Get Him To The Greek – BEHIND THE SCENES
BEHIND THE SCENES
Get Him to the Greek reunites the world’s two ugliest movie stars, Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, with Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stollar in the story of a young record company executive with three days to drag an uncooperative rock legend to Hollywood for a comeback concert. The comedy is the latest film from Judd Apatow, director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People. Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) gets things done. The ambitious 24 year old has been given a career making assignment. His mission: Fly to London and escort a rock god to the world famous Greek Theatre in Los Angeles for a huge comeback concert. His record mogul boss, Sergio Roma (PUFF DADDY, or P DIDDY, or DIDDY; whatever the fuck the ridiculous rapper is calling himself today), gives him one warning: The artist is the worst person on Earth. Turn your back on him at your own peril.
British rocker Aldous Snow (Brand) is a brilliant musician and certifiable rock-n’- roll legend, but due to a bad break-up and nose-diving career, has fallen off the wagon and is now a walking disaster. Weary of yes men and scared he’s entered the "greatest hits" twilight of his career, Snow’s in the midst of a nihilistic downward spiral. When he learns his true love, model/pop star Jackie Q (ROSE BYRNE of television’s Damages, Knowing), is in Los Angeles, Aldous makes it his quest to win her back…right before kick-starting his return to world domination.
As the countdown to the concert begins, one innocent young man must navigate a minefield of London drug smuggles, Manhattan mayhem and Vegas debauchery to deliver his charge safe and, sort of, sound…all while trying to remain faithful to his girlfriend, Daphne (ELISABETH MOSS of television’s Mad Men). He may have to coax, lie to, enable and party with Aldous, and Aaron may get inebriated, titillated, violated, humiliated, incapacitated, irritated, evacuated, medicated and rejuvenated on the way…but Aaron will get him to the Greek. Nicholas Stoller wrote the comedy that he produces along with Judd Apatow, DAVID BUSHELL (Sling Blade, Deception) and RODNEY ROTHMAN.
The scene-stealing characters of a hotel waiter named Matthew (Jonah Hill) and his fan crush, rock god Aldous Snow, were introduced to moviegoers in Nicholas Stoller’s directorial debut, the hit romantic disaster comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Audiences responded to the enthusiastic groupie who tried to pass the rocker new songs and the sex-obsessed former drug addict who was involved with the self-obsessed Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). Aldous’ ability to get under the skin of Sarah’s ex, musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), was matched only by his annoyance at Matthew’s unrelenting attention toward him.
While one might initially wonder, Get Him to the Greek is not a sequel to that breakout comedy. Music executive Aaron Green was nowhere to be seen in the story that told of Peter’s journey to recover from a gut-wrenching break-up. Although Jonah Hill did star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Aaron is decidedly not the same guy who stalked Aldous across Oahu. The rationale? Stoller loved these characters Segel had created and was a big fan of Jonah Hill and British performer Russell Brand. It was at the table read with the cast of Forgetting Sarah Marshall that Stoller saw the first glimmer of what would become Get Him to the Greek. Offers the writer/director: "Jonah and Russell had amazing chemistry. Then, on set, they were just hilarious together."
When Stoller approached Hill and Brand about partnering for another project, he found both men very receptive to the idea. Stoller recalls: "After Sarah Marshall, I had a meeting with Russell and pitched him this idea. Then I pitched Jonah the idea, and they both thought it’d be fun to work on a movie together." Jonah Hill remembers the request: "I was dying to work with Russell again, and I would have done anything Nick asked me to do." When he read the screenplay, the actor knew he was ready to play the music-obsessed executive. "Aaron Green is driven and ambitious and has a serious relationship," explains Hill. "He’s probably the most normal guy I’ve ever played. The interesting part is that we get to explore what’s extreme and weird about Aldous’ life. It’s not as fun for Aaron as he thought it was going to be…just weirder."
