty cool. I don’t know. I’m just not like… I just take it a day at a time. I mean, my whole summer is just promoting those two movies. [Laughs.] I just answer questions about Amy Schumer and Judd [Apatow]. That’s pretty much all I do. And LeBron James.

I had to have someone explain to me who LeBron James was when I saw the film. I didn’t get half the jokes. I don’t follow sports at all.

I don’t either. I think that’s probably why I was so calm around him. [Laughs.] Everyone else was freaking out and I was just, “Oh hey man, what’s going on?”

Then there’s the joke towards the end, with all the sports commentators. I had no idea why it was funny. I’m sure it is, everybody else was laughing, but I just had no idea who they were.

No, don’t feel bad about that.

LeBron James Trainwreck Bill Hader

Related: Bill Hader on ‘Inside Out’ and Turner Classic Movies

I’m glad.

Don’t feel bad about that. But, no, yeah. It’s fun. I kind of just… you just try to swerve and do different things and have… I mean, if you’re lucky it’s just a movie you would go see and it’s people you like working with and a character you can do something with. 

There’s always these three things. It would be great if those three things happened with a movie. It’s a part you can do something with that’s different than something you’ve done before, something interesting you never got to do before. That’s a big thing for me. And people you love working with and a story you would go see. 

[Inside Out] has it and Trainwreck, the script for that, Judd said “Do you want to come in and read for this?” and I said, “Yeah.” I read it and thought it was so funny and so poignant and I just assumed it was the Mike Birbiglia part. And then I got the sides and it was for the romantic lead and I was like, “Don’t you want like James Marsden or somebody? Judd, this is for Aaron,” and he was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You come in. You be the guy.” I’m like, what?! [Laughs.]

You are underestimating how sexy you are, sir.

Oh, I thought I’d be the other guy.

Well, it worked out well.

But Amy and I had a lot of fun on it. That was a lot of fun getting to work with her and Judd. She’s going to be a really good director. She directed a 12 Angry Men thing on her show and she’s a very good director and she actually gave me a lot of good notes and stuff while we were…

Trainwreck Judd Apatow Amy Schumer Bill Hader

Like what? What was a good Amy Schumer bit of direction?

The scene where we break up? She said to me, because Judd was like, “This is feeling too sad.” You know, “You guys are both acting sad, like out of the gate.” He said, “Do something different!” And I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. So I’m like, well, I haven’t slept in 24 hours, I am sad because you know, my thing went awful.

So she could tell I was kind of lost and so she came up to me and she said, “What do you think is going to happen? Like, what does your character think is going to happen here?” I said, “I think I’m going to sit down and tell you you do this thing that drives me crazy, and these things do bother me, but we’ll work on it, and I love you, and I’m going to take a shower, take a nap, and then we’ll go out to dinner later tonight.” She went, “Great. Just play that.” So I go and do that and she breaks up with me. 

And I go, “What?” And I did, in the scene, go, “Wait, what? What are you talking about?” I was just totally… and that, after we cut, I went, “Thank you, that’s what I needed.” She just totally… really great, insightful direction I think.

It was a beautiful part of that scene, I thought. We’ve all seen the breakup scene in the movie a million times, but just codifying that here’s someone who thinks they’re just having an argument, and here’s someone who’s just giving up on the relationship was so devastating.

Yeah, that’s something that people do. That’s what that girl does. We were talking about it. She said, “No, the minute the honeymoon period is over she’s out. The minute there’s a crack in the thing she’s gone.” And I go, God, I know people like that. I’ve dated people like that! [Laughs.] 

That was so helpful. I was playing it like we were about to break up, and that’s what I figured out. I’m playing it like we’re about to break up, so don’t play it that way. Sorry, we just talked about Trainwreck instead of Inside Out!


William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.