‘Scoundrels’ stars talk about different characters, new film

Andrew Gaug

Often viewed as mild-mannered actors, School for Scoundrels stars Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder seemed to let loose with jokes by not answering questions seriously on a conference call promoting their new film.

Sounding somewhat tired and bored, both Thornton and Heder gave usual answers for typical questions from reporters.

The movie deals with Thornton making up a school for guys who have low confidence and try to impress women, so one of the more typical questions was how would the actors impress ladies.

“Stay true to yourself and everything will work out fine,” Heder said, in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

“Being nice and honest doesn’t mean weakness,” Thornton added.

Heder, best known for his lead role in the cult hit Napoleon Dynamite, was asked how it felt to play a character that deviated from the usual nerdy characters he has done in the past.

“It felt great ’cause it was nice to play a character who’s not too far from who I am,” Heder said. “It looks more like me than some of the other dorky characters I’ve played.”

Thornton, best known for his Academy Award nominated role in Sling Blade and as a honky tonk southerner in Bad News Bears and Bad Santa, was asked if he ever had trouble landing movie roles because of his southern accent.

“No, as a matter of fact, I’ve kind of held on to it on purpose.” Thornton said. “In the beginning (it was a problem), but what’s the difference between that and a guy from Jersey?”

When Thornton was asked why he chose the role in Scoundrels, he was somewhat blunt.

“(Movies I choose) mainly depend on the script,” Thornton said. “I purposely try to do independent films in between. In terms of commercial movies like this, you’ve got to make a house payment.”

As for Scoundrels, Heder sounded proud of the chemistry between Thornton and him.

“Anytime you put an old guy with a young guy, it’s just instant comedy.” he said.

Heder told reporters what he would teach if he started his own school for guys with low self-esteem

“Gusto, principles – you have to be a man of principles.” Heder said. “Practice what you preach.”

As the interview continued, more jokes seemed to seep in as questions were getting long-winded and stereotypical.

When they were asked what roles they would like to play, both laughed after their answers.

“I want to be the next James Bond.” Heder said. “I think it would be fun to play an elf part – one that shoots magic arrows.”

“Reed Fleming – World’s Toughest Milkman.” Thornton interjected.

Often typecast in roles as awkward, Napoleon Dynamite-type characters and rednecks, a reporter asked them what they do to avoid those type of roles.

“It’s always interesting characters that have a lot of conflicts, and it’s the dorky characters that have more conflicts.” Heder said.

Thornton gave a less serious approach to the question.

“I’ve always wanted to play a midget.” he said.

Contact ALL editor Andrew Gaug at [email protected].