For the filmmaker, Hill’s character proved to be more of a challenge to write than his comedy sidekick. Stoller explains: "Jonah’s part in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was very much a broad character, so broad it would have been hard to sustain a whole movie. It wouldn’t have made sense to have him play the same character." Stoller decided to craft Aaron as a young record company executive who had three days to wrangle a rock icon from London to Los Angeles. Aaron idolizes this legend, but his hero worship is undermined by what he experiences on the road with him. The story starts off simple enough. "We wanted to get across that when you imagine hanging out with a rock star, it seems exciting and thrilling," explains Stoller.
"You get to stay up all night and party. We wanted to capture the idea that it just never ends. And Aaron has a great time. Next morning, you wake up and start partying again. There is no end to it. It’s a triangle where it gets more fun, more fun, more fun, then it hits an out-of-control moment, and then it starts to plummet down toward Earth."
When fleshing out the story for Get Him to the Greek, Stoller initially wrote a new protagonist (not Aldous Snow)…with Brand in mind to play him. The filmmaker soon realized, however, this major character in his script simply had to be a rock star with the attitude and swagger of Aldous. He thought what better way to extend one of his favorite roles from his directorial debut than to write a spin-off.
Explains Stoller: "In the intervening years since we saw Aldous in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he has fallen off the wagon and is a drunk disaster. And to everyone who has an issue with that, I would say that Star Trek reinvented its entire universe in the last film." He laughs: "They have 50 years of people memorizing every detail of the Star Trek universe. So, I don’t feel too bad about it."
When imagining the comic counterpart for Aaron, Stoller knew there was no one else but Brand who could fit the part. In fact, he and Segel had actually reimagined the part of Aldous around Brand after the comedian’s audition for Forgetting Sarah Marshall. As producer Apatow explains: "Russell is an incredibly funny, remarkable, charming man, and we wanted to present him as he is as much as possible. Aldous is actually a toned-down version of Russell."
Remembers co-producer Segel of the day he met his Aldous: "Russell was the find of the century. When he came in for the audition, oozing with undeniable sexual energy and rock star good looks, he said to me ‘You’ll have to forgive me, I have only had the chance to take a cursory glance at your script. Perhaps you should tell me what you require?’ And all I kept thinking was ‘that takes balls, man!’ and I realized he was the dude. We did a complete rewrite for him."
Brand was quite open to the idea of revisiting one of his favorite characters. He says: "It’s very flattering that Aldous Snow’s been given life beyond the initial joy of playing him in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I think the reasons that character resonated, at least with Nick and Judd, is that in this celebrity-obsessed age, Aldous was an unusual take on celebrity. He’s not just a straightforward obnoxious twerp; although he is an obnoxious twerp, there is sort of a sweetness and vulnerability to his self-destruction and self-entitlement."
Now that the filmmakers had their Aaron and Aldous, it was time for them to fill out the rest of the players in the world of Get Him to the Greek. Producer David Bushell explains why talent continue to be attracted to the films from this school and want to be a part of the comedy. He notes: "What’s special about the Apatow camp and the movies they make is that there’s a certain honesty that plays alongside the comedy. People can either see themselves in the characters or in the stories…or they would like to see themselves in the characters and the stories."
Just as Aaron and girlfriend Daphne are stumbling through a difficult patch in their relationship, Aaron is given the plum assignment to travel to London and escort Aldous to New York City for a publicity stint at the Today show…and then on to the Greek Theatre for the 10-year anniversary concert of his breakthrough American debut. In essence, he is being sent to babysit a madman. Doling out that task to Aaron is the head of Pinnacle Records, Aaron’s boss Sergio Roma, played by Sean Combs. When the casting director advised the filmmakers that Combs was willing to fly
himself out to audition for the part, they knew he was serious about the job. It was an unusual move for such a well-known performer, but Combs had a plan. The performer offers: "When I first found out there was a chance to be in a movie with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand that was directed by Nick Stoller and produced by Judd Apatow, I would’ve given one of my arms to get the role. I prepared all of the dialogue, worked with my acting coach, walked into the audition, and they said, ‘You’re not going to need the script. We’re just going to improv.’ I thought, ‘If I really want the role…I just have to go for it.’"
