In the comedy film “Sex Tape,” Jay (played by Jason Segel) and Annie (played by Cameron Diaz) are a married couple still very much in love, but 10 years of marriage and two kids have cooled the passion. To get it back, they decide to make a video of themselves trying out every position in “The Joy of Sex” in one marathon, three-hour session.
It seems like a great idea, until they discover that their most private video has gone public. In a panic, they begin a wild night of adventure — tracking down leads, roping in friends, duping Annie’s boss — all to reclaim their video, their reputation, their sanity and their marriage. Here is what Diaz and Segel said in a roundtable interview with journalists at the Los Angeles press junket for “Sex Tape.”
Do you have a favorite memory of “Sex Tape” that didn’t make it into the movie?
Segel: There was one clip that we shot for our college sex montage that was totally spontaneous and unscripted, but we were like, “We should get as much stuff as we can/ What do we have in the room?” And it ended up with …
Diaz: Me wearing a sombrero …
Segel: Riding on my back.
Diaz: No, no, no, no! I was in the front but facing each other, but I was whipping you.
Segel: Yeah. And me screaming out — pardon my French — “I’m not your f*cking burro!”
Diaz: “I’m not your f*cking burro, Annie!” And everyone on the set, if you could see their faces! I was laughing so hard, I had to cover my face. And he [Jason Segel] got really into it. He was really upset, like crying almost. He was hurt and in pain. I wasn’t really whipping you. I hit you.
Everybody outside of the set who couldn’t be on were dying laughing. It was so funny, because they were like, “What the hell is going on in there?” Plus, you get sides for the day — and that was not on it. It was really funny.
What was it like working with child actors Harrison Holzer, Giselle Eisenberg and Sebastian Hedges Thomas?
Diaz: Harrison doesn’t feel like a kid.
Segel: Oh yeah, he doesn’t feel like a kid at all. He’s like a James Bond villain.
Diaz: He’s intense. He’s fantastic. That kid blew us away.
Segel: When I met him, I was like, “Hey, man, I’m so exciting you’re going to do the [movie]!” And he was like, “Mr. Segel.” He’s that kind of guy.
Diaz: And his ad-libs were some crazy sh*t. I was like, “That is not a 13-year-old child.” I was like, “Where do you know this from?”
Segel: Yeah, it was intense.
Diaz: And Giselle and Sebastian were unbelievable.
Segel: They were the best.
Diaz: They were such good little souls. And their parents were so sweet. You never know what you’re getting with kids who act. You don’t if they want to be there or if it’s just the parents or if they love it.
Cameron, you seem to project an image of someone who doesn’t want to get married or have kids. Can you set the record straight about how you feel about having children?
Diaz: That’s not what I said, unfortunately. I’ve done a thousand interviews where people have asked me about children, especially recently with “The Other Woman.” I said that I haven’t had children thus far. The reason why I haven’t had kids so far is that I realize that when you have children, it takes up a large part of your life. And for whatever reason, there are a lot of reasons why I haven’t had children until now.
I always said that if I wanted to have children in my life prior to this, I would have had children in my life, but I haven’t. I’m not opposed to children. I’ve always said that, and I’m sure I will until maybe I’m old and I realize I’m too tired and it’s past the time [to have kids]. But I always said that I’m totally open to having children in my life.
But I’m not the person who’s out there saying, “I have to have children! I’m going to make this happen!” It’s just not what’s driven me. If it happens, I believe children come into your life if they’re meant to.
And I have so many children in my life. I have three nieces and a nephew. I have all of my friends’ kids whom I’m really close to. I’m a part of their upbringing, I’m a part of their nurturing. I am a part of a tribe in the village that brings up children. We all know that that’s what it takes. I’m so blessed to be a part of those villages. And I feel honored to impart anything I can and have any experience with the children in my life.
And if I’m meant to have a child, that is my full responsibility. I am totally open to how that’s supposed to happen. If I adopt, if I’m in a relationship with somebody who has children, if I win them in a lottery — whatever it is.
What do your friends and family think about “Sex Tape”?
Diaz: I don’t know. They haven’t seen it yet.
Segel: Mine will see it tonight at the premiere. They read everything I do now, ever since I surprised them with my penis in “[Forgetting] Sarah Marshall.” So they’re prepared and excited.
Diaz: And I think that our friends who have children can probably really relate to it a lot. And that’s why we made the movie, and that’s what this movie is really about. [Making] the sex tape is four minutes of the movie.
The real thing is about these two people who really love each other. They know they’ve married the right person. They’re not having a hard time in the relationship. They’re just having a hard time having this part of the relationship be a priority.
It’s the night that they decide to make it a priority, to communicate that to one another. And they do something that kind of feels authentic to them in the “fun” department of “let’s try to get that spark back.” And because of technology, the sh*t goes awry.
Segel: The one thing that’s really cool is that for married couples who’ve been together for a long time, I think that separately, they both feel like they wish they were having more sex, and neither of them is having a discussion about it. I hope when people see the movie, in the car ride home, there’s an interesting phenomenon where they laugh about how crazy it all was, and then there’s a bit of silence and then this real discussion begins about how we haven’t been having as much sex as we like. And as I say that now, I picture my parents seeing the movie today.
What were your favorite scenes in “Sex Tape”?
Segel: We have a scene at the end that we’re not trying to give away because it has one of our special co-stars. That was really exciting. We finally make our way to where we think the …
Diaz: We don’t want to reveal the special cast member.
Segel: We had a great time every single day. We [Cameron Diaz and I] were in almost every scene together.
Diaz: Except when you were with The Dog.
