April 24, 2014 10:55am PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
CBS' 'Bad Teacher' Stars Reveal Why They Won't Watch the Movie
The TV adaptation of Bad Teacher is aiming to create its own identity, instead of relying on the film from which it was adapted.
Based on the 2011 summer blockbuster starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel, the CBS comedy will join a growing collection of movie adaptations, including NBC's About a Boy and FX's Fargo, when it premieres Thursday. And much like the film, which grossed $100 million at the box office, the Sony-produced show centers on former trophy wife Meredith Davis (Ari Graynor) who becomes a teacher in her quest to find a new man after being dumped by her wealthy husband.
But in a conversation with the show's cast and creators, held as they chowed down on chips and salsa at a laid-back premiere party at Hollywood's Pink Taco on April 10, they discussed why so many of them, including Graynor, David Alan Grier, Ryan Hansen and Sara Rodier, have yet to see the film.
The rationale from Hansen, who plays a handsome gym teacher in the small-screen version: "It’s a totally different animal, this TV show. I didn’t want anyone to be like, ‘Oh, he’s doing exactly what he did in the movie.' " Grier, who plays the clueless principal, agrees, adding that watching the original felt unnecessary. “Like most people with cable I saw like, 20 minutes of it,” he jokes of his prep. “It wasn’t like we were doing Citizen Kane.”
Graynor, who plays the same character Diaz did in the movie (albeit with a different name), says she steered clear of the film to avoid being influenced by it. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t get too much in my head like, ‘Oh god, I can never be as good as her. What if I’m not as funny?’ So it’s been nice I’ve stayed away,” she says, noting that she actually auditioned for a smaller role in the film.
Fourteen-year-old Rodier, who plays the awkward stepdaughter, has a different explanation: Her parents won't let her. “I’ve seen highly inappropriate movies before,” she says, acknowledging that she'd like to watch this one: ”I should be allowed to see it.”
In fact, the only castmember who admitted watching the film, Sara Gilbert, said she did so once before she read the script for the series and then again after for inspiration. Her takeaway? The TV characters need “a little more heart” to keep viewers engaged for more than 90 minutes.
Bad Teacher premieres Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.