Casting Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs had an unexpected benefit. Explains Apatow: "Nick wrote Sergio as an amazing part, and then Sean was even better than what we had. We would go to him and say, ‘What would a crazy record company executive say here?’ He turned into one of the important partners of the movie because he told us about the record industry, and he knew a lot of insane points of view that people might have."
In the end, it was Combs’ performance as an actor, not his music experience, that benefited the film the most. "Sean brings this whole crazy energy to it," Stoller says.
"The comedy styles in the movie are very disparate. You have the Sean style meeting the Russell style meeting the Jonah style. It all combines into a delicious frappé." Stoller was pleased when actress Elisabeth Moss agreed to read the part of Aaron’s pragmatic medical resident girlfriend, Daphne Binks. Since 2007, the director had been captivated by Moss’ portrayal of Peggy Olson on AMC’s award-winning Mad Men. While Aaron is trying to make his mark on the music industry, Daphne is spending many a sleepless night during her residency at an inner-city hospital. Her constant state of sleep deprivation has a tendency to cloud her judgment…and allow for comic situations to unfold. Of their first meeting, Hill recalls one hell of a spitfire: "Elisabeth was the only one who really gave me crap; she was hard on me in the audition and yelled at me. She was so right for the part."
For Moss, tackling Greek was a welcome challenge. She says: "Most of the work I do is set in the ’60s, and it is very scripted and serious. This was something that was modern, and I was able to play a regular girl—somebody who wasn’t always in an intense situation." As well, the performer liked the comedic complications that Stoller’s script offered Daphne and Aaron. "While miscommunication can lead to very bad things," she says, "it’s also what happens in relationships. In this case, it’s definitely very funny."
Providing additional humor is Aldous’ tumultuous relationship with his rock ’n’ roll queen, model-turned-singer Jackie Q, hilariously realized by Australian actress Rose Byrne. The dysfunctional on-again, off-again couple has raised a young child, and they’ve been in and out of drug-induced stupors for much of their time together. About Byrne’s casting, Stoller explains: "We had to find someone who could not only match Russell…but who could actually beat Russell. Rose plays the girl that has him tied up in knots perfectly."
The actress delighted in playing Jackie Q, who is unlike any character she’s approached. "Jackie’s very mercurial," Byrne explains. For instance, when Aldous’ single "African Child" is unabashedly trashed by critics and audiences alike, the tide turns. "She supports the song, to a point, until it’s not good for her anymore," Byrne adds. "Jackie knows it’s bad, and she knows it’s the end of Aldous and wants out. She’s the front woman now and taking center stage."
The role was so empowering, in fact, that as Brand remembers, "Rose actually hit me during a scene that wasn’t scripted. This typifies that manner of destructive, yet alluring woman…a siren luring you onto the rocks to destroy you."
To make their depiction of the industry authentic in Get Him to the Greek, Stoller and the producers made the decision to populate the movie with actual musicians. Rothman notes: "We’ve tried to give a very three-dimensional view of a rock star and an addictive person—what the underbelly of rock ’n’ roll is—while still making it funny." Setting the comic story in the world of music had other advantages. As Rothman points out: "The rock world is obviously a very rich world. I feel like I’ve been researching this movie for the last 35 years. It gives you a reason to invite people who you worship to come hang out." For instance, music stars CHRISTINA AGUILERA, PINK, PHARRELL WILLIAMS and Metallica’s drummer, LARS ULRICH, all have cameos in the film as people who have crossed Aldous’ path…or been run over by his madness.
