Let’s Be Cops is not a cop comedy. Its stars, Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson, do not play cop characters. And that’s where the comedy comes in.
At San Diego Comic-Con, some of the film’s stars including Wayans Jr., Nina Dobrev, Rob Riggle and Keegan-Michael Key sat for a press conference to talk about the comedy before its release on August 13.
Let’s Be Cops follows two friends, Justin and Ryan (Wayans Jr. and Johnson), who dress up as police officers for a costume party and get hooked on the thrill of being fake cops. But their fake badges only go so far when they get mixed into real life trouble with mobsters and dirty detectives.
Wayans Jr. and Johnson are already known as playing friends Coach and Nick, respectively, on Fox’s comedy New Girl. On their TV show, Johnson plays the more uptight, reserved character while Wayans Jr.’s Coach is more edgy and aggressive, but in the film, their roles are reversed. Johnson’s Ryan is more eager and enthusiastic while Wayans Jr.’s Justin is the introvert.
“It’s really cool to see Jake do that since he’s been doing New Girl for a long time, playing that character,” said Wayans Jr. at the panel. “It’s cool to see him step away from that character for a bit.”
With what one reporter called a cast of “masters of comedy,” Let’s Be Cops is essentially all improvised. “Probably 70 percent of the movie is improv,” Wayans Jr. said.
Dobrev, who plays Josie, recalled a scene where Wayans Jr. is dancing outside of a diner and completely rips his pants, adding she really hopes it made it to the final cut. After talking between takes, Wayans Jr. said Dobrev would just do what they had discussed in the next take and it often made it into the film.
“Any time you improvise and have fun, it usually turns out to be really fun,” said Riggle, who plays actual cop Officer Segars. “And if it’s even close to the storyline, it’ll probably make it.”
Even with the success of the 21 Jump Street movies, the cast said they never felt the need to make sure Let’s Be Cops felt different because the films aren’t even comparable.
“They’re actual cops,” Wayans Jr. said. “Tonally, our is slightly more grounded. Like our bad guy isn’t funny at all. Their bad guy was hilarious … Our bad guy is a bad guy. I think ours is more of a throwback to the ‘80s movies where the danger is real danger and the jokes are funny, but there’s definitely that ‘Are they going to survive this?’”
Dobrev added the only thing they have in common is the fact that Rob Riggle is in both of them, and hopefully his genitals won’t suffer the same fate this time.
To check out some of the press conference action for yourself, watch the video below!
Reporting by Ashley Bulayo | Camera by Cara McGee (Freelance) | Production by Nick Slotten | Written Content by Meryl Gottlieb
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