Segel: Rob Lowe, who we also called The Dog. It was really neat to have [the actor with the surprise cameo] come in. He was just so on it. He was so funny and so inspiring. And all our lines with Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper were so much fun.
Diaz: They’re so funny. They made us laugh so hard. Practically everything they said was ad-libbed.
Segel: Yeah, totally.
What parts of the sex scene was a body double?
Diaz: The flip was a body double — for me, not for him [Jason Segel]. You did the head stand.
You both co-starred in the 2011 movie “Bad Teacher.” Do you still keep in touch with each other after you finish making a movie?
Segel: We still keep in touch. We say, “I hope you’re doing great.” Little texts.
Do you feel sad about not seeing each other after you finish working together?
Diaz: You kind of move on.
Segel: It’s one of the side effects of making a movie. You work really hard together for a short period of time. And then you both go on to do other things, other movies.
We’re really excited when we get to see each other. We find out in the same city or at a thing together, it’s always super-exciting. But that’s the sad reality of it.
What advice do you have for child actors who have to deal with that kind of separation?
Diaz: It’s part of the job. That’s one of the considerations of having a child do a job that is [geared mostly to adults], or to do any kind of job. Their relationship with the job at a really young age is going to be very different. They can’t really negotiate the situation in the same way. They’re not emotionally capable of doing it. So I think maybe it’s the same way when their goldfish dies and you tell them that it went to heaven.
Segel: It’s really the responsibility of the parents to make sure that their child is capable emotionally of being able to handle it.
What’s it like to work with someone you’ve seen naked?
Segel: We weren’t really naked. Unfortunately, we were covered with modesty patches. It was more like going to the beach. It looks like a flesh-covered bikini from Cameron’s side. For me, it looks like Snuffleupagus. [He laughs.]
Diaz: We weren’t making an actual pornography tape. We weren’t having sex. It was movie magic. There’s a lot of angles. We took the time to make sure that there were arms in some places so you couldn’t see the modest patches. For me and Jason to be walking around naked, it’s not really a professional situation.
Segel: I was told not to [walk around naked] by the law. [He laughs.] It was much more of a locker-room vibe. It was like a couple of comedians high-fiving.
Diaz: It was ridiculous. It was silly. We were like, “This is our job. We get paid for this.” It’s a completely different mindset.
It’s not like, “Hey Jason, do you want to come over today and film a sex tape?” Then we might be naked. But since it’s our job, it’s not [like that].
In “Sex Tape,” Annie is a blogger who writes about her personal life. What do you think of the “mommy blog” trend?
Diaz: I think it’s great. You’re putting a part of yourself out there into the world. The content of [Annie’s] experience is being bartered. She’s bartering it and trying to make money off of it. At the same time, she’s trying to see if she can be authentic to herself and not be too risqué.
There’s a lot of questions about how much you give when you’re giving of yourself. You also want to inform people. You want people to relate to you because you want to make people feel like they understand you because it’s a tough thing to do: being human and being a mother and being a wife and having these responsibilities. And so, it’s definitely one of those things that I think is brave to do, but it’s also a choice, a decision and an elective.
And it’s a new world. We don’t know what comes of it, how it affects us, positively and negatively. [Bloggers] are on the forefront of those things, on the cutting edge of the Internet and blogging and what that means to our society and to the generations and to the children and revealing things about their lives.
And that’s what happens with Annie. She’s revealing things that maybe he doesn’t want revealed. She’s talking about her children, who don’t have a choice about all the bits and pieces about their lives that are being revealed. I think it’s an interesting study in sociology.
Jason, you’re also a screenwriter. Can you talking about any of your upcoming screenwriting projects?
Segel: I’m writing a couple of things now. [“Sex Tape”] is the first thing I’ve written that wasn’t my original idea. It came from Kate Angelo’s brilliant script. What happenes to me is I’m in the shower, and I have this idea of a premise.
Finally, I’m like, “F*ck. That’s a good idea.” And I’m kind of bummed about it because the writing is so much work. You’re going to be stuck with it for four years, by the time the movie is done.
For me, it comes down to something I really cannot get out of my mind, to the point that it’s bothering me. I know going in that it’s something I’m committed to for a really long time. Unlike acting, where you get a script and you sign on, and you do your prep, you do it, and then you say goodbye, you write for a very long time.
And then you go through these periods of being bored with your own idea, because you’ve been writing it for a year-and-a-half. You want to break from it, and you hate it, and you think it’s so dumb, and you thought of a new idea that you think is so much better than that idea.
It takes some real discipline, but I really love it. There’s a really cool alchemy to thinking of an idea in the shower, and then a few years later, sitting in a movie theater and seeing it. It’s one of the coolest feelings I’ve ever had ever.
How do you feel about filming movies in places other than Los Angeles?
Diaz: That’s been happening for a long time. I’m sure we’d rather be at home when we’re making a movie, but the cities that host us have always been so great. We had a really great time in Boston [where “Sex Tape” was filmed]. Boston’s a great town.
Segel: I have a lot of family in Boston. I have to say it’s really nice to be at home, but there’s something I’ve grown to really like about filming on location, because your job is very clear.
Diaz: Your job is that you’re there for that.
Cameron, you’re a famous actress who’s had a lot of success, but how do you handle personal and professional failures?
Diaz: I don’t think anything is a failure. I think life is just a bunch of lessons. The failure is not taking the lesson and utilizing it, trying to make a better choice next time and growing and using all of your experience. I don’t think of anything as a failure.
I think of life as a blessing and really an opportunity to keep growing and doing as much as you can. You don’t always. Sometimes you fall or trip on the same crack that you know is there, but hopefully, the fourth, fifth, tenth time, you eventually step over it.
For more info: “Sex Tape” website