It’s well known that movies produced by Judd Apatow share the common methodology of improvisation, and Get Him to the Greek is no exception. During the course of shooting the comedy, the filmmakers knew they had to get everything they would possibly need in postproduction while they had the cameras running. And that meant multiple takes. Stoller and Rothman began their careers working as writers on Apatow’s television show Undeclared. They have taken this model of improvisational style—which does require some getting accustomed to by both actors and crew unfamiliar with the comedy style—and brought it to Greek. Rothman says: "If actors haven’t worked on one of our movies before, there’s always this uncomfortable feeling when they first
realize Nick’s not going to yell, ‘Cut!’ It’s a much looser environment."
This is not to say that the production was undisciplined or unfocused. "We always shoot the script," Stoller explains. "But we then do improv off of that. Rodney and I write lines and throw the actors lines and suggestions." With Stoller film veterans Hill and Brand as part of the mix, fears about the use of improv were soon assuaged among the other cast members.
Apatow explains: "When you are working with people like Russell and Jonah and Sean, you need to be able to adjust it on your feet because they never stop thinking either."
Of course, the majority of the film wasn’t improv’d. Stoller’s screenplay dictated every aspect of production. Brand offers: "There’s been brilliant, spontaneous stuff, but the script itself is really good. Improv takes ages." Still, the comic performer was up for the challenges. He says, "I like improvising, because at least then there’s loads of different ways to say what’s on your mind. I’d try and say stuff to freak people out."
For Combs, improvisation took some getting used to during the production. The actor has been in his share of dramas, and comedy was a relatively new experience for him. Hill commends his on-screen boss: "He’s shockingly funny in the movie. His is probably the most surprising performance because you see someone who’s known for being so serious just being hilarious."
"Sean has never worked with our process," Stoller adds, "which is very specific. At the beginning, we would tell him, ‘Don’t worry about the script; just do this line.’ Jonah would work with him while we were shooting, and it worked great. Sean was very much a perfectionist. I would be satisfied with a take and he would say, ‘No, I want to do one more.’ He was always right."
Stoller sums up Combs’ contribution to the comedy by referencing Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s breakout performance in Hill’s blockbuster Superbad: "We started calling him the McLovin’ of the movie. He’s just so funny."
The entire production company would orchestrate five nights in summer 2009 playing at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre. There, Russell Brand became both the Aldous Snow of current day and of 10 years prior in front of an audience of 1,500 extras and a few hundred crew…including a professional concert lighting company. By the time the company arrived, toward the end of the Los Angeles portion of the shoot, it had already blocked, planned and choreographed every song, move and camera angle necessary for the events. Songs had been written, music arranged and
Brand had laid down tracks. To pull off the nights’ events, they had to put on real rock shows. The team hired the talent who create special effects for rock concerts and had them design a light show. They created a previsual model of what was going to occur; all agreed that the results were stunning.
For the cast and crew, those five days were magical. Hill explains: "The Greek is my favorite venue in Los Angeles, where I grew up and live. So to actually go there and shoot a movie was awesome…to show up and see all the trucks and extras. I went out on stage and talked to the crowd for a second, and it felt totally unreal."
Brand, embodying a true rock star, went full-out for each performance. "It was brilliant fun," he states. "I really enjoyed the performances enormously. It’s lovely living out your childhood fantasies to be a rock star. All the times I pretended to be a rock star, with a hairbrush and tennis racket…I got to live out those fantasies in front of thousands of people."
Stoller explains the power of those key scenes: "It was the one time everyone I know visited the set. It sent chills down our spines. It looked awesome, and Russell’s performance was amazing." He adds: "I should also note, the songs we have are exciting. Some of them are funny, but they’re not parody songs. They’re really rock songs. We tried to create a real rock album."
For that job, the filmmakers turned to veteran Apatow music supervisor Jonathan Karp, who worked on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, as well as composer Lyle Workman, another seasoned Apatow vet and pivotal part of the production.
