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Jorma Taccone on MacGruber

Published March 30, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures
MacGruber MacGruber

The Saturday Night Live movies may have devolved into silly PG-13 movies that didn’t really satisfy the late night audience. MacGruber is a full on R, like The Blues Brothers. Director Jorma Taccone wanted to go there.

Jorma Taccone Talks MacGruber


“I think I looked up the phrase ‘f*** you’ in the original draft and I think it appeared 16 times,” Taccone said. “So it’s less than that now but it was always aggressively hard [R]. In an 84 minute movie, to say the phrase ‘f*** you,’ it’s insane. There’s a lot of f***s I would say. It is sort of a little bit of a release having been on a network show where you don’t get to do a lot of that kind of stuff. I think we got overly excited.”

The MacGruber sketches play on the classic ‘80s TV show MacGyver, where a resourceful hero would save the day with his makeshift inventions. MacGruber does not save the day, and his movie puts him in a scenario straight out of an ‘80s action movie.

“We really were looking at 80s and early 90s action movies for inspiration,” Taccone said. “Me and John [Solomon] were watching maybe a Seagal movie or something like that. There was a moment where over an explosion you heard a cougar growl. We were like, ‘What was that? Oh my God, we have to put that in.’ It is a technique obviously but you’re supposed to put it low enough that it’s just a hint of something. So our sound dude, we kept being like, ‘No, louder. You’ve got to do it louder.’ He was like, ‘No, people are going to think we’re bad at our job.’ We were like, ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to put your credit, it’s going to come up right when that cougar growl comes up.’”



MacGruber even begins in an homage to Rambo III, but that was just a coincidence. “I actually rewatched Rambo III after we had written the script. The monastery scene, I could not believe how similar it was to <B>Rambo III</B> and that was not intentional actually at all. It just sort of felt right to find this dude who’s opted out of society. He’s so crushed by what’s happened with his nemesis and the loss of his wife and everything that he goes off to a monastery.”

Let it not be said that the MacGruber movie is just an extended sketch. With an original draft 175 pages long, they actually made a story out of it. “[It] was so odd to us that that was the comment, like, ‘What’s it gonna be?’ You’ve got to make a plot out of it. What do you expect? It’s so odd, but we did put that one little sort of nod to the original sketch in the movie which is really nice that people kind of seem to really get that moment when that music comes in, that Megatrax song comes in. I don't know how often Megatrax is used in movies, but it’s nice that people get that moment.”

It’s a silly, ridiculous story, but a story nonetheless. “I was super excited was the clearances person said that this was the only movie that she’s ever worked on where every single name cleared at the first pass. They’re all names like Tet Beamer and Verne Freedom. She’s like, ‘That’s the first time that’s ever happened, first past.’”

MacGruber opens to theaters on May 21st.

For the trailer and more movie info, go to the MacGruber Movie Page.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Universal Pictures
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