Starring two of Hollywood’s funniest leads, Steve Carell and Tina Fey, Date Night tells the story of a married couple who, on their slog through suburban life, have even let their ‘date nights’ become routine. An attempt to spice things up with a trip into Manhattan ends in a case of mistaken identity, corrupt cops, mobsters and a crazed cab driver. Woman of the moment Fey tells Time Out why her own date nights aren’t much better.
It sounds like married couples everywhere will relate to this story.
I think that this is a very relatable story. Every couple can relate to that constant mix of frustration and love for their partner on the long, long road of marriage.
Did you have instant chemistry with Steve Carell?
I do think that Steve and I look very plausible together as a married couple. We just look like people you would see at the mall. So you can pay 10 bucks to see people you could already see at the mall. [Laughs]. It’s been very easy working together because we have the same training and background, coming from The Second City in Chicago [the prestigious school of improvisation and sketch comedy]. It was very pleasant and easy from the beginning.
How did the fact you’d both studied at Second City help?
It would be like two chefs working together who had studied at the same school. You run your kitchen in the same way. We knew how to work with each other, but not get in each other’s way. The training we both have emphasises the importance of making the other person look good; that is drilled into you. And I certainly hope he [Steve] did that because I was probably not very good. [Laughs].
Were there any really funny moments when you just cracked up?
Yes, we had to do some sexy dancing and there is a stripper pole involved. Steve made the interesting choice that his character – in an attempt to be sexy – would lick the pole and then he immediately gets freaked out and nauseous and regrets it. That really made me laugh. Then at one point we have a nice romantic kiss and we thought, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be funny if this kiss lasted for four-and-a-half minutes?’ So we attempted to shoot a continuous four-and-a-half-minute kiss. It seemed funny at the time.
Did you like working with Mark Wahlberg?
I felt sorry for him because his character wears no shirt for the whole movie. Of course he looked amazing; he obviously completely carried that off. But because Mark has a fair number of tattoos, he had to cover them with body make-up, so he could never wear a shirt, not even when we were on our lunch break or between set-ups. My daughter was visiting one day and said, ‘Why does that guy never wear a shirt?’ Mark said, ‘I want to wear a shirt, believe me.’
Were there any challenges making Date Night?
It’s a movie that takes place almost entirely over one night, so the challenge was shooting at night in New York City. I used to work on Saturday Night Live and I would stay up all night long and used to brag about how I could do that easily. But since I had a kid, I have turned into one of those wimps from [TV show] The Apprentice, who stays up for just one night and then starts crying and quits the show. On this film I had to shoot three weeks through the night, 5pm to 5am, wearing a corset and heels while Steve was comfortable in a tracksuit. It was a challenge.
Do you go on date nights with your man?
We do try, yes. But it is hard. By the time our daughter is off to sleep, it’s 10pm and all you’re thinking is, ‘I don’t want to be hungover when she wakes up.’ I know that feeling when you’re going out for a date night but you’re just so tired that you’re envious of the babysitter who is settling in to watch TV and order food. You find yourself thinking, ‘Why can’t I stay in with the babysitter?’
Finally, just how exciting is your career now?
It has been a crazy, crazy year or so and I’ve been having a very exciting time. Steve and I were just talking about this. Coming into it all a bit older is a blessing because it makes you realise that what really matters is your home life. I feel extremely lucky to have some perspective on it all. I also feel very aware that my life and career will not be this way forever.
Date Night is in UAE cinemas now.
Six reasons to love Tina Fey
1 She broke down barriers in one of America’s biggest comedy institutions when she was made the first female head writer at the MBC network’s Saturday Night Live.
2 She then won Emmy awards and Golden Globes for her sitcom 30 Rock, an MBC comedy about working on an MBC comedy. Genius.
3 She also won an Emmy Award for taking the mickey out of Sarah Palin.
4 After being named ‘the sex symbol for every man who reads without moving his lips’, she responded: ‘There is no such thing. The thinking man also wants to f*** Megan Fox.’
5 Fey says of fame: ‘Besides getting tables at restaurants and special treatment at airports, what else is there?’
6 She wrote the ultimate high school movie, Mean Girls. Enough said.