On most films, the music supervisor identifies what music is needed for the various shooting days, but as Karp explains: "In this case, music plays such a big role that there’s a lot of story aspects to it as well." He found working on Get Him to the Greek "exciting because this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to work on a movie where there was a preexisting character that we had already defined. Normally, in the early stages, the first thing you have to figure out is if you have characters singing. If so, who are they? What is their music? In this case, we knew all that going in. There was no confusion or development about who Aldous was."
Jason Segel, who wrote, starred in and also composed songs for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, had written a few songs before the script of Get Him to the Greek was even completed. Karp explains: "Jason would send us piano demos that were embryonic, but it was enough for us just to hear more Aldous Snow songs, since it was coming from the same voice that had created Aldous."
From there, composer Lyle Workman worked on the bridge, fleshed out the arrangements, added additional sections, hired the players and sent his work back to Segel, who then completed the lyrics. Explains Segel of their process: "At three in the morning, I’d write on my piano the dumbest songs you could imagine. Then I would send them to Lyle, and he would turn them into actual songs; he was a great partner. Then he would send them back to me, and I recorded the vocal. Then we’d forward them to Russell, and he went in and recorded them."
For the many songs, the team brought in additional writers, such as former Pulp front man and Britpop icon JARVIS COCKER—as well as MIKE VIOLA, DAN BERN, and INARA GEORGE and GREG KURSTIN. It was important for the music team to keep not only in line with the story, but underscore the tone of the film. "A lot of the songs started with Nick," Karp says. "‘African Child’ was his idea; he even had some lyrics. That song is a good example of how we bridged comedy with the song writing. If it gets too jokey, it’s no longer good music."
Apatow explains how this bizarrely misguided idea came to be: "‘African Child’is Aldous’ politically thoughtful song about the plight of people in Africa. I guess he thought it was a sensitive song, and it’s not. It’s really offensive. But he didn’t know that, which is a goof on bad attempts to say something positive. In the last movie he sang a song called ‘We’ve Got to Do Something.’ We thought, ‘Let’s do another one in that vein…and ‘African Child’ was born."
In total, approximately 20 songs were recorded. Five songs were featured in the two live Greek performances (current day and 1999), and one song was performed at the Today show. As well, production designer Jan Roelfs imagined four complete music videos, including several for Jackie Q. "Rose’s songs are pretty risqué," says Karp. "But it didn’t faze her at all," he says of Byrne, who also did her own singing for the film.
"Jackie Q, while not based on a living person, is definitely a kind of Amy Winehouse/Courtney Love adventurous type of musician. Rose was able to fit right into that persona and make it her own."
Byrne wasn’t exactly sure what she was in for when she auditioned. She recalls: "When I auditioned, they did not mention, ‘Oh, can you sing?’ I can’t really sing, but I can hold a tune; I’m not tone deaf. I thought, ‘What if I had been?’ What would they have done then? But I did three days of recording, and it was so fun."
Keeping with the scope of the film was also a challenge. The songs in the movie are in two contexts. There’s the 1999 Greek concert, which was more raw and carefree. Then, at the point we meet Aldous in the movie, he’s very successful; his music has become a bit bloated and overproduced. The more recent Aldous songs reflect that change in direction…one of the reasons the rocker has gone into a tailspin. In the months that Brand recorded songs from Aldous’ past and present, his skills as a vocal artist developed.
Karp compliments: "Russell’s an amazing singer. This process has been interesting because we’ve seen his development over the recording of these songs. We’ve seen him in the beginning stages, struggling a little bit with certain passages, to where he is now, which is just effortless."
Rothman explains why this music is so important to the comedy: "Both Aaron and Aldous rediscover a love of music over the course of the movie. Aaron is a guy who begins the movie disillusioned about the music industry. He became a record employee imagining it would be amazing to get to hang out with your favorite rock stars, and he’s learned that a lot of it is just about selling records, not about the music."
Bringing authenticity to the arena was Sean Combs, to whom the filmmakers looked frequently for input. As Stoller recalls: "It was great to turn to him and ask, ‘Would they do this?’ We had this whole plot point of Sergio telling Aaron, ‘Don’t get drunk on the road,’ which always felt a little fake to me. I said to Sean, ‘Would you ever tell a subordinate not to get drunk on the road?’ He said, ‘No, I would tell him just to keep it together.’ Which was very, ‘Oh, of course…that’s what you’d say.’"
Of course, Combs doesn’t want the audience to confuse his character with himself. "He’s an eccentric, over-the-top record executive," the actor notes. "I know it sounds similar to me in real life, but it’s really different. Sergio is much crazier than I am. I’m a very serious businessman. I wanted him to be just straight crazy. I can’t wait for people to meet Sergio."
Concludes Rothman: "There’s this cliché that all comedians secretly want to be rock stars, and this is definitely a movie where we’ve indulged the inner rock stars we wish we were. All of us secretly hope that this music will become successful and famous. We think we made one of the best rock albums of the last 10 years. When reality comes crashing down, that will be hard…"
While it sounded simple enough on paper, a four-city shoot proved quite challenging for all involved in the comedy. "This was a very complicated film to shoot," notes Stoller. Whereas his last film was set in the idyllic Oahu, this would prove much tougher. He explains, "Sarah Marshall was mainly people sitting and talking, which might be the kind of movie I go back to doing. We call this movie ‘running and screaming.’"
Brand recounts a few of the many indignities he suffered for comedy during his time on Get Him to the Greek: "I’ve been plunged into water for seven hours. I’ve had to hang off a building on a wire, had to mimic having broken bones and been covered in vomit. I’ve been in sexually compromising positions, and I’ve had to take all manner of ‘narcotics.’ I’ve performed live rock ’n’ roll. I’ve recorded an album…"
The company started production with a week of shooting in Las Vegas, the third stop on Aaron and Aldous’ mind-bending trip. Producer Bushell sums what many of the cast and crew felt after their time in Sin City: "Vegas is—whether you’re working there or you’re playing there—just a city that will wear you down. I don’t know if anyone can like leave Vegas alive."
The cast and crew hit the pavement running, literally. Stoller recounts: "We shot a car hitting Sean Combs; that was our first day. Your first day is supposed to be, ‘This is an easy movie,’ and the first thing we shot was his getting hit by a car."
After a week in Las Vegas shooting at Planet Hollywood, Koi and PURE, among others, the production moved to Los Angeles for various stage and locations work. Notable sites include the downtown Standard Hotel, where Aldous jumps from a perch on the rooftop that is a full story above the pool. Additionally, they spent a week at the Greek Theatre. From there, the company moved to New York City, where it shot at JFK, Central Park and for several days at NBC’s Today show, where MEREDITH VIEIRA played herself in a hilarious interview with Aldous. This is just prior to a live, televised concert performance for Today show viewers outside 30 Rockefeller Center. As well, Aldous’ New York City digs were situated at the legendary Hotel on Rivington on the Lower East Side.
Finally, production jumped the pond for scenes that mark the beginning of the film. There, Aaron first meets up with Aldous in London. "This is the first international Apatow production," Stoller enthuses. "You’re seeing a lot of different places." A few of these include Hatfield House, the home of Elizabeth I, where she lived until she learned of her imminent rise to the throne. This historic location served as Aldous and Jackie Q’s country home. Other U.K. settings include St. James’ Park, Trafalgar Square, Waterloo Place and the New Cavendish Club. As he shot this men-on-the-run comedy, Stoller challenged himself and cinematographer Robert Yeoman to interpret scenes from Aldous’ and Aaron’s viewpoints. What better way to capture the excitement (read: terror) of Aaron as he tries to keep up with the world’s most volatile rock star than to shoot the music executive from a head camera? The director explains: "With Greek, I’ve tried to break out the visual toolbox. To simulate being drunk, we thought it would be fun to attach this head rig to Jonah, so we see from his perspective as he moves. As he walked around, it looks only at him. I saw it on Fear Factor on MTV…and that’s my film school."
From his inception of the film, Stoller wanted to open up the adventure geographically. The major constant for Aaron and Aldous as they travel is the endless partying in countless clubs and hotel rooms. But it wasn’t enough to shoot in real clubs in distant locations; the team wanted every costume to have the look and feel of each locale. Commends Stoller: "Leesa Evans, our costume designer, did an amazing job establishing a look in each city."
The designer endeavored to use "the best of what each city’s fashion had to offer and, at the same time, make sure the characters stand out from that. You’re never looking at the clothing; you’re looking at the character and the clothing is supporting the character." This was crucial to her, no matter if she was imagining the waitresses’ outfits at the New Cavendish Club or Aldous Snow’s costumes when he performs both times at the Greek Theatre. If dressing her cast for each city was a challenge for the designer, working with Hill and Brand was a delight. "This was a rare opportunity to do men’s fashion," Evans explains. "As costume designers, we don’t get to do fashion for film as often as we would like. This was a great opportunity to do men’s fashion that’s hip and cool. Nick supported our trying to be as edgy and fashion-forward as possible."
For Aaron, Evans looked to Hill for inspiration: "All of the band T-shirts that Jonah wears during the film are of bands that he loves." The two discussed what music has influenced him and what music would have made Aaron want to enter the music business. Evans researched the range of this industry’s executive attire and took into account bands Green may have tried to emulate. She also thought about what would make Hill feel professional, as, she notes, "he’s played a younger guy in a lot of other films he’s done."
Regarding Aldous, Evans had already established a template for the rocker in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She describes that look as "loosely based on anyone from Mick Jagger to the Beatles to Richard Ashcroft and the Verve." Of course, that was the Hawaiian vacation version of a sober Aldous, whereas in Get Him to the Greek, he is back in the city and back on every bottle.
"Nick and I talked about the progression of Aldous’ character," she says. "As he gets more heavily into drugs and alcohol, he gets more intense because he’s feeling more bruised and battered. By the time we’re at the end of the film, he’s back to this uplifted and lighter state of mind."
Grounding Aldous’ character are what else? Heels, naturally. Evans explains: "Recently, Yves Saint Laurent started doing these great boots. I remember thinking there is no better shoe for Aldous Snow than these boots. I bought out the store in his size of every color and pattern. They gave Russell great posture, and he felt even more rock ’n’ roll in those boots. Now he won’t take them off."
In all, Aldous had about 60 wardrobe changes in the film, including the music videos and photo shoots created. Evans imagined his look by incorporating such designers as Alexander McQueen, Costume National, Dior, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. She also created several key pieces, including the black-leather skinny jeans that made their debut in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. For Sean Combs as Sergio, Evans went strictly high-end. "Sean has a lot at his disposal," explains the designer. "He’s interested in fashion and has his own line."
With this in mind, Evans hoped to balance the authenticity of the character while being true to Combs; the resulting look incorporated much Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci. While Daphne was mostly in scrubs, Jackie Q was much less straightforward. For the model/rocker, Evans mixed "very dressy and very casual and a bit of whimsy."
Byrnes describes the look as "girly and coquettish, but hard-edged." Evans looked to British designers whom a woman such as Jackie Q would patronize, such as McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.
Aldous wasn’t the only one getting a lift. Another key element to the character was her heels. "Jackie Q always wears heels," Evans says. "The heels were Rose’s attempt to be slightly off her rocker. She’s never appropriately dressed as a result of always being in heels." Even during her time shooting the "I Am Jesus" music video, Byrne, clad in a monokini (a bikini one-piece) and frolicking in a manger, opted to keep on her heels. Evans laughs: "I asked Rose, ‘Don’t you want to take off your heels? It’s dangerous; this is actually a mattress.’ And she said, ‘Jackie Q does not take off her